Are You Being Watched? …Buyers Beware

It’s almost a given today that sellers are watching and listening in on prospective buyers as they walk through their homes.  In the era of cheap video cameras, their presence has become commonplace.  From electronic door locks with built-in video cameras to baby monitors placed throughout homes, cameras are turning up everywhere these days. I’ve even stumbled upon video monitors in the basement of home I was showing where I hadn’t even noticed a single camera.

As a buyer, it’s crucial to be aware of this. Could you imagine a football team sneaking a camera into the opposing team’s huddle?  The other team wouldn’t stand a chance. The same goes for selling a home. If the sellers knew exactly how much a buyer liked their home, the chances of them lowering the price would pretty much drop to zero.

Nowadays, when I’m out showing homes, I just assume that I’m being watched, and I always warn my clients to be careful about what they say and do while we’re in the house.

Here are a few things to keep in mind during your next showing appointment:

  • I know it’s almost impossible to hide your excitement when you’ve walked into a house that speaks to you, but you’ve got to play it cool and keep that excitement masked as much as possible.
  • While you won’t be able to help discussing what you like and don’t like, try to be discreet and keep any details to a minimum. Even if you don’t mind replacing those heinous kitchen countertops, you don’t want the sellers to know it’s something you’d be willing to do.
  • Never say things like, “This is everything we’ve been looking for” or “We don’t need to do a thing to this house, it’s perfect!” That large stained-glass window in the kitchen that you absolutely love? Well, it may have been a sticking point with another buyer, so don’t show any of your cards.
  • Never discuss whether you want to make an offer, and certainly don’t discuss how much you’d be willing to pay. That’s negotiation suicide.
  • Be respectful of the seller’s home and possessions. You’re going to see some terrible decorating and some parts of the home that haven’t been maintained to your standards but remember, people often view their homes as an extension of themselves and the slightest knock can cause them to dig in their heels.
  • Keep an eye on the kiddos. Kids often get more excited than anyone when it comes to exploring a home and I’ve had situations where little ones have grabbed food from the pantry and inadvertently walked away with toys (I’ve had to return these to sellers from time to time). While, this probably won’t scuttle a deal, it can be pretty embarrassing. I once had another agent ask me to make sure that the kids don’t chase the cat when we came back for a second look. How did she know that? …oh.

This may all sound a little silly and probably a little paranoid, but if you keep an eye out, you’ll simply be amazed at how many cameras you start to notice.

So, be careful about what you say and how you act in a home because it could cost you during negotiations, or at the very least, cause some embarrassment.


Considering buying or selling a home? Here are a few resources and related articles:

Seller Resources

How to Get the Most for Your Home – Part 1: Preparation
Atlanta Real Estate Predictions for 2017
Why Photography is so Important in Atlanta’s Real Estate Market
Dear Real Estate Agent, What Were You Thinking? How to NOT sell your home…
How to Get the Most for Your Home – Part 2: Positioning and Promoting your Home

Buyer Resources

First-time Homebuyer’s Guide
Atlanta Homebuyer FAQs
5 Tips for Buying a New Construction Home
Atlanta Real Estate Predictions for 2017
Are You Being Watched? …Buyers Beware