From an email I received today (with minor changes)

Comments = Interesting column today. From a buyer’s perspective, there’s no way I’d lock in to agree to pay (an agent) a commission no matter where I buy b/c then an unscrupulous broker could sit back, not do any work, take advantage of my legwork and still get his cut.

I have a question about the (agents) that use daily emails to notify me of new properties on the market. I stopped subscribing to them b/c I suspected that the subscription was a “de facto” contract that made them my buyer’s agent. So if I bought any MLS-listed property, they could demand a 3% cut from the seller, and it could also get me into hot water if I had (an agent) that was my preferred broker. (Agents) at open houses were so eager for me to subscribe to their daily emails that I suspect they had an ulterior motive. I don’t mind (an agent) getting their 3% if they really do educate me about an area, but for sending me an automated email … and that just (contains) content that I can get on my own thru

That’s very interesting. I never thought of that. Does signing up to get emails from someone create an “implied contract”? (Yes, I’m a lawyer.)

I never thought so, before. I don’t know any agent who would think so. Truly, they are only eager to sign you up for MLS emails because they want to establish a relationship, not because they want to force you to do something you don’t want to do. Seriously.

Probably about 30% of the people who get auto-emails from me through LINK, I have never ever talked to. They contacted me through the web, asked to be signed up, and I signed them up.

Other agents are a bit more proactive. They’ll at least send an email or two to the person to introduce themselves and establish a line of communication. I don’t even do that. I figure if the person ends up wanting to work together, they’ll send me a note. Some agents would think that this is crazy – the person may end up working with another agent, or looking for and finding a place on their own.

I guess, if you’re concerned about this, like the person who emailed me, you could just write an email to the agent, explicitly saying that you are not “creating a relationship” by signing up for emails. That’s about all that is necessary.

A healthy skepticism is good when buying real estate (your home) and when dealing with an agent. Truly, just about every agent is honest, and have your best interests at heart (a buyer’s agent, that is). Plus, you’re probably a lot smarter than your agent – you’ll be able to tell if you’re being screwed.


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Updated: January 2018