Feedback From Showings Can Be Helpful, But There Are Good & Bad Ways to Ask for It

Real_Estate_Today_bylineWhen you put your home on the market and open it for showings, you probably look for useful feedback from those who have seen it. As a showing agent myself, I consider it a matter of professional courtesy to provide that feedback when asked.

Like most Denver broker-ages, Golden Real Estate employs Centralized Showing Service (CSS) to set showings for our listings and to automatically request feedback from showing agents immediately following each showing appointment.

CSS offers listing agents a choice of two styles of feedback requests. One asks a series of questions, survey-style. The other — which I’m happy to see most agents utilize — is to have an open text field for showing agents to provide feedback in their own words.

When I show a listing, my buyers and I typically come away with specific pros and cons which I’m happy to share with the listing agent, who can then pass them on to the seller.  Imagine the frustration when I get a feedback request that denies me that opportunity, asking instead a series of questions with multiple choice answers, none of which fit what I wanted to convey.  Sometimes, but not always, the last question will provide a text box to answer another unrelated question, such as “If you’re buyer is not interested in this home, please explain why,” and I’ll utilize that text box to give my positive and negative feedback that I wanted to give in the first place, about which the listing agent didn’t ask.

The most puzzling survey question – contained in almost all survey-style feedback requests — concerns the price. Is the home underpriced, overpriced or priced right?  I always ignore that question, especially if my buyer is contemplating an offer. The job of a good buyer’s agent is to get the best deal for his or her client which, of course, includes negotiating a price they’re comfortable with. Therefore, it would be irresponsible of me to answer that question, except perhaps to lay the groundwork for a low-ball offer. And what if an agent is previewing the home prior to listing a similar home in that subdivision? In that case, the agent could state that the home is underpriced, hoping the seller will  raise their price, making the new listing more attractive to buyers than their own.

Nine times out of 10, the home I show is not a contender for my buyer, so I wouldn’t mind giving an opinion about the price, but what’s my opinion really worth?  Unless it’s a subdivision I “farm,” I would have to do a comparative market analysis to give an informed opinion about each listing I show. Why would any showing agent do the research on listing price before their buyer tells him they’d like to submit an offer? In short, there’s almost no circumstance in which it would be useful to ask a showing agent his opinion of a listing’s price.

The follow-on question is often, “What do you think the final selling price of this home will be?”  Again, not a smart or useful question to ask or to answer.

CSS gives the listing agent the option of releasing feedback immediately to his seller. That means that the feedback response is sent simultaneously to both the listing agent and the seller.  I keep this in mind when composing my feedback response, because totally honest feedback could prove stressful to some sellers. Despite this risk, I always choose that option for my listings, believing that my sellers can handle honest feedback. As I read the feedback myself, however, I keep in mind that my seller is reading it, too, and that they might have a reaction to what was written.  Since the feedback emails sent to listing agents include the email address of the showing agent, I will often respond to feedback as appropriate.

If your home is listed, you will be able to see whether your listing agent is using the survey approach or allowing for open-ended feedback responses. If you’d like to change the questions being asked or switch to the open text field, you now know that you have that option.

As broker/owner of Golden Real Estate, I encourage our nine broker associates to use the non-survey approach. They tend to agree that the more useful type of feedback request is an open text area so the showing agent has an opportunity to say what’s on their mind as they leave a listing, unconstrained by survey questions.

If the goal is to receive detailed and honest feedback regarding your home, then make sure your listing agent lets the showing agents tell you!

 

Author: Golden Real Estate, Inc.

Golden Real Estate is a prominent member of the Denver/Jefferson County real estate scene. Based in Golden, we service both Denver and Jeffco, representing both buyers and sellers. We're well known for Broker Jim Smith's weekly "Real Estate Today" column published in the Denver and Jeffco editions of the Denver Post's YourHub section each Thursday. The column also appears in several weekly newspapers and is archived at www.JimSmithColumns.com. We have nine agents, all of whom are Realtors and EcoBrokers. Our office is solar powered and several of us drive electrics cars. Known for our sustainable practices, we accept polystyrene (aka "Styrofoam") for recycling, keeping 200 cubic yards per year out of area landfills.

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