TikTok Real Estate Agent Reveals Disturbing Truth About Cameras And Open Houses

When you're preparing yourself for buying a home, touring properties with your real estate agent, going on a self-guided tour, and visiting open houses is an exciting part of the process. Each tour you embark on brings you closer to your new abode and you'll likely encounter spaces you love, ones you can't wait to get out of, and everything in between. Without knowing it, you and your agent may be making a major mistake when you tour houses. As a warning, real estate agent Carys Eccleshall shares important advice for buyers and agents in her TikTok video. "When you are walking through these houses, be quiet. The majority of houses nowadays have cameras, and they got microphones, so they're listening to all your conversations that you're having," she warns. "Wait until you're far away from the house before you begin talking about it."

She states that it's a mistake to share opinions, good or bad, while you're on a home tour. The idea of homeowners and selling agents listening in on your conversations is certainly creepy, but buyers and buyers' agents may wonder why they should heed Eccleshall's advice. On the surface, discussing a home during your tour seems effective, and sharing good things about a home appears relatively harmless. Unfortunately, making this mistake can be the difference between your offer being accepted or refused. Below, we examine what you need to know about cameras in open houses, why this TikTok warning is so important, and how ignoring it can hurt your buyer's strategy.

Don't ignore this warning

There are so many reasons why this TikTok warning should be heeded. For starters, saying negative things during a tour can offend homeowners and sour relationships with a seller's agent. If you decide to offer on a home you've critiqued, the homeowners will already know the areas you're likely to have inspectors look at, request the sellers perform repairs on, and bargain with to request a lower price. Not only does this take away bargaining power, but the seller may choose to accept an offer from a buyer who has only positive things to say to avoid negotiations or complications. Also, since selling agents often have many homes within their portfolio, offending the listing agent can cause a strained relationship if you try to view or place an offer on one of their other properties. 

Expressing positive opinions can be just as harmful to your overall buyer's strategy. For example, statistics from Redfin showed in July 2023 that there was a shortage of homes for sale and sellers are likely to sell over their listing price. If a homeowner is aware of market conditions and hears in a recording that you're willing to offer over the asking price on a home, they are unlikely to accept an offer that is below, or at their asking price. If you're placing an offer, you don't want the homeowner or buyer's agent to know how much you're willing to pay and what concessions you're willing to make because of a camera recording. 

Staying sharp at open houses

The world of real estate requires you to be savvy at every stage throughout the entire home-buying process. Taking Eccleshall's warning and keeping quiet until after the home tour is only one part of the puzzle. There's a lot you can do to make the most of a house tour and keep your bargaining power strong. For example, take a lot of photos, videos, and notes on a tour so you can remember what you saw, and know what you need to ask the seller's agent afterward. Instead of discussing a flaw during the tour, document and discuss it later. You may realize it's a small fix and not worth bringing up, or you may realize it's something you can use as a bargaining tool. 

When you leave the tour, engage in thorough research on the home and ask questions to the seller or listing agent. For example, the previously mentioned Redfin report also said that homes were on the market for a median of 27 days. If you notice that a home has been on the market far beyond this, you'll likely want to consult notes and photos, see what flaws you can use to bargain with and tailor your offer in light of all the information. As a reminder, don't start discussing as soon as you get outside. Since security cameras are often hidden, and many can pick up sound from nearly 20 feet away, the further you take your discussion the better!