Fear sells. The speed at which surveillance devices became "the norm" after 9/11 is mind-boggling; from satellites to cell phones, cameras are rolling. Out shopping for a home, always assume that you are being recorded when you step onto that property. The idea that home surveillance devices are now essential is marketing gold, not to be fully ensconced in "protection" could easily result in your or your loved one's demise. The result? Continuous growth of home security systems, from Ring to full video/audio surveillance; inside and out. Homebuyers are being recorded and there's no obligation for anyone to disclose that.

Smile for the Camera

Under federal and Georgia law, some types of surveillance are legal, and others are not. Whether the surveillance is only video, or whether any audio surveillance is involved makes a difference. The question and definition of privacy is front and center, specifically whether a reasonable expectation of privacy exists.  Conversations and actions that are considered public can be recorded under federal and state law. If conversations and actions are private or occur in a place where the parties had a reasonable expectation of privacy, then there are restrictions. Seth Weissman, general counsel for the GA Association of Realtors explains:

At this time, there is no duty on the part of a listing agent to determine whether the house is equipped with hidden recording devices, nor is there a duty to disclose the existence of these devices. Further, since such devices in a listed home are allowed, there is no duty on the property owner to disclose.

Assume You Are Being Recorded

As a homebuyer, just assume your are being recorded and practice discussion discipline while in and around a home. "Less said, best said" or "loose lips, sink ships" or just "zip it"; best to walk a home and have any deep discussion out of camera and/or mic range. Buyers can easily compromise their position if they appear too eager or indicate a strong desire for the home. Or, negative buyer observations may be taken personally by a seller and cause friction during negotiations. Some buyers may find cameras, especially those inside, creepy and off-putting; a possible deal might be lost in that way.

Some sellers will alert buyers to active cameras or disable them for showings, others won't. One of the main arguments is that cameras can deter theft and vandalism; perhaps. Some sellers want them so then can see, unfiltered, what buyers say about their home. The reasons vary, but it's best to simply look for them and/or assume that recording devices are present and operating. And remember, keep chatter to a minimum and chat with your agent well off the property.


The Hank Miller Team puts 30+ years of full time sales & appraisal experience to work for you. Act with complete confidence & make sound, decisive real estate decisions. 678-428-8276 and info@hmtatlanta.com

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