You and your buyers should walk through every home like there is a nanny cam recording your private conversations. If you are recorded, the information gleaned from your private conversations with buyers could be used against you in negotiations, warns a new video by the Washington Realtor Legal Hotline Lawyer.
Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons with the Washington Realtors says that more sellers are using nanny cameras to record video – and in some cases, even audio – when their home is on the market. The cameras may allow them to intercept conversations between agent and buyer inside the house that sellers can then use to their advantage in negotiations, such as the buyer raving about how much they loved the house and how they’d even be willing to pay full price for it, Fitzsimmons says.
“It gives a serious edge to the seller in that negotiation,” Fitzsimmons says in the video.
But it varies by state if it’s legal to record the audio of a person without him or her knowing it. For example, in Washington, it is unlawful for anyone to intercept a conversation by recorded device without permission. As such, listing agents and brokers should caution their sellers in states where it is illegal to record audio without permission, letting them know they should turn off the audio on their nanny cam prior to recording buyers in their home. Or, instruct them to consult legal counsel about its use, Fitzsimmons says.
“Buyers need to assume that when they’re walking through a sellers home that there is a nanny cam and it may be recording every conversation that occurs,” Fitzsimmons say. “You may never know if it was intercepted or not, but if the seller uses it to negotiate against the buyer, it can be a disservice to buyers.” Fitzsimmons urges buyer agents to tell their buyers that when they look around the house to make notes of anything they want to talk about and then have those conversations after they leave the sellers home.
Watch the video below from Washington Realtor Legal Hotline Lawyer on what to do if you suspect a nanny cam in a listing.