For Sale – The Privacy of Home Buyers in the USA and Canada

Most home shoppers who see a “For Sale” sign in the front yard of a home they are considering to purchase are not aware that more than just the house is being sold.  In some cases, their own privacy and personal information is on the market the moment that they begin the buying process — whether they end up buying the home or not.

Buyers considering the purchase of a new home will often hire a home inspector to examine the home for them and report its condition.  If you are considering the purchase of a new home and are looking to hire a home inspector, consider the inspector’s commitment to your privacy in addition to his other qualifications.

There are home inspectors who will offer lower fees to their clients as an incentive to hire them — and then sell private information about the home buyer (or the home) to third parties willing to pay them for this information, to make up for the lower fee.  Usually, the home buyer is unaware that the home inspector is gaining from the sale of his private information.  Nor is the home buyer aware as to whom or how many third parties their private information is being provided to.

If your home inspector is offering a variety of “free” add-on services in addition to his report of the condition of your home, chances are good that you’re private information (and information about your home) is being provided to an unnamed third-party.

Contractors who sell and install home alarm systems, for example, consider home inspectors to be a valuable resource for new customer leads and will reward them with cash and other incentives to provide them with the names, phone numbers and addresses of new home buyers.   Sometimes the home inspector will sell their clients’ private information directly to a contractor but may also sell the information to “lead brokers” who, in turn, sell the information to a variety of contractors and service providers.

Rarely are home buyers informed by their home inspector that he is profiting from the sale of their private information or to whom the information is being sold.  At least one lead broker forbids home inspectors who provide him with private data about their clients from revealing anything concerning the inspector’s contract with the lead broker to the home owner, which includes his “compensation” arrangements.

Many clients of home inspectors, some who are on state sponsored “Do Not Call” lists, are unaware how the telemarketers calling them came to get their name while some are even more surprised to find door-to-door solicitors knowing to ask for them by name shortly after moving in to their new home.

Not all home inspectors engage in this practice and consumers should ask an inspector they consider hiring as to whether or not he or she engages in the sale of private information about his or her clients.  Added services that require personal information or client registration such as “free” short term warranties or “free” product recall research are important red flags that should be explored.

If you choose to hire a home inspector who will be providing your information to any third-party for any reason, it is wise to have the inspector provide you with the third party’s name, address, telephone number and other identifying factors to ensure that you can contact them should you find yourself receiving harassing or unwanted solicitations as a possible result — and to trace any other parties to whom that party may have provided your information to, when necessary.

In this age of private information gathering by government agencies and computer hackers, consumers should be proactive in protecting their private information from being bought, sold and re-sold among various parties that are unknown to them.  The purchase of a new home is no exception.

Copyright James H. Bushart 2013

How to Get a Missouri Occupancy Permit

By James H. Bushart

www.publicadjustermissouri.com

In certain municipalities in Missouri, property damage that requires extensive repair will also require permits and inspections for the work.  Prior to moving in to a new home, many areas will also require occupancy permits prior to allowing a new buyer or renter to reside within the home.

The following links are provided as a service to assist home owners in locating the offices that can assist them to ensure that their contractors are properly licensed, that the required permits are obtained and that the necessary inspections are provided.

Here are links to many of the Saint Louis County (and some other) municipality websites or contact information.

Saint Louis area Zip Code map

Saint Louis City – 314.622.4000 (General Information number)

Saint Louis County – 314.615.5000 (General Information number)

Affton – Chamber of Commerce site – 314.849.6499

Aurora

Ballwin – 636.227.8580

Bella Villa – 314.638.8840

Bellefontaine Neighbors – 314.867.0076

Bellerive – 314.382.5337

Bel Nor – 314.381.2834

Bel Ridge – 314.429.2878

Berkeley – 314.524.3313 ext. 2052 (Housing Inspector Patrick Mullen)

Beverly Hills – 314.382.6544

Black Jack – 314.355.0400

Breckenridge Hills – 314.427.6868

Brentwood – 314.962.4800

Bridgeton – 314.739.7500

Calverton Park – 314.524.1212

Champ – 314.738.0772

Charlack – 314.427.4715

Chesterfield – 636.537.4000

Clarkson Valley – 636.227.8607

Clayton – 314.727.8100

Cool Valley – 314.521.3500

Country Club Hills – 314.261.0845

Country Life Acres – 314.739.4800

Crestwood – 314.729.4720

Creve Coeur – 314.432.6000

Crystal Lake Park – 314.993.1160

Dellwood – 314.521.4339

Des Peres -314.835.6100

Edumndson – 314.428.7125

Ellisville – 636.227.9660

Eureka – 636.938.5233

Fenton – 314.615.5000

Ferguson – 314.521.7721

Flordell Hills – 314.382.5524

Florissant – 314.921.5700

Frontenac – 314.994.3200

Glen Echo Park – 314.382.7355

Glendale – 314.965.3600

Grantwood -314.842.4409

Greendale – 314.383.2664

Green Park – 314.894.7336

Hanley Hills – 314.725.0909

Hazelwood – 314.839.3700

Hillsdale – 314.381.0288

Huntleigh – 314.446.4248

Jennings – 314.388.1164

Joplin

Kinloch – 314.521.3335

Kirkwood – 314.822.5823 – Number for Inspections & Permits

Ladue – 314.993.3439

Lakeshire City of Lakeshire website – 314.631.6222

Mackenzie – 314.752.0625

Manchester – 636.227.1385

Maplewood – 314.645.3600

Marlborough – 314.962.5055

Maryland Heights – 314.291.6550

Moline Acres – 314.868.2433

Monett

Normandy – 314.385.3300

Northwoods – 314.385.8000

Norwood Court – 314.382.8176

Oakland – 314.416.0026

Olivette – 314.993.0252

Overland – 314.428.4321

Pacific – 636.271.0500

Pagedale – 314.726.1200

Pasadena Hills – 314.382.4453

Pasadena Park – 314.383.0010

Pine Lawn – 314.261.5500

Richmond Heights – 314.646.7658

Riverview – 314.868.0700

Rock Hill – 314.968.1410

Saint Ann – 314.427.8009

Saint George – 314.631.1295

Saint John – 314.427.8700

Saint Louis City – 314.622.4000

Saint Louis County – 314.615.5000

Shrewsbury – 314.647.5795

Sunset Hills – 314.849.3400

Sycamore Hills – 314.426.5750

Town and Country – 314.432.6606

Twin Oaks – 636.225.7873

University City – 314.505.8560

Uplands Park – 314.383.1856

Valley Park – 636.225.8930

Velda City – 314.382.6600

Velda Village Hills – 314.261.7221

Vinita Park – 314.428.7373

Vinita Terrace – 314.427.4488

Warson Woods – 314.965.3100

Webster Groves – 314.963.5300

Wellston – 314.553.8000

Westwood – 314.727.0101

Wilbur Park – 314.631.3963

Wildwood – 636.458.0440

Winchester – 636.391.0600

Woodson Terrace – 314.427.2600

Copyright 2013 James H. Bushart

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