Although I consider myself a listing agent, I also enjoy working with buyers. Whenever I show a property, if I am sent a feedback request via e-mail, I fill it out as helpfully as I can. I don't like discussing price unless it is really priced too high. And I have to be careful, especially if I think my buyers might be interested in the property.
And that's why many agents do not provide feedback. Below are excuses I've heard:
- Some agents feel they're doing the listing agent's job by providing feedback. They feel the listing agent should have informed the seller of the correct price and should have helped the seller stage the home properly. I do not buy this as a valid excuse. Sometimes a seller needs to hear it from more than one person. A seller might think it is the opinion of the listing agent and should be discounted. Sometimes sellers need to hear it again and again until they realize that their bright blue living room is just not appealing to buyers.
- Some agents feel they'll be giving away their buyer's hand by providing feedback. If I have a feeling my buyer is interested in a property I might hold off a bit before returning feedback. If enough time has gone by without my buyer making an offer, or if they made an offer on another property, then I'll return feedback. Sometimes I'll just say that it's on their "list", which hopefully lets the listing agent know that my buyers are considering it but it wasn't something they were yet ready to make an offer on.
- Some agents just don't want to take the chance of getting sued! There was a story in one of my REALTOR magazines about an agent that got sued by their buyers. To make a long story short, the buyer's agent provided negative feedback on the seller's home thinking her buyers were not interested. After viewing other homes, the buyers decided to write an offer on that home anyway. Sellers remembered the offensive feedback from the buyer's agent and held firm on their asking price. At the closing the seller's attorney told the buyers if it wasn't for the nasty feedback, the buyers might have gotten a better deal. Buyers sued their agent and I don't know what happened. The feedback was about how the agent described the garish (or gaudy) colors of the home. I believe in being honest and not sugar coat anything, but after reading that story I choose my words much more carefully.
My office uses a feedback e-mail system and I explain to my sellers not to expect feedback, but they will receive any feedback I can get.
Agent Feedback Isn't the Only Feedback
If we never receive one agent generated feedback, all is not lost. Activity is feedback in itself, as follows:
- Lack of showings - you can't sell your home if no one is looking. In a good market a seller should have 3-5 showings steadily every week. It's not a good market right now but no showings means no sale. If you're not getting at least one appointment on a weekly basis then you need to reduce price. If you get a showing or two and then it gets quiet again, you need to consider another price reduction.
- Lots of showings but no offers - I can't tell you how many expired listings I've taken where they told me they had a lot of showings but not one offer. That means that for the condition of the property, it was priced too high. They either need to make some changes or updates (although in a buyer's market that doesn't always equal a higher price), but most likely a price reduction is necessary.
- Low offers where the buyers refuse to negotiate - in this market lowball offers are becoming common. But if that's all you're getting and you cannot come to terms with more than one buyer, then you need to sit down and review market activity. Do you have a house that's nice enough for a buyer to make an offer, but you can't get your price? If it's happened more than once, then you might need to reconsider your bottom line. Remember, it doesn't matter what you need or want, it is what buyers feel your home is worth and then the appraiser will make sure the value is there.
- Sitting on the market for too long - if your home has been sitting on the market for sale longer than the average selling time in your area, that is feedback. Most homes that sit for 6 months, a year, two years or more are usually just overpriced. Some homes are in beautiful condition but they are still priced too high for the current market and possibly location. If the home needs work or updating and is sitting on the market and the seller won't make repairs or changes, then the price needs to come down.
It doesn't matter if a selling agent never leaves feedback, there are other ways to figure out if a change is needed, be it fixing or updating something or reducing price. Any house will sell in any market if it is priced correctly for it's condition. If you are interested in selling your home please fill out the Internet Market Analysis form (if you're located in my Chicago suburbs real estate area).