The horrors. Email makes getting in hot water so very easy. Recently, our members have gotten caught sending emails off to multiple people in a transaction that included a longgg thread of past conversations. And some of the comments made created a very strained transaction moving forward. Even worse, attorneys have reported that they also receive messages with old message threads that contain confidential client information – and knowledge shared could harm the best interests of the sending Realtor’s client…. Remember, if the other Realtor or the attorney is a fiduciary of the other party, it must be disclosed, no matter that it was an accident. Also, be especially careful of cc’ing the buyer’s attorney on EVERYTHING. Attorneys must print, read and respond to all client messages and can charge your client accordingly. Most only want the critical documents, compiled in some fashion. Talk to them to find out what works best for a smooth transaction!
We know you’re working fast on the road, but please take extra care to:
- Send information ONLY to the person that needs it
- Don’t cc everyone in a transaction UNLESS they need the information.
- Don’t add new recipients to existing email threads; send a new, clean message for new group of recipients. When people respond to an email, they know who their reply will go to and respond accordingly. You have no right to share other people’s past comments with others, without their consent.
- Make sure the message you send contains only the information you need to convey. Past requests or documents can make it confusing for recipients to focus on the current to-do items.
And finally, guard electronic conversations you have with your client! Confidentiality is a critical fiduciary duty you promise and are held accountable by law. Your client can be harmed if you breach that confidence (and so can you). That is our PSA for today!