When people want to buy or rent houses for themselves they don’t turn to high street realty firms anymore. Most people’s first instinct when a need for new property arises is to turn to the internet as on the web they can find thousands of listings, sometimes even hundreds of all on easy-to-use and safe property platforms; that being said, not all property platforms are easy and safe to use. Unfortunately, as cybercrime becomes more prevalent platforms are starting to sell people’s data for profit to marketing firms and even criminal gangs.
If you are somebody who’s interested in buying or renting a new house then you need to understand all of the threats waiting for you online. You can easily mitigate these by turning to smaller platforms over large ones; it’s usually only large ones that can get away with stealing and selling people’s personal information as detecting acts of fraud can be harder for regulatory bodies and consumers to do. In other words, large companies are better at hiding their tracks. In this post, you will find out about all of the reasons why customers are leaning towards smaller home search platforms and what you should do to keep yourself safe online.
Better Online Security
When it comes to searching for houses online it’s a lot better to use small platforms. As mentioned in the introduction to this post large companies and platforms are notorious for mishandling user data. If your data falls into the wrong hands it could be used for fraud, to impersonate you. Your online security should therefore be one of your main priorities. Using smaller platforms means your security is likely going to be taken a lot more seriously. The reason for this is that it’s harder for small organizations to conceal evidence of data mishandling. As small platforms are usually very concerned with their growth they tend not to employ unethical practices as doing so would seriously damage their reputations.
More Accurate Searches
If you are looking for properties to buy then naturally you won’t want to have to deal with dead listings. Dead listings will be dealt with in more detail in the next section. If you are using a large platform then there’s a much stronger chance you’ll encounter dead and outdated listings than you would on a small platform. Why is this you ask? The answer is that small platforms scrub outdated listings more effectively than larger ones do. It’s easier to identify outdated listings when you don’t have many listings at all. You can also conduct a private real estate search specifically in your area on smaller sites. Some large ones only allow you to search by county or township. Accuracy is one of the many things you will benefit from by using small sites.
Avoiding Dead Listings
Dead listings can be very problematic for people who’re looking for properties to buy. Anybody that has ever bought a house with the help of the internet will know how annoying it can be to find the perfect house only to discover that it’s no longer on the market and hasn’t been for a long time. Dead listings are more common on large platforms because it is harder for administrators to identify them on them. Smaller sites as mentioned in the previous post have fewer posts altogether which therefore makes it easier for them to identify listings that are not accurate; if you do encounter dead listings on the site that you are using then you need to make sure that you report them right away. Reporting them will then allow the platform to remove the listing which prevents anybody else’s time from getting wasted.
Easier Customer Support
You might think that larger platforms would have better customer support than smaller ones but that’s not necessarily true. Because large platforms have lots of registered users and a massive volume of posts each day it’s hard for them to find enough staff to answer all customer queries. It should also be noted that most property sites only make money from realtor subscriptions, which tends not to be a lot. Therefore, it is not in most platforms’ best interests for them to employ customer support agents. When you use a smaller platform you are more likely to get good customer support because you do not have to worry about there not being enough staff to answer people’s queries and questions. Make sure that you research your chosen site’s customer service desk before signing up so you can be confident that it is reliable and responsive; signing up for a site with poor customer support is a very bad idea.
More Ethical Practices
Small sites tend to employ more ethical practices than larger ones do. For example, in the last few years, a number of realty platforms (most notably those run by the Zillow Group) have been caught selling customer data to marketing companies. While this is not technically illegal because most of the people whose data was sold agreed to have it sold when registering, it is still unethical. Most sites include very slight allusions to data sales in their terms and conditions knowing that very few people actually ever read them in full. Therefore, large platforms like Zillow are misleading consumers or at least tricking them into agreeing to have their data sold. Small platforms tend not to do this because if they did it would seriously damage their reputations. Always read your chosen site’s terms and conditions before registering so you can be sure they are not going to sell your data.
Faster Response Times
When you use a smaller site, customer support tends to get back to you a lot quicker. Something that’s overlooked about smaller sites however is that not only does customer support get back to you quicker, but realtors do also. When you use a smaller site there will be fewer people using it each day. As there are fewer people using it realtors tend to be more attuned to what’s going on. In other words, realtors check their accounts and email inboxes more frequently. If you are interested in buying or renting a house then it is generally a good idea to reach out over the phone instead of by email. While emails can be a good way of getting responses, more often than not realtors respond to phone calls more quickly than they do written inquiries. When you want a house you want it fast. A phone call is the quickest way of getting a viewing scheduled.
Utilizing Search Filters
Small platforms usually have more detailed and accurate search filters, allowing you to find properties that match your interests and requirements. Before signing up for a site it is good to first make sure that they do indeed have good search filters, however. If they do not then it’s not worth signing up for their service. Why would you want to use a site that does not use search filters after all? A site’s search filters can help you to find what you’re looking for more quickly. You can usually conduct a search on a property platform without registering so finding out if your chosen site has good search filters won’t be difficult for you to do; if you do have any questions or concerns about a site’s filters direct them to the site’s customer support department.
Latest Tech Features
As smaller sites tend to be newer, they usually have much better tech features. It can take a long time for large platforms to find out about the latest tech features and add-ons as they don’t often look for them. Because it takes them longer to find out about them than smaller platforms, you can conduct more thorough searches on smaller ones. Bear in mind that in addition to taking longer for large platforms to find out, large platforms also integrate new features and types of software into their operations more slowly. It’s not easy revamping an entire website and upgrading its software after all. If the site you are using does not have the latest software add-ons and features then find one that does. When you are looking for a house you can’t waste time; the longer you take the more likely it is that houses perfect for you will get taken off the market.
Efficient Complaint System
Finally, small platforms tend to have good complaint handling and processing. If you have any issues with the site that you are using then it’s good to be able to direct these complaints to somebody who can answer them. As has been mentioned already smaller sites have better customer support than larger ones; an efficient complaint system goes hand-in-hand with more intuitive and responsive customer support staff. If you do find that the site you have chosen to use does not have a good complaint-handling process in place then find another site to use. You can usually learn a lot about a website’s complaint procedures by reading its ‘About us’ section which should be located on its footer.
Have you had to search for a new house recently? If the answer’s yes then you will know that it can be very stressful. Taking the stress out of searching for a property to buy can be as easy as finding a reliable platform to use. Finding reliable platforms can be difficult which is why you should spend as much time as you can researching and learning about which ones are considered best in your country or state.