Safety and Privacy Concerns During Real Estate Transactions

Real estate transactions, whether you are buying, selling or refinancing, requires a lot of access to your personal life. This takes the form of physical access during open houses, home showings, etc. It also takes the form of digital access due to the types of paperwork required to close a transaction. These can include bank statements, forms of Identification, paperwork containing social security numbers, etc. No real estate transaction should come at the risk of any breach in privacy.

In this month’s blog, we discuss the steps you can take to ensure that your data and privacy can be better protected.

Physical Documents

Physical documents are often printed out and stored in various locations within someone’s home. Hopefully, that includes a safe or locked filing cabinet at a minimum. Yet during an active transaction, such as a home sale, it’s easy to lose track of or leave out paperwork that is being generated. Coupled with regular home showings and open houses, it’s easy to leave your privacy in a vulnerable state.

Steps to Consider:

  • Ensure you are consolidating all your paperwork in a single location. Try not to leave paperwork on a printer tray, for instance.
  • When not reviewing the paperwork, set it aside somewhere out of site – or better, locked away in a safe or in a locked filing cabinet or desk drawer.
  • Once you’ve digitally scanned and/or no longer have use for a particular document, destroy it in a shredder.
  • Don’t leave documentation in a car overnight. It’s easy to leave a briefcase in the back seat of your car – it’s worth the chore of running back to the car and grabbing it to keep your overall risk down.

Digital Documentation

While the internet has made storing and sharing documents a lot easier, your digital environment is vulnerable to hacking and other forms of cybercrime and proper care should be taken to ensure that your documents are well protected.

Steps to consider:

  • Password protect sensitive materials if at all possible (keeping your password in a safe place.)
  • Properly name and file your documents so that they are not lost within your computer and forgotten.
  • Do not leave documents that are no longer needed in your recycle bin.
  • Create backups of your documents via a physical memory source like a USB hard drive or cloud storage solution.
  • Do not leave sensitive information in an email client.
  • Be extremely cautious when sending information over email.

Work with Reputable Professionals

Working with reputable and well-established professionals will make all the difference. Real estate agents should be quick to coach you on many of these topics and will have security protocols in place to ensure that documents are being properly stored and protected between all parties involved. The same goes for lenders and title insurance professionals, most of whom should have secure file sharing services that allow their clients to safely upload and organize all the required documents, collect all signatures, etc. It’s in all our best interest to ensure and maintain a high level of trust.

Any of the professionals involved with your transaction should be able to clearly and thoroughly answer questions about their data and privacy mitigation procedures and consider it a paramount priority.

Principle Abstract and Settlement Services only works with the area’s most highly reputable agents and lenders, and works tirelessly to ensure that our information is properly stored and maintained. If you would like to learn more or would like to get started on a real estate transaction, contact us today.

Property Settlements in the Midst of a Pandemic

The pandemic continues to hold a firm grip on the world and has impacted all of our lives in significant ways. While we all personally do our part to help curb the spread of coronavirus through the use of masks, sanitizers and social distancing, the pandemic is mostly out of our control; and so we must adapt.

Companies must also adapt; and they have. Restaurants now offer curbside pickup or even delivery. Many companies have switched to remote working and healthcare has seen a significant shift to telemedicine. Real estate and the various industries that it involves have also found ways to adapt.  

What We Are Doing to Help Our Clients During the Pandemic

Principle Abstract has taken several measures over these past few months to not only help facilitate the closing of real estate transactions, but to also ensure that everyone involved are as safe and comfortable as possible.

Drive Through Settlements

Over the past several months, we have helped dozens of clients close from the comfort of their own vehicles. Clients remain in their cars as paperwork is passed through the windows, where documents are then signed and processed in an organized and seamless process.

Outside Settlements

We have also performed dozens of settlements in an outdoor space, such as a park, so long as weather permits. The present parties can either sit or stand at a table and process the paperwork in a comfortable, open-air setting.

Driveway / Garage Closings

If agreed to, the property location itself is a viable option for closings. We’ve performed many closings right in the driveway or in an open garage, allowing for plenty of space with adequate airflow to keep all parties safe.  This option has been quite convenient, particularly for moving day closings and can save a lot of time and travel for everyone involved.

Traditional Closings

We continue to offer our office as a location for settlement. Of course, all recommended precautions are taken to ensure a safe visit to our office, including face masks, hand sanitizers and frequent office disinfection.

No one was handed a manual on how to deal with or thrive in the midst of a global pandemic. Yet so many people and companies have done an admirable job to learn and adapt to our current realities. This is particularly true for industries where little can be done. Principle Abstract is proud to count itself among the companies that have embraced these necessary changes from the onset to ensure that our clients are both safe and comfortable.

If you are interested in our services or would like more information on our disinfection procedures during the pandemic, contact our office today and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.

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