Privacy concerns fueling homebuyers' shift to local real estate websites

Privacy concerns fueling homebuyers’ shift to local real estate websites

Are you trying to sell a house? Do you want to save as much money as you can? In this case, you won’t consider hiring a real estate agent. Agents who build a website with this modern IDX don’t offer free services. As a result, you will look tor free major real estate markets. These let you post your listings for free, and there are no limits to the number of free listings.

But these free services are too good to be true. And recently, many home buyers are becoming increasingly concerned about their privacy using these free services. In fact, many home sellers and buyers do find a safer haven in local real estate agents compared to the major real estate sites. Generally speaking, these websites make billions of dollars in revenue every year. So, where does all this money come from? Basically, it comes from you and all other users.

FSBO Platforms vs. a Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents have been selling houses across the country for decades. For-Sale-By-Owner platforms are relatively new third-party solutions. Agents charge a fixed fee for each transaction. But major FSBO platforms provide free listing services. Aside from the cost, the results of FSBO are not always guaranteed. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the share of FSBO transactions in home sales back in 2020 was only 7%. Typically, an independent seller faces many difficulties that an experienced agent can usually fix.

Are large real estate marketplaces jeopardizing your privacy?

Selling a house or buying one can be a difficult process, as there are many details involved. This is why you might think the free help offered by large real estate sites is the right solution in your case. These sites allow you to list your unit for sale without charging you a penny. But this is not out of the goodness of their hearts. And before being tempted by the free listing, you should always know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. You are not paying for the cost of a listing. In fact, you are paying much more than the cost of an ad. You are paying with your data and privacy.

How do these platforms make money then?

The free service is only the façade that hides the truth about what has been going on in the world of the internet. Almost all third-party, large marketplaces and search engines of different specialities are nothing but data sellers. Generally, there are many parties that would be interested in paying for your data. These include:

  • Prominent real estate agents who work nationwide
  • People lookup directories.
  • Mortgage lenders
  • Advertisers and marketers

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What happens when my data is out there?

Basically, a giant 3rd party marketplace will sell your data to a real estate agent. So, you can expect a bombardment of calls from agents trying to take over your sale. They will try to persuade you to sell through them instead of the marketplace.

Also, it is very common to find paid ads placed on your own “free” listing. These ads will redirect people viewing your listing to other sellers, who are in fact affiliated agents.

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How to protect your privacy when buying or selling properties?

If you are going to sell your property, you should start looking for a trustworthy local agent. A local business won’t have any interest in brokering your data.

By law, real estate agents are obligated to preserve the data of their clients. So, they can’t willingly leak or sell your data. This makes them more attentive to online security measures to protect their clients’ data against breach attempts.

Your real estate agent can help you benefit from the free marketplaces without jeopardizing your data protection. Some platforms allow agents to post listings. In fact, these listings are viewed better than those by independent sellers. And the published data will not be your concern, as the agent will post the listing on your behalf but with their own contact information. This way, you can boost your listings’ visibility without any risk to your data.

The cost of hiring a local real estate agent is definitely cheaper than the unauthorized sale of your data. So, you’d weigh the pros and cons of each option before making up your mind.

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