Who is watching you?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams

I had an interesting experience a while back that I would like to share.  I took a client of mine to view a home that was owner occupied.  We had an appointment and arrived right on time.  There was no one there at the house so I used the lock box key to enter.  We took our time viewing this home of about 1400 square feet.  It was nicely staged and very clean.  You could hardly tell that someone lived there.  It was a nice day, so we finished our conversation about the home out in front of the house.

A few days later the listing agent called and asked me for feedback.  I told him that my client liked the house but was not particularly fond of the popcorn ceiling.  That is when he dropped the bomb....  He said that his sellers were recording our conversation and that my client actually said that she had a popcorn ceiling now and that it was not a big deal.  The problem was that what they thought my client was saying were actually my comments and that the conversation continued outside and my client expressed that the popcorn ceiling would probably bother her over time.

So, I guess you never know who is listening in on what you think is a private conversation.  I don't really think this would be illegal but it certainly seemed unethical! Now I am much more cautious as to what I say when taking clients to any home.

Comments (7)

Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


What an interesting event.  In California, it is illegal to tape someone without their knowledge, a case just happened in Sacramento where someone was illegally taping people staying at his home...


Sep 15, 2010 07:07 AM
Diane Friesen
Century 21 Coastal Realty Ltd. - Surrey, BC

Wow - how low is low?   Thank goodness this is the exception rather than the rule.   What is that Realtor thinking?

Sep 15, 2010 07:07 AM
Donald Tepper
Long and Foster - Fairfax, VA
DC area investor helping heirs of inherited homes

What a weird experience!

I'll bet they got the idea of the secret taping from those redecorating shows on TV, where potential buyers or agents wander through the home making comments. And since it's the pre-fixed-up home they're commenting on, the comments are always negative. But there's a big difference between "reality television" (which, I'm sure, has dotted all the "i"s and crossed all the "t"s regarding legality, and sellers installing a hidden taping system.

Also, unfortunately, it may have something to do with the reluctance of many Realtors to provide feedback to listing agents. There are plenty of agents here who have expressed their strong opinion that they're not going to provide any help or guidance to a listing agent by providing feedback. So, it's got to be frustrating not only to the agent but also to the seller when multiple showings produce no feedback at all.

Understand, I'm trying to understand--not excuse--that hidden taping system.

Hopefully, it won't have to get to the point, like you see in movies, where you have to go into the bathroom and turn the shower on to mask your conversation!

Sep 15, 2010 07:19 AM
Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986.
eXp Realty, Victoria BC www.pfanntastic.com - Victoria, BC
Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490

Hi Heather,

Great post very sensitive topic

I guess we have been a little paranoid about this for some time, as we have been saying to buyers (before we enter a house) to hold their opinions, questions and feedback until we have left the property.

I would suggest that the listing agent and or their managing broker, may need a call from you managing broker to advise them that it is not only in-appropriate, abut may in fact be illegal to record people without their knowldge....

Happy Selling

Sep 15, 2010 07:24 AM
Jim Patton
Aspire Home Real Estate 209-404-0816 - Modesto, CA
Realtor - Stanislaus ,Merced, San Joaquin Counties

Heather - Did the listing agent know that the seller was taping everyone that goes through the house?  I think that would bother me more than just the seller doing it without the agents knowledge.

Sep 15, 2010 07:42 AM
Heather Ewing
Keller Williams - Bellingham, WA
Listening to Your needs

I am not sure if the agent knew that the sellers were taping everyone that went through the house, but he certainly knew after the fact that they were taping me.  He even told me that he listened to the tape.  I was a relatively new agent at the time.  I did talk to my Broker about it and many other people in my office, just to give them a heads up.  You just never know who is listening.

Sep 15, 2010 07:53 AM
Mark Hitz
Keller Williams - The Colony, TX

Heather - That's just weird that this agent would admit that they recorded you.  What buyer would ever pursue a contract after learning that. 

Sep 15, 2010 09:11 AM