Six years ago I wrote a post here entitled "Honest feedback is needed to help sell problem homes" and this is as true in 2013-2014 as it was in 2007. After I have taken buyers to several homes, I often get a call from listing agents who ask for feedback. I will never be mean or nasty, but my feedback will be honest. If you don't want my opinion or that of my clients, then don't ask me.
I recently showed a home where the sellers had decided to paint the interior of the place but then changed their minds. Every room had patches of several colors painted on the walls. The original color was a pleasing beige, but it appeared that they had thought of going bold. There were bright red, royal blue, emerald green, and dark brown patches about a foot square each painted on walls everywhere.
The house had been on the market for awhile and I was called by the listing agent and asked for my buyers' feedback. I told him that my clients did not want to buy a project house.
His reply was that it was just paint. Yes it was just paint, but it was the entire house, and it was clear that it would take extra coats to cover those bold patches. They were simply faced with what they perceived as an overwhelming task and they didn't want to undertake it.
What disappointed me was that the agent began arguing with me, telling me that his sellers weren't about to spend the time and money needed to repaint the entire house that they were selling. He didn't seem to understand that my clients felt the same way about the work involved. And it wasn't as if the house was underpriced. It was toward the high end of the comparable market.
It is a shame, too, because but for the paint issues, I think my buyers would have made an offer. The agent was simply not willing to accept that there WAS an issue, and he seemed angry with me for giving him the honest feedback that I thought he had requested. I had asked my buyers to consider making a lower offer that would permit them to hire a painter, but it was not something they wanted to do.
Sometimes when I accept a listing, I find that sellers want to list at the top of the comparable market so that they will have room for negotiating to reach their target price. That is not always a great idea, and I discuss with them all of the pros and cons of such a strategy. As long as they agree that we will make price changes if we don't get the desired attention, I will agree. It depends on the circumstances and many variables.
If we get many showings but no offers in the first week or two, I will call the buyers' agents and seek feedback on their clients' reactions to the home. If I repeatedly hear that it is $10,000 overpriced, I can discuss this with my clients and get the price adjusted accordingly. The same goes for a condition issue. Maybe spending a few hundred dollars to recarpet a bedroom will make the difference to buyers and will bring several offers from folks who had been turned off by a stain on the old carpeting.
Feedback permits the sellers to know what to do to make their home sell. If the feedback is not honest and to the point, it is worthless to them. Sometimes the buyers will simply say that they wanted a different floorplan or different shape kitchen or something that cannot be changed. This simply wasn't the house for them. Other times, however, the issue may be totally within the power of the seller to fix, and it can lead to a sale -- but only if the feedback is honest and to the point.
Sellers need feedback if their home isn't selling quickly!