There are few things in life as exciting and as stressful as shopping for real estate online. The internet has opened up a world of possibilities for real estate, but it also has opened the door to certain safety hazards. From fake sites to shady sellers to incorrect information, there are plenty of ways to be exposed to the harmful sides of the internet. If you’re not careful, you can fall victim to a variety of threats online while you browse for your dream home or office space. When you’ve decided to start looking for some real estate, you want to make sure you’re safe and secure while you search.
Shopping online for real estate can be tricky, but with the right tips in mind, you can stay safe while you search! Whether you’re looking to buy a house or you want to learn more about internet safety and keeping your personal details safe online, you’re in luck! Here’s everything you need to know to keep your private information safe while browsing real estate online. Follow this guide and stay safe while you find your dream house like a pro! Stay one step ahead of online ill-doers and find the property you need while you’re at it!
Know your basic internet safety etiquette
Whether you’re looking for real estate, a new watch, or someone to talk to, you need to know the basics of online internet safety. The first step to keeping your private information safe online is to make sure you don’t give it out willy-nilly. When talking to someone or signing up for a website, make sure you feel safe and comfortable before giving out any personal information. Make sure the real estate agent is legit, knows what they’re doing, and has your best interest at heart.
Always, always, always do your research on the website you’re using, especially when looking for real estate. Many websites will take advantage of your personal information and sell it to advertisers to make a profit, to your detriment. Internet safety starts with you, so make sure to keep your information safe from your side!
Use secure passwords
Apart from making sure you don’t blab away your own personal information, there are other ways to keep people from getting to it. The second most important rule of online safety when looking for real estate is to use strong and secure passwords for any site you’re using. Creating a strong password is more about making something that’s difficult to guess and less about something easy to remember.
Having a strong password is your first line of defense against anyone who wishes to do you harm on the internet. Make sure you use both upper and lowercase letters as well as numbers and punctuation marks to build a strong password. Avoid using anything too obvious and make sure to write down your password somewhere safe! Whether you’re browsing or buying real estate on a verified platform, you need to bump up your password.
Use the right secure platform
Many people think that online protection stops at using “official” websites for “respected” causes. What many people don’t know is that any website or platform, from real estate to mobile banking can jeopardize your safety and security. If you want to keep your private information safe from advertisers and those with mal intent, you need to start with the right real estate site.
Start by doing your research and looking into how safe and respectable each real estate platform is. Look for platforms that are rated the best property search by privacy experts for starters. Many “upstanding” platforms like Zillow and Trulia will not only sell your personal and budget data but will also profit from you. If you want to protect your personal data, switch to platforms that don’t sell your information and have your best interest at heart.
Use reliable platforms
It’s one thing to have your private information sold by a real estate platform, but it’s another to be sold the wrong information. Although there are many credible, reputable, and great sites out there, there are a lot that simply aren’t. Many real estate websites will sell you on the idea of a property when the information they have on it may be outdated and faulty.
Many platforms out there will take advantage of you not being a “real estate expert” and will profit off your lack of knowledge. Selling you properties that aren’t listed, don’t look that way, or with hidden fees, while taking advantage of your personal data. Locating these unreliable sites may take some work, but it’s a necessary precaution for your online safety as a whole. If you want to stay safe while browsing real estate online, start by using only reputable platforms with reliable information.
Avoid shady websites and scams
While on the topic of the platforms you use, it’s important to know how to spot a scam or a shady website from a mile away. No corner of the internet is safe from people seeking to take advantage of you, even real estate sites. Before signing up or logging into a real estate website, make sure to do your research and make sure it’s legit.
Look out for dodgy web design, too many ads, and deals that are too good to be true. Look into the platform’s practices and make sure to read the fine print to see if your data is being shared with another party. Avoid sites that don’t have a high rating or high consumer satisfaction rate, to steer clear of the dodgy ones. It’s easy to fall prey to these shady sites and scams, which is why doing thorough research as a consumer is so important.
Don’t fall prey to phishing scams
Another common safety threat that you could fall victim to while browsing real estate is phishing scams. It’s a tactic used by shady websites and individuals to trick you into giving away your personal information like your bank details. Phishing scams are common all over the internet and to avoid falling prey to them, you need to learn how to spot them from a mile away.
The most common type of phishing scam you will come across is in the form of sudden emails or messages. These messages may be from individuals you have never spoken to before and may contain a link or a sudden call to action. You may be asked to click on the link or give out personal information, under threat of something happening to you or the property you’re looking at. Learn how to spot, avoid, and report these phishing attempts and stay safe while you browse real estate.
Don’t overshare online
There’s no denying that it’s hard to not share things you’re excited about online, like when you’ve found the perfect property. Whether you’re planning on buying or have already bought your property, don’t overshare about it too much online. Although it may be tempting, avoid sharing too much information about your real estate options on social media. Doing this may attract unwanted attention and you may become a target for malicious attacks.
The worst thing you could do is leak your personal data accidentally by posting about it on social media. If you overshare your property buying habits online, you could be giving access to potential hackers and scammers online. Your personal data, spending habits, and bank details may be leaked, and you don’t want that if you’re buying property online. To avoid any unwanted attention, keep online posting to a minimum, and avoid oversharing on social media.
Use a VPN
Another great way to protect yourself online while browsing real estate is to make use of VPNs as protection. Even the most reputable sites and platforms can still be bogged by nefarious individuals and spyware. VPNs are a great addition to any internet search whether it includes real estate or clothing brands. VPNs protect your personal information and IP address and can keep you safe from advertisers and internet baddies alike. Some real estate sites out there will track your search history to recommend you pricier options or hike up prices artificially.
Whether you’re looking to protect your passwords and your browsing history, or stay safe from cookies, a VPN has got you covered. There are plenty of options out there, so you’ll have to invest some time and energy into finding the right VPN. Do some research into possible VPN options to give yourself that added layer of security when browsing real estate online.
Use secure payment methods
Once you’ve found the property you’re looking for and are ready to buy it, you need to start thinking about payment methods. Many reputable real estate platforms offer their own secure payment methods that are safe and easy to use. However, there are many other ways to go about buying properties online. If you’ve decided to buy one, you need to make sure your money and personal information are safe.
When purchasing real estate online, your first step is to use a safe, secure, and verified payment method. Stick to well-known, verified sites and platforms, or contact your bank to get more detailed information if you’re unsure. Steer clear of any dodgy payment sites and platforms, without verifying the security reasons first. Before entering your bank information, make sure the platform you’re using is legit, and you’re good to go!
Check and verify before proceeding
Another good safety measure to take when doing any kind of online shopping is to check and verify before proceeding. Whether you want to check the price of a property, the information on the seller, or the payment method, verifying first is a good move. Checking every step of the way can keep you out of a lot of trouble and make sure that you find the property you need safely.
Whether you notice something dodgy about a certain listing, or you’re unsure, feel free to reach out to the platform or the seller. Verify any links for properties or payment methods before clicking on them to make sure everything’s safe and up to standard. Verifying beforehand may be time-consuming, but this extra step is essential for your online safety. Doing this will clear up any misunderstandings and can help you steer clear of deals that are too good to be true.
Do your part
Last but not least, creating a safe environment online for all starts with you, and you have to do your part! By protecting the safety and security of others online, you protect your own safety from malicious threats. To keep the world of online real estate shopping, you have to start by keeping your eyes peeled for dodgy sites, practices, and individuals.
If you identify something fishy, you have to take measures into your own hands and draw attention to it. Report any dodgy sites or activities and call out any suspicious behavior. Alert other users and shoppers of any unreliable sites and sellers and don’t be afraid to ruffle some feathers. If everyone does their part, buying and browsing real estate online can be safe and secure for everyone.
So there you have it! With this guide in mind, you’re ready to start your search for the perfect property online, and stay safe while you do it! Keeping your personal data secure while you browse for properties starts with knowing the basics of internet safety. Make sure to use strong passwords and to keep them safe from prying eyes for starters. Next, do your research and only use safe, secure, and reliable platforms to do your browsing. Steer clear of any dodgy or shady websites and sellers that want to take advantage of you, your money, and your data. Learn to recognize the signs of phishing attempts to make buying real estate online a safe experience.
To protect your private information, avoid oversharing online, and make sure to have a reliable VPN for added protection. Always, always, always use secure and certified payment methods and check and verify before making any moves on any property. Last but not least, make sure to do your part in keeping the online real estate world safe by spotting and reporting shady tactics. Keep this guide in mind and you’re sure to find your dream property while keeping your personal data safe! Good luck and happy property hunting!