How an Agent Can Protect Short Sale Seller Personal Data

Real Estate Agent with Lyon Real Estate BRE #00697006

The high temperature in Sacramento yesterday was 106. The California State Fair opens today in Sacramento. And the latest news is California ranks as the nation's #1 leader in foreclosure activity, according to RealtyTrac, which predicts that more short sales and foreclosures are on their way. Hardly cheery news.

I am positioned to handle the short sales, though. As a Sacramento short sale agent and Lyon Real Estate's #1 short sale agent for last year, my production is way up for this year. My team is in place, experienced, and I'm ready for action. I'm constantly thinking of ways to improve my service because no matter what I do, I believe it can always be better. That's probably what being a Type A personality does to you.

For example, I encourage clients to deliver their sensitive documents to me via eFax. An eFax is a way to send important papers directly from a fax machine to my computer. Clients like this because it means their tax returns and bank statements are not falling out all over the floor in an office somewhere. They're not flying out of my car as I zip about Sacramento with the top down. They are secure on my hard drive. And they are backed up through a cloud-based service, blocked by a Firewall and protected.

If I am picking up documents in person at my client's house, I don't take delivery of hard copies. I bring my laptop and mobile scanner to listing appointments, which allows me to scan documents onsite directly to my computer. That paperwork never physically leaves the seller's home.

I am privy to my short sale sellers' Social Security numbers. I have their payroll stubs. I keep copies of their last two years' of tax returns and W2s in my records. This is personal and sensitive information to which most agents in another line of real estate sales never receive. I owe it to my clients to ensure that their private information is not vulnerable to hackers. I take precautions. In addition, I save every email and maintain a complete paper trail of every transaction ever opened. If a client ever needs a document, I've got it safely squirreled away. The last thing any seller needs is leaked data. Do you know what crooks do with a stolen Social Security number?

In addition, I subscribe to a back-up eFax service as well. I pay for a second eFax number. Sometimes, my primary eFax number is busy or down. It's technology. And technology doesn't always work, which is why I'm not overly concerned about the fact we can't yet buy hover cars. Oops, it dropped. Splat. All she wrote. A back-up eFax costs about $8 a month. Peace of mind that a document will always be delivered? Priceless.

What does your real estate agent know about you and how is that personal information secured? You should ask yourself that question before hiring a Sacramento short sale agent.

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Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, home buying expert for, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout the four-county Sacramento area with an emphasis on Elk Grove. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 40 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate. BRE License # 00697006.

The Short Sale Savior, by Elizabeth Weintraub, available with free shipping.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of Lyon Real Estate. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to


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Show All Comments
Bill Reddington
Re/max Southern Realty - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Have been using a similiar product, Lots of people don't have scan capabilities so it works great.

Jul 11, 2012 11:46 PM #1
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Question... when it's time to send the "package" with an offer and there's a "stacking order" for docs how do you get everything in the right order without the hardcopies?  Software that moves pages?  which one?

Jul 11, 2012 11:52 PM #2
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Bill: And people who do scan tend to do so at such a high resolution that they have to email the documents one at a time because the files are too big for some email accounts. They don't know how to set their scanning rez, LOL.

Hi Tammy: Adobe Acrobat. It's worth every penny. Plus, you can insert your scanned signature and never have to sign a contract again. You can also alter typed documents, correct HUDs, plus combine files and move / delete pages; it's a great product.

Jul 11, 2012 11:59 PM #3
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Hi Elizabeth,  we have to have systems in place to protect private information - and a good agent like you, knows how to do it.   I recently saw a modification document recorded in the Public Records at the County office with the borrowers SSN right on it!  What's up with that?!

Jul 12, 2012 01:47 AM #4
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

Very good point Elizabeth. .we return all documents after the short sale . . if not..we pay into having it shredded.. 

Jul 12, 2012 02:04 AM #5
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Wow hot temperatures Elizabeth. I have eFax too... and you pointed out one great thing with privacy, it goes right into your email. Stay cool...

Jul 12, 2012 05:20 AM #6
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I do a lot of scanning and then shredding of these financial documents.  Having someone's personal financial documents is a HUGE responsibility.  One of the reasons I am not a huge fan of virtual storage like  iCloud or DropBox.  

Jul 12, 2012 05:27 AM #7
James Dray
Fathom Realty AR LLC - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Good morning Elizabeth you are organized if nothing else.  I left Carbonite and am currently looking for a back up system.  Take care in the heat

Jul 12, 2012 08:19 PM #8
DAdrea Davie
Keller Williams Realty - Stockton, CA
Stanislaus & San Joaquin Short Sale Agent

Good morning Elizabeth!

I too use My Fax for my electronic fax system and have been for years because it helps keep us organized! It's important to have an organized system that will keep all of your documents together to refer to. The business is gearing towards going paperless and we are trying to move in that direction! Thank you for sharing!

Jul 16, 2012 03:17 AM #9
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