Silence is Golden When Showing Homes to Buyers

Reblogger Eva B. Liland Century 21 Doug Anderson
Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Doug Anderson DRE# 01790856

Who would have thought, only a few years back, that your voice could be recorded by the seller? In today's world, it's becoming more and more common with today's smart technology. Not only your voice but your body movements as well. Gone are the days while touring a home, that the buyers could speak freely about their likes and dislikes.

Following is a very interesting article about the subject.

Image result for security cameras in a house

Original content by Jeff Dowler, CRS CA DRE #01490977

Silence May be Golden When Showing Homes to Buyers

 

I had a number of showings today and the smart home technology (Ring Video doorbell, Nest Thermostat, a couple of devices that appeared to be Alexa-type devices) was immediately noticeable in one home.

 

It was another vivid reminder to comment to my client that we needed to be cautious about our conversations while in that house, and other homes we were to see. Maybe there was nothing to worry about...maybe there was! The buyer got it immediately.

 

Smart technology that allows homeowners to listen and/or record activity in their homes…including Realtors showing them…is becoming pretty commonplace, and it’s smart to keep in mind that silence may be golden between you and your buyers in any house, whether you see cameras and other potential recording equipment or not.

 

And even standing outside the front door and having a conversation could be an issue.

 

security cameraBear in mind that equipment may be rather obvious...a tell-tale blinking red light...or not noticeable at all.

 

Being silent may be stretching it a bit, and an innocuous conversation about the home might be fine.

 

But certainly, as a buyer, talking about how much you love the property, that you are considering possibly making an offer, and similar comments that could threaten your negotiations are best left to another place and time.

 

Silence IS golden when and where you might be observed, or worse, overheard.

 

I’m no expert but I suspect all states regulate the use of audio and video recording in one way or another, including issues like one and two-party consent. No doubt the laws vary substantially, so it’s important to find out what the requirements are in your area. What might be allowed in one state might not be permitted at all, say here in California for example.

 

And there’s also the issue of disclosure. If your state requires it, a seller may need to visibly disclose that such equipment is in use or present, or at least that may be a recommendation. The CA listing agreement addresses this briefly, stating that buyers may not be aware they might be recorded by audio or visual devices the seller has installed (e.g., “nanny cams”) but sellers are advised – note, they are NOT required – to post a notice disclosing the presence of security devices.

 

It’s another challenge to be aware of, since we want, and need, to have dialogues with our buyer clients about what they like and don’t like about homes. Buyers typically have questions about properties they are touring that need answers, and comment about what they like, and don’t like (wouldn’t the sellers love to hear THAT conversation?). Of course we want to provide the best guidance we can and point out things they should be aware of.

 

But in our competitive market, when homes can disappear fairly quickly, buyers may, in their excitement, start talking about making an offer, and at a particular price, or might wonder out loud “how much do you think we should offer?”. As agents we want to get their feedback on the home.

 

That’s all well and good, but it’s not information you want to share with a seller, much as they might love to hear it!

 

Rather than risk sharing information that could jeopardize the buyer’s ability to negotiate, should they decide to do so, better keep in mind that silence is golden. Just because the state law may govern what a homeowner can and cannot do, and the need to disclose, does not mean they will.

 

It’s obviously a complex issue that will only get more complicated as laws changes, MLSs impose regulations, and court cases test the existing laws, and possible lawsuits between buyers and sellers, and potentially agents.

 

Here’s what NAR has to say (note it’s from 2016).

 

Any advice or experiences you care to share?

 

 

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Rainmaker
3,985,513
William Feela
WHISPERING PINES REALTY - North Branch, MN
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I tell the buyers to not say a word.  Each gets a tablet to write on

Nov 21, 2018 04:59 PM #1
Rainmaker
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Eva B. Liland Century 21 Doug Anderson
Century 21 Doug Anderson - Lancaster, CA
Glad to be of Service 661-714-1643

Hmm, that is an interesting approach to the matter, William Feela .

Nov 22, 2018 02:40 AM #2
Rainer
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Indy Home Vault
Indy Home Vault - Westfield, IN
Indy Home Vault

nice post!

Nov 22, 2018 04:47 AM #3
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Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Best to know who might be watching, and listening. Does make one pause, right? 

Feb 10, 2019 07:15 AM #4
Rainmaker
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Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

I like to ask the buyers to write down the pros and cons of the house while they are walking through the house. THen discuss the list in the car.

Feb 24, 2019 06:05 PM #5
Rainmaker
2,132,695
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Eva B. Liland with Century 21 Doug Anderson - yes, this is a fact now.  Smart cameras are everywhere.  Discuss back in the car.

Sep 08, 2019 06:47 AM #6
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MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Eva, you're right, "your voice (and movements) could be recorded by the seller"nowadays.

Oct 27, 2019 07:32 PM #8
Rainmaker
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Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Eva, for sharing this reblog selection.

Feb 21, 2020 07:38 AM #9
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks for sharing this, Eva. I'm flattered. It's certainly something we all need to pay attention to and counsel our buyers.

Jeff

Feb 21, 2020 08:11 AM #10
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Rainmaker
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Eva B. Liland Century 21 Doug Anderson

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