Selling your home? Burglars could be casing the joint RIGHT NOW
How online listings are giving criminals intelligence so they can rob your house
Moving home is one of the most stressful things anybody can do, and stress levels can go through the roof if you’re burgled while doi
And one domestic refuse and house clearance company says that criminals are using simple online tools to help them get inside your house.
According to rubbish removal company Divert.co.uk, floor plans and photos on estate agency websites are giving the bad guys an advantage, and could end up costing householders dearly“Everything that a burglar needs to know is on those websites,” says Divert spokesperson Mark Hall, “And it would be the RIGHT MOVE to ask for your details to be removed.
Everybody is looking for a quick house sale, and that means signing up for all the gimmicks that estate agents offer.
That means a floor plan, multiple interior and exterior photos, and – in some cases – walk-through videos and virtual 3D house tours.
While it’s all a great selling point, it’s also providing free intelligence to potential criminals.
A floor plan allows them to work out where to go once they’ve gained access
Photos show where all the luxury goods and valuables might be
A walk-through video lets them work out where they might be seen from the street
They could even help them decide if there are valuables in the garage or out-building
“All this gives the burglar time to plan their crime, giving them those vital minutes to get in, rob your home, and make a clean getaway” says Divert.co.uk’s Mark Hall.
“And coupled with Google Street View, they’ve probably already got a good idea of access points and CCTV blind spots,” he says.
The floor plan and dozens of detailed photographs are a public record of what you have in your home, and could be a security nightmare as you try to sell your home.
“You might be the kind of person who looks after their online identity and shreds all their personal documents to combat identity theft, but you could still unwittingly be inviting the dregs of society into the otherwise private space where you live.”
What can you do?
If you’re moving house, you should never forget that you’re totally in control of what the general public gets to see of your home, no matter what pushy estate agents might tell you.
While plenty of photos, floor plans and promotional videos might attract potential buyers, you will have to balance that with your own security. So here are a few tips to help keep your property safe:
Insist on the bare minimum of internal and external photographs to show your home at its best
Make sure that any photos are just generic views that show a room’s layout
No close-ups of value items. TIP: Hide away your valuables before the photographer arrives
Ask for no floor plan – the written description should be enough for most potential viewers
Turn down the opportunity for a walk-through video or online 3D guided tour
“But most of all,” says Divert.co.uk’s Mark Hall, “remember that you have the final say as to what goes into the estate agent listing.”
“If you have a problem with any of the images they produce, then reject them. It’s your house, your privacy, your security, and totally your decision.”
Now that the vast majority of home searches are now done online through either local agency sites or the mega websites like Rightmove and Zoopla, it’s disconcerting to know that anybody in the country could be looking inside your house.
“While that’s welcome in the context of actually getting potential buyers to look at your place, it’s the ones with the darker motives you have to be wary of,” says Mark Hall.