Thursday, February 02, 2017

The Walls Have Eyes

by Osman Parvez
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Sellers:  Don't do this.
Imagine you're house shopping. You walk into a showing with your Buyer's Agent. It looks pretty good. You start to get excited.  This one is a possibility. Then, you spot the camera.  

How do you feel? 

Where's the trust?
At first, you were thinking about buying the house.  You and your partner were envisioning where you might place your furniture. Now, you're thinking about whether you're actively being monitored. You feel like the seller doesn't trust you. Subconsciously, you can't help but take it personally. It's uncomfortable. 

One of the most important rules for selling a house is to de-personalize it. You want potential buyers to imagine living in the house. Don't distract them with photographs, edgy art pieces, or worse. If they're standing around talking about your awkward family photos, they're not talking about the house. 

The camera?  It's a much more than a distraction

The first problem is that being spied upon potentially compromises negotiation. Luckily, there's an easy solution. Do not discuss negotiation strategy inside the house. Surveillance devices like the one in the photo above are easy to spot. The hidden ones are very difficult to see and they're becoming more common. 

The bigger issue is that a visible and obvious camera compromises trust.  Yes, trust. 

In virtually every high-dollar transaction, in every industry, trust is the critical factor.  It's also easily damaged. Even the perception of misbehavior erodes trust. Once it's gone, it's almost impossible to bring back. Nearly every step of the deal will become more difficult. A lack of trust between buyer and seller massively increases the risk the deal will fall apart.

I understand the reasons that a seller might be tempted to install cameras. There's a risk that people might steal personal possessions or damage things. There's an easy fix for that: Medication, financial records, and any other items too valuable to lose should be secured prior to the first day of showings. 

Buyers and Sellers:  If you want a deal to go smoothly, do things that engender trust. That includes open and clear communication, have reasonable expectations, and being held to your word. When buyers behave in ways that increase trust, the seller will be more willing to accept the offer and, if significant inspection issues arise, they'll be more likely to work with the buyer to address them in a fair manner. When sellers do things to increase trust, it increases the sale price, decreases the time on market, and minimizes the risk that a deal will fall apart. 

Bonus: For a fun look at other marketing gaffe's, check out our other posts labeled staging.

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The ideas and strategies described in this blog are the opinion of the writer and subject to business, economic, and competitive uncertainties.   We strongly recommend conducting rigorous due diligence and obtaining professional advice before buying or selling real estate.   image: Mike Pham

4 comments:

  1. Interesting post. As a buyer at times, I always just assume I'm being actively monitored (video and audio). I stoppped caring about it awhile ago. I'm grounded in my thoughts and negotiation approaches, and someone knowing how I feel as I'm initially digesting a property doesn't change that later. I guess I'm just a pessimist about it all though :/.

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  2. You're a more sophisticated and seasoned buyer than most, Jud. Most buyers react negatively to discovering a camera. Buying a house is a very emotional thing. Anything that can create negative emotions for a prospective buyer should be avoided. It's why Realtor's bake cookies for open houses. The majority of buyers make an emotional decision and then rationalize it. It's true for houses and many other things. It's why I have an impractical convertible stashed in one of my rental houses and why others might buy sports cars that can't clear their garage entrance - just for example.

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  3. What are your thoughts on exterior cameras? Are these viewed differently by prospective buyers?

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    Replies
    1. If you want potential buyers to worry about the local crime rate, go for it.

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