Today's technology has made in-home security cheap and easy to set up surveillance cameras, hidden cameras and nanny cams in a home. And when it comes time to sell your home you may already have security cameras set up all over your home.
So now your thinking..... maybe I can tap into my cameras in my home at work on my cell phone and see and hear what homebuyers are saying and doing in my home!! Maybe you'll gain a negotiating edge that will get you thousands more for your home!!
The Use Of Video Cameras During Home Showings
This begs the question, should you flip that switch and turn on the video cams and microphones so you can spy on your homebuyers?
Before you do realize that what you are doing may be illegal and you may be committing a felony.
Generally, the use of video alone is acceptable in areas except where one would normally expect privacy, like a bathroom. And this holds true on whether your buyers are aware they are being watched or not.
Audio is where things can get sticky. First, there are federal laws concerning the use of equipment to intercept or record audio then you have to layer state laws on top of it.
Many laws regarding "wiretapping" talk about interception and recording. Interception is merely tapping into a private conversation by means of a device. This means you could be in violation of laws by merely listening in and not even recording your buyers private conversations.
If you have consent and at least one party is informed that you are listening in then it may be ok to do so. In 11 states it is required that all parties consent to be recorded or listened to.
Best Practices For Monitoring Buyers In Your Home
Before you decide to tap into your home video surveillance system or use a hidden camera or spy camera during visits from potential home buyers there are several things to consider.
- It can be illegal, depending on how you go about it. I would recommend consulting with an attorney first so you don't get yourself in trouble.
- Disclose the use of audio and video during showings. Make agents and buyers aware they are being monitored and recorded.
- Post prominently that the property is under video and audio surveillance.
- To make it legal, consent is usually required. Consider having anyone visiting your home sign a consent form. This will alleviate any issues arising from the use of home surveillance during a buyer's visit.
Is it Necessary To Spy On Your Buyers?
Before deciding to tap into your showings, whether fully disclosed or not, double-check your motives. Are the reasons legitimate or are you just being controlling or nosey or are you truly trying to protect your home?
First off, don't leave anything of significant value in your home. That gets rid of security issues, to begin with.
Second, homebuyers find it creepy and sinister!!
If it is disclosed they are being recorded or viewed it is still very unsettling and uncomfortable.
When you are selling a home it is important your homebuyers mentally take ownership of a home. They envision seeing their lives in your home and it fits their lifestyle and they feel safe. The longer they linger in your home the more interested they generally are.
But if you decide to record your homebuyers they think about what if they are doing or saying something wrong, look for the cameras and wonder why you feel the need to watch them remotely or record them. They don't feel welcome and they rush through the showing not really viewing the home.
And more often than not when we get back to the car they say that was creepy.
That is not leaving a great impression.
Summary On Using Hidden Cameras During Viewings
If you decide to remotely watch and listen or record your home buyers during showings make sure you are doing it legally. Consult an attorney and get permission from the potential buyers and buyer's agents.
A recent survey by Lending Tree says that 1 out of 3 home sellers has used hidden cameras to monitor home buyers during showings. If audio is used consent this could lead to trouble
My experience so far is buyers hate knowing they are being remotely monitored and listened to. It leaves a dark cloud over the entire showing. Make sure you have a legitimate motive for doing it otherwise it could hinder the sale of your home.
Can I Spy On My Homebuyers With Hidden Cameras? is provided by Kevin Vitali a Haverhill MA REALTOR covering Essex and Northern Middlesex counties in Massachusetts. Thinking of buying or selling call Kevin at 978-360-0422