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Feedback, the easiest five minutes of our jobs!

By
Real Estate Agent with Portland Metro Realtors

We've all been there before.  You walk into a home and there is any number of things that automatically negatively influence your opinion of the house you are viewing (whether as an agent, or a buyer).  It could be a strong odor of fish; I had this happen once with a listing of mine.  In their defense, someone called for a last minute showing and dinner had already been prepared so there was no getting rid of that smell in time.  It could be a home that hasn't been cleaned recently, overly cluttered or just a really weird layout that leaves you wondering what the architect was thinking. 

A lot of us are good at being "brutally honest" with our clients about what needs to be done to make their home show ready, but some of us aren't.  This is where feedback can come in very handy.  To the buyers out there, I would encourage you to be specific and describe to your agent the actual reasons you don't like that home.  Don't feel bad and don't pull any punches, if it's not right for you, it's not right for you, but let us know why?  Tell us that do to the clutter you had a hard time visualizing yourself in that place.  Tell us that the floor plan was too strange and would never work for you.  Tell us that the large amount of kids running around outside would never work for you, or conversely, tell us that the lack of kids in the area wouldn't work for you either.

To the agents out there, take the five minutes that is needed to give this important information to the listing agents.  I remember a time when I would continually check for showings and immediately send email requests for feedback.  I'm not exaggerating in that my response rate was somewhere in the 30-40% range.  Phone calls work to but most of the time we get a voicemail, leave a message and don't receive a return call.  I recently discovered the wonders of an automated feedback system.  I love this system and its capabilities (all of which are for another post).  It can login into my showing system, and automatically email agents a short, 7 question survey.  Sadly, my response rate is still around 40%, but fortunately it's saved me some time in not writing numerous individual emails.

My biggest beef is why someone can't be bothered for 5 minutes of their time to provide this valuable information that they will be requesting of us when we show one of their listings.  I remember once where I returned home from some showings and was greeted by an email from an agent who had shown a listing of mine a couple of hours earlier.  SHE emailed ME with the feedback and was very specific as to the reasons her clients didn't like this particular home.  I was floored and so appreciative for that.

This information is essential to us, and to the other agents involved in the process.  I would much rather tell my client that the amount of kids running around outside is why they didn't like your house.  Can they change that?  Of course not, although seeing an attempt to change it would be quite funny.  Maybe a sign posted that there will be no playing outside between prime showing hours, etc. 

Street Sign

So, here is my challenge to you!  Buyers, be specific about what you like and dislike about a home and verbalize it to your agent.  Agents, take the five minutes to return a phone call, and email, or fill out a survey to provide this valuable information.  Remember, the five minutes you spend may provide that turning point that the other agent needs to get some changes to get their listing sold.  More importantly, that agent my take the five minutes that you need to get your turning point and get your listing sold.  We're all working together out there and it's time to remember that we all need each other!

 

Michael A. Caruso
Surterre Properties - Laguna Niguel, CA

Hi Brad,

I definitely agree that many agents do not give feedback...Even when there are many new electronic ways to do so...

Don't forget me if you learn of anyone moving to "The OC!" 

Michael

(949) 753-7900

Oct 26, 2008 07:16 AM
Thomas Tolbert
Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Legacy - Savannah, GA

Feedback is so important and beneficial. I just had a busy week of showing over 20 homes to out of town buyers.  Sometimes they tend to run together but making some quick notes right after the showing while the home is still fresh in your mind is probably a great habit to get into.

Oct 26, 2008 07:27 AM
Carol Swain
Keller Williams Real Estate - Langhorne, PA
Realtor, -www.swainsells.com- Bucks County, Pa

It can get very tiresome, tracking down agents for days trying to get feedback because your seller keeps asking.

Oct 26, 2008 08:24 AM
Sassy Skelton
Staged Right Professional Home Staging Colorado Springs - Colorado Springs, CO

Well said!  However, listing agents can be a bit sensitive to negative feedback or critiques of a listed home.  Hard to come across as constructive vs critical.  They may think it looks 'fine'.  Similar responses to staging sometimes.  Sometimes agents think they've done enough or as good a job as a stager.  Interesting.  I know its easy for me to get defensive when I get feed back from a job I thought was done well.  However, I'm professional enough to know that no one is perfect at what they do and we can all benefit from constant improvement to our crafts.

Oct 26, 2008 08:33 AM
Steve Hewson
KW Commercial Real Estate, LLC - Denver - Denver, CO
Denver Metro Comnulll Real Estate

Feedback can be important to a seller and the listing agen if done correctly.  I try to point out some of the positive aspects of the property but give constructive criticism if needed.  I thinks this can be imporant to getting the home sold. 

Oct 26, 2008 08:56 AM
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

Listing agents all want feed-back -- heck, we do also. But the truth is that most of prospective buyers don't want what they think about a home shared. If they are ready to make an offer they will do it. But if they aren't making an offer, most would be appalled that what they thought would be shared with the listing agent. Our 2 cents.

Oct 26, 2008 05:50 PM
Brad Holly
Portland Metro Realtors - Wilsonville, OR
Portland Metro Realtors

Bob & Carolin,

I would have to say I partially agree.  I should have clarified my post that this more applies to homes that a prospective buyer is crossing off of their list for whatever reason.  When they actually like the home and are considering an offer, I don't think any agent worth their weight is going to be calling the other agent and telling them how much their client loves it, etc.  So I agree with you on the offer part and go back to Corinne Guest's repsonse about how annoying it can be when agents pressure you for an offer, etc while simply giving feedback.

Regarding clients being appalled, I think that also has many aspects to it.  If they are making comments that "this person seems like a slob", then yeah, but I'm not going to relay that information to the listing agent.  If it's "I don't like that the stairs are over here, or that you can see the neighbors house from the backyard", I don't think anyone is going to be appalled at sharing that.  Unless they are first time buyers, I'm betting they had or have a home to sell and you as their agent are hoping for or needed some of that feedback as well.

Oct 27, 2008 03:36 AM
Benjamin Clark
Homebuyer Representation, Inc. - Salt Lake City, UT
Buyer's Agent - Certified Negotiation Expert

Welcome to Active Rain! For some tips on how to get started here, check out my blog entry at ActiveRain Fast-Start Tips for Quick and Easy Points. If you have any questions, just ask! Happy blogging and good luck!

Nov 01, 2008 04:02 PM
Benjamin Clark
Homebuyer Representation, Inc. - Salt Lake City, UT
Buyer's Agent - Certified Negotiation Expert

Brad - Don't give up on your blogging activities! Keep it up!

Nov 24, 2008 05:32 AM