Are Sellers Listening To You During The Showing? [VIDEO]

Real Estate Agent with Myrtle Beach Homes Blog
  • Watching YouToday is Amazon Prime Day and while I have spent most of the afternoon fighting the website to order a few items, one of the things I realized pretty quickly was that smart home technology is growing at a rapid rate.  This was made evident to me by the enormous amount of smart home tech deals that were being featured in the sale this year.  Everything from Amazon Alexa devices to smart outlets, thermostats, lights, doorbells, keys, and so much more.  That being said, are sellers listening to you during the showing?

As I began to think about this more, it made me realize how important it is to educate my buyers better before going out to show properties to them.  With the increase in these devices, it also means there's an increased chance that sellers are going to be listening in to our conversations as we walk through the home.  Devices like the Ring Doorbell, Nest Cameras, and so many other smart cameras make it super easy for you to now keep an eye and ear on your home from your smartphone while you are away from it.

These devices will alert you when motion or sounds are detected at your home and allow you the opportunity to immediately grab your phone to watch & listen in.  Heck, if you wanted to, you could even talk to the people who enter your home and have a conversation with them while they are still there.  (I wouldn't recommend it if you are selling though, bad bad idea.)

In the past while we would walk through the home I would try & ask my buyer clients qualifying questions to see if this might be the right home for them to purchase and wouldn't think twice to make comments like "this home fits perfectly in your range if you wanted to do a cash purchase" or something like "your lender said we are pre-approved for $250,000 so if we needed to go to full list price, we have the ability to do so and still be within your budget."

Nowadays though, these types of conversations are not being held in the home with my buyers because when we do that, we could be giving away valuable negotiation power to the sellers.  The client level information that we used to be able to talk about freely while viewing homes can now be easily picked up on by sellers and backfire against us in the negotiation process.

What To Do?

So, what should you do these days when viewing homes? First off, I'd keep all my comments positive about the home while inside. If the wallpaper is hideous and you don't like the color of the bathroom, keep that information to yourself.  If you talk negatively about the home you want to place an offer on, you might offend the seller to where they don't want to sell the home to you, or they become unwilling to negotiate rationally.

Next, if there are things you like about the home, don't show your hand on this either.  If the seller sees you on video jumping up and down and hugging your spouse because you just saw the master bathroom and it has the walk in shower of your dreams, they will know that you are obsessed with the home and less likely to walk away over a little more money and it could cost you more in the long run.

Instead, try to keep your emotions in check, both the good and bad when walking through a home.  Obviously, if you have questions about something in the property, make sure to always ask those to your REALTOR® while walking through the home.  If you wait until later to try & do so, you might forget them.  Next, try & keep any remarks towards anything related to your financial position till after you leave the home.  Once you are back in the car with the agent, you can then have that open and free conversation again.

So next time you are out looking at property, keep this in mind to help your agent negotiate for you in a better manner!

Originally Posted on my blog about Myrtle Beach Real Estate here.

Comments (16)

Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Jeremy- great seeing you here!  I've decided that even if I'm not looking at a home to buy, even if I'm in anyone's home, I'm taking the assumptive approach that there is at least one camera in the home.And yes, Buyer's Agents need to educate their clients about this possibility. 

Jul 18, 2018 09:34 AM
Jeremy Blanton

I always try & have this conversation with buyers before we leave my office so that they know there is always a possibility of someone watching or listening to them.

Jul 18, 2018 09:39 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Interesting blog for today.  I was thinking about going on the site today to check things out also.


Jul 18, 2018 09:35 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Human nature has people watching people automatically. This is allowed. There is a dark side to it however and currently it is out of hand. What can you do?

Jul 18, 2018 10:00 AM
Kim Peasley-Parker
AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc. - Sumter, SC

Very true in todays world.  I have had sellers tell me they watched the buyers walk through their home. It makes you think twice about what you say in the house. 

Jul 18, 2018 10:47 AM
Jeremy Blanton

Exactly!  Be careful what you say!

Jul 18, 2018 11:29 AM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Jeremy I was just at a home that had Ring and I alerted the buyers that we were being watched and maybe listened to -  so don't say much. The funny part is holy moly rocky - there were over 20 stuffed large animals all over the house staring at us. Now how does one Not talk about all those animals.....not possible. Pretty interesting.

Anyway - it's so important to have these conversations with all buyers these days and not mess up their negotiating leverage.

Jul 18, 2018 11:56 AM
Jeremy Blanton

So very true! You can lose your negotiating power in an instant.  It's the same reason we always tell sellers to leave during showings!

Jul 18, 2018 12:42 PM
Acacia Taylor
In Training - Orem, UT
Currently training to test

Great insight.  I'm trusting to my demise often.  I would never consider spying on people as they looked through a property that I personally had for sale, but it's not that far fetched with the technology we have now!


Jul 18, 2018 12:06 PM
Jeremy Blanton

Sellers are doing it every day.  Many do not trust their agent to get feedback and they just don't trust others in their home, so they want to know what is being done at every moment and what others are saying.

Jul 18, 2018 12:42 PM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Terrific topic and a very timely one! I lost a listing last year because I was the listng agent on a home and one of my fellow agents (very well established top agent) wanted to show the house to her buyer without me there. I always attend all showings on all my listings and that is one thing I make sure my homeowners know. In this case I also made sure they undestood that once in a while i may not be available in which case I would have an agent there in my place. I was NOT informed by  the homeowner that they had a device that was hidden and that video tape recorded all activity in the home at all times, in every room. In this one incident I let this agent in to show her customers--then I went to my car that was parked just out side the view of the video and sat there as she showed the house. Not knowing I was being watched, I thought nothing of waiting until the agent left with her customers and I finished up a phone call that I had taken while waiting. The next day I got a call from the owners who live in California and they claimed that I left the house open and that I "irresponsibly left it vulnerable to theives" while I took my time somewhere else!! They fired me on the spot, not even understanding what had really happened---then they told me that I was watched at all times during my open houses--they saw that I did not take my shoes off once as I was coming into the house to show it--I had walked into the kitchen before I remembered to take my shoes off so went right back out and took them off--but they saw that. I told them that I didn't know what the law is in California but that I needed to inform anyone walking through a showing here in New York that they were being video taped--that they had made a big mistake by not telling me as well...I really didn't want to work for them after that in any case after that call!! Great post and I am certain that I will always be aware of the possibilites even if I am not informed of a device--I always assume there is one!

Jul 18, 2018 04:46 PM
Elizabeth Y. Foulds

Paula ..... that was a very horrible experience.  Definitely not the clients you want to work with!

Jul 20, 2018 08:48 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

It is always entirely possible in this day and age that we are being recorded or monitored in the homes we well as any number of other places. 

Jul 18, 2018 06:52 PM
Bruce Minter
Swell Real Estate - Virginia Beach, VA
One on one - Every step of the way!

Seller's do need to disclose the prescence of recording devices. Was reading a similar thread somewhere not to long ago and an attorney stated it better be clearly posted on the front door and that the homeowner is breaking the law by recording without the others knowledge. Reasonable right to privacy violation. Could be a pricey law suit for a seller.

Jul 19, 2018 06:30 AM
Elizabeth Y. Foulds

Maryland Listing Contact covers this in paragraph 10.

Jul 20, 2018 08:50 AM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

I know it's the world we live in but it makes prospective buyers (and their agents) terribly uncomfortable, as we can't have those honest conversations while touring the home. Great topic and great video, Jeremy.

Jul 19, 2018 09:13 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

We are supposed to assume everyone is recording. It's hard not to discuss things while in a house, but necessary.

Jul 20, 2018 04:59 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes™- by eXp Realty - Vancouver, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Great video and topic. It's wise to err on the side of caution - one never knows, even though it should be disclosed if there are monitoring devices in the home. D 

Jul 20, 2018 07:47 AM
Elizabeth Y. Foulds
Long & Foster Real Estate - Saint Michaels, MD
Your St Michaels Realtor

Great current topic.  The Maryland Listing Contract now has Paragraph 10 - "Home Security Systems that Record Audio - Seller is advised that Maryland law prohibits audio recording of private conversations without the consent of all parties."   It is still a concern though and I am always cautious about what I say in a house now.   

Jul 20, 2018 08:47 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Hi Jeremy! SAGE advice and fitting for our clients these days, for sure! I tell them that we can talk when we leave but, just look through that house and don't say anything! It's sad that we have to do this but, you're so right - it does impact our buyers' negotiating position.

Happy Friday!

Jul 20, 2018 01:28 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Great video and post.  It's so important to be mindful of smart home technology. One of my home sellers had a camera and I forgot about it when i showed her home.  She told me how nice I looked. Then it dawned on me.  I felt inimidated and it was my listing!  

Jul 24, 2018 08:26 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

I was looking for your current posts. I hope all is going well for you.

Jul 05, 2019 09:51 AM
Jeremy Blanton

Thanks!  Honestly, I don't post here as often these days as I do on my main website.  Time just doesn't allow for me to create content over & over.

Jul 05, 2019 01:19 PM