Protecting the Negotiating Position of your Client…

Real Estate Sales Representative with for real estate results in the Tri-Cities.

Feedback to the Sellers representative is a throw-back to times when all REALTORS® represented the Seller's interests and acted as sub-agents for Buyers.

Acting for the Seller I still might ask the Buyer’s representative how the listing compares to other properties that they have shown, and if they feel it is competitively priced.

The primary feedback wanted from a buyer is obviously an offer, but if their representative offers other comments then I’ll be listening for cues to gain an advantage on price or terms for my client. “They really like the home…”, could mean that they are willing to pay full price, or very close to.

Working as a Buyers representative today I don’t believe I should share my client’s feedback on any property unless it’s during negotiation and agreed upon by the Buyer. The mandatory “Working With A REALTOR®” (WWAR) form is a reminder for every transaction that I’m obligated (fiduciary duty) to work in, and protect, the best interests of my client.

Sure I’ll respond to a Sellers representative, “my Buyer’s are in the initial stages”, but I’m not going to discuss the specific condition of the home.  I’m certainly not going to share anything that could give away my clients position either, since it is privileged information now and in the future.

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. D B 09/09/2010 02:26 AM
  2. Charita Cadenhead 09/09/2010 02:58 AM
  3. Charita Cadenhead 09/09/2010 03:01 AM
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Lori Bowers
La Quinta, CA
The Lori Bowers Group

I have not thought of giving feedback in this way. Stating the facts with no adjectives is a form of disclosure. I have been taught through the years to disclose, disclose, disclose. I also ask the buyer if they are ok with me giving feedback to the selling agent.

Sep 09, 2010 08:13 AM #44
Simon Mills
Mills Realty - Toluca Lake, CA

Now we shouldn't give feedback for fear of a lawsuit.  This is ridiculous.  My point of view is if my buyer client is NOT interested in the property then (if asked) I will let the listing agent know why they are not interested.  Another angle is you can get the approval of your buyer client up front to give the listing agent feedback on their listings.

Sep 09, 2010 08:40 AM #45
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

John, in general feedback to the Seller's agent is harmless as far as protecting the Buyer if you have ruled out their house as a choice, but then again, a Buyer could circle back and like it later. Your point is well taken.

Sep 09, 2010 09:18 AM #46
Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Hi John~  I think it is most important to maintain confidentiality to our client.  Giving feedback helps, but writing and offer is even better!

Sep 09, 2010 11:24 AM #48
Christa Borellini
Prudential California - San Diego, CA

Good advise.  You never know what you say can hurt you ....and yoru client!

Sep 09, 2010 11:41 AM #49
Jeana Cowie
RE/MAX Real Estate Limited - Paramus, NJ
Broker Associate, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES

John, Whenever someone blogs about feedback, quite a debate ensues. 

As a seller's agent, it is priceless. As a buyer's agent & if they buyer has no interest in the home, it is harmless. As agents, it is nice to help one another out when possible. Very interesting to see the negative thoughts from agents....

Sep 09, 2010 11:44 AM #50
Damon Gettier
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert - Roanoke, VA
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE

I will provide feedback.  In this market it can often help the listing agent get a much needed price reduction.

Sep 09, 2010 02:28 PM #51
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

The only way that I respond is about MY thoughts about the house compared to the other homes that we viewed in the price point.  Sometimes that is all that the seller needs to hear.  I do not give away the buyer's motivations for the same reasons as you listed, you never know if that will be the one and you don't want to give away your negotiating position.

Sep 09, 2010 02:46 PM #52
John Grasty
for real estate results in the Tri-Cities. - Port Moody, BC
Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer.

I've been travelling out of BC today and have just got to the hotel room in Ontario. Needless to say I'm overwhelmed by the response and would like to thank everyone who has left a comment one way or the other.

I'm going to cherry pick some of these comments for responding.

#1 Don Belo: While I appreciate that you always find my posts informative, you never answer my question: What exactly did you find informative Don?

Sep 09, 2010 03:44 PM #53
John Grasty
for real estate results in the Tri-Cities. - Port Moody, BC
Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer.

#2 Gita: This same situation in Canada was brought to my attention by an instructor (a lawyer) while taking a local board course early this year. I was stunned to think something that seemed as innocuous as providing feedback to a Seller could come back to bite; big time!

#24 Ilona: I can't speak about your market, but if that Buyer who said, "They really like the home", were to make an offer on one of your listings, what advice would you be giving your Seller?

#46 Gary: This is a real example: A Buyer with an urgency for locating to a specific area views every listing and doesn't like any of them. After viewing the total supply available and with little choice, decides to write an offer on what is deemed, the "cream of the crap".

To those of you who are trying to be helpful to the Seller be very, very careful.

#6 Maureen: I'd like to get my hands on that article today!

Sep 09, 2010 05:05 PM #54
John Grasty
for real estate results in the Tri-Cities. - Port Moody, BC
Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer.

If the opportunity arose I wouldn't hesitate to refer a Buyer to my "TOP 10" commentators:

#49 Christa, #46 Gary, #35 Alan, #33 David, #26 Peter and Linda, #15 Brad, #12 Angelica, #11 Karl, #9 Margaret, #2 Gita

I really value everyone's opinion and contribution to this thought provoking discussion; thank you.

Sep 09, 2010 05:09 PM #55
Ilona Matteson
Beach Realty & Construction on the Outer Banks of NC - Duck, NC
Ilona Matteson

Great question John.  I'd tell them - "Great news...out of the 49 available homes similar to this one, they like yours best!  Let's see if we can make this offer a contract."

Sep 10, 2010 01:38 AM #56
Candy Miles-Crocker
Online Real Estate Agent Training - Chevy Chase, DC
Realtor - Real-Life Real Estate Training

Typically if I have to call to get feedback on a showing I already know that the buyer is not interested.  Interested buyers have their agents call for disclosures and more information about the property.  I truly appreciate when agents take the time to give me feedback.  If you are worried about a lawsuit, just ask the agent what they thought about the condition and price of the property.

Sep 10, 2010 08:15 AM #57
Maureen Fukumoto
Help-U-Sell Realty Pro - Mililani, HI

I give feedback whenever asked. I think I can say it "showed well" without giving away my buyer's position.  If it didn't show well it helps a fellow agent to convince their seller that "the dirty bathroom was a turnoff"  which they have probably already discussed. If 5 other agents make the same comment perhaps the seller will listen.

Sep 10, 2010 05:42 PM #58
Ann Wilkins
Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty - Oakland, CA
Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont CA

If the listing agent sends an e-mail or calls, I will always give feedback.  After viewing a property that I was impressed with (and my clients were not interested in buying)  then I might send the agent an e-mail or leave a voice mail telling them what a fabulous lisitng they have and wish them the best of luck. 

Sep 10, 2010 06:49 PM #59
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

in #54 John said

"#6 Maureen: I'd like to get my hands on that article today!"

My #6 said "Our local board of Realtors magazine ran an article a couple of years ago about how we owed one another feedback. "

I am so disappointed.  I can NOT find the article. The Columbus Board of REALTORS® got a shiny new website a year or so ago and I can not find the feedback  article there now. The archive for the board magazine articles goes back only so far (to 2008... or early 2009? There is something wrong with that in this day and age.).

I will keep looking.  I have long wanted to write your post with a link to that article.  The Columbus Board of REALTOR® was ahead of the curve I believe in buyer brokerage, so I thought the article was so off  base.  I think it's great to give feedback if buyers agent and their client are comfortable with it.  

I'll keep looking...


Sep 11, 2010 12:42 AM #60
John Grasty
for real estate results in the Tri-Cities. - Port Moody, BC
Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer.

I appreciate your extra efforts Maureen.

While so many want to cooperate with their Realtor colleagues, and that seems like the friendly professional thing to do, for me the real risks around inadvertently disclosing client information is something I'm just not going to expose myself to.

Please keep me posted.

Sep 11, 2010 05:27 AM #61
Steven Nickens
Wailea Realty - Wailea, HI
R(S)GRI ABR, Maui Real Estate Hawaii

Who ever you represent, you need to watch what you say, then on the orther hand, if an agent wants to blab, I am all ears.

Sep 13, 2010 08:20 AM #62
Jark Krysinski *PREC (Personal Real Estate Corporation)

I agree that the fiduciary duty is to your client, absolutely.  I would like to present a scenario, however.  What is a good technique (or set of techniques) that you might suggest when your client really wants a property, is unable to pay full price, and is not flexible on most terms like dates, deposits, and such but really wants you to go to the bat for them to negotiate a good offer.  How do you exercise your fiduciary duty to such an extent as to possibly be trying to make the impossible happen for your client.  Any advice you might have when you're between a demanding client and a hard to present offer?  Cheers and thanks in advance.

Jark Krysinski, REALTOR®, BA, ABR (Sept.)
REMAX Crest Realty Westside - 1428 W. 7th Ave., Van, BC, V6H 1C1
DIRECT: 604.790.9945, OFFICE: 604.602.1111, FAX: 604.602.9191
Subscribe to "SOLDByJark's" Blog!
"I Know Exactly What You're Looking For"

Sep 13, 2010 11:07 PM #63
John Grasty
for real estate results in the Tri-Cities. - Port Moody, BC
Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer.

Jark: Well this certainly is an interesting scenario and perhaps not too unusual given the current market.

I'll make the assumption that your client is looking at properties beyond their means because you've told them that we're in a buyers market in Greater Vancouver so just about everything should be negotiable downwards from the list price, and especially if it's been on the market for longer than 4 weeks. I would also be letting them know upfront that they are limiting their options by being so inflexible and could end up with nothing. Negotiating should result in a win-win situation, so just as the Buyer is expecting the Seller to be flexible the opposite is also true.

In our declining market, albeit slowly, I would advise any Seller to be very careful before countering because there aren't many buyers out there, and even less offers. If the market continues to decline Jark, then chasing the market down could be very costly to the Seller.

Second, With the permission of my client I'd be advising the Seller's rep that their property is one of the properties on my Buyers short-list but it is the most expensive, which means that if they can't meet the terms and conditions of our offer we'll be moving on to the next due to the Buyers rigid terms and conditions.

If you can't get a deal done for your Buyer because of them being unreasonable, then they're going to have to sit patiently on the sidelines to see if there is future movement.

Although this might not be everyone's tactic, and the conditions in every situation are likely to be different, I hope this is of some value to you Jark. Thanks for asking.

Sep 14, 2010 02:05 AM #64
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John Grasty

Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer.
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