Home Sellers May Have You Under Surveillance

June 2, 2016

Your conversations might not be so private when you're on a home showing with your buyer. Reports are showing a rise in sellers using surveillance cameras around their home, from those hidden in hallways to a camera placed in that smiling teddy bear in the corner.

Home surveillance cameras are allowing owners to monitor the activity inside and outside their home in real-time. Multiple listing systems don’t require disclosure of such recording devices, real estate professionals say. But agents say they’re increasingly spotting them around homes, according to a recent Bankrate.com article.

Some real estate professionals say they aren’t creeped out by the surveillance cameras. In fact, they say it’s a positive thing to have in homes for sale, particularly to deter any thefts during home showings.

“There’s nothing wrong with it,” Jose Tijam, a real estate professional at Grand Avenue Realty in Los Angeles, told Bankrate.com. He has seen Nest and Canary cameras turned on in sellers’ homes. “The setup is easy and they’re motion-triggered, so if something moves, that sends an alert to the home owner and they can use their smartphone to see what’s happening in their home. … I don’t think home owners are doing it to be nefarious. It’s just that it’s their home, and they want to see what’s going on in their home.”

Some home sellers also may be using the cameras to find out what real estate professionals and buyers have to say about their home.

“It’s curiosity, but also making sure the agent is pointing out things [the seller] thinks they should point out and speaking about the house the way [the seller] thinks they should be speaking about the house,” says Janine Acquafredda, associate broker at House-N-Key Realty in New York's Brooklyn borough. But Acquafredda says the cameras can leave a bad impression with potential home buyers if they think the sellers are snooping on them.

“No one likes being followed around,” says Acquafredda.

Source: “Buyers Beware: Some Home Sellers Use Home Surveillance Cameras to Spy on You,” Bankrate.com (May 27, 2016)