While watching a recent soccer match with my 15-year-old son, I commented that the game had “no score.” He quickly corrected me, as all 15-year-olds will do, and told me that 0 to 0 is still a score. Well, I suppose he is correct about that, and it reminded me of the things within real estate — and especially within the home-selling process — that seem like “0 to 0” events.
I’m referring to the listing appointments I attend where the seller says, “I never received any feedback from my last agent from the showings!” Or perhaps the feedback that is received contains limited information.
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I think that sellers do get feedback — and get it quite often! For every showing that does not produce a sale — after all, the only real feedback we care about is an offer to purchase — the seller is being told that perhaps the listing is being priced at above market value.
If a listing isn’t moving, then changes should start with the property marketing. I recently took over a listing that was missing in one of the major multiple listing services (MLSs) in our market. There were only 14 photos posted with the property listing, and they were low-resolution images that looked small and cropped. The lighting in the photos also looked about like an iPhone took the shots, which was the case! And the result is that the listing was on the market for four months with no offers!
I listed it with 45 high-resolution photos and made sure it was in both of my community’s primary MLSs, and we got an offer the first weekend! Sure, getting offers is subject to marketing, but after that, there is only so much most sellers are going to do regarding paint and repairs.
Beyond that, sellers need to be cognizant of the fact that in a free market, if they are not getting any offers, it has to do with pricing — and not something that the real estate agent is doing or not doing!
I always encourage my sellers to understand that after a showing, the buyers may take a few days to a week or longer to make up their minds about making an offer. It is easy to feel disappointment as a seller if any positive feedback does not produce an immediate offer! I had a buyer’s agent recently make an offer on one of my listings; we sent back a counteroffer … and then the buyer wanted to look at one of my other listings in the same neighborhood to compare properties before making a decision about how to respond to the counteroffer. The seller said he felt nervous because they did not immediately accept the counteroffer, but I told him not to worry; it was part of the process the buyer was working through.
Sure enough, we got a new offer from the same buyer, and this one was good enough that my seller said he would sign it right away!
It’s easy for a seller to forget that buyers are going through their own (very different) process, and buyer agents might not leave feedback after every showing — so as their agents, we need to help them see what kind of feedback they might be able to read between the lines, and to remind them that no feedback doesn’t mean the property will never sell!
Hank Bailey is an associate broker with Re/Max Legends and a Realtor for more than a decade who provides buyer’s agent representation and seller listing services related to residential real estate.