Is Feedback Really Beneficial?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Franklin Homes Realty LLC

Last week, I had a new listing come on the market. This home was built in 1992 and had not been updated. It had the original cabinets and countertops and in some cases, flooring and appliances. I had discussed the possibility of making some changes to the property just to sell but the homeowners were of the mind to price it right and just sell it in its current dated condition.

The home was clean and well-maintained. In addition, it sat on a very coveted one-acre lot in Franklin TN. We priced it at $425K for 2,630 square feet, three bedrooms, 2.5 baths. 

We brought the house on the market on a Saturday morning;  something I don't usually like to do. Agents here might not respond to new listings for a couple of days and I was afraid we'd missed an opportunity to get showings that first weekend. As a result, I hadn't adequately prepared the sellers for what happened next.

Is Feedback Really Beneficial?The showings began immediately that morning and put the sellers out of their house for the entire day. We saw much of the same for the next three days. The sellers were exhausted and so was I as I personally showed the house four times to interested buyers.

I had advised the sellers that the best feedback was an offer and not to expect much response to my feedback requests. While we only received a 25% feedback response rate to our showings, the responses were as varied as the buyers who probably viewed the property.

The majority of the agents who responded were very positive about the property and the price. Their buyers were interested but not at a point yet where they could make an offer (had a home to sell). However, we did get a couple of agents who said the property needed updates and was overpriced, which I thought was interesting because it was priced much lower than comparable properties that had sold in the neighborhood two months earlier. Properties that did not have updates.

As I said, the best feedback is an offer and we did, in fact, receive several of those as well. The sellers are happily under contract with continued interest every day.

All of this to say, is feedback really beneficial?

I had done my research on this neighborhood. I know the surrounding area quite well and review market data every month. When we priced this house, I felt very confident in our pricing, even though, the house was in need of updates.

Many agents here say the market has shifted slightly because they've seen a drop in their showings. But that's not what the market data suggests. The data shows that 33% of new listings that have come on the market since October 1 went under contract in the first 14 days. That tells me if a home is priced right, it will sell.

To get back to the feedback. Unfortunately, we assume that the agents who show our properties know what they are doing and are familiar with the local housing market. That just isn't true. Let me share with you some of the calls and questions I received about this home.

Is Feedback Really Beneficial?One agent called to ask if the vacant lot next door was for sale? What vacant lot? There is no vacant lot. The seller owns an acre and so does his neighbors. There's a plat of the property online in the MLS and I referred her to that. As it turns out, she had just gotten her license that week and she didn't know how to access online documents or the tax record. Is this agent qualified to provide me with meaningful feedback?

Another agent called asking if the house was on city water. I, once again, referred her to the MLS and said that it was on city water but had a septic system. She didn't know how that was possible. She argued that it couldn't be both. Either it was on city water with city sewer or septic with a well. I told her she was mistaken. Where the water originates and where it ends up are two separate things. This agent wasn't familiar with the product she was showing.

Two other agents stated the house was overpriced and suggested it would take awhile to sell. I'm sure they were surprised to see the house go under contract in the first four days. I can't wait until this house closes and they see what we actually got. Remember, we received multiple offers on this one.

I can only think of one reason why agents want feedback. They aren't confident in their pricing and they want other agents to help them get the sellers to a more realistic price. Instead what agents should do is ask themselves, "How well do I know this product? Is my knowledge base adequate enough to accurately recommend a price to the sellers?"

In the case of this property, I found not all agents know the market as well as they should. They do a great disservice to their buyers when they show properties they don't know the first thing about or how they should be priced. And a bigger disservice to the sellers when they provide feedback on homes in a market they don't know.

This experience has really turned me off to soliciting feedback at all. I do it because the sellers have an expectation that I'll provide feedback but I'm seriously considering discontinuing this practice.

What are your thoughts? Is feedback really beneficial?

Posted by
Tammie White, Managing Broker/Owner
CLHMS, CRS, GRI, SFR
Franklin Homes Realty LLC
Franklin, TN
(615) 495-0752 
GET REAL. GET LOCAL.
 
This posting with the content written here and photographs displayed are the intellectual property and opinions of Tammie White of Franklin Homes Realty LLC. Any party who uses this material without the written permission of Tammie White is subject to copyright infringement and possible lawsuit.

Comments (22)

Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Sellers are anxious for feedback... I do everything I can to get them feedback. And often the feedback is what gets a seller to do something they've resisted doing when I first suggested to make their house more sellable or to lower a price.

Oct 30, 2017 05:09 AM
Tammie White, Broker

I have also solicited feedback but this experience showed me that we should be careful in what we take from that feedback. Clearly, not all the agents who showed this home were familiar with the location and comparable sales. I acknowledged that the house needed updates in the private REALTOR remarks in the MLS and that we priced it lower with that in mind. Apparently, the showing agents were not familiar with what a house on an acre sells for in Frankin. Their feedback was useless.

Oct 30, 2017 07:44 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Tammie White ,

I'm confident in my pricing and presentation of a home but many sellers who spend a lot of time getting ready and leaving their home for a showing would like to hear something for their efforts. Even though I prep sellers to understand the feedback is generally coming from a buyers agent..they still want to hear something! I will still request feedback and always give feedback when showing thus I end up with agents returning the favor when I request comments.

Oct 30, 2017 05:11 AM
Tammie White, Broker

We're assuming the agents who are showing know the area and product we're selling. That just isn't always the case and their feedback could be more harmful than helpful.

Oct 30, 2017 07:45 AM
Anthony Acosta - ALLATLANTACONDOS.COM
Harry Norman, REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Associate Broker

Good morning Tammie White 

Thank you for sharing your information with us.

Hope you have a great day. 10/30/2017.

Oct 30, 2017 05:37 AM
Tammie White, Broker

Best.

Oct 30, 2017 07:45 AM
Gloria Valvasori, Accredited Senior Agent
BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS REAL ESTATE SIGNATURE SERVICE - Mississauga, ON
REAL Experience | REAL Commitment | REAL Results!

Nina Hollander said it best.  If action is required by the Seller, they don't often listen to their agent, but when feedback comes from perspective buyers/agents with their view and impressions as they see the home, it validates what I have been telling them and prompts them to take the required action.  I always try to get feedback for my clients... because they always ask for it and they want it. 

Oct 30, 2017 05:39 AM
Tammie White, Broker

I always provide feedback when I show a home but I'm also familiar with that area and the pricing there. All I'm saying is not all feedback is created equal and we should be careful in what is shared with our sellers.

Oct 30, 2017 07:47 AM
William Feela
WHISPERING PINES REALTY - North Branch, MN
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Honest feedback can help a lot, but much to often the agents are not honest wth it.

Oct 30, 2017 05:55 AM
Tammie White, Broker

Or don't know anything about the area.

Oct 30, 2017 07:47 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Tammie. I tend to agree with you. The only feedback that matters is an offer. Moreover, I always felt that if I didn't know the house better than any other agent then the sellers hired the wrong person.

Oct 30, 2017 08:01 AM
Tammie White, Broker

Sheila Anderson my thoughts exactly. I originally said that in my post but then deleted it because I thought it sounded too arrogant. Thank you for making me feel more comfortable with this thinking.

Oct 30, 2017 09:28 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Feedback is not terribly valuable in my line of thinking either.  I agree that the best feedback is an offer.

Oct 30, 2017 08:44 AM
Tammie White, Broker

And we got plenty of those.

Oct 30, 2017 09:28 AM
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Tammie - I agree with you (although Mary is on the other side of this argument : ) Not counting offers, we rarely get any useful feedback from showings - we already know and understand a property's strength's and weaknesses and have discussed them at length with the sellers.

Featured in BananaTude!

'Tude!

Oct 30, 2017 10:03 AM
Tammie White, Broker

That's exactly what I do. The sellers won't hear any surprises from feedback, except from those agents who really don't know our market. Thanks for the feature in BananaTude.

Oct 30, 2017 11:05 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ
602-380-4886

Tammie I have long thought feedback was pretty much worthless. As the listing agent I know the home, the comps and the neighborhood. Some Sellers want 'feedback' but most of ours know that it doesn't mean much. Price it right, market it right and it will sell - and they do quickly in my neck of the woods.

Oct 31, 2017 01:27 PM
Tammie White, Broker

You and I see eye to eye on this. Some agents here work a large geographic area. It's hard for them to have a handle on the market when they haven't sold a home in our market before.

Oct 31, 2017 05:52 PM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Hello Tammie White ... Every showing is an opportunity to have a conversation with my sellers (once the feedback comes in or if it doesn't).  It's a constant update and educating of the sellers about what the market is doing, and how my experitise can be relied on.

Oct 31, 2017 06:25 PM
Tammie White, Broker

I guess I don't feel feedback is necessary if I've done my job right. There have been times when I didn't accurately gauge the market, unfortunately, the feedback offered didn't get us to where we needed to be. That came through my analysis of a quickly changing market

Nov 01, 2017 06:16 AM
David Wright
Benchmark Realty, LLC - Brentwood, TN
Real Estate Refined

Very interesting article Tammie. I always provide feedback on my showings, and if I'm in a neighborhood I am less familiar with, I will run comps before I leave feedback. My reputation is on the line too.

On the other hand, clients do like feedback and sometimes their feedback helps get the attention of the seller when something needs addressing like traffic flow of a home or its dated. More than once, they have shown the seller their price is a little high. 

I am surprised by the strength of home sales this fall. I saw a decline beginning at the end of July, but now homes are moving rather quickly and inventory is dropping again.

 

Oct 31, 2017 08:14 PM
Tammie White, Broker

I always provide feedback as well but I also feel qualified to do so and provide something of value. Interestingly, I never comment on price. I don't feel that's my job. That's the job of their listing agent

Nov 01, 2017 06:18 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Tammie,

An offer is definitely the best feedback. The rest is interesting, but has more to do with the particular buyers everyone is working with rather than that property. I too have had folks, who needed to fit two pianos side by side & not all living rooms let you do that.

Oct 31, 2017 08:21 PM
Tammie White, Broker

I agree--something like that isn't appropriate feedback.

Nov 01, 2017 06:19 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Tammie

I find feedback is a mixed bag. Sometimes it's helpful, but so often it seems it's just a way for the agent to provide some justification for the buyer not moving forward, or the house shouldn't have been shown in the first place - they want single story, or they want 4 bedrooms, not 3! I try to get feedback and share it but it's tough. And seller responses are mixed as well.

Jeff

Oct 31, 2017 10:39 PM
Tammie White, Broker

I see the same thing. Agents make comments like, "The buyer really wants 4 bedrooms". Then why the heck did you show my 3 bedroom listing?

Nov 01, 2017 06:20 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I think it's a bit scary that there are so many agents working who don't have a clue about the market or about what they're doing.

Oct 31, 2017 10:43 PM
Tammie White, Broker

Marte Cliff I couldn't believe that a broker actually would allow an agent who didn't know how to use the MLS to show a property. That should be a minimum requirement for new agents. It was a waste of time for her to show my listing. Hopefully she learned she can't be showing properties without some basic knowledge.

Nov 01, 2017 06:22 AM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

A thought provoking post. I have noticed in the last few months that many of the offers I have received would not be considered good feedback. Even though we are low on inventory offers are coming in far below list. I hope these agents follow the listing to see that when we close we are about $20,000 above their offer.

Nov 01, 2017 05:40 AM
Tammie White, Broker

I always follow a hot property to see what it closes at. I don't think any of us imagined this listing would be one of those. The many showings and offers verified that it definitely qualified as a hot property.

Nov 01, 2017 06:24 AM
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Feedback could be useful whether it's solicited or unsolicited, however, if the property is marketed accurately, the only feedback that matters is the offer to buy, isn't it? As you stated, BPO's are useless when the broker or agent's opinion isn't accurately derived from the facts regarding the property.

I personally don't solicit feedback from buyers or agents, yet, that doesn't stop them from expressing their feedback and many times their feedback is nonsensical. So, "what feature about this property is most important to you" isn't a feedback question from a salesperson but a marketing question that leads to other marketing questions and ultimately to closing questions. Great post.

Nov 01, 2017 05:57 AM
Tammie White, Broker

I'm probably going to stop soliciting feedback after this experience.

Nov 02, 2017 11:28 AM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

It can be helpful when you have a resistant seller, but you hit the nail on the head with the statement of "the best feedback is an offer". And you got FOUR! Congratulations!

Nov 01, 2017 08:20 AM
Tammie White, Broker

I don't generally work with resistant sellers.

Nov 01, 2017 11:19 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Tammie- speaking as a former seller, I know that I've been curious about feedback too. But my husband (retired builder) always says that if a house isn't selling, it's not priced right. 

I do think the request for feedback is a lot like us asking our friends or spouses "Do you like my new hairstyle?" or "How do I look?" There's a certain insecurity that comes from laying your home open for the world to see. 

Nov 01, 2017 09:51 AM
Tammie White, Broker

I think I've learned that we need to be cautious about the feedback we pass on to sellers. Not all feedback is created equal.

Nov 01, 2017 11:20 AM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Unfortunately I think feedback only works when it serves to support my position -lower the price, de-clutter, paint, etc!  The most useless feedback is the "shows well, thanks."  "Looks good, not interested."  "Priced right, still looking!"

Nov 09, 2017 07:12 AM
Tammie White, Broker

I would agree. However, I usually try to address those issues prior to listing. If I have asked the sellers to do those things and they've already refused, I don't take their listing. If sellers are uncooperative at the front-end, they probably will be more difficult later on.

Nov 09, 2017 01:40 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

How much heard somebody say that everybody is entitled to an opinion, but some just hold more weight than others. I think they said in another way

Jan 20, 2018 11:01 PM