Are Home Sellers Watching Your Showing?

Video cameras mounted on a brick wall watching two women.

Have you ever been at a showing and noticed cameras in the home and wondered if they were being used to watch you as you look over the home?

Although it might sound odd it’s actually a more common practice than one might think. Sellers like to keep an eye on you as they let strangers into their homes during the showing phase of the process.

The reasons for recording audio or video footage of potential buyers vary from seller to seller.

Understanding the different motivations and being aware that you may be being recorded is the first step in knowing what to expect during your next showing.

Can Sellers Legally Record Home Buyers?

Binoculars used to spy on homeownersThe first question many of us might have is “can sellers legally record me without my consent?

The answer is yes.

Sellers are allowed to record what goes on inside your home even if the people in it are not aware like many home buyers are.

One-Party Consents in North Carolina

Realtor Neal Johnson said sellers may have security cameras in their homes, and they are legally allowed to record video in North Carolina. Johnson said even though North Carolina is a one-party consent state — meaning you can record someone without their knowledge — there are restrictions.

“When the house is empty, and the only two people in the home are the buyer and the buyer’s agent, the seller is not a party in that conversation so you can’t have any audio recording,” Johnson said.

He said sellers should make their agents aware of surveillance features before they list their homes so that agents can tell prospective buyers. Johnson said even without audio recording, it is possible for a seller to get clues from video.

Sellers Might Be Spying

The motivation sellers have for spying is not the same across the board. There are a few that seem to be the most common.

  • The majority of sellers say they use the information to help them find out what buyers like or dislike about the home.
  • The second most common reason is to help the seller at the negotiation table if things move forward.
  • Then there are the sellers that are concerned about the safety of their property, especially if it is a second home or vacation property.
  • Another segment of sellers says they want to record to find out what the agent is saying about them and or the house.

What Home Sellers Should Know Before Recording Showings

Video camera surveillance warning symbolBefore home sellers pull out their video cameras, they need to consider the other side of recorded and how that can impact the buyer.

If the buyer becomes aware they were recorded during a home showing, they often lose interest in the home. Some buyers may feel they no longer have any power to negotiate or speak up about contingencies.

Other buyers feel that it is an invasion of privacy and starts the relationship off on the wrong foot, keeping them from wanting to work on their due diligence with that seller.

Home Showing Etiquette for Recording

As it becomes more and more prevalent to be recorded during a home showing, it is safe to assume home buyers are being watched or listened to by the seller.

Although it is good etiquette for sellers to disclose they are recording the showings, that is not always the case.

Moving forward it’s a good practice to keep your poker face until you are out of the subject property. Then once you and your agent are able to talk privately to really go over the property with this ultimate checklist for buyers.

About the Author
I believe in creating your own adventure. Writing your own story. That’s why, in the middle of a global pandemic, my wife and I decided to move our family from the comforts of our small South Georgia community to the magical mountains of Boone, NC. After several years of exploring, we’ve found that we’ve only scratched the surface of all there is to discover! We’ve fallen in love with the rivers, trails, and trees, and with the people that make Boone such a special place to live.

My wife, Erin, and I are parents to three amazing children (Scout, River, & Forest) and two mostly-amazing dogs (Lewis & Remus). We spend our free time paddling the rivers in the summer, snowboarding and skiing in the winter, and eating and drinking at the most amazing local restaurants year-round. So, if you’d like assistance creating your next adventure, and you hear the High Country calling, please let me know! I’d love to help you write the next chapter of your story.