From blogging to giving showing feedback, many agents feel "blocked" when it come to real estate activities that involve writing. For many, writing is equivalent to public speaking... it can make us feel vulnerable, exposed, and frustrated because we don't always know what to say, and worry about what NOT to say.
The Purpose of Showing Feedback
The first step in providing meaningful showing feedback is to understand the purpose -- which is to communicate with the Listing Agent (and in many cases, the Seller) about the Buyer's showing experience and perceptions. Often, it is the initial advance toward contract negotiations.
What It's Not...
- It's not a platform to disparage the listing agent or attempt to poach the listing
- It's not for "punishing" or "venting" toward the Seller or Listing Agent
- It's not for delivering negative criticism about things that cannot be changed
What Should I Say?
Agents who don't know what to say tend to default toward saying nothing. Here is a short list of questions that can help prompt constructive feedback responses.
- Were you able to complete the showing?
- Did the property show well overall?
- Are there any unexpected or unattended conditions that are hampering showing success?
- Is the Buyer leaning toward making an offer?
- Is there something the Seller could improve to strengthen offer interest?
- Does the Buyer have specific questions or requests in regards to their interest in the property?
There is A Difference Between Criticizing and Critiquing
If the Buyer isn't leaning toward an offer, temper any rationale you might be tempted to offer with good judgment... Short and sweet is typically the best policy, particularly when using the sandwich method: (1) find something to compliment, (2) deliver a no-fault statement, (3) close with kindness.
Example: "This home shows well. Buyers aren't the right match for this property -- they are leaning toward another listing at this time. Thank you for allowing us to see this beautiful home."
What If It Didn't Go Well?
Sometimes showings don't go well. The lockbox won't open. Tenants, pets, or even owners themselves can present as obstacles. Properties can sometimes fall short of what has been advertised, or might need attention (such as cleaning, deodorizing, or obvious repairs), and Showing Agents feel a need to report this kind of information. In these situations, keep feedback simple, direct, and professional.
Example: "Hi Lisa ListingAgent. We had high hopes for 123 Main Street, but Buyers really need a garage. The MLS listing advertised a 2-car garage, but at showing we found this has been converted to a 2nd living area."
Providing feedback in this manner not only alerts the Listing Agent & Seller to an error which compromises their listing success, but also leaves the door open for possible negotiation between parties.
As a Buyer's Agent, feedback delivered in fault-finding phrasing can be particularly harmful. It can negatively impact future negotiations, cultivate ill will, and also backfire in terms of exposing a Buyer's Agent's own lack of skills.
For example, complaining that a property backs up to a busy street... This isn't something a Seller can change, and it also indicates:
- Buyer's Agent might not be aware of Buyer's preferences
- Buyer's Agent didn't map / research street view prior to showing
Complaining that a property is overpriced... While Sellers do have control over price, it's a slippery slope to shoot from the hip on this subject in terms of general showing feedback. Unsubstantiated opinions on price are not only arrogant and irresponsible, but they also indicate:
- Buyer's Agent is shopping outside of Buyer's Price Range
- Buyer's Agent lacks familiarity with the market values
When It's Personal
As a Buyer's Agent, having awareness that feedback left through automated services (like CSS) may simultaneously deliver the Seller (as well as the Listing Agent) is important.
Feedback can be a useful tool toward correcting selling errors, and it is true that some Sellers can hear things better when constructive suggestions comes from a 3rd party rather than their own Listing Agent. But online feedback is not a license to be cruel.
Consider an instance where a Seller's personal decorating taste or lifestyle is offensive to Buyer parties. The Seller's treasured doll collection that creeps out Betty Buyer should not become a launchpad for attack or ridicule. And it really isn't any Buyer's business how many pets a Seller owns, or what brand of pet food the Seller buys.
In some cases, Seller hygiene or property cleanliness / condition can be a legitimate concern. For potentially embarrassing situations (including financial strain possibly contributing to property condition), leave published feedback with a simple invitation of "Please call me to discuss showing feedback."
Follow The Golden Rule
Learning how to deliver constructive and meaningful feedback is about focusing on things that matter to bring parties together, framing rejection in no-fault language, and offering supportive critique only when it can be of benefit to Seller parties.