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Arizona realtors using security cameras on buyers

Buyers beware: That home security camera might not just be a selling point for the home you're considering for purchase. It could be a tool that the seller's realtor is using to quietly record whatever you say or do while you're viewing the property.

Whether you're conscious of a security camera or not, realtors are advising their buyers to be cautious about what they say while in someone's home. They indicate that using a security camera to record potential buyers is becoming a common trend -- and buyers seldom disclose the tactic.

This could put buyers at a significant disadvantage when it comes time for negotiations. Since sellers may know exactly how bad a buyer wants a property, they can use that to their advantage to hold out for the full asking price, flout requests for repairs and so on.

Additionally, while it's true that some sellers will appreciate honest feedback (like the fact that their kitchen floor needs replaced or the paint job is dated), other sellers may react badly if a buyer says anything at all derogatory during a home viewing. They could then refuse to sell the property to that buyer even if he or she genuinely wants to buy it and makes a good offer.

Adding to the problem is that the law is a little fuzzy on the legality of the recordings. According to the national governing body for realtors, Arizona allows recordings even where a person's expectations of privacy are high as long as there's a notice. There are few restrictions on recordings in less-private settings. Buyers cannot expect much privacy while viewing another person's home or attending an open house.

What does this predict for the future? As one realtor said, there's really no such thing as privacy these days. Anyone hoping to negotiate a purchase or lease on any type of property can expect to be on a very candid camera -- at any time.

Source: ABC 15 Arizona, "Valley realtors using cameras to watch potential buyers," Kim Tobin, May 05, 2018

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