Agent beware: That seller's home may have a nanny cam

Homebuyers typically walk into for-sale homes and comment on everything they see, expressing their excitement or disappointment to their agent. But that’s a mistake, according to Annie Fitzsimmons, legal hotline lawyer for Washington Realtors.

Many, many sellers have nanny cams, often with the capability to record audio as well as video. That can give sellers a serious edge in negotiations if they hear buyers talk about how much they love the house or would be willing to pay full price if necessary, she said.

“The wise counsel to your buyer then would be: ‘Buyer, look around the house … carry a pen and paper with you, make note of the things you want to talk about and save your exuberance, save your questions even, for after we leave the seller’s home. (When we) get back in the car, we can talk about all this stuff,'” Fitzsimmons said.

Sellers aren’t off the hook either. In Washington state, it is illegal for any person to intercept the conversation of another person by recorded device without that person’s written permission. Therefore, listing agents should advise their sellers to turn off the audio function of their nanny cam before opening the house to buyers, or seek legal counsel, Fitzsimmons said.