How to Make the Most Out of Shopping Online for Real Estate
The purchases and sales of real estate in the commercial and residential markets have been increasing online over the past decade. However, that does not mean that these listings are free from scam artists, cyber security issues and deceptive listings. These types of negative issues can make you lose money, your identity as well as the security of feeling safe while online.
If you are looking to avoid as much headache as possible when shopping online for real estate, consider following these steps.
Do Not Provide Unnecessary Information
It is always wise to be cautious when you are online, and further evidence shows that you should be very skeptical of anyone who is requesting your personal details online. Be sure you know and can verify who you are communicating with online, and find a way that is secure to pass the information to the one who is requesting it, if you feel it is appropriate to do so.
Be Wary of Email Lists
As you go through the listings, and create a shortlist of your choices, it is critical to remember that there are some websites that are created simply to obtain your information so you can be sent spam and added to advertisers’ mailing lists.
For example, you may see an online ad for a beautiful home that you believe would be a great starter home. You contact the ‘seller’ for an asking price, but what you get in return is a form to include your information.
Although most sellers are legitimate when they ask you to click on a link or fill out a form, there are other individuals whose sole purpose is acquiring your information to sell to someone else.
It may be a better option to hire a real estate broker that will act as a middleman between you and the seller. This way, you will avoid wasting your time or becoming a victim of malicious activity.
Stay Vigilant for Malware
There are probably hundreds of ways a cyber-criminal tries to extract information from people online. However, the most common technique is to send you a link that redirects your browser to a different page. When you try to exit the page, a window may pop up on the screen prompting you to click on a button to exit. If you click on that button, a script will automatically execute that will attack your computer or mobile device.
Never click the button. Force your device to shut down or restart the device by pressing the power button. A Malware Isolation appliance can also protect you while you are online. These are safer options than employing malware on your device that is designed to harvest your personal information.
Create a Separate Email
You can also choose to create a secondary email strictly for contacting online real estate sellers. This can protect your identity and your primary email account.
Also, be selective when choosing websites to visit. Look for the VeriSign icon if you are providing financial information, and also verify a company’s or seller’s standing before providing personal information.
Purchasing real estate online was designed to provide convenience for the buyer and the seller. Consider these tips to save yourself a lot of frustration and headaches later.