Feedback is always important to home sellers. They want to know what buyers think about their home. Is it priced right? Does it look nice? When I represent sellers I set them up so they get feedback from showings e-mailed directly to them as soon as it becomes available, and then I follow up once a week with a phone call to let them know what is going on in the local market and to discuss the showing feedback from that week.
Sellers want to know what I am doing and everything about the listing. Some agents give feedback and others don’t. Last year, an agent made some nasty remarks on the feedback form and greatly upset one of my sellers. I could filter all of the feedback, but I don’t believe in it. I want the sellers to get it all just the way it is. I have learned to let my sellers know that not all buyers’ agents use tact and diplomacy on the forms.
I look at giving feedback on the homes I show my buyers in a completely different way. I give little feedback. I will not answer any questions form about pricing, or condition. That covers most of the questions asked. If the price question is a required field, I check the box that says overpriced. I fill in the comment section only if the comments are negative, but I take care to be as tactful as possible.
When I represent a buyer I owe them confidentiality. I don’t owe the sellers anything. I don’t believe that it is in my buyers’ best interest for me to give feedback to the sellers about the price of the property or answer most of the questions asked on feedback forms.
If I find a home that is priced just right or low, I won’t put that on the feedback form because I may be weakening my buyers’ negotiating power. If my buyers make a less-than-full-price offer after I said the home is priced just right, I am not representing my buyers the way I should. It is my job to negotiate that offer and make it look like a wonderful offer.
I can take the worst offer and make it seem like the best offer ever even if I don’t agree with the offer. That is my job. I don’t decide how much buyers should offer, I advise them and then it is my job to represent them. They call the shots, not me.
If I write in the comments section that the buyers love the house and check the little box that says the home is better than any of the others they have seen, I may be weakening their bargaining power if they should decide to make an offer. I don’t want the sellers to know that the buyers fell in love with their home and would give anything to own it. I want the sellers to think that my buyers would be just as happy with the home down the street. …CONTINUED
In fact there is very little I am comfortable giving in the way of feedback, but I know that I will be called or e-mailed until I provide the feedback so I figure it is best to get it over with as quickly and painfully as possible.
How we treat other agents and their clients is very important. I have talked to many of the agents I work with on a regular basis about feedback and they know what my feelings are on the subject. They can tell their clients that my feedback is fairly meaningless, and some do.
It is a struggle to maintain good relationships with my peers because of my attitude. I can’t keep everyone happy so I instead focus on my contractual and ethical obligations to my buyers.
Teresa Boardman is a broker in St. Paul, Minn., and founder of the St. Paul Real Estate blog.
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