We were videotaped in a house for sale!
I read an excellent article in Marketwatch last month about sellers recording potential home buyers as they tour their home. This weekend, it happened to me and my buyer clients.
A green blinking light caught my eye as I was checking out the kitchen cabinets. As you can see in the picture, this video recorder was plugged into an outlet. My clients thought it was funny but it did feel weird. I started humming that old Michael Jackson song, "Somebody's watching me...." as we went through the rest of the house.
And then we found another camera, this time in the family room. Again, my clients took it in stride but we wondered why the sellers would make such an effort. The house was completely vacant, so it's not like the cameras were used to keep an eye on personal belongings. At the end of the house tour, my buyers decided the house was not for them. The layout was odd so they made that statement directly to the camera and we left the house.
The lessons learned from this experience; If you really love a house, don't say so while you are inside. Save that conversation for the backyard or even in the car. Some takeaways from this experience -
- Don't talk price or strategy when you're inside a home.
- Refrain from touching any items on bookshelves, tables or dressers. You don't want video of you handling personal belongings especially if something goes missing.
- Compliment but don't criticize the seller's furnishings. If you make an offer on a house after trash talking their decorating, your offer may end up at the bottom of the heap!
In a 2014 Realtor magazine, there's a list of the specific audio & video recording rules for each State. If you are working with a seller, make sure they understand the recording rules. If you are working with buyers, assume that you are being recorded. It's better to play it safe since this type of recording could be difficult to prove in a court of law.
Happy House Hunting this Spring!