August 2nd, 2019 12:33 PM by Taydus Taydus, AHWD, CNE, CRS, GRI
I hear you! Home Buyers BEWARE!
Home security is becoming more commonplace, and for very little money, a potential home seller can quickly and easily install a “security device” to record a potential home buyer’s actions and conversations.
Welcome to the world of high tech! With devices such as smart thermostats, nanny cams hidden in everyday items, and inexpensive items such as what appears to be a simple phone charger, a home seller could easily record a potential home buyer’s conversation within their home to use as leverage during negotiations.
Depending on where you live, a device that records your voice, may or may not be legal. Please seek legal counsel regarding your state’s laws if you have any questions or concerns.
So what does this mean if you are shopping for a home? Here are some tips to help you avoid tipping your hand while viewing homes with your buyer’s agent ; speaking of, make sure your buyer’s agent also keeps a tight lip while showing you property! They should not be discussing value, condition, or anything else that could be used against you during negotiations, while inside of a home you may be considering.
What about smart doorbells?
This too is a reality in today’s world. Do not stand on the front porch and chat about the home you just saw. Again, consider anything you say to be going straight from your lips to the seller’s ear.
The smart doorbells are pretty easy to spot, but a hidden nanny cam on the front porch may not be.
But baby it’s cold outside! (or hot)
I live and work in Colorado; the winters can be quite chilly and the summers hot. It is sooooo much more comfortable to stand inside to chat with your agent, or under the shelter of the covered porch. DON’T DO IT!
If the temperature outside is not comfortable, and you don’t want to walk to the sidewalk, or your car to chat, save the conversation for a phone call, or head back to your buyer’s agent’s office to have a conversation.
Before you decide that it is a good idea to record a potential home buyer’s conversation as they move through your home, it is best practice to consult with legal counsel first. There could be serious legal consequences if it is illegal to record someone without their consent. Different states have different laws; know the laws in your state before electing to record or listen to unsuspecting buyers.
Sellers, if your listing agent is aware of such devices in your home, it is possible that they too could deal with legal consequences if said device is illegal to use on unsuspecting home buyers and their agents in your state. If you are listing a home with a recording or listening device, you may want to check with your brokerage to verify the best way to proceed.
Technology is our friend, and it can make our lives much more convenient. However, in this day and age, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Be mindful that the sellers may be watching (and / or listening)!