I usually receive anywhere from 50 to 100 non-spam emails a day to my work account. These emails are from clients, other agents, and sometimes potential clients.
The potential client emails come in two formats, directly from a person to my email address or through a real estate website like Realtor.com, Zillow, etc. to my email address.
Emails that come from a person directly to my account are usually from “real” people. By “real” I mean not some bot that is sending out thousands of phishing emails. They’re from people that know me through someone else or have been referred to me. I find that the emails from the real estate websites are harder to distinguish though. It’s not always clear if they’re real or trying to scam me in some way. Below are three actual emails I recently received from a real estate website. Can you determine which one is not from a real person?
Email 1: “I am interested in putting my property up for sale soon. I am looking for advice on determining my home’s worth and walk-through advice from an agent on what I can do to maximize the value. Pls call my cell or email me anytime.”
Email 2: “Hi Amy: what is the amount of the real estate taxes??? Thank you, XXXX”
Email 3: “I am Mr. XXXX XXX Japanese origin I need a 4 bed room single family home to buy, in a nice area in any city in your state its going to be a cash buy,price should be $500,000 please send me some listing/MLS Email:XXXXXXX_XX@hotmail.com”
So, which one is a scam/spam? Typically a person is asking a direct question about a specific property. Or they ask to go see a specific property. Or they ask you to come give them a valuation on their home.
While it seems enticing to an agent, Email 3 is the scam/spam. Most agents really like working with cash buyers, so the spammer is dropping that tidbit to draw the agent into responding. It’s not really clear what their intentions are, but I’m not buying it. I did actually respond to the email as an experiment to see what happens so I could write about it in this post. Mr. XXX wrote back, but he was not any more specific, asking again to have listings sent without giving any sort of criteria, despite being asked multiple times. With some emails like this we get a response back full of links to suspect websites, or an attachment that probably contains a virus. Really not nice, but we just delete them and move on with our lives.
Determining if people are real or not can add some adventure to an otherwise average day. The responses to these emails are often worthwhile for us, just as long as they don’t make our computers sick…