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Privacy Policy

Introduction

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Welcome!

The Canadian Real Estate Association (“CREA”) is committed to clearly explaining to you what it does with your personal information. On this webpage you’ll find information about the types of personal information we gather, how we use it, and whether we provide some of that information to anyone else.

For starters, you’ll see that we refer to “privacy policy” and “privacy policies” throughout this webpage. Don’t get confused! The simplest way to wrap your head around this is to think of CREA’s “privacy policy” as the combined total of all of CREA’s “privacy policies”, which are specific portions of our overall policy.

When we say “personal information” what we mean is any information about an identifiable individual not including:

  1. The name, title, business email, business address or telephone number of an individual when collected, used and disclosed solely for the purpose of communicating or facilitating communication with the individual in relation to their employment, business or profession;
  2. Aggregated information that cannot be associated with a specific individual.

It’s also important to note that CREA interacts with people falling into several different categories. This includes:

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REALTOR® holding a tablet and smiling.
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Individuals using the website or mobile application versions of REALTOR.ca in order to find out information on properties they are interested in.
Individuals browsing one of our other websites like our corporate website, CREA.ca.
Our members, REALTORS®, who have access to a suite of membership services.
Global Affiliates, real estate professionals in foreign jurisdictions who have contracted with CREA in order to get access to a suite of affiliate services.
Buyers and sellers, who may have provided listing information to their REALTOR® and now see that their property is advertised on REALTOR.ca.

The personal information we may gather about REALTORS® is very different than the personal information about REALTOR.ca users. For this reason, we’ve broken down CREA’s privacy policy into discrete chunks organized under four key headings:

REALTOR.ca logo over a red background.
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A couple meeting with a REALTOR®.

CREA also has some general privacy policies that always apply regardless of who you are, what CREA product you are using, or how you otherwise interact with us. To find out more visit our General Privacy Policies.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any aspect of this privacy policy, please direct them to:

The Chief Privacy Officer (CPO),
The Canadian Real Estate Association
200 Catherine Street, 6th Floor Ottawa, ON K2P 2K9
Phone: (613) 237-7111
Fax: (613) 234-2567
Email: privacy@crea.ca

REALTOR.ca

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This portion of our privacy policy applies to the REALTOR.ca website and mobile applications that are branded as REALTOR.ca - CREA’s real estate advertising online product. For the most part, all versions of REALTOR.ca, regardless of the platform, collect, use and disclose your personal information in the same way. For this reason we collectively refer to them as “REALTOR.ca”.

How does REALTOR.ca Use Your Information?

In addition to the uses described in CREA’s Privacy Policies Applicable to all CREA Sites, personal information collected by REALTOR.ca may be used by CREA for the following general purposes:

  • For registration and to manage your REALTOR.ca account.
REALTOR.ca account information

REALTOR.ca gives the ability to create an account. We may use information stored in your account for the purposes noted in “How does REALTOR.ca Use Your Information”. You may delete your account at any time. If you delete your REALTOR.ca account, your personal information will be anonymized after 30-days (in case you accidentally deleted your account and wish to contact us to reactivate it). Notwithstanding your account anonymization, CREA may retain a record of when subscribed to any of our email lists to help us demonstrate we are compliant with Canada’s Anti-Spam legislation. CREA may also retain other account information (e.g. a record of when you agreed to the REALTOR.ca terms of use) for evidentiary/litigation purposes or where CREA is required to keep such information by law.

Messages

Throughout your use of the real estate services on this website, you may communicate extensively with a salesperson or broker. The salesperson or broker may use your email address and all of the information you submit in order to provide you with guidance, suggestions and service in your efforts to either sell or buy real estate.

CREA collects the emails provided through the "Contact Us" feature of this website, so CREA can respond to your questions or suggestions. CREA also collects e-mails sent through the website, including the “Email REALTOR®, “Email a Friend”, and “Email Office" features, for security purposes, to allow the recipient brokers and salespersons to view your email, to send you communications you have opted-in to receive, and for management of your website account.

If you provide your email it may also be used to facilitate Interest-based advertising. See Privacy Policies Applicable to all CREA Sites for more information.

Is There Anything Else I should be aware of?

Yes! Don’t forget that CREA’s General Privacy Policies and Privacy Policies Applicable to all CREA Sites also apply to REALTOR.ca. They describe, among other things:

  • How CREA responds to law enforcement requests
  • CREA’s cookie policy
  • CREA’s Interest-Based Advertising/Behavioral Advertising policy
  • Other technical stuff, such as how CREA websites use surveys in relation to your personal information.

Click on the General Privacy Policies or Privacy Policies Applicable to all CREA Sites links to find out more.

All CREA sites

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Privacy Policies Applicable to all CREA sites

This portion of our privacy policy describes some basic functionality how all our websites and mobile applications use your personal information (including but not limited to REALTOR.ca). We’ve broken it down into four topics:

General Website Uses of Your Personal Information

CREA may use the personal information you provide to us via our websites for the following general purposes:

  • To send you communications you have opted-in to receive.
  • To respond to your questions and comments.
  • To tailor your experience of the CREA website you are using.
  • To help CREA analyze the browsing patterns of its users in order to improve the content and design of its websites.
  • For security purposes, such as the prevention, investigation or disruption of potentially prohibited (e.g. spam) or illegal activities.
  • To enforce the website terms of use.
  • For statistical analysis.
  • As otherwise described to you when the information is collected.

Your personal information may be anonymized and consolidated into group data, which may be shared on an aggregated basis with third parties, including research firms and CREA member Boards and Associations. The shared data will not disclose your personal information and will not enable the recipients to contact you.

Cookie Policy

Our websites use standard technology known as “cookies”, which are text files that are used to store certain information in your browser. We use “session” cookies and “persistent” cookies. Session cookies temporarily keep your settings. This information is stored until your Internet browser is closed. Persistent cookies store information on your computer even after your Internet browser is closed and are stored locally on your system. You may choose to delete persistent cookies after visiting our websites via your Internet browser’s privacy settings. CREA may use session and persistent cookies for the following purposes:

  • Usability:
    • Pre-population: to prepopulate website fields with information you entered earlier (for example, pre-populating fields on REALTOR.ca).
    • Remembering what a user did previously: to keep track of a user’s actions (for example, recently viewed properties on REALTOR.ca)
  • Terms of Use: to keep a record of whether a user has agreed to our website terms of use.
  • Security and protection of REALTOR.ca: cookies are used to reduce the likelihood that someone is able to scrape our websites.
  • Performance: cookies are used to direct browsers to communicate with specific REALTOR.ca servers that they have previously accessed to increase the performance with that server.
  • New features/splash pages: when new features are announced on our websites a splash page may be shown announcing that features. Users who indicate they not wish to see the splash page again will have their preference stored in a cookie.
  • Personalization: cookies allow us to know a bit about CREA website users, for example, which third-party website they have just visited, so that we can display personalized content.
  • Statistical Analysis (for example, to track the usage of website features).
  • To permit specific third-party functionality: CREA has partnered with several third parties that install cookies on user computers when using our websites. These cookies help us improve the functionality of our websites (for example, cookies are used to support a program by Foresee, which invites REALTOR.ca users to complete a survey and keeps track of whether they have been invited to complete the survey already and what REALTOR.ca website pages they have seen) or help us determine how our websites are being used (for example, Google Analytics, which uses cookies, is used on REALTOR.ca).
Interest-Based Advertising/Behavioral Advertising
  • CREA works with advertising networks and publishers to serve personalized display ads for CREA products and services on third-party websites. Third parties may use cookies or web beacons to collect non-personally identifiable information (e.g., click stream information, browser type, time and date) about users’ interactions with products and services on CREA.ca to help determine which ads are likely to be most interesting to you. This information also helps CREA monitor and improve our products and services. Learn more about interest-based advertising and how to opt-out.
    • CREA’s mobile applications may also collect and use similar information to serve personalized display ads within those apps. These ads are personalized based on your use of apps, as well as online activities on your mobile device and other devices (sometimes referred to as “cross-device personalization”). Mobile application technology works a bit differently than browser technology so follow the following instructions if you wish to opt out:
      • Apple (iOS) - on your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Privacy > Advertising and turn on Limit Ad Track to opt-out of interest-based ads from “iAd”, Apple’s advertising network.
      • Android - Open the Google Settings app on your Android phone, tap Ads and enable “Opt out of interest-based ads”.
  • CREA also uses social media matching tools, such as Facebook Custom Audiences and Google Customer Match. This allows us to deliver personalized ads to CREA Members or users of our websites/apps who are also users of these sites/apps. This requires CREA to provide a minimal amount of information (e.g., name and email address) to these sites so they can determine which Members/users also belong to those sites. This information is “hashed” before it is disclosed, is deleted once the matching process is complete, and is not used for any other purpose by social media sites or any other third-party. You can opt-out of this process by:
    • Facebook: clicking on the icon on the top right corner of the ads from CREA that you see on Facebook. To learn more about advertising on Facebook generally and how to control your preferences, visit www.facebook.com/about/ads.
    • Google: Go to https://adssettings.google.com and ensure that the “Ads based on your interests” setting is turned off.
  • We may use non-identifiable information to personalize the content you see on a CREA website based on a site you have previously visited. For example, if you click on a hyperlink on a third party website that brings you to a CREA website, the banking website may place a cookie in your browser that contains a numerical code, and based on that code, the CREA website might display a widget. The cookie will persist for 30 days, so if you clear your cookies, the content will no longer be personalized.
Other Technical Stuff Relating to CREA Websites

You have to be a bit of a tech geek to understand topics falling under this heading (p.s. we love tech geeks!).

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IP Addresses
CREA websites collect information about how our websites are used. Each time a visitor comes to one of our websites our web server collects the visitor's domain name or IP address. CREA cannot determine an individual’s identity from only an IP address; however, periodically users may inform CREA support staff of their IP addresses during the provision of support services. Users that submit their name when using the email functionality on our websites will also have their names associated with their IP addresses. At such time, CREA treats such information as personal information.

Messages and Emails
Many CREA websites have “Contact Us” or similarly named functionality that allows you to contact us. It is probably obvious but CREA collects the e-mails provided through this functionality, so CREA can respond to your questions or suggestions. Less obvious is the fact that we may use this information for security purposes, such as screening the emails for spam.

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Surveys
While visiting our websites you may be asked to participate in a survey conducted by a third party. If you are selected to participate in this survey, a persistent cookie is stored on your computer’s hard drive for 60 days to preclude a new invitation during that time. All surveys are optional and the information collected will not be associated with any personal information. Survey data is used to permit accurate analysis, produce summary reports, and monitor overall trends with our websites.

Google Analytics
Many CREA websites use Google Analytics, a web and mobile analytics tracking tool provided by Google, for audience activity, demographics reporting, and remarketing. You can opt-out of Google Analytics by installing a browser plug-in available on Google’s website. As Google Analytics also uses cookies, you may wish to review that section of our privacy policy as well.

REALTORS® and Global Affiliates

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The information contained on this webpage is relevant to CREA’s Members and Global Affiliates. If you aren’t a Member or Global Affiliate, as defined below, you are in the wrong place! View CREA’s main privacy policy introduction and navigate to what you are interested in. Heads up: some (but not all) of the information contained on this webpage is redundant with information displayed elsewhere in our privacy policy. This is to aid readability as this document is incorporated as a standalone document for Members in CREA’s governance policies and practices. However, Members and Global Affiliates are reminded that CREA’s General Privacy Policies still apply to them.

Policy Amendments
This Policy may be revised by CREA from time to time. This Policy and any amendments will be posted on REALTOR Link® and reflected in CREA’s Governance policies and practices.

Where to Direct Questions
Any questions or concerns relating to the collection, use or disclosure of Personal Information by CREA may be directed to:

The Chief Privacy Officer (CPO),
The Canadian Real Estate Association
200 Catherine Street, 6th Floor Ottawa, ON K2P 2K9
Phone: (613) 237-7111
Fax: (613) 234-2567
Email: privacy@crea.ca

All potential privacy breaches should be brought to the attention of the CPO as soon as possible even if it is unclear whether a privacy breach has occurred or its level of severity.

Definitions

For the purpose of this Policy: "Personal Information" means any information about an identifiable individual but does not include:

  1. The name, title, business email, business address or telephone number of an individual when collected, used and disclosed solely for the purpose of communicating or facilitating communication with the individual in relation to their employment, business or profession;
  2. Aggregated information that cannot be associated with a specific individual.

"Member" means, for the purpose of this Policy, REALTOR® members of CREA.

Global Affiliate means members of national real estate associations or organizations outside of Canada that have subscribed to CREA’s global affiliate program.

Collection and Use of Personal Information

Collection of Personal Information
CREA may collect Personal Information of Members directly from the Member. Personal Information may also be provided to CREA by a Member’s Board/Association, which is collected at the time of the individual's application for membership. CREA's Privacy Policy requires that the collection of such information by the Board/Association be done with the informed consent of the individual.

CREA may collect Member and Global Affiliate Personal Information whenever a Member or Global Affiliate uses or purchases a CREA products or service. This information may be consolidated, over time, with other Personal information CREA has on such Members and Global Affiliates so that CREA has a better understanding CREA’s relationship with its Members and Global Affiliates.

Use of Personal Information

CREA uses the Personal Information provided to it for various purposes, all of which are intended to fulfill its obligations as a national trade association and further its mission statement. These purposes include:

  • Providing leadership, support, counsel and representation on behalf of organized real estate;
  • Providing products, services, information and advice to individual Members, Global Affiliates and Boards/Associations;
  • Monitoring Members’ and Global Affiliates’ uses and purchases of CREA products and services so that CREA can better understand its relationship with its Members and Global Affiliates and customize how CREA communicates with them;
  • Operating and maintaining CREA’s online products and services, including REALTOR.ca, the DDF®, WEBForms®*, and its Intranet site;
  • Administering and facilitating membership in the Boards/Associations across Canada;
  • Administering trademark and competition law compliance programs;
  • Furthering national policies;
  • Ensuring compliance with bylaws, rules and regulations of CREA and Boards/Associations;
  • Administering CREA’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Business Practice;
  • Providing electronic notice to members, including notice of members meetings in which they are eligible to vote, and notice of the availability of financial statements;
  • Meeting any legal or regulatory requirements;
  • Minimizing and investigating any breach of law or contract;
  • Calls to action for charitable or political purposes;
  • Any other purposes consistent with CREA’s mission statement and strategic plan.

*WEBForms® is powered by Lone Wolf. REALTORS® that use WEBForms® should note that their personal information shall be used in accordance with Lone Wolf’s privacy statement.

Disclosure to Third Parties

Certain Personal Information of Members, (name, licensed status, firm name and business contact information) is available to other Members of CREA through REALTOR Link®, a password-protected Intranet site. CREA may also disclose Personal Information of Members to Boards/Associations or real estate regulators for membership or related purposes. For example, CREA may disclose Personal Information of Members to Boards/Associations to help Boards and Associations authenticate Members using CREA’s National Authentication Facility (“NAF”).

CREA may also disclose Personal Information of Members to third parties, such as lawyers, consultants, affinity partners or others who work with CREA to collect and analyze information from Members, to improve the products and services offered by CREA or to provide products and services to Members. Some of these third parties may send information to or contact the individual as part of membership surveys.

Consent and Disclosure

Consent
By providing personal information to CREA, Members and Global Affiliates consent to its collection, use and disclosure in accordance with CREA’s privacy policies. Consent to the collection and certain uses of the information may be refused or withdrawn by you subject to legal or contractual requirements. In the event you withdraw consent please note, CREA may not be able to offer certain information or services to you.

Use and Disclosure Without Consent
In certain circumstances, CREA may be permitted or required by law to disclose Personal Information without consent. Those circumstances may include:

  • Where the information was public;
  • Where required by law;
  • Where it is necessary to collect dues;
  • Where it is necessary to protect the rights of an identifiable person or group;
  • Other circumstances recognized by privacy legislation as permitting disclosure without consent.
Accuracy and Retention

Accuracy
Personal information of Members which is uploaded directly to CREA's database by Boards/Associations is the responsibility of the Member and or the Boards/Associations. Listing information uploaded by the Boards/Associations to CREA's property database websites (including REALTOR.ca and CREA’s Data Distribution Facility (DDF®)) is the responsibility of the listing REALTOR® and/or the Board/Association.

Retention
CREA retains Personal Information as long as is necessary to fulfill the purpose for which it was collected. CREA has in place a Record Management practice consistent with the nature and need for the information and legislative requirements.

Access to Personal Information

Members and Global Affiliates may request access to any Personal Information about themselves retained in CREA records. All access requests must be in writing and must be directed to CREA's Chief Privacy Compliance Officer. Access requests must be accompanied by appropriate identification satisfactory to CREA. CREA has the right prior to responding to any access requests, to take whatever steps it deems necessary to confirm the identify the person making the request. CREA will endeavour to provide any applicable information within 30 days of the date of the request.

CREA may charge a nominal amount for costs incurred in providing the information.

Where a Members or Global Affiliate believes that the Personal Information in the CREA file is inaccurate, he or she may have appended to the record any alternative information, where CREA is of the view that the appended information is, in fact, correct.

CREA has the right to decline to provide access to Personal Information in a number of circumstances, including where the information:

  • Is subject to solicitor-client privilege;
  • Could interfere with law enforcement, investigative or regulatory functions;
  • Would disclose of Personal Information of another individual;
  • Would cause serious harm to another individual;
  • Is confidential business information that may harm CREA or the competitive position of a third party;
  • Any other circumstances recognized by the privacy legislation. Where the information cannot be disclosed, the individual making the request will be provided with the reasons for non-disclosure.

Buyers and Sellers

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This webpage will be of particular interest to buyers and sellers of properties for sale on REALTOR.ca.

REALTOR.ca’s relationship with your REALTOR® and Board/Association MLS® Systems

When you work with a REALTOR®, your property listing may be added to a local Board’s/Association’s MLS® System. Find out more information on what exactly an MLS® System is.

Information on properties listed for sale on Board MLS® Systems may then be provided to CREA by Boards/Associations for display on CREA’s property database websites (including REALTOR.ca and CREA’s Data Distribution Facility (DDF®)). While such information pertains to real property, some aspects of the information (e.g. Sale Price) may be considered as personal information. The collection, use and disclosure of such information is governed by the applicable Board’s privacy policy and listing agreement. CREA only uses this information for display on CREA’s property database websites, and for general market research and analysis purposes.

Third Party Storage
Buyers and sellers should be aware that their property listing information may be stored with a third party. Find out more about how CREA deals with the storage of personal information on third party servers.

General Privacy Policies

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These privacy policies always apply when using any of CREA products and services. Therefore, regardless of whether you are a REALTOR.ca user, REALTOR®, global affiliate or someone else, you should be mindful of these policies.

Revisions
The world is a fast-moving place. That means we need to periodically update our privacy policy to reflect new initiatives, products and services.

Any changes to our privacy policy will be promptly reflected on this page, which will take effect upon posting. CREA encourages you to revisit our privacy policy from time to time to review the most current version. Your continued use of our websites, products and services following the posting of any changes constitutes acceptance by you of such modifications.

For your information, the last time CREA’s privacy policy was updated was: 2019-05-30.

Consent and Disclosure

Consent
By providing personal information to CREA, you consent to its collection, use and disclosure in accordance with CREA’s privacy policies. Consent to the collection and certain uses of the information may be refused or withdrawn by you subject to legal or contractual requirements. In the event you withdraw consent please note, CREA may not be able to offer certain information or services to you.

Use and Disclosure Without Consent
In certain circumstances, CREA may be permitted or required by law to disclose personal information without consent. Those circumstances may include:

  • Where the information was public;
  • Where required by law;
  • Where it is necessary to protect the rights of an identifiable person or group;
  • Other circumstances recognized by privacy legislation as permitting disclosure without consent.

Disclosure to Law Enforcement
CREA reserves the right to report to law enforcement agencies any uses of CREA websites including but not limited to REALTOR.ca, that it, in good faith, believes to be unlawful. You agree that CREA may release your personal information to law enforcement agencies where CREA has reasonable grounds to believe that such release is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property and safety of CREA or any person.

Protecting Personal Information
  • CREA takes reasonable steps to protect information from unauthorized access or disclosure in a manner commensurate with its sensitivity, value and criticality. This applies regardless of the media on which the information is stored, the location where the information is stored, the systems used to process the information or the processes by which information is handled.
  • The measures used to protect personal information include physical measures (e.g. locked filing cabinets), organizational measures (e.g. information is available to other persons only on a need-to-know-basis) and technological measures (e.g. computer passwords).
  • While CREA puts in place reasonable precautions, we cannot guarantee at all times the security of the information. No method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure, particularly with regard to Internet applications.
Accuracy and Retention

Accuracy
CREA attempts to insure the Personal Information under its control is as accurate, complete, current and relevant as is necessary for its identified purpose.

Retention CREA retains Personal Information as long as is necessary to fulfill the purpose for which it was collected. CREA has in place a record management practice consistent with the nature and need for the information and legislative requirements.

Access to Personal Information

Individuals may request access to any Personal Information about themselves retained in CREA records. All access requests must be in writing and must be directed to CREA's Chief Privacy Compliance Officer. Access requests must be accompanied by appropriate identification satisfactory to CREA. CREA has the right prior to responding to any access requests, to take whatever steps it deems necessary to confirm the identify the person making the request. CREA will endeavour to provide any applicable information within 30 days of the date of the request.

CREA may charge a nominal amount for costs incurred in providing the information, where reasonable and allowed by law.

Where an individual believes that the Personal Information in the CREA file is inaccurate, he or she may have appended to the record any alternative information, where CREA is of the view that the appended information is, in fact, correct.

CREA has the right to decline to provide access to Personal Information in a number of circumstances, including where the information:

  • Is subject to solicitor-client privilege;
  • Could interfere with law enforcement, investigative or regulatory functions;
  • Would disclose of Personal Information of another individual;
  • Would cause serious harm to another individual;
  • Is confidential business information that may harm CREA or the competitive position of a third party;
  • Any other circumstances recognized by the privacy legislation. Where the information cannot be disclosed, the individual making the request will be provided with the reasons for non-disclosure.
Third Parties

CREA doesn’t operate in a vacuum. We work with other companies (known as “third parties”) to bring you information and services. While we always strive to work with third parties operating using high privacy standards, working with third parties could have an impact on how your personal information is handled.

Third Party Links and Sources of Information Many CREA products, including REALTOR.ca, may include links to third party websites. Before using those third party websites, you should carefully examine their privacy policies because any personal information that you choose to provide to them will be subject to their privacy policies.

Storage
Many CREA products, including REALTOR.ca, use third party service providers, for example, to store information in the Cloud. Some of these service providers, and the databases where they store personal information, are located outside of Canada. You should note that where personal information is located outside of Canada, it is subject to the laws of that jurisdiction in which it is located, and could be subject to lawful demands for access by law enforcement agencies.

Potential Risks when Providing Personal Information to CREA

We have an obligation to tell you if there are any risks to you that could result if someone (not us!) misuses the personal information you provide us. Honestly, we’ve struggled what to say here as most of the information we collect is not particularly sensitive.

One thing we wanted to flag, however, is that whenever you share your email with another person using our websites, there is a risk that other person could misuse that email. We’ve taken legal (e.g. terms of use), technological (e.g. anti-spam filters and CAPTCHA technology) and design (e.g. designing our systems to reduce the likelihood of your email being misused) measures to try to limit such abuse, but no system is perfect. Please feel free to report any potential abuse to us.

Also, keep in mind that when you provide your personal information to a REALTOR® (for example to, advertise your listing), the REALTOR® may use a variety of CREA, Board/Association and third party systems and software solutions to promote that property and conduct the transaction. So your personal information may end up in more places than you originally anticipated. Talk to your REALTOR® to find out just what exactly they do with your personal information, so you aren’t surprised.