Risk Management and Reduction in Global Real Estate

Along with the many benefits and rewards of working in global real estate, there are inevitable risks and worries. There are many layers to your business— from the personal to your local and global reach— and each part of your business can be vulnerable. This issue outlines some of the key risks to the global real estate industry and some ideas for you to stay on top of your business practices.

Relationship Risks

All relationships come with ups, downs, and risks. Assessing and taking steps to reduce risks to your business could really pay off. Here are a few suggestions to help guard yourself and your client relationships.

Combat Misunderstandings

Do you speak the language of your main market? Do you share the same cultural practices of your clients? Working with clients from different countries requires understanding their unique cultural considerations. Use a trusted source for the translation of marketing materials and legal documents to make sure all parties understand every detail.

Travel Safely

Keep a weekly or monthly diary of the frequency and duration of your travel and which modes of transportation you use. Do you often travel by plane to meet clients or attend conferences with colleagues? Do you frequently drive to open house and property viewings? Assess your insurance coverage and be sure that if you're traveling for business, any accidents or mishaps will be covered. If you have personal auto or travel insurance, but have an accident while traveling for work, it may not be covered. So be sure to speak with your insurance broker to be clear about what is covered and whether or not your coverage is exactly what you need to keep you protected.

Open Houses & Client Meetups

NAR provides a wealth of information to keep you and your clients safe. One particularly helpful article1 gives tips on staying safe during an open house, including tips that are helpful regardless of the country in which you are showing your property.

A few of the tips include:

Take someone with you

It's always a good idea to have someone helping you for open houses. Safety aside, it's a good way to stay organized, be able to answer everyone's questions, and to keep an eye on the property as interested buyers make their way around.

Notify the neighbors

Not only is it courteous to the neighbors, but these people likely know the ins and outs of the area and can easily spot if something doesn't look right. And showing your diligence and respect for a property just might make you memorable when that neighbor has real estate business needs!

Mobile phones, tablets and laptops

Top up your phones, tablets and laptop batteries and make sure you have reception or WiFi. This is a wise safety practice, but also essential if you are showing clients any online marketing material.

Neutral meetups

When you're initially meeting a client, do so in a public location such as a local library, coffee shop, or shopping center.

Research your specific region's data laws and sign up for updates

  • Kenya: Data Protection Act
  • Brazil: General Personal Data Protection Law (Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados Pessoais)
  • India: Digital Personal Data Protection Bill
  • Canada: The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
  • Australia: The Privacy Act
  • California: California Consumer Privacy Act
  • Europe: General Data Protection Regulation

Cybersecurity2, 3

The global real estate industry has benefited greatly from technology. Property technology, smart home features, digital banking, and virtual open houses have all propelled the sector forward in exciting ways. But with the excitement comes constant risk, and it’s essential that you do all you can to employ risk reduction strategies to protect you and your business. Here are highlights of some of the key risks and actions you can take to reduce these risks.

Data Protection

Real estate professionals handle a vast amount of sensitive information, including financial records, tenant information, legal documents, and property details. A data breach can result in the unauthorized access, theft, or exposure of this valuable data, leading to financial loss, reputational damage, and legal consequences.

Phishing and Malware Attacks4

Cybercriminals often employ phishing techniques to trick people into revealing sensitive information or login credentials. Real estate professionals may be targeted with deceptive emails, messages, or phone calls, impersonating legitimate entities such as banks, law firms, or government agencies. Malicious actors can encrypt critical data, paralyze operations, and demand a ransom to restore access.

What can you do?

Everyone is very busy these days, and our attention is often divided. But it's critical to take your time when answering emails and texts. Phishing attacks are increasingly sophisticated and even the savviest can be tricked! Be wary of demanding or "urgent" messages. Be on the lookout for messages with targeted instructions—perhaps a "client" trying to get you to change a lockbox passcode. Use caution when opening attachments or pop-ups that ask you to download something. Check the email address the message is sent from. And don’t use the phone number listed in the email; use a browser to look up the company and use that phone number to verify. It’s worth the extra step to reduce your chances of your data being compromised.

Internet of Things (IoT)5 Vulnerabilities

Real estate properties are increasingly incorporating IoT devices, such as smart locks, thermostats, and security systems. However, these devices may have security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by attackers to gain unauthorized access to the property or compromise the network.

Third-Party Risks

Real estate companies often collaborate with various third-party vendors and partners, such as property management firms, contractors, or technology providers. If these third parties have weak security measures, they can become an entry point for attackers to gain unauthorized access to the real estate company’s network or sensitive data.

What can you do?

Who you trust to conduct business with reflects on your business. Have open communication with all business parties and stress the importance of cybersecurity in your business transactions. Ask what measures they have in place so that you are reassured that all data transmitted from you is appropriately and legally safe.

1 nar.realtor/safety

2 itgovernanceusa.com/blog/why-cybersecurity-is-crucial-for-the-real-estate-industry

3 cyber.gov.au/threats/types-threats/data-spill

4 cresinsurance.com/latest-in-real-estate-phishing-scams-and-how-to-avoid-them/

5 microsoft.com/en-us/security/blog/2022/10/21/securing-iot-devices-against-attacks-that-target-critical-infrastructure/


About Global Perspectives

Global Perspectives in Real Estate is a resource for global professionals, aimed at helping them globalize their local markets. Produced bi-monthly, this newsletter serves as a how-to guide and is full of useful and actionable tips. A free subscription is given to all Certified International Property Specialists (CIPS) designees.

Learn more about earning the CIPS designation