8 Apps That Protect You and Your Real Estate Transactions

September kicks off REALTOR® safety month, and we will share good advise and tips with you to keep safe while serving your clients.  First, we want to share some powerful apps shared by REALTOR magazine!  These technologies block scammers, secure sensitive documents and shield your browsing history from being exploited, among other valuable benefits.

Digital signatures, lockboxes and MLS technology may be the tools real estate pros use most, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2022 Technology Survey. But besides the utilitarian solutions real estate innovations offer, they can also help keep you safer on the job. With cybersecurity a top concern for REALTORS® over the next five years, the survey shows, you should know some of the apps and programs that protect you online and off. Here are some with strong safety and security benefits.

  1. Robokiller: Blocks robocalls and robotexts so you can avoid scam calls—which accounted for $29.8 billion in financial losses in 2021, industry data shows—and receive communication only from clients.
  2. Keepingly: A secure way to store sensitive documents, such as financial statements or transaction records. Your clients can keep mortgage, insurance, inspection, home warranty and title documents in a safe space and monitor who accesses them. This may be especially helpful for home insurance claims, maintenance issues or recordkeeping in the event of a natural disaster.
  3. Duck Duck Go: An internet browser that doesn’t collect your personal information, like search, browsing or purchase history. DuckDuckGo blocks trackers from Google and many other companies across the web. Ads on the platform are based on search results and page views, not on user behavior.
  4. Blink(link is external): Provides cybersecurity insurance against a range of attacks, including smishing, phishing, social engineering, cyber fraud, identity theft, data breaches and even extortion via ransomware. Blink offers personal and business policies.
  5. Earnnest: A secure platform to transfer funds for earnest deposits. The service is expanding to include all types of payments in a real estate transaction, potentially eliminating the need for wire transfers—and, thus, the danger of wire fraud.
  6. Crimeometer: A resource for your clients to do their own research on neighborhood crime. Crimeometer offers regularly updated, localized data around specific crime incidents in more than 700 cities across the U.S. and Canada. This is a good solution to offer clients when they ask you awkward questions about neighborhood safety—which ethically you cannot answer.
  7. CarLock: Sends a loud, distinct alert to your smartphone when your vehicle’s engine starts or the car moves without you inside. CarLock is a GPS tracker that enables you to monitor your car from anywhere in the world 24/7. Some insurance companies offer a discount with Carlock installed.
  8. Forewarn: A screening tool that allows agents to instantly verify buyers’ and sellers’ identity, criminal history, property and vehicle ownership, financial data and contact information. It takes minutes to provide comprehensive reporting, so agents have the information they need to feel safe meeting a potential client.

By Tracey Hawkins, Safety and security expert.  Reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine by permission of the National Association of REALTORS®. Copyright [2023]. All rights reserved.