How your online info can scare banks away

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We might be connected better than ever thanks to the Internet, but this excess of information isn’t all good news when it comes to finance and property.

 

A quick Google of myself and my home address discovered this about me:

  • Where I last went on holiday
  • The companies of which I am a shareholder and director of
  • My last marathon time
  • A lot about my business and who I work with
  • An estimate of what my house would rent for
  • That I write lots of awesome blog posts(!?)
  • A YouTube video of me
  • A bunch of work photos
  • My estimated house value
  • My neighbour’s estimated house value
  • My credit score

 

There is some helpful stuff here, but also some stark finance-related privacy concerns. Here are a few thoughts …

 

Credit scores

In business and when it comes to trying to get a mortgage or secure credit of any kind (from getting a power account, to renting a home or getting a couch on HP) your credit score matters. Your credit score is something to take seriously and protect carefully. 

 

Here’s my advice: Pay now and argue it later. A clean credit score matters more than a $100 phone bill or gym membership dispute. Furthermore, companies are now reporting to credit agencies if you pay your bills on time. So, if you are considering applying for credit, be sure to keep those bill payments rolling through on time.

 

Where I went on holiday

Mental note, change my privacy settings on Facebook.

 

What my house will sell for

In my work, I deal with lots of real estate agents and from them I have heard some of the dangers of relying on estimates of house prices/values. 

 

Although it is kind of fun to know what your (or your neighbour’s house) is worth, it is a pretty broad estimate, based on comparable sales, that a computer algorithm works out. It is pretty clever, but of course it hasn’t viewed the condition of your property or your neighbour’s or the state of comparable sales or the way your place soaks up the sun or grows mould and so on and so on.

 

These “smart predictors” can lead to false expectations by all parties (buyers and sellers of property), so do take these figures with a grain of salt. And I would make the same comments about the newly launched online rental appraisals that are now popping up.

 

If I can find out the above about me, so can you … and all my clients, colleagues, family and friends. An awesome opportunity and a sobering thought.

 

Brendon Ojala is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.