Video Recording Buyers When Showing Houses Part 1

Real Estate Agent with HomeStarr Realty RS143922A


 Every state has different laws when it comes to laws about video surveillance and audio recording .With  new modern technology systems of nanny cams ,baby monitors ,security systems , and the like we are now hearing all kinds of stories  that we have never heard before . Sellers spying on buyers and  agents and the listing agents also  aware of the situation .


Real estate licensees and their clients should  be aware of the nuances of video and audio surveillance laws to protect themselves from potential invasions of privacy,  in violations of state and federal video and audio surveillance laws. When  being recording while viewing homes



In Pennsylvania  you can not have video in place anywhere person are undressing such as a bathroom  . This may cause a problem if a person is walking out of a bathroom . Let us say a lady walks out of a bathroom . She looks no one is in view and perhaps pulls up their dress and fixes her under garments .She  was not aware she was on camera .


Is this a violation of  her  privacy ? 

Could this cause a legal problem ?


Do you know what the laws are in your state ?

Even if it is not illegal is it ethical ?




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Hannah Williams is known throughout Philadelphia as HelpfulHannah – and if you’ve spent more than five minutes with her, you know exactly why. She’s an expert at anticipating people’s needs, she has a real feel for real estate, and she’s an accomplished problem-solver.

Hannah has been helping people buy and sell homes all over Philadelphia since 1984. Many of her clients purchased their first, second and even third homes with her expert help, and Hannah wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Comments (33)

Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

This is a change we have to think about. It is better to always think we may be videoed or recorded.

Sep 21, 2018 08:14 PM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

In Washington State, it is a two party consent. You have to let the other party know. Does everyone comply? Doubt it - therefore expect that you might be under surveillance. 

Sep 22, 2018 07:45 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Hello Jeff - My next post will be about audio and the legality of recording conversations . Not all state laws are the same on this topic

Hi Kathy  I was reading an article by local attorney's on the subject of audio recordings and I think some agents may be surprised

Debbie Reynolds  The question is are we violating laws by recording private conversations -- it is almost like wire tapping --is it ethical

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD We must consider are we over stepping our Ethical duties . What does your Board of Realtors think ? There are many things to consider .

Thanks for your professional input



Sep 22, 2018 09:21 AM
Jill Watts
Realty Pro, Inc. - Vancouver, WA
A Luxury Experience at Every Price Point!

Hi Hannah! Thanks for an enlightening topic.  I remind my buyers that there may be cameras and not to discuss price inside the home but even more so, I never thought about bathrooms or straightening clothes.etc. 

Good blog post. Thanks for the reminders!

Sep 29, 2018 07:45 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Hannah Williams,

Know your own states policy is imperative as a Realtor® in today's world. I always assume there are cameras everywhere, except in areas where one has a reasonable expectation of complete privacy.

Sep 30, 2018 05:03 AM
Brenda J. Andrew
Professional Realtor in Willis, TX

This is a great topic Hannah Williams .  I need to check into what our state laws are.  Several years ago our Broker told us to watch what we say when viewing a house because someone could be listening, sure enough a complaint was filed on an agent for something they said.  I usually tell buyers not to discuss anything inside the house, or even outside because the cameras are there as well.

Sep 30, 2018 05:38 AM
Ken Jones
Ken Jones Real Estate Advisor - Red Bank, NJ
Helping Agents Build a Secure Financial Future

Hannah Williams You say in one of your comments that you believe that video and audio recording of prospective buyers and their agents viewing a home is an "invasion of privacy."

Let's put things in perspective before we come to support your opinion.

First - The buyers and agents are touring someone else's home, which is supposed to be the safest, most secure place for they and their family.

In a world where children are raped and snatched from their own bedrooms and home invasions are more and more common, it seems to me to be perfectly reasonable for homeowners to want to take the precaution of having video and audio surveillance in their home.

After all, buyers and agents are all strangers to the homeowner; their motives may not be apparent, as can be attested to by the growing number of murdered agents by those posing as buyers.

Professional real estate agents should always advise their buyers to assume they are under video and audio surveillance.

As for invasion of privacy, I'm sure most homeowners feel it's their privacy being invaded by strangers in their home.

Sep 30, 2018 06:47 AM
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Very good post, and very pertinent with all the tech available today! In North Carolina video is allowed, but audio is not! Video is not allowed in bathrooms. That said,I always tell my clients to assume they are being recorded and to be very careful with their comments!

Sep 30, 2018 06:59 AM
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

It's an interesting question Hannah. I am now assuming that all properties have some type of surveillance or security system, even if you can't see it. I advise all my clients as such - then they can make their own decisions. The more expensive the property is, the more likely we are been watched and recorded.

As far as legislating this - Listings are on private property. Buyers and agents are guests. Do you really want our gvt to legislate this?

Sep 30, 2018 08:15 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Jill Watts  It is a touchy situation indeed buyers and agents do and should have have some type of privacy

Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR  I would not like to think I was on camera and being spied on as I was leaving a bathroom while showing a house .  Times sure have changed

Brenda J. Andrew  All state laws are different . Is it legal to spy on your guests that are viewing your house for sale and the agents you have been  invited . Even more important is it ethical

Thank you for you professional input


Sep 30, 2018 09:08 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Ken Jones  I am asking not telling .  Do you think it is an invasion of privacy?  When you are showing a house should you be video taped . You were invited to bring buyers in to sell the home . Do you feel as a licensed Real Estate agent you cannot be trusted ?   I asked your opinion .I also asked what the laws were in your state . 

Sorry if you misunderstood


Sep 30, 2018 09:18 AM
Ken Jones

Hannah Williams No. I didn't misunderstand you.

And, I didn't write my response to your opinion in anger; it's certainly commonly held. I only wanted to expand on your thoughts to consider the viewpoint of the seller.

To your current comment about agents being trusted . . .

While agents aren't generally people who would intentially cause harm to a property owner, the same cannot be accepted about the people to whom they show property - their buyers.

Agents typically don't do a good job vetting their buyers, particularly on their first encounter.

For example, agents typically don't verify their buyers' identity by asking to see their driver's license, as is common in rental complexes. So, the agent frequently has absolutely no idea who they're actually dealing with.

Too many agents have their judgment clouded by their blind desire to make a commission. Furthermore, agents are too afraid to ask for proper identification fearing they'll insult and lose their prospect.

Worse yet, is the fact that brokerage firms typically have absolutely ignored the issue of properly identifying prospects; again, probably out of a combination of ignorance and greed.

Finally, I bring this thought process back to the current state of our societal environment.

If you travel, you subject yourself to being groped by TSA agents and having your body scanned with metal detectors.

When you go into a court house, you have to go through metal detectors, empty your pockets, and have your carry bags x-rayed.

Do you feel as offended by these measures as you seem to be by homeowner's using video and audio surviellance? (I'm not trying to be sarcastic. Only trying to point out how we live in today's society.)

All things considered, I have absolutely no problem with homeowner's using video and audio surveillance to protect themselves.

It's not about me; it's about them and their perceived safety and comfort level.

Sep 30, 2018 09:49 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Tom Bailey Good to know what the laws are  in your state . In Pennsylvania audio is not allowed either .  I recently ran across a seller who found it humorous to record and video the buyers that came through their home . I had to tell them it was against the law to record conversations . They said they erased it no one would know .

Thank you for your  professional input


Sep 30, 2018 09:30 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR  i am not suggesting legislation . I am just asking if you know the present laws in your state .  Why should we as licensed agents not feel comfortable with our clients to speak in the house . We were invited in by the seller  The other question that comes to mind is : Is it Ethical?  

Thank you for your professional opinion


Sep 30, 2018 09:38 AM
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

I'm just thinking out loud Hannah Williams . It's something we have to deal with nowadays.... I just assume that owners can do what they want in their private properties, listed or not.

Sep 30, 2018 10:20 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR  There are laws in states . In my state you cannot record audio but can do visual . There are laws  and you should be aware

I suggest to me sellers they turn off there cameras .Most do not have a problem doing so when their prorety is being shown .

Thank you for your professional input



Sep 30, 2018 10:43 AM
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR

I'm not aware of any in my state of Arizona... 

Hannah Williams  👍

Sep 30, 2018 10:48 AM
Hannah Williams

I am sure there are some laws you should check

Oct 01, 2018 07:46 AM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

In NH you can record video but can not record voice unless it is posted. 

Sep 30, 2018 03:49 PM
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Hi Hannah Williams. This is such a 'grey area' that there is no simple answer. I advise all clients that it is possible and comments should be held until were away from a property. Most are surprised, but seem to 'get it'.

Thanks for sharing.


Sep 30, 2018 09:21 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Scott Godzyk  The same is true in Pennsylvania

Bruce Kunz It seems many are assuming they are on candid camera . Maybe we should tell our buyers to say funny things . Personally audio should not be recorded in my state .  I have no fear when I show a house except when leaving a bathroom . Hopefully the camera is not rolling inside this room . 

Thank you both for your input


Oct 01, 2018 07:55 AM
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Realty Evolution - Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

Good Morning Hannah Williams 

I have no issue with homeowners using video surveillance equipment for their property. But bathrooms are off limits. The real issue surrounds audio recording. In MA, to record audio all parties must consent to it. Thus it is illegal to record audio from surveillance equipment.

Good post.

Oct 02, 2018 06:12 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Doug Dawes I agree yet many homeowner are recording audio .  Personally I do not see the need to record buyers and agents that you have invited into your home . I can see at an Open House when strangers are walking about and have not been qualified . ... This is a subject that may not only land us in court but may touch on Ethics one day

Thank you for your professional opinion it is always welcome here


Oct 02, 2018 09:40 AM