Challenge: ¬†Defining “First Substantive Contact”

[Editor’s Note: The views expressed here are solely those of Ross Kaplan, and do not represent Edina Realty, Berkshire Hathaway, or any other entity referenced.]

In an online, hyper-connected 24/7 world, when do Minnesota Realtors trip the threshold for delivering a required state disclosure to baseballconsumers?

Called “Agency Relationships” and mandated by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, the form summarizes the various types of roles Minnesota Realtors play relative to consumers (“Listing Agent,” “Buyer’s Agent,” “Facilitator,” etc.), and must be proffered — but not signed — at the point of “first substantive contact.”


When exactly is that? (you ask).

At the point where the Consumer – Realtor conversation moves past social pleasantries, and the prospective client begins discussing their price, terms, or motivation.

Because that frequently now happens online (via email, texts, Instagram??), the safest course for Realtors not wanting to run afoul of the DOC is to electronically deliver the disclosure, vs. waiting for a physical meeting.

In the same email, most agents take pains to underscore that the form need not be signed immediately.

P.S.: ¬†If you’re not a baseball fan, the photo above shows a batter who may (or not) have checked their swing, in which case they are/aren’t charged with a strike.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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