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Big Brother: A little-known way that homebuyers are losing thousands of dollars

As I previewed a property in South Philly with my real estate partner, my movement through the unit is typical. I walk and talk my opinion. This day she turned to me and gives me a BIG “SHHHH . . . you don’t know if they’re listening to us.” I looked back at her and said “so what and if they are listening. I voice my opinion and if they don’t like it then maybe they need to hear it. You know it’s supposed to be disclosed that there’s a recording device inside the property. I am sure there are some who thinks it’s their right since it’s their home.”

Interesting thought in this era of Alexa, Google Home, iHome, and every other listening/recording device out there. I actually own 2 Alexas, and never really thought if she was listening to me, but she is . . . isn’t she. So let’s talk about what this means. Yes, a seller gets “real-time” buyer thoughts both good and bad. What does this do to the buyer though? It removes that veil of anonymity and it removes the buyer’s ability to negotiate freely. The seller now knows if you love it, what you think of their furnishings, and even potentially what your price ceiling might be if you happen to say it while viewing that property. Take a look

Once again recently, when showing property in DC I approached the front door. I saw that Ring doorbell. As we entered there were the cameras way up in the corner of the rooms. The sellers knew when we came in, where we were in the house and if we were to speak what exactly what we were saying. My instinct kicked in and immediately sent a text message to my buyers standing next to me. “Please don’t speak to each other or to me as we look at this rowhome and please do not touch anything. Take notes. We can talk in the car.” As it turns out they loved the house. We wrote the offer and we ratified. My buyers got their deal and negotiations went smoothly. But would it have been different if they had expressed their thoughts as most buyers do when viewing a property? We will never know.

Next time you want to move to a new rental or purchase your next home. Stop and think before you speak because it might cost you thousands of dollars if you are not careful because Big Brother is now everywhere even in your home.

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