More than you realize is public information online. Here are five private details anyone can find out about you and your home online.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to protect your privacy. Tap or click for steps to blur your home on Google Maps and Apple Maps.
If you’re not trying to sell your home, there’s no reason to leave interior photos and other details on real estate sites like Realtor, Zillow and Redfin. Just think about how valuable your floor plan might be in the wrong hands.
When you’re selling your home, you want potential buyers to have all the information they need, including condition, photos, floor plans, furnishings and appliances. But if you just bought a house, you might not want all that information posted for anyone to see.
Do you want just another to see every entry point for each room? This information puts you at risk from criminals who can put together strategies based on your floor plans.
You might assume your real estate agent or seller would remove your home’s info from real estate sites after you’ve made a deal, but that’s not always the case.
Wonder who are your neighbors? You can walk over and say hi, but you can also find your neighbor’s name online.
A listing network
When your home is for sale, the broker uploads your home’s information (photos, floor plans and lots more) to a Multiple Listing Service. An MLS is where houses and pictures are posted.
This group then distributes the details to online real estate sites like Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin and others. Brokers and agents who subscribe to that MLS for a membership fee can access all the information.
Real estate agents can also use the information to post their listings on social media and other online outlets.
More privacy know-how: How to remove everything you’ve found about yourself on Google
Removing yourself from an MLS
Only licensed agents and brokers can access an MLS and make changes, such as removal. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, ask your listing agent to close out the listing on the MLS. This may not necessarily get everything removed right away, but it’s a start.
Just because your home’s information is removed from the MLS doesn’t mean it’s not posted elsewhere. You may still find it on publicly accessible real estate sites.
Once again, you can ask your listing agent to remove your photos and other home information from websites they have access to.
If your agent is dragging their feet, you can take matters into your own hands and remove the information from each site. You will need to create accounts.
You may have to claim ownership of the home before making any changes. This opens up tools to track the value of your home and gives helpful information on pricing, including the value of nearby homes, purchase history and personalized recommendations.
Claiming your home is also the first step in removing information and photos. Here’s how to do it on a few popular sites.
Once you’ve claimed ownership, you can start removing photos from Zillow.
Having problems getting this done at Zillow? Go to zillow.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/requests/new to submit a ticket for help.
Go to realtor.com/myhome, type in your address and click the magnifying glass to start claiming your home.
Now do the following:
Submit a ticket at support.realtor.com/s/contactsupport if you need assistance.
After claiming your home, you can make changes from your Owner Dashboard:
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