For Baby Boomers, Google and Yahoo have- for the most part- replaced the yellow pages. When looking for information, adult children are very likely to turn to the Internet for information. I've written about the dangers of getting your information from the wrong source on the Internet. Well there's another consumer awareness tidbit I thought you should know about. There are lead generation companies trolling for your information to sell, and you would likely never know it.
In the real estate industry, those are companies like Home Gain and Lending Tree (I just know I'm going to get some email for naming names). They gather information about consumers who are buying or selling houses, and sell those names to REALTORS. I appreciate that these enterprising companies are simply taking advantage of the free market. After all they wouldn't exist if REALTORs didn't pay them. This REALTOR has never paid for names of people. I'll fold up shop before I ever do.
With baby boomers getting older, the lead generation companies are seeing green and getting into the act of capturing your information to sell to senior housing communities. The senior housing communities are not to blame. The tough real estate market has made it difficult for them, and with economic pressures pushing prices up and rents down, they're in a tough spot. So when they get the phone call saying "I have the name of someone who wants to move in," they jump at the chance.
Though this might seem like a simple harmless transaction, the consumer gets the short end of the stick.
First, your information is bought and sold like a commodity. What about privacy, or at least perceived privacy? Shouldn't you have the opportunity to decide who gets your information?
Second, your name was given to a senior community because they paid for it. That doesn't mean it's the best fit for you or your parents. I know this can be a stressful time, but I promise-your stress is only going to increase if you don't do your homework. Just like I suggest interviewing three real estate agents, visit at least three senior housing communities.
The best way to protect yourself and your aging parents? Ask questions.
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