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Buying a home? Sellers may use cameras, microphones to spy on house hunters

By Feux Follets following x   2018 Apr 30, 6:04am 255 views   3 comments   watch   sfw   quote     share    

A growing number of home sellers are using security cameras and microphones to spy on potential buyers as they tour their houses or condos. They then may use what they hear or see as leverage in price negotiations.

The trend has been fueled by the spread over the past five years of inexpensive Wi-Fi enabled cameras and mics that homeowners can buy and set up themselves for home security. Motion sensors notify them by text or email that a visitor is in their house, and they can then observe a prospective buyer on a computer, laptop or smartphone through the Internet. Alternatively, they can view a recording later.

“Recording devices are cheaper and more readily available,” says Leslie Walker, deputy general counsel of the National Association of Realtors.

Last October, a retired civil service worker bought a three-bedroom house in Richmond Hill, Ga., for about $250,000, says Andi DeFelice, who represented the buyer as a broker at Exclusive Buyer’s Realty. After the retiree moved in, his next-door neighbor told him the seller “’knew he had a buyer the minute you walked through,’” DeFelice recounted.

Pretend the seller is home

DeFelice believes the intelligence the seller had didn’t affect the bargaining. The retiree paid $15,000 less than the asking price. But “it’s not a comfortable feeling to know that you’re being recorded,” says DeFelice, whose agency represents buyers only and who heads the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents. “I was annoyed because my client was annoyed.”

Now, she says, she routinely tells potential buyers to curb their enthusiasm while they’re in the house. “Before we walk in the door, I say, ‘Pretend the seller is home’ or ‘Pretend somebody is listening.’ Because you never know.

70% would snoop on buyers

In a survey conducted by Harris Poll for NerdWallet this month, 15% of Americans who have ever sold a home said they’ve use surveillance cameras to monitor potential home buyers. And 67% say they would use such cameras if they were selling a home that already had them.

Spying may be illegal

Yet snooping home sellers may be breaking the law.

Surveillance laws vary by state. Video monitoring is generally prohibited in places where someone has “a reasonable expectation of privacy,” according to a summary of state laws compiled by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Such privacy zones likely would not include other people’s homes. In many states, however, eavesdropping or recording audio requires the consent of at least one person being recorded, and some require the sign-off of all the parties.

In other words, audio recording likely would be legal in many states if the home seller is accompanying the buyer. But not in the more common scenario in which the only ones monitored are the house hunter and his or her broker, both unsuspecting.

Shhh! Don't say you like the house!

Gea Elika, a New York City broker, estimates that up to a third of the condominiums he shows have surveillance equipment because most of them cost at least several million dollars. A few years ago, a client saw a camera move as she toured a condo.

Victoria Henderson, a broker at Buyer’s Edge in Bethesda, Md., says she noticed a green light flash on a camera as she showed a young couple a four-bedroom house in Ellicott City about a week ago. She immediately told them, “Don’t say anything like, ‘I love this house.' " Now, she says, she also steers clear of criticizing features of a home while in it for fear of offending the owners.

Many home sellers and their brokers have a different perspective. A couple of years ago, sellers in Atlanta used a nanny cam to record what prospective buyers said because they wanted to know what they didn’t like about the house, says their agent, Jen Engel of Keller Knapp. The house had been languishing on the market.

More: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2018/04/30/home-sellers-spying-home-buyers/553818002/

#Housing #Surveillance

1   RC2006   ignore (0)   2018 Apr 30, 12:10pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

I would want to do this just to watch my stuff especially if the house isn’t vacant. Most agents don’t even watch their clients and I have seen a few agents that seem very shady.
2   WookieMan   ignore (0)   2018 Apr 30, 12:26pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

RC2006 says
I would want to do this just to watch my stuff especially if the house isn’t vacant. Most agents don’t even watch their clients and I have seen a few agents that seem very shady.

Yeah, my house isn't even for sale or vacant and I've got 6 IP cameras (mostly outside) placed for security. Most don't have audio, but I do have two inside that do. I also have 2 hidden cameras that I haven't placed. They were super cheap and I was just fucking around with them.

If you're in an area where it's cool for agents to show your house by lockbox (or even electronic lockbox, Supra, Sentrilock, etc), I'd have my exterior and interior on full surveillance. I'd skip the bathrooms, but everything else is fair game in my book.

You're spot on with the agents. I'd say it's more them being distracted and talking on the phone while they're showing a home being a complete cunt to the client they have there. But there of course are shady agents and even some buyers (thieves) that play agents to gain access to homes to steal shit.
3   Quigley   ignore (0)   2018 Apr 30, 1:15pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote        

Sounds like a great idea to me!

The first home i bought was shown to me by the owner, which although unusual was fine, and learned about neighbors and such.

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