Title agents are the heart of the real estate transaction, the connective tissue between all the players, documents and money that it takes to close the deal.
Automation has made these connections faster, more efficient and more accurate. But technology also comes with a price – the threat of intervention into that process from cyber criminals.
As the money handler for a real estate deal, a lot of the weight for protecting the transaction falls on your shoulders, including being aware of the latest threats and keeping up with the most effective means of combatting these threats.
But it can’t just be about your agency and your internal processes, procedures and training. As the touchpoint for real estate agents, lenders, homebuyers and sellers, you have to also be the guiding star for helping all parties protect the data and personal information that is so critical to the real estate transaction process.
Here are some ways you can take the lead to help your whole circle secure the transaction:
- Conduct an annual review of all your security protocols and update materials as needed.
- Assign someone in your agency to be the lead person to stay on top of current cyber threats and provide feedback to the company on how best to defend against new schemes.
- Initiate conversations with each of your lender clients about their efforts to protect the transaction and make sure you are aware of their updated requirements and protocols.
- Offer regular cybersecurity training sessions for your real estate agent clients, reviewing your security protocols for their clients and providing them with your updated research.
- Provide your real estate agents with materials they can give to their homebuyers and sellers highlighting potential issues they may encounter and how to keep their personal information safe.
- If you haven’t done so already, consider using protected portals for the exchange of all information between you and the homebuyer and seller.
- Regularly communicate with the homebuyer and seller throughout each stage of the transaction, providing them with detailed information about what they can do to help keep the transaction safe.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat.
That last recommendation may be the most important.
When we get busy, or when we haven’t had a security issue pop up in a while, it’s easy to get complacent. But it’s important to remember that every new homebuyer and seller that comes into your office, as well as some of your real estate agents, are inexperienced when it comes to cybercrime and will need these constant updates and reminders to keep them focused on the best practices that will keep their transaction safe. So, if you feel like you are repeating yourself, pat yourself on the back. Building awareness among your customers and their clients may be one of the most important services you can offer them.
At PDS, we understand how time consuming it can be to keep all parties on track and the transaction secure, although it’s incredibly important. We can help by auditing your biggest vulnerabilities, and share with you expert guidance and proven practices and technology to minimize your greatest threats.