Would you voluntarily invite an outsider to step inside your home, let alone provide them a grand tour of your premises? Of course not! Then why do we permit photos of our homes to reside on public platforms, accessible to anyone with an internet connection?
In the contemporary era, the path to homeownership has been significantly simplified. Numerous real estate websites are at your fingertips, providing an array of options for home browsing. If you’re in a different state and you're curious about the real estate market you're transitioning to, these platforms are your answer. No one can deny the convenience they offer, but what happens when the property gets sold?
Quite often, these websites do not remove the pictures even after the listings have expired. While this might seem harmless, such information could potentially be misused by criminal elements, serving as a blueprint for them to plot their illicit actions.
Let’s look at some photos. They can provide a comprehensive understanding of the property's layout, offering insights into potential entry points.
Consider the backyard - with a small picket fence, no more than 4 feet high, it's easy to surmise that it could be jumped over without much trouble. Is there a dog in the house that could deter intruders? The fence height would suggest not. Thus, the property's boundary is easily compromised.
Then we move to the back door. A visual inspection reveals robust security features like a deadbolt, chain lock, and bolt lock. But what about that single-pane glass on the door? It could be smashed through with relative ease. Hence, the home's security is jeopardized.
Alternatively, what about the basement window visible here? It appears large enough for a person to squeeze through. Building regulations mandate that basement windows allow exit routes; and, what serves as an exit can also serve as an entry.
By analyzing these, and other interior images on a site, a criminal could easily construct a rough map of your home. Some platforms even provide a convenient floor plan! With this surplus of information, anyone intending harm could deduce the locations of valuables, and even the occupants' typical whereabouts.
So, what can be done about this security risk?
The good news is, most of these real estate platforms provide user-friendly mechanisms to remove photos of your home. You might need to create an account, verify your identity and fulfill a few more criteria. Once verification is accomplished, you can proceed to remove your images - either through a 'remove all' button or by deleting each photo individually.
So, take a moment to Google your address. You may be astounded at the number of photos of your property that are openly accessible. Removing your home's photos from public platforms might seem like a minor step, but it's a significant stride in ensuring the safety of your household, and can significantly reduce the chances of your home becoming a target of opportunistic criminals. Take action today, because in matters of home security, every detail counts. Stay vigilant, stay safe!