As listeners of the show know I have been looking to buy a new house for 6 months now. I have shared many of the ups and downs that go with it. I have always tried to be careful about what I said in someone’s home that we were looking at because I just assumed there was a camera on me. Well a new survey by Lending Tree shows 3 in 10 homebuyers do have a camera on when the house is being shown at an open house. Half those people use it to learn what potential buyers do and don’t like about the home. They also leave on the camera to gain information when negotiating, find out what the real estate agent is saying about the home, and to ensure safety of their home. Thirteen percent of home buyers thought a camera was on when they were in the home.
I can’t believe only thirteen percent think like I do. How could you not assume you were being watched in this day Ring door bells and home security systems with apps for the phone. I don’t blame the home seller for using this technology. I don’t think I will use it when I sell my current home because we will be completely moved out so people will be looking at an empty space. If I had valuables in the home or if I was unsure if it was staged properly I certainly would consider setting up cameras. More than half the people surveyed thought the use of cameras was unfair. How is that unfair? You are in someone else’s home. When you go to a store cameras are on you. You are on private property and the owner makes the rules. Even when we are in public cameras are watching us.
Because I assume cameras are on I always watch what I say when I am viewing a home. Even if I have no interest in the house. I don’t want to offend someone. If I am interested in the house I don’t want to show my hand or worse yet say something to piss off the owner. The time when this is really tested is when you have an accepted offer on a house and you do a home inspection. You are there to literally find everything that is wrong with the house. This is when you see if there is something that needs to be negotiated to reduce the price. You are also in the home for a longer time so the opportunity to comment on decor or cleanliness is readily available. Even the inspector and the realtor get in on the act. This is filthy, this needs to be updated, I can’t believe they smoke, etc.
When looking at homes I probably say the least out of anyone. I have told my wife on occasion to say less. I don’t want to reveal anything one way or the other. Maybe I am like that because I know how scammers try and gather information given to them and use it against a potential mark. Maybe, I am like that because I know from comedy that every word I say has power and can alter moods. My advice is always assume you are being watched when home buying. Even if you are not interested in a home don’t be rude. That is somebody’s everything and they have made their best life there. You don’t want to make people sad because their choices are not your choices. If you do like a house you can certainly be complimentary but you don’t want to be too effusive because your excitement could be used against you in negotiations. To quote the late great Kenny Rogers from his iconic song the Gambler,
“You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done”
There will be plenty of time to discuss what you have witnessed when you are no longer on the property. When you are playing for high stakes you never want to show your tell. If you listen to me and Kenny you may just improve your odds on walking away with the prize.