Seller Surveillance Systems ~ Educate Your Clients

Seller Surveillance Systems ~ Educate Your Clients

Security Camera

In this day and age of video surveillance systems, this is a game-changer in real estate. Potential buyers must be aware of the possibility of being video recorded while in a seller's home. But....did you know that here in Texas, audio recording of which the person recording is NOT a party to the conversation is a FELONY?


Under the Texas Penal Code "it is prohibited to audio record without the consent of at least one individual who is part of the conversation."


Recently, an agent called me (broker) to complain about one of my agents showing one of her listings. She was upset with some of the things being said while showing. I asked her how she knew of this conversation and she said that her clients audio recorded the conversation during the showing. Rut roh!


Not only did she admit this, but when pulling up the listing, she was not only the listing agent but also the owner. (Would have been nice of her to disclose this when she called me.) Alas, and bottom line - what she did was against the law in our state. You may not audio record with the consent of one of the party members of the conversation.


This brings to light the fact that we should be having these conversations with our agents, our sellers and our buyers. 


1.  Seller's should be educated about the law in their state regarding audio/video recordings.

2.  Buyer's should be educated that they could be recorded while in a home. Therefore, sensitive           

     comments such as negotiation strategies, etc. should wait until you are out of the home.

3.  Agent's should also be aware of being audio/video recorded while in homes.


The penalty here in Texas for unauthorized audio recordings is $10,000 for EACH occurrence! Yowzer! That would not be good for any potential Seller to have to pay!


Just another excellent tip for all of us in real estate to be aware of. All eyes and ears are upon us for sure! Happy selling!


This article is a great resource from our Texas Association of Realtors.

Beam & Branch Realty       

"Have you fully lived today?"

   Paula L. McDonald ~ REALTOR®, 

        Granbury, Texas 

 936-203-0279 Direct

Selling Hood County and surrounding areas! 



 John Maxwell

Farm & Ranch


          ABR                 Institute for Luxury Marketing                Institute for Luxury Home Marketing


Graduate Realtor InstituteC2EX


Copyright 2020 Paula McDonald

Comment balloon 39 commentsPaula McDonald, Ph.D. • March 12 2018 05:32PM


Hello Paula.  This post makes a lot of sense. Great discussion points .

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393 over 2 years ago

Great blog post.  Seems like everything is now connected via the Internet and probably recording everything, voice and video.  Best to discuss price and strategy with buyers outside of the home.

Posted by Shawn and Angela Miller, Lincoln and Omaha, NE REALTORS® (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Amabassador Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Michael Jacobs - thanks for stopping by! I believe we will be seeing a lot more of these situations.

Posted by Paula McDonald, Ph.D., Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Beam & Branch Realty) over 2 years ago

Shawn and Angela Miller so correct in the big discussion points to take place outside of the home. 

Posted by Paula McDonald, Ph.D., Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Beam & Branch Realty) over 2 years ago

I always assume I am being recorded. I saw video cameras that were voice enabled in the living room during my very first showing as an agent. 

Posted by Kezie Odunukwe, Real estate agent serving Northwest Arkansas (Fathom Realty AR, LLC) over 2 years ago

I don't have recording devices in my house but many listings I visit do. I find it crazy that Texas could stop someone from recording anything inside their private homes. With all the video camers and Alexa devices seems like that would be tough to regulate. Thought - So when your security camera catches a crook breaking into your home...could his recorded conversations not be used against him? Intersting post but either way it's something we all have to deal with from now on. 

Posted by Steven Beam, Parker Colorado Real Estate (RE/MAX Alliance - Parker Colorado Real Estate.) over 2 years ago

i ask my cliets not to talk loud or make any positive or negative comments about the home until we leave.

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) over 2 years ago

Its everywhere too. I visited our downtown surveillance systems where all intersections have cameras on them. Include stores, homes and personal cell-phones and realize that we are tracked all day long. Its not going away either

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 2 years ago

Good evening Paula McDonald ,

Love this post and glad to see it featured! Your tip is excellent for all of us in real estate to be aware! In Texas who needs at $10K lesson?? 

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) over 2 years ago

Hi Paula- I too assume that I'm always on camera!  Years ago before everyone had these cameras in their homes, my agent and I were looking at a home and we saw the cameras that were installed. She gave me the zip your lip look and I understood!

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 2 years ago

Wow, $10,000! But I can understand why, and it sound like a good law. I was just in a home this month that had a number of cameras and such. Kind of creeps you out!

Thanks for posting!


Posted by Jon Boyd, Ann Arbor Real Estate Buyers Agent (Home Buyer's Agent of Ann Arbor) over 2 years ago

It would be wise in this day and time to "assume" you are being recorded where ever you are.. At work and at play.. EVERYWHERE.... All the time.. 

Posted by Robert Hicks (United Country River City Realty) over 2 years ago

Paula, in VA we're duty bound to inform our clients about recording systems. I've seen a few that were disquised to look like common household items. I do encourage my clients to keep things low or mum until we have time to discuss them outside of the home. It's just better.

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 2 years ago

Dear Paula,

Good reminder. Thanks.

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) over 2 years ago

WOW, some penalty! That also makes me think of today’s technology, how some people can see inside there Home from their phone, scary!

Posted by Ellen Caruso (Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty) over 2 years ago

Great information, thank you for sharing.

Posted by Jason Boone, Principal Broker, CRIS, RENE, SRS, PSA (Duke Warner Realty) over 2 years ago

Surveillance cameras and audio are everywhere in homes, businesses, hospitals, schools, government buildings, including Texas, so, signage informing the public about surveillance is still considered a crime or civil offense?  Interesting!

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) over 2 years ago

These recording devices take special equipment and a level of expertise. A "seller" would really have a strong desire to come out on top to go to this expense and investment.  Then when the house sells, are all the recording devices removed, or are they a permanent part of the property that must convey when the property changes hands.  I had a buyer throw a fit when shelving, attached to the walls with brackets, was removed.  Just opens up all sort of new questions.

Posted by Susan McCall 503-481-2256 Principal Broker-Oregon, Listing and Buyer's Agent (Compass Realty Solutions) over 2 years ago

Timely post. I'll have to ask our broker if he knows what the regs are here in Arizona.

Posted by Jon Quist, Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996 (REALTY EXECUTIVES ARIZONA TERRITORY) over 2 years ago

Morning Paula.

Arkansas has about the same laws however, if the owner knew it was recorded they are protected if they were on site.  If not (as in this scenario) they maybe in trouble

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) over 2 years ago

With the advent and affordability of recording devices,  agents must be aware their right to privacy openly disussing property with their buyers is violated!!!

Posted by Sham Reddy CRS, CRS (H E R Realty, Dayton, OH) over 2 years ago

In this day and age, one must be aware of potentially being recorded. Thanks for the heads up, never crossed my mind but from now on, I will advise my clients to keep it zipped while looking at properties. Yikes!

Posted by Eva B. Liland Century 21 Doug Anderson, Glad to be of Service 661-714-1643 (Century 21 Doug Anderson) over 2 years ago

Our MLS added a disclosure on all of our listings warning people the property could be under surveillance.  I always tell buyers not to discuss the property while we are inside the home just to be on the safe side

Posted by Terry McCarley, REALTOR, SRES, CDPE - Cape Coral, FL (REMAX Trend - Cape Coral FL) over 2 years ago

We are right to assume that in today's world surveillance systems can be most anywhere.  And, it is an excellent suggestion that we remind or advise our clients.

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) over 2 years ago

I always just assume someone is watching and listening. Even if its just a smart speaker. 

Posted by Ben DeHaven, Proudly serving Winter Haven & Lakeland, Florida (Haven Realty & Investments) over 2 years ago

I assume I am always on camera... still, I sometimes let what I think surface.  I do warn customers to zip it while in a showing!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 2 years ago

The Texas state legislature has made feeble attempts at addressing this issue; however, it has not made it out of sub-committee. (Texas legislature meets for 140 days every odd year).  Our laws throughout the land have not properly addressed the technological advancements that continue to occur.  Essentially, private homes should be an "exception" to the audio laws.  Cameras have evolved to include crisp audio and video, which are designed to both discourage illicit activity within one's private home, as well as provide evidence should something occur.  Best practice:  until the laws are modified to address private residences, we should have the Owners place a sign at each exterior entry clearly stating that the premises is under video AND audio surveillance.

Posted by Jim Smith, Broker,CRS,GRI,RMP,CNE,TRLP (The Property Management Company) over 2 years ago

Hi Paula

Congratulations on the feature - this is becoming a bigger and bigger issue all the time. Our listing contract specifically states that sellers are advised to post a notice about security devices. I think it's wise to always assume recording might be in place, with or without notice, when showing homes.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) over 2 years ago

Good morning Paula. This is very interesting and surprising to me too. I always told clients to be careful what they said while in a home we were viewing but this is something else.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 2 years ago

Showing a home last weekend many of the rooms had cameras in them. We do alert our customers but pointed them out as we went. Not sure what the rules are in our state, but think there should be some disclaimer in the listing if the seller is going to be recording.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) over 2 years ago

It seems very intrusive, especially when showing a vacant rental.  It is best to assume you are being recorded from the time you enter the street until the time you leave.  The neighbors have cameras too.  Years ago I ran into one seller that knew when I came on the street.  He showed me his setup.  He was recording the exterior activity for the whole cul-de-sac.

Posted by Lynne Ruffin, Web Styles (Lynne RUFFIN) over 2 years ago

Paula, thank you for the reminder... It is also good to refrain from making overly negative remarks or being too enthusiastic about a property while visiting. Now more than ever, walls have eyes and ears!


Posted by Monique Ting, Your agent under the sun (INET Realty Honolulu, HI) over 2 years ago

The law was challenged in a Georgia court in 2012 rutter vs. rutter and if the camera is "for security purposes" it's all fair in love and war and they can record away.  

Our buyers need to know this stuff form even says always behave as IF you are being recorded.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 2 years ago

Great information!  Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Dionelle(Don) Davis, Don Davis Luxe Realty Group-DDLRG with EXP (DDLRG Brokered By EXP) over 2 years ago

Yikes.  I'll have to check our state law.


Posted by Christine Kankowski North SD and Temecula, Excellent Sales and Property Management (House Match Inc) over 2 years ago

This is extremely important information. Every buyer, seller, and agent needs to read this. Thank you for sharing. 

Posted by Corey Martin, Real Estate and Management Solutions (Martin Presence Group) over 2 years ago

This is a very important post. Thanks for sharing.

Here in Florida audio recording without consent is against the law.

Thanks for reminding us, because not all people follow the law.

Posted by John Wiley, Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA over 2 years ago

Wow, this is a relevant topic, Paula. Happy to see it featured. I believe in Washington, there has to be notice of a surveillance system in place to comply with the laws. 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) over 2 years ago

We also have such a law & no one pays attention to it. Really not funny that the seller/listing agent didn't know her stuff.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 2 years ago

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