By Victoria Reviel • 2018 President

Do you feel that teddy bear in the corner watching you? You may be right. Many homes now have multiple surveillance cameras at the front door, inside and on the grounds that record everything that happens. And yes, they are watching prospective buyers walk through their home.

In July, TREC fined a salesperson $2,500 and placed him on probation for rummaging through the seller’s master bedroom dresser drawers.

It is important during your buyer consultation to set the guidelines for property showings. Make sure they understand that respect must be given to the seller’s home, personal items and property. Do not forget to inform your buyers before entering any home that there maybe visual and audio cameras present. Remind them not to talk about financing, offer price, their dream home, comments on the contents of the home, the good, bad or the ugly. Have the buyer write down any questions or concerns regarding the property on a pad of paper or the back of the buyer MLS Sheet. This makes everyone comfortable and you can relax after the showings to discuss the viewed properties.

As for the listing agents, it is important to understand that the seller may simply feel nervous about having strangers in their home, amid their possessions, and want some measure of security. Other ways clients can obtain this is to make sure the property is secure, the home is depersonalized, and medications are securely put away. While at it, don’t forget to remove valuables and pack up anything that can be broken or damaged; weapons need to be secured. Pets should also be secured for the buyers and your beloved pet’s safety.

According to the National Association of REALTORS, as many as 50 million homes are projected to have at least one Wi-Fi camera in their home by 2022! NAR recommends that listing agents ask home sellers if they’re using surveillance equipment. If yes, they should tell the buyer’s agent or include a notice in the MLS agent remarks so that all REALTORS can be aware and inform their buyer. 

As a REALTOR, it is your job to make sure your clients are well informed of the ramifications of recording, or being recorded. If you are unsure of how to proceed, please speak with your broker, or reach out to the TAR Legal Hotline.  RL