I recently went an entire half of a work day not realizing my phone was still on airplane mode. I finished my inspection 20 minutes early and I had an overwhelming sense of clarity and focus with regard to that home inspection. I had not been distracted by emails about my schedule, texts from agents or clients and notifications about my injured fantasy football wide receiver.
We all know that we are more distracted these days by our phones. There is one notification from my phone that seems to be on a whole other level of distraction – “Motion Detected at Front Door Camera”. As I sit at a red light on my way home I can watch my mother in-law approach my front door and brace myself to be graced by her presence when I arrive home. I’ve recently disabled notifications from my security cameras because watching a squirrel destroy another one of my front porch pumpkins is just too much to handle.
Security cameras are everywhere – including the houses I inspect. Sometimes a camera is pointing directly at the table I sit at to write my report and meet with the client. This changes the level of privacy that is typically expected when discussing the condition of the property with the prospective buyer. If a buyer tells their agent something like, “Let’s ask for everything, but I’m not really worried about anything as long as they at least fix the roof”, this gives a huge upper hand to the seller in negotiations if they are watching or listening.
As a home inspector, I try to simply provide the information and then distance myself from negotiations that may arise because of that information. But, if privacy is expected, it should be honored. I appreciated the time when an interior camera was present and I was notified by the listing agent that I may unplug the camera during the discussion of the inspection findings.
Security cameras will only become more prevalent as we continue to have cheaper and better surveillance technology. At least being aware that a camera is present would be a good start.