By JEFF DOWLER
Emails are, in most transactions, essential and a significant part of the communications among the various parties involved in real estate transactions. While we have each likely had at least one seller or buyer who does not use email, I suspect those are rare situations, and even then there are others in the process who are using email: escrow, lenders, title, inspectors, agents and others. Preserving confidentiality is essential no matter which side of the fence you are on.
Being cautious about how and when you use “reply all” or forward emails is something to always keep in mind.
- Is there something in the email content that should NOT be shared with everyone?
- Are there email addresses that should not be shared (i.e., are you replying all and including your client but sending that email to the other agent, thus revealing YOUR client’s email?)
- And keep in mind what is in the thread of all the “reply all” emails, which might include five or more emails. Is there something that should not be shared with certain people?
- And what about those email addresses that get added and you don’t know WHO the people are — they might be assistants of the escrow officers, etc., but it’s best to know WHO is receiving all this information.
You can’t assume that everyone included on an email (which might be several folks at the escrow or title company or the lender’s office) needs to know everything or how they might also treat the email content. And sometimes the content, say a series of complaints or comments by one person (yep, had this happen from another agent who was sharing a rather rude comment about the escrow officer and it got shared with everyone in the world!), is NOT appropriate to be shared.
The same is true of forwarding emails to others. It’s important to consider what content you are forwarding, and to whom. And don’t forget the string of emails that are attached or email addresses that are listed but should not be shared (e.g., a client to the other side).
We all use email so often (it is not usual for me to have 750 or more emails in my folder online from a given transactions) and perhaps are moving quickly and not paying close attention to what is being shared.
And how about when you add an email address but don’t pay attention (you have two or more people in your address book named Mary) and it goes to the wrong person?
Email is quick, creates a terrific paper trail, can be sent anytime, and shares information that others need to know without having to make multiple phone calls. But being cautious about HOW and WHEN you use it is an important part of the job.