Beware of unguarded talk
That's the meaning behind the old idiom "Loose Lips Sink Ships." The old World War II poster gave advice that can still be quite useful today. Especially if you're in the house buying game. We all know that technology advances every day. And the widespread use is one reason for that never ending growth.
While not everyone uses all technology there are certainly items and services that are commonplace and we all think of. Netflix, Kindle & Dropbox are all household names. These products are all nice and offer easy opportunities to share files or be entertained. However none of these should make you worry about unguarded talk.
Enter the Smart Home
Those people who like technology, the nerdy types, or technophiles are very aware of smart home technology. Things like the Nest Thermostat, or Awair Air Quality Monitor and of course the myriad of cameras. One of my favorite cameras the Canary All-In-One Security System also monitors air quality.
These cameras are great for home security, checking in on Sparky and watching home buyers walk through your house. Oh, and hear every word they may say. These cameras come in many different shapes and sizes. Some look like cameras, some not as much. The Canary model I mentioned above looks a lot more like a speaker than a camera.
While the smart home movement makes it easier for home sellers to snoop, it's nothing new. I've had sellers (unknown to me until after the fact) leaving out recording devices on the kitchen counter for showings. It's important to remember many smart phones can record audio with the screen off. This is very convenient for taking notes in a college lecture or monitoring buyers in your home.
Baby monitors are another great way for sellers to eavesdrop on you. They typically have a short range but that's no problem. There are plenty of sellers who hang out next door during showings. Sometimes they'll even forget to mention they're the homeowner of the house you're looking at and not the neighbor when they're hanging out outside.
Developing a Negotiation Strategy
Since we now understand that the sellers could be lurking around any corner (electronically) it's important not to discuss your negotiation strategy in the house. If you tell your agent you'd like to start your offer at $250,000 but would be willing to go up to $265,000 and the seller has something monitoring your conversation.... guess what you'll end up paying?
Maybe you keep the price out of your conversations but you gush repeatedly about how the kitchen layout or master bath is just absolutely perfect and no matter how many houses you've seen there hasn't been one exactly like you wanted... except this one. In many cases that's just the same as saying I'll pay whatever because I haven't been able to find what I want anywhere else.
At a minimum you want to discuss negotiations with your agent outside of the house and if neighbors are around at their office or on the phone would likely be best. Your agent owes you confidentially whereas the seller their agent are looking to find any nugget they can to get you to pay the highest price possible.
A lot of buyers are turned off by the idea that sellers may be monitoring your tour of their home. And that's understandable. However it's important to know that in KS, MO and many states there are no laws stating you have an expectation of privacy in a house that's not your own.
I can also attest that embracing the smart home movement will not only make things a bit easier for you (I mean who really wants to get off the couch to turn up the thermostat) but it also adds value to your home. Especially with the millennial buyers in the market today.
I hope you found this information helpful and I can give you a lot more info on smart home technology if you're interested. The amount of gadgets available is pretty astounding. There's certainly something out there you'll love!
***While I've often linked to products on Amazon before it's important to know that now we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites