Realtors, Clients, and Nanny Cams at Open Houses
December 5, 2018 |
On August 10, 1948, Allen Funt brought the funny, popular, and long-running show “Candid Camera” to television. It turns out Mr. Funt was good at predicting the future because cameras are all around us these days. We can’t walk a step without seeing someone take a photo or video with their cell phone. Or watch the news without being shown snippets from traffic and surveillance videos. Cameras are everywhere and, more often than not, we are unaware of them. Realtors need to be more mindful of cameras before they find themselves in front of the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing.
Enter the nanny cam and its ever-growing popularity. Originally, the nanny cam was an extra layer of security for parents who left their children with a babysitter. They could later watch the video and be reassured their children were well cared for. The nanny cam has evolved far beyond that and is now used by homeowners to monitor the inside of their homes around the clock. Nanny cam videos are high definition, in color, with sound, and capable of producing a still shot. How many Realtors think about this when showing homes to their clients or holding open houses?
A smart Realtor should instruct his clients on how to conduct themselves when viewing homes. He should tell them, “If you can’t say something nice then don’t say it at all.” They can discuss the pros and cons of the property later when they are back in his car. He should warn his clients not to have a conversation about how much they have been pre-qualified for as opposed to what they plan to offer. And, the Realtor should make sure his clients understand they have no business opening dresser drawers, medicine cabinets, jewelry boxes, or any other areas of the home regarded as private. If the homeowner has a nanny cam, then they have just seen and heard everything. Let’s imagine that the Realtor and his client engaged in a conversation about the seller’s poor taste in decorating and how they intend to submit a “lowball” offer all under the watchful eye of the nanny cam. How well is that offer to purchase going to be received by the seller after they’ve seen the video?
Sadly, Realtors have been disciplined because they were caught on video at Open Houses eating food from the homeowner’s refrigerator, having drinks from the seller’s liquor cabinet, providing lockbox codes to prospective buyers and, conduct much worse. Nanny cams bring a whole new meaning to Mr. Funt’s famous television show. The series was a hit because people found humor in watching the reactions of others as they were unknowingly caught on camera in various situations. There will be nothing humorous about Realtors being mandated to appear before the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing due to videos eternally documenting their misconduct.