Advice: Stifle exuberance or critiques when touring a home for sale


You might spend hours scrolling through photos of homes for sale. Some offer professional photos that show each room in the home in an almost model home-like fashion. Others may display just the parts they want you to see so you are tempted to see it in person.

Realtor’s Lisa Marie Conklin says, “Touring your dream home during an open house or private showing is pretty exciting, especially if it looks even better than the listing photos. Then again, you might discover the house smells bad or has uneven floors.”

But beware. “Good or bad, it’s in your best interest to keep a tight lip about your thoughts. Many homeowners have doorbell cameras, baby monitors, surveillance cameras, and voice-controlled smart speakers like Alexa devices—and they could be watching and listening as you tour their home.”

While you may not like the idea of being watched, it makes sense that sellers using those cameras and speakers as strangers saunter through their homes. According to a Lending Tree survey, about a third of home sellers used hidden cameras when they showed their homes. But half of them said it was for more than security reasons. They used the cameras to gather intel on buyer feedback.

Conklin’s offers a bit about what you should know about spy cams before you go house hunting. First off, while cameras and listening devices are common these days, it’s crucial to understand that this doesn’t automatically grant sellers the right to record video and audio of homebuyers while they’re touring a home. “The laws vary from state to state, so if you’re a seller, consult your agent and attorney before you activate any device before a showing,” she says.

But legal or not, should you watch and listen as prospective buyers poke, prod, celebrate, or judge your home? “If you’re recording to keep an eye on your valuables, or you want to use the ‘drop-in’ feature on your Alexa to get the scoop on what buyers think of your place, global real estate advisor Chelsea Werner cautions owners to tread lightly.

Conklin cites one example, where a Reddit user said the use of Alexa devices during their home tour made them pass on a listing. “This happened recently when we were visiting a home that had Alexa devices in each room that kept turning on when we would enter. I am 90 percent sure they were running a real estate application that could monitor our dialogue!” they posted. “They were also speaking to us explaining all the benefits of the home, but I had my human Realtor with me so it was needless and redundant IMO. Felt like I was in 1984 and we ended up passing on that specific house …”

This is just one example of why Werner strongly cautions sellers with devices to use full disclosure at the get-go. “If the seller wants to watch the activity from a camera, I tell them to make sure the camera or smart home device is prominently displayed so buyers can see they are being filmed,” she says.

Conklin also tells the story of Baltimore home shoppers Skutch M. and his girlfriend Allie K.. They toured more than 50 homes before their offer was accepted but were hyper-aware of cameras and mindful of the conversations they had in other people’s for-sale homes.

“It was definitely a strange Big Brother-esque feeling; but in some cases, it was someone’s home that they were still living in, so we understood,” says Skutch. So the couple played it cool while walking through each house, trying not to show too much emotion either way. Yet, they also admit they occasionally considered using the cameras to their advantage.

“We were more tempted to talk negatively and insert some leverage into the situation if anything,” he says.

Even if it’s an honest observation, however, it could put you at a disadvantage as well. Sellers are attached to their homes and can take things personally. You don’t want to lose the opportunity to be considered when making an offer over something that might be misconstrued. So the general advice is to hold your tongue until you get inside your car, as exterior cameras could also be watching.

Conklin also points out seeing over exuberance at bay as well. “When you discover the home you’ve been drooling over is even better in person, it might be hard to keep your oohs and aahs to yourself. After all, wouldn’t the seller be pleased to know you love their house? Maybe, but there’s some good reason to dial back your enthusiasm a notch when cameras are watching.”

Don’t forget that negotiating on a home is not unlike a card game, and agents often remind their clients that the last thing they would want to do is accidentally show their cards to the seller. “If you try to negotiate repairs or price reductions later, you might also give up some bargaining power. Play it cool when posting on Facebook, too, as you never know when the buyers (who may know your name from among a list of multiple offers) look you up on social media. If you post that you just found the perfect home and how excited you are, you might hurt your chances of going under contract or staying under contract.

So do you simply zip up your commentary completely when house hunting? While there is nothing wrong with sharing opinions, feedback, or asking questions within reason, less is more.

Realtor, TBWS

All information furnished has been forwarded to you and is provided by thetbwsgroup only for informational purposes. Forecasting shall be considered as events which may be expected but not guaranteed. Neither the forwarding party and/or company nor thetbwsgroup assume any responsibility to any person who relies on information or forecasting contained in this report and disclaims all liability in respect to decisions or actions, or lack thereof based on any or all of the contents of this report.

J.C. Mier The Mortgage GOAT

Branch Manager/ Loan Officer

NMLS: 258527

Mortgage Goat LLC

130 N Preston rd #318, Prosper TX 75078

Company NMLS: 258527 /133739

Office: 469-628-4544

Cell: 469-628-4544




J.C. Mier The Mortgage GOAT


Branch Manager/ Loan Officer

NMLS: 258527

Cell: 469-628-4544

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