Working both Smarter and Harder

By
Real Estate Agent with Better Properties Seattle

Earlier this year we talked a bit about working both smarter AND harder to compensate for the changing market conditions.  Here's a tip that will help you and your seller clients stay one step ahead of other sellers.

The subject is Feedback, but not the kind that the agent for the buyer gives you.

In my book the only meaningful feedback is:

1) Did your buyers buy anything?

2) Did they buy in the same price range as our listing?

3) If they bought in the same price range, what made that house better than our listing?

Most agents think feedback is getting the same info over and over again.  The buyer didn't like your kitchen.  The buyer didn't like your yard.  The buyer didn't like...whatever.

Let's look at what the buyer REALLY didn't like:

On 7/15 Agent A showed my listing priced at $450,000.  The next day he showed it again TWICE!  He didn't bring an offer.  So what did that buyer do.  They were obviously out there motivated to purchase, given they looked at the house 3 times in two days.

Here's a quick way to investigate and get truly meaningful feedback for your seller client.

Track the buyer agent!

Our mls recently added the feature of being able to search by the buyer agent's "LAG" #.  Most MLS systems assign a code # to every agent.  I took the agent's code number and put it in the "search by selling agent" field, and here's what I found out.

The buyer didn't spend anywhere near $450,000.  On 7/17 after considering our listing at $450,000 that needed a lot of work, they went to the other side of the lake and bought a totally remodeled home for $700,000.

The house they bought was only a little bit bigger and had almost the same tax assessed value.  But the buyer chose to pay $250,000 more for it because it didn't need any work.  It had all new windows, refinished floors, a newer kitchen (though not newly remodeled). 

So rather than buy my listing for $450,000 and put $125,000 into it to make it look like the one they bought, they spent $250,000 more to have it in move in condition.

The buyer who bought our listing is going to do all of that work and live in the property at the same time.  Maybe the difference is he is single, has no children, and can better able to live around a remodel project. 

But I digress.  Stop guessing what those buyers did! 

  • If the agent who showed your listing has no pending transactions week after week, then their buyer went home and didn't buy anything at all.
  • If the agent sells a nearby home at a higher price then you can't compete with homes in a higher price range and aren't expected to.
  • If three of the agents who showed your listing have pending transactions at the same price or lower than your listing then you have to show your sellers that the same buyer who looked at their home was able to find a better or equally nice home, for less.

Tracking the agent for the buyer by using the agent's code number, gives you quantifiable data.  It's a fabulous tool to assist seller's in determining what happened to the buyer after they didn't buy their home.

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Rainer
73,636
Pam Pugmire
Silvercreek Realty Group - Meridian, ID
Meridian Idaho Real Estate

I would love to be able to do that!  I have always asked agents what their client ended up making an offer on, and what prompted that decision.  (That is if I can ever get ahold of them)  Hopefully our MLS will have that soon. 

Aug 23, 2008 03:49 AM #1
Rainer
208,733
Bob Cumiskey
A1 Connection Realty, Inc. - Sun City Center, FL
US Army Retired, Your Sun City Center, Florida ~ Realtor

Ardell, This sounds like a very interesting search method. I'm not sure what the LAG# is but I'll be looking for that update to our system, or suggest it to our board.  Thanks for the info.  I will bookmark this page so I remember where I got the information.

Aug 23, 2008 03:56 AM #2
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

Bob and Pam, '

You might be able to do it simply by using the agent's name.  Can you search pending listings by the name of the selling agent?  Can you search closed sales by the name of the agent for the buyer?

Aug 23, 2008 04:05 AM #3
Rainmaker
61,252
Kevin Tomlinson
One Sotheby's International Realty- Miami Beach Real Estate - Miami Beach, FL
Miami Beach Real Estate

hey ARDELL

"good post."

 

 

Aug 23, 2008 05:12 AM #4
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

Hey Kev...I WILL do that delicious thing with you today.  Had 2 new ones go into escrow this week and was tied up.

Aug 23, 2008 05:29 AM #5
Rainmaker
659,456
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

Our MLS also has that feature.  I do not think hardly any agents know who to use it.

Aug 23, 2008 09:13 AM #6
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

Well, that's why we blog, Randy!  Maybe a few more will know after reading this.

Aug 23, 2008 09:23 AM #7
Ambassador
520,841
Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS

Thank you, Sherlock!  We have that ability in our MLS - I never thought to use it that way.

Aug 23, 2008 10:42 AM #8
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

It's a very cool tool.  It's like being a fly on the wall following the buyers around :)

Aug 23, 2008 10:54 AM #9
Ambassador
920,196
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

We have id's too, and I search the same way, then I know if the agents are saying, "I'm having my best year ever"! I can do it for listings, solds, inventory etc... a great tool.

Aug 23, 2008 11:02 PM #10
Rainer
66,665
David W. Bolick
Network Real Estate, Inc. - Little Rock, AR

Ardell, I'm going to have to completely disagree with you on this one.  I think your theory is totally skewed because of the following situations.

Our MLS system has had the agent search key for quite some time and I usually use it to determine how many sales and listings an agent has under their belt before I start negotiating with them on a deal for my client.  If they've only been in the business for 10 months...only had 1 listing and it was sold by another agent and sold only one small house for all of 2008...that tells me I'm dealing with an amateur.

THE REASON THE MLS STATS ARE MEANINGLESS....I have been working with 8 buyers over the last several months from $110K to $400K.  3 of these buyers are tire kicking and looking for something special and won't know what it is until they see it and we've been looking for close to a year off and on.  One is a want-a-be and can't buy until his divorce is final.  The other 5 buyers, I've closed a deal on 3 of them from $110K to $270K and one was sold 2 months ago and still not closed...so it's not showing in the MLS and the last is looking BUT can't buy until he gets an offer on his place.

So, if you looked at my agent sales you'd have no way of MATCHING which one of these people looked at your specific lising...it could have been a client I sold or still showing to.  I just don't think your system here can have any validity because of this kind of activity, but correct me if I'm wrong.

Aug 23, 2008 11:48 PM #11
Rainer
51,935
Christina Ethridge
The North Idaho Dream Team powered by SKE Realty Group - Coeur d'Alene, ID

Be careful - Here is an example as to why that doesn't necessarily hold true... (using the 3 showings in 2 days on 1 property above).

My hubby works with buyers.  He showed a particular property to one buyer one day, another buyer the next day and that same day, he and I decided to go out and see the property as well (for personal purchase).  So, over the course of 3 days, he showed the property 4 times - which would appear to be to the same buyer but it was actually 3 different buyers.

 

Aug 24, 2008 02:22 AM #12
Rainmaker
797,809
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

David happens to bring up a good point.  Although our MLS can search sales by listing agents and buyers agents, this doesn't provide us with information on who the buyer was.  Many agents do work with multiple buyers at the same time, so how would it be possible to know which buyer purchased which home, and which buyer of the buyer's agent was actually shown your listing.

Aug 25, 2008 08:06 AM #13
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

I just wrote a post on this over at RCG.  Sometimes it is very obvious, like the listing on the next street sold by the same agent and priced in the same range and within 4 days!

32 of the agents sold nothing...so not likely their buyer bought something, but they could have switched agents if you are looking at a longer timeframe.

I posted a list of my summations...but think about it this way.  Sellers like to be involved in the process, even when you are making educated guesses.  Sellers like it and it is useful.  Good enough for me.

http://www.raincityguide.com/2008/08/24/tracking-homebuyer-activity/

You hae to know the area to know what is a reasonable assumption.  It is not uncommon for a Microsoft employee to look at "close to work" or "Green Lake" as that is a trip back and forth over the 520 bridge.  So townhome on Eastside vs. "fixer" in Green Lake, is a common buyer thought process.  It may seem like a leap, if you don't know the area well.

That's why it's better if the owner at least listens to their agents interpretation of the data.  Then they can decide for themselves.  And you can always pick up the phone and ask the agent who showed, but if that agent sold nothing...why call them?

Aug 25, 2008 08:15 AM #14
Rainer
66,665
David W. Bolick
Network Real Estate, Inc. - Little Rock, AR

I think a more meaningful stat on why buyers chose the house they chose might be to mail a fill-in post card in an envelope for a drawing for $50 to be held at the end of a month for all respondents asking the key questions of interest for the statistics.  I use to do this in apartment marketing and it worked pretty good, especially over a long time range.

I'd certainly be curious on a series of multiple choice answers (1) How did you select your real estate agent (2) How many homes did you look at before deciding (3) How did you find the home you purchased (4) How was the condition of the house you bought compared to the others with a final fill-in-the-blank, What did you NOT like about the process of buying your home?

Aug 25, 2008 12:12 PM #15
Ambassador
296,340
Tim and Pam Cash
Crye-Leike (Sango) - Clarksville, TN
Real Estate Professionals - Clarksville TN

We attempt to respond to every feedback request we get.  That said, many agents simply do not do so.  I think if more would assist one another in this, we all would learn from it.

Aug 25, 2008 12:15 PM #16
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