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Residential real estate sellers may use cameras to spy on buyers

When people go to an open house to check out a property, they may not be concerned that something suspicious is going on. However, recent reporting shows that many residential real estate buyers are being watched by sellers who install microphones and security cameras to keep tabs on their reactions and conversations. Delaware buyers should be aware of this trend, especially when having sensitive conversations during a viewing.

This trend is enabled by increasingly affordable technology that allows for Wi-Fi enabled cameras and microphones to be easily set up around a home for security. These technologies allow a homeowner to view a family touring their home in real time or later on. However, the legality of filming and recording people without their consent may be in question

According to a recent survey, 67 percent of people say they would use security surveillance to keep an eye on prospective buyers if they were selling residential real estate. In fact, 15 percent of respondents who had sold a home in the past admitted to doing so. Buyers should be aware of the presence of this equipment and consider not giving too much away during their viewing, as gushing over a house while being watched by the owner can affect the negotiation process.

The legality of this can vary depending on state surveillance laws. It is a controversial practice but it is increasingly widespread. In any Delaware residential real estate transaction, both buyers and sellers should work with a lawyer who is aware of standards specific to their state.

Source: CNBC, "Buying a home? Sellers may use cameras, microphones to spy on house hunters", Paul Davidson, April 30, 2018

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