Chances are you know how to finish that statement! In today’s world of modern technology, that rule applies to house hunting as well. There are so many different technological products available to homeowners that a Buyer should always be aware that someone could be watching or listening to them. Some items I’ve seen include cameras, digital thermostats, window blinds, Ring™ doorbells and exterior cameras which can be accessed remotely. As my father always reminded me while growing up, “don’t say anything you wouldn’t be proud to see on a billboard in the center of town.” That was back before social media made it easy to type before thinking, or even worse, type before thinking and then post it anonymously!
Once a “home” hits the market, it becomes a commodity or a “house,” that Buyers look through as though they’re searching through a rack of clothing. Color isn’t right, size isn’t right, or they may like the design, but not the pattern. It feels personal to the Seller who has often spent years creating their own slice of paradise and even the proudest Seller can have their feelings hurt if they can hear a Buyer’s negative comments. I understand, it’s not easy for me either! Sometimes parts of our own house make me wonder if some people got together, drank a few beers and decided to hang that outdoor light in the upstairs bathroom? However, when touring someone else’s house, always remember to keep your comments neutral. The objective is NOT to offend a Seller who might be listening or watching, especially if it’s for the house on which you’d want to make an offer.
If a Buyer keeps their comments neutral, it protects their negotiating position from a potentially listening Seller. Point out some positives and some deferred maintenance, but keep your comments fair and refrain from commenting about pricing, financing or anything else that gives away information you’d prefer the Seller not know. Privacy seems to be minimalized as the recent Facebook breach demonstrated. Technological advances have facilitated many aspects of our lives, yet it’s important to know it’s everywhere and may not be visible. Live by the Golden Rule and if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!