Feedback Or No Feedback, That is the Question...

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268

This morning I read a member's only post that questioned the custom of buyers agents giving listing agents showing feedback. I left a comment on that post, but decided I actually have more to say on the topic.

Firstly I want to say that I really don't care about getting feedback on my listings. At least not for myself. I work closely with my sellers to help them prepare their houses for the market, I already know its pros and cons. That said, my sellers have sometimes spent months preparing the house for sale. And it doesn't stop when it's listed. That's when the real fun begins and they're expect to leave the house tidy and "showing ready" at a moment's notice - regardless of how many kids or dogs they've got! Is it any wonder they want to know what these perfect strangers who showed an interest in their house think? I don't think sellers expecting feedback is an outdated custom. I see it more as a courtesy to the seller to acknowledge their hard work in making the showing happen in the first place. 

Of course when we represent buyers as their buyer's agent we need to be cautious giving feedback and not compromise our fiduciary duty to our buyer clients. There are ways of doing that and mostly it's a case of keeping it short and just saying the house shows well. We all know that sellers are secretly hoping the showing will result in an offer. Feedback, even if it is wishy-washy feedback, stops them from spending too long wondering about that. (That for me is a big motivator to approach buyers agents for feedback. Anytime I can ease the worry element for my sellers, I'm in). From the buyer's agent's perspective, apart from anything else this request for feedback means they're talking to the listing agent. A good buyer's agent knows that if they're smart about it they'll get more out of that discussion than they give. This is a really big bonus if their buyer clients are interested in the house and just haven't decided which way to go yet. 

In my opinion giving showing feedback achieves several goals. It keeps the sellers happy. It keeps the listing agent happy. It may also end up with the buyer's agent getting information about a house, (or the sellers), that they otherwise wouldn't have gotten. If my buyer clients are interested in the house, then that's a win for them too. Negotiating a contract goes a whole lot easier if you start off with goodwill! 

 

 

 

Whether you're buying or selling a home, hiring a good real estate agent will be the key to getting the best result in your real estate transaction. If you’re looking for the right Realtor® to help you navigate the complexities of the Iowa City area real estate market, all the while looking out for you and your money, sound advice and guidance is just a phone call, text or email away. Call Denise now at 319-400-0268.

Posted by

Denise Hamlin, Realtor®

Broker/Owner

CARDINAL Realty, Coralville IA 

Licensed to Sell Real Estate in the State of Iowa

 

Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices 

Iowa City Area Real Estate Services

 

Please remember that opinions expressed in my blog are just that - opinions - not fact
For legal or accounting advice please consult with a professional
Although the information provided is deemed reliable, it's not guaranteed

 

Comments (49)

Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Gosh, reread my comment and was ashamed of numerous mistakes. Should have reread carefully then. Unfortunately, the editing of comments is available only for a very short period of time and after that you can't do anything.

Oh, well ...

Sep 17, 2016 12:09 AM
Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner

The typos were irrelevant Jon. I knew exactly what you meant. I also find that particularly when we're using mobile devices that typos are par for the course. (Especially if you're uncoordintated like me). :)

Sep 17, 2016 06:07 AM
Shirley Coomer
Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living - Phoenix, AZ
Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az

 I always appreciate feedback as do my sellers.  Sometime it is good for sellers to get feedback that the floor plan didn't work, or bedrooms were too small.  These are things the seller can't change but need to hear.  Sometime it is simply a response of the house shows well but this is the first day out for the buyers and they aren't ready to buy yet. That is ok.  Sellers just want to know if there is anything that consistently comes up that they COULD change.  Providing feedback is a nice courtesy for the seller and listing agent.

Sep 17, 2016 12:59 AM
BARB KELLEY

Agree!

Sep 21, 2016 12:53 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

it's always with a grain of salt and with a modicum of self deprecation that we take advice from anyone, I feel like.

Sep 17, 2016 01:59 AM
Melissa Jackson
Century 21 Alliance Properties - Azle, TX
Helping You Make The Right Move

I have feedback sent to clients and myself.  It's good for them to receive the comments, good or bad.  I do leave feedback - keeping it simple I appreciate when I receive feedback. 

Sep 17, 2016 03:58 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I love your last line. Negotiating anything goes better if you start off with goodwill. 

Sep 17, 2016 05:53 AM
BARB KELLEY

So true!


 

Sep 21, 2016 12:54 AM
Chris Lima
Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise - Port St Lucie, FL
Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you.

Most times, I do answer the requests for feedback.  As others have mentioned, it may help the listing agent to be able to show a difficult seller what others are saying about their property. However, I believe that open and honest communication from the beginning is the always the best way to go. 

Sep 17, 2016 05:55 AM
Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner
Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268 - Iowa City, IA
Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices

Oh gosh. Thank you all for the great comments. We have a few dissenting voices, but by enlarge we're agreed that feedback is still a popular and relevant practice for sellers and their agents. 

Sep 17, 2016 06:37 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Personally, I think giving some sort of feedback is a professional courtesy for the listing agent and the seller.

Sep 17, 2016 08:02 AM
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

I am not trying to hijack your post, but felt that something was yet not said.

Sellers look at showings as a war. You win and there is an offer. Or you lost, and then you want to know what was wrong, what they could do, if anything...

But it is often way more complicated. People may not really be buyers yet. They are thinking of buying something when they retire next year, and this is their preparation They are trying to imagine living in certain areas, in certain type of homes. They may be absolutely not committed. But the Sellers do not know that. And how you, the agent for the buyer, would even know that, unless they told you. And if they told you, would you write a feedback saying that you brought people, who were not even considered buying anything at this point?

Looking around is a legitimate thing, people would not buy, if they have not made up their mind, and wandering around is part of this making up their mind.

It is only one example, but our business involves a lot of activities, that would not necessarily result in the sale, at least at this time... How you would explain it to the Sellers? And why?

Not giving a feedback is normal. Their simply may be no feedback. When I think what I do, well, seems like I am trying to be nice to the Listing agents, but it is just that. It has nothing to do to the property.

I love that stupid question whether I think that the price is right. If my client is not buying it, should and can I still say that it is high? Even if it was irrelevant? Isn't it that majority of these questions and answers are irrelevant?

Most often nothing should be done to the property, it simply was not the right Buyer for this house or condo.

Now, that I vented myself, I can go and watch TV, some unreality show about making America great again... and again... and again... About bright future in the gloomy past ... :)

Sep 17, 2016 11:55 AM
Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner

Oh Jon, where do I start? This comment is long enough to be its own post. :) 


I agree, feedback is a more complicated subject than it seems on the surface. There are many variables that need to be taken into account. Long ago I had a friend who said something that stuck with me. "If in doubt, don't do it." I typically try to give feedback and sometimes I don't. I use my best judgment depending on the situation. I can understand agents who don't do it. Period. In fact, the comments here have helped me understand that better. 


 

Sep 18, 2016 05:33 AM
BARB KELLEY

Here in Houston, LAs and Sellers don't want people that are not ready, willing and able purchase.  Sure, it may be their first day out or the floor plan, etc. may not work which is fine, but to have sellers jump through hoops to tidy to leave without providing any feedback is a disservice to everyone.  When I'm a BA, I leave a simple response--shows well,  great floor plan, etc. but try to temper it so that it reflects the opinions but doesn't offend or put the buyers in a bad situation.  Believe me, it gains a lot of goodwill down the road.  You will probably have a chance to work with that agent and I remember the 'little things' agents do to help me and my clients.  

Sep 21, 2016 01:01 AM
April Swenson
Coldwell Banker Ocean Shores Brokers - Ocean Shores, WA
CRS and Managing Broker - Ocean Shores Real Estate

I give feedback if the Listing Broker asks for some. Unless there is something blatant that needs to be reported.

Sep 17, 2016 12:13 PM
Melissa Spittel
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Westminster, MD
"Achieving Results Together "

My seller had 2 showings today and immediately asked me if I had received feedback. I had previously counseled that some agents do not give feedback, and oftentimes feedback, when received, is the next day. My sellers typically want to know if there is something they can change. Personally, I always give general feedback, but dont comment on the price, especially if my buyer may be interested.

Sep 17, 2016 12:18 PM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

I believe Buyer Feedback is a Common Courtesy of our profession.  Sellers want to know how they home showed, if there is anything they can do to make it better the next time and if the price is on target.  My policy is to give feedback 100% of the time.  There are some agents who never respond to feedback ... and that is their choice, but my sellers take note of who those agents.

Sep 17, 2016 12:47 PM
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL

Diana Dahlberg - What do you mean "my sellers take note of who those agents"? Do they want to sell, or get the feedback?


How do your seller even know, who these agents are?

Sep 18, 2016 12:14 AM
Corinne Guest

Would you really believe any feedback on price is legitimate? Do buyers really have a clue if they are not interested in buying? Has the Realtor really bothered to assess a price at this early point in the game?

Sep 18, 2016 01:00 AM
Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner

I wondered about how the sellers even knew who the agent was too. Thinking about it, in some markets they leave their business cards at showings. I can only assume it's that. 


 


As for price, that's a good question too. I agree with Corinne, I rarely give feedback on price. I don't typically pull comps before showing a house, and it wouldn't be relevant or fair to just guess. For me feedback is more about sharing very basic info about how well or poorly the showing went. Often I don't even mention the buyers as they may be looking and not even be in buying mode and there's no reason to tell the sellers that. The house shows well and the buyers are still looking is always safe. 

Sep 18, 2016 05:03 AM
BARB KELLEY

CSS provides the agent and company info for security reasons. I love it!

Sep 21, 2016 01:03 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Denise Hamlin - I prefer to give feedback - that's just me!

(And congrats in advance as soon you'll earn your free lifetime AR Rainmaker account!)

Sep 17, 2016 02:43 PM
Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner

Thanks for noticing Praful. I will indeed soon be hitting that magic number. :)

Sep 18, 2016 05:04 AM
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

Good post Denise. Requesting 'feedback' as they say on a showed listing is totally silly and very old school - I have no idea how this started in the first place. It just tells me the listing agent is not doing the right things or inexperienced. As a buyer agent - you cannot provide any information your client shared with you about the property (you are repeating what your client said to you to the listing agent??? Why in the world would you do that?). Not only it's a breach of your fiduciary duty to your client, it is also working against your client if you negotiate a purchase. 

Sep 18, 2016 01:38 AM
Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner

Richard Bazinet /MBA I actually don't see giving feedback as old school. Sellers bend over backwards to prepare their homes for showings. It seems only fair and courteous to acknowledge the showing. Giving away buyer secrets is obviously not the goal. Often times the feedback is more generic and reflects what I think of the home and not the buyer. I always err on the side of caution if there's even a modicum of interest on the buyer's side. If there's real interest there won't be feedback, there will be an offer!

Sep 18, 2016 05:21 AM
Stephen Arnold
HomeSmart Elite Group - Scottsdale, AZ
CRS, GRI, SFR

Hello Denise, I have never seen an issue with feedback.  I feel like my seller clients appreciate it when I give it to them...but I do not push for it either.  I do occasionally get the seller that wants feedback within 10 minutes of the showing, and questions if I am "doing enough"...if it is not provided back to them.  It can also help with price reductions...esp if the home is not even in the running with the buyer's agents client.

Sep 18, 2016 04:25 AM
Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner

You hit the nail on the head there Stephen. If the house is categorically not in the running, the buyer's agent can be of value as a resource with a house that may be taking longer to sell than anticipated 

Sep 18, 2016 05:25 AM
BARB KELLEY

agree!

Sep 21, 2016 01:10 AM
Gloria Todor
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Newtown Square, PA
& Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA

Denise, Good topic.

Most of our sellers basically want to know one thing...why did the buyer rule out their house after visiting, why no offer?

If we can get an answer to this one question,  most sellers can move on from that rejection.  It is the silence that is hard for many sellers, when there is absolutely no feedback....and I make many attempts to get it if a buyer agent does not give feedback.

Sep 18, 2016 07:11 AM
Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner

I completely agree. It's the silence sellers have trouble handling. Feedback. Any feedback. Is better than silence. 

Sep 18, 2016 07:47 AM
BARB KELLEY

Bingo.

Sep 21, 2016 01:11 AM
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"

Denise,

Sellers always ask. Why not, they want to know. They are always disappointed with less than positive feedback.  I ask my sellers if they want unadulterated feedback or paraphrased. The second is easier to swallow. It didn't work for the buyers is always a safe bet. (unless it is something they have control of) My peeps; I tell it like it is!

Sep 19, 2016 09:33 AM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

The best feedback is a "lets talk offer!"  Feedback is often  about as valuable as third grader's assessment of the presidential election...

Sep 20, 2016 02:55 AM
Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner

From a listing agent's perspective it's possible you're onto something Gary. From a seller's perspective though I'm not so sure. Sellers go to a lot of trouble to prepare their homes for sale. They want some acknowledgement for that and feedback is the best way we can acknowledge their efforts.  

Sep 20, 2016 03:42 AM
BARB KELLEY
NextHome Realty Center - Cypress, TX
The 'Golden' Experience Team!

If asked by the LA, please provide something without giving confidential or negotiating power away.  Sellers are looking for help in selling their home and mine go to a lot of trouble to do it.

Sep 21, 2016 01:13 AM
Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner

Precisely Barb. That's exactly how I see it. 

Sep 21, 2016 01:18 AM
Irene Morales Ward
REMAX Distinctive Real Estate, Inc. - Stafford, VA
Realtor - e-Pro - Northern Virginia Real Estate

I've tried to read through a lot of the comments to this post and what jumps out to me is this....Buyer agents are under no obligation to give feedback - especially if it compromises your buyer's position in any way.  However, as a matter of courtesy (and I stand by this as both a listing agent and a buyer's agent), if asked for feedback, I give what I can in a responsible way.

 

If your client is interested, obviously some form of communication will eventually be opened and you can broach that in any manner that makes sense for your situation.  But if your client has no interest and has very strong opinions (location, layout, paint, decor, price, lot, etc., etc.) I am of the belief that information can be shared.  I prefer to give feedback in a very non-combative, neutral tone and I am usually giving MY feedback, as well.  I certainly do not want to insult the agent or the sellers.  Who knows?  I may need to do business with them in the future!  But I feel as a real estate professional, I'm doing my part to give constructive criticism if asked.  

 

Conversely, I always appreciate feedback.  Depending on the sellers, I may have to edit the feedback using a more gentle approach (words can be harsh - especially in an email) and there's no point in giving feedback that's just personal and hateful in nature ("the seller has terrible taste in decor", for example).  Sometimes the truth is painful but as a listing agent, it's always easier if they can see it in black and white from another source if they didn't listen to your professional advice prior to marketing the property.  Is that a cop out?  Perhaps! But we all have our styles of delivering information and communicating with our clients and other agents.  If feedback helps you and you are not compromising your client - get it and give it!

Jan 15, 2017 09:49 AM