Buyers Beware!! – Sellers May be Spying on You

Sellers today, more so than ever before, are not only using video recorders to ensure nothing gets stolen during a showing, but they’re also listening to Buyer’s comments made while inside viewing the Seller’s home.  Those comments can sabotage negotiations even before the Buyer’s offer is submitted.

Have you ever wondered why they accepted another buyer’s offer, over your own?  Maybe the other offer was higher, the other buyer offered terms more favorable to yours, or they were a stronger Buyer with a substantial down payment.  Or maybe not.  It could have been because you said something to make the seller not want to sell you the house.

Big Brother May be Watching

Just like in George Orwell’s novel 1984, you may not have the privacy in a seller’s home that you assume you have.  They may be listening or watching.  Not all sellers rely on their agent or the Buyer’s agents for some fluffy feedback any longer, when they can get it ‘Live or On Demand’.  One Seller blamed it on buyer’s agents not conveying anything useful or  insightful that made them resort to using covert tactics.  Some sellers have the mindset of ‘one-up-ism’ at all cost, doing anything to get an advantage.  Whether it is done overtly or covertly, passive or aggressive reasons, it’s happening, and the listing agent may not even be aware of it. Buyers (and their agents) should refrain from making any comments until you’re in the car or at least outside of the house.

Listening to potential buyers innocent remarks, opinions or any negatives about their house can offend the seller or give them an edge when negotiating an offer. Overhearing you pointing out needed repairs before you’ve made an offer, could make them suspect  you would be difficult during the home inspections and repair negotiation process.

Just the opposite is true as well.  Overhearing that you love the house and don’t want to lose it, gives them the edge knowing you’ll pay top dollar. Worse than that (for the Buyer) is if they overhear of another possible offer, sellers have strangely stalled for days or weeks, and all the sudden a bidding war begins.  Your agent can specify a timed response by inserting verbiage in the contract but at this juncture it’s already too late.

Always make neutral comments and never-ever say…

  • I love everything about this home!
  • House cleaning is not their strong suit (or something worse)
  • We don’t want to lose this one!
  • If they don’t agree to fix everything can we back out
  • What were they thinking when they painted the walls orange
  • This home surpasses all the other homes we’ve seen!
  • It needs a lot of work so they will have to come down
  • This is exactly what we wanted but it’s too high

Video cameras are cheap now, and baby monitors and nanny cams are readily available on the market. There is no doubt this type of eavesdropping has happened before. Of course, there is no proof as Seller’s or Listing Agents don’t exactly advertise if you’re being recorded or not, and they might not even know their client is recording the showing.

Some could argue it’s a bi-product of the technological society we live in today.  Do you think it’s an underhanded way to gain an advantage or do you think eavesdropping is fair game?

If your agent didn’t warn you of the potential for eavesdropping and to be careful what you say during a showing, that was their first disservice to you.  Have concerns about what else they have or haven’t done to protect your interest? If so AgentHarvest can help.



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