You are viewing our site as an Agent, Switch Your View:

Agent | Broker     Reset Filters to Default     Back to List

How Does Real Estate Privacy Law Protect You?

December 13 2021

transactly real estate privacy law 1When we think about privacy law, our minds tend to direct us to things like healthcare HIPPA pamphlets and cybersecurity, with all those little checkboxes that we agree to but never read. Now consumers are starting to question real estate privacy law.

Eyes and Ears

Chances are you or someone you know has jumped on the trend of video doorbells, such as Ring, where the homeowners are "always home." These are great security measures to protect the homeowner's family and assets while you they in the home. However, they can also become an invasion of privacy when trying to sell the home.

In the age where cameras are everywhere, even as you drive down the road, you may be thinking, why would someone's home be any different than the corner store's "Smile, you're on camera" posters? Real estate privacy law is making a fuss because things discussed during home showings could affect the agents' ability to negotiate. If a seller were to hear conversations between the buyer and their agent regarding offer strategy, it could literally cost them.

Real estate privacy lawmakers are now recognizing the risk of surveillance during home sales. This is why they are educating Realtors on how to protect buyers and sellers. Home surveillance now needs to be disclosed by the sellers. Home surveillance doesn't stop at video doorbells, but also security cameras. This includes baby monitors, nanny cams, smart thermostats, and home assistants with listening features, such as Amazon Alexa's "drop-in" ability.

Public or Private

Another branch of real estate privacy law to consider is which information is out there for Tom, Dick, and Harry to see about a homeowner and/or their property. In turn, what information can Realtors legally (and ethically) give out? When buying a home, there are certain pieces of information that are a matter of public record and make sense. These items include:

  • Property Sales History
  • Tax Records
  • Facts and Features of the property
  • Construction Details
  • Utility information
  • HOA information
  • School district boundaries

Areas that real estate privacy law protects are the more personal pieces that are not relevant to the purchase of a property. These items are covered under The Fair Housing Act, as found in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines. This real estate privacy law states that The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial Status

transactly real estate privacy law 2

Money (Shouldn't) Talk

The number of hands touching the deal does not stop at the Realtor. Consumers are making one of the largest investments of their life. Where you hear purchase, you hear money, and that brings us to yet another branch of real estate privacy law: financial institutions. This includes banks, mortgage loan originators and real estate settlement providers, to name a few. Unless otherwise noted, these real estate privacy laws are on a federal level.

Real estate privacy law limits the consumer information these institutions are allowed to share. Some items that lenders will need but should never be shared with other parties in the transaction:

  • Salary
  • Credit Score
  • Pay Stubs
  • Tax returns
  • Financial statements

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) adds another layer of education for Realtors. NAR aims to help agents protect their clients and contains comprehensive information on how real estate associations, agents and brokers can prioritize data security and privacy to protect client information and comply with legal responsibilities.

Protecting Your Private Information

Your financial and personal information is especially sensitive. Ensuring the safekeeping of your private information should be priority No. 1.

Your private information is just that, your information. It is important to know the ins and outs of protecting your data.

To view the original article, visit the Transactly blog.