Hello, readers! As you may have noticed, it’s been a while since my last blog post. I blame the busy summer season for my hiatus. However, I’m happy to be back and am eager to share this post, as it is important for Inspectors, Realtors and house hunters alike!
Sometimes, it can be difficult to come up with new subject matter. After many posts, it can seem there’s precious little fresh material to cover.
And then… some new material presents itself.
This last week we were inspecting an older home that was vacant. I walked into the guest bathroom and, of course, started turning on the switches for the lights and the exhaust fan. The lights came on, so I directed my attention to the round object in the ceiling above my head, thinking it was the exhaust fan and expecting it to start running.
Instead, the actual ceiling fan in the center of the room’s ceiling began to run. Curious! If that was the ceiling fan, then what was the object in the ceiling above my head? It looked just like a speaker that people use in a surround sound system. But, why would anyone install a speaker in the bathroom? I checked the ceilings in the rest of the house and found no other speaker-like objects.
As you may know, I’m a girl. I’m also a Home Inspector, which makes me sort of unable to resist investigating the unknown. So, I grabbed my flashlight and shined it on the object and saw a camera lens behind the surface material. The lens part swiveled so it could be aimed at different areas, but was, at the time, aimed at the tub/toilet area.
Let’s just take a moment here to absorb the creepiness of what I just told you. Shiver, if you like. I know I did. It was something that I have never come across before. It was unthinkable to me to wonder how many unsuspecting people, male and female alike, not to mention possibly children, had their privacy violated by some creeper while they used the bathroom. Or, if they were guests, had showered, unaware that they were being watched. Okay, let’s all shiver again. It’s warranted.
An interesting caveat to this story is that the home buyer was a police officer and informed me that this type of action was, in fact, a crime.
Someone asked me not long ago what was, in my opinion, the number one rule for Home Inspectors today. My reply was that with technology being what it is, the Home Inspector should assume they are on camera every moment of the inspection and conduct themselves accordingly, in both word and deed. Who knew that would be prophetic?
So, the takeaway from this unfortunate incident is this: whenever you are in someone else’s home, whether showing the home, touring the home or inspecting the home, be aware that you may not be as alone as you assume. If possible, refrain from using the bathrooms and be sure to keep any unflattering comments about the home to yourself until you are safe in your car with the doors closed.
A Realtor friend of mine had her buyers win out in a bidding war even though her client’s offer was lower. The deciding factor for the sellers? Both parties had stood on the front porch after the tour discussing the situation. My friend’s buyers went on and on about how much they loved the house. Their competition had been less than gracious and said that the sellers had better accept their offer or there would be trouble! Unbeknownst to all parties, the camera on their front porch was also wired for sound and the sellers had heard every word of both conversations.
So, beware, my real estate savvy friends! The future is now and it is always watching!
Thanks again for stopping by and please feel free to comment below, or to shoot me an email with any of your home inspection related questions. Feel free to like and share you your preferred social media platform. As always, I wish you a safe and happy home!