Yes it is true that modern technology helps us in many ways throughout a real estate transaction. It can speed up communication throughout negotiations agent to agent as well as improve communication with sellers. It is ideal when it comes to marketing a home through social media or internet exposure, but how can it hurt us??
Recently I took a listing with clients that had their computer in the kitchen. This is not uncommon for many households to have a computer that is located in a main area of the home. Ideal for supervising kids while online or looking up a favorite recipe while prepping in the kitchen. That was not the problems at all - the problem started when a colleague complained to me when they saw that little green light on the mac flash to indicate the computer was indeed recording.
Being a tech savvy real estate agent I know very well what that means - these lights don't just pop on by themselves no it is definitely intentional. SO what to do ? Confront the sellers and potentially have a very awkward conversation when I myself have not witnessed the event? I think not so I decided I would let this play out.
I had a sign call with an interested party that wanted to see the home so I decided to show the home myself to see just how these "sellers prepped for showings" and indeed that little green light was glowing to indicate recording and observing was taking place. We had a great showing with me guiding the prospective clients through the house and staying off topic of conversations that sellers should not be privy to such as motivation of buyers etc. I am sure my sellers were very impressed on how I showcased their home through this showing :-)
Then next came an open house, only it was not me to do it rather another agent in my office. So when the open house started I texted the agent and asked her if she could see that green light on - and yes it was once again. She was very uncomfortable with them monitoring so she decided to unplug the computer to turn it off. She went over pretended to trip on the computer and release the plug from the wall. Within seconds the seller called me... asking if he could go to the house during the open house. I said sure I will let the agent know oyu are coming. She powered the computer back on with no green light and he didn't go to the open house as he said he would.
After the open house ended I texted the client and told him that I had been getting complaints about the "green light" issue. Their excuse was lame that they use this program to check on their dog when away - how convenient.
In my province of Alberta it is illegal to video record or have surveillance of a home without a clear and concise sign posted upon entry of the home. It doesn't matter that it is their own home - it is still illegal and sellers could be prosecuted under provincial laws.