Are you getting what you need from your agent? The importance of honest candid feedback. Politeness is important but when it comes to feedback honesty is crucial.
In our last post we discussed the importance of feedback and how this data can significantly assist both the agent and the seller in understanding what buyers may be looking for from a home. Feedback can inform how the home compares to others on market and what if anything can be done to increase the potential for a successful sale.
Interpreting and providing feedback becomes key to effective communication between parties as to the saleability of the property. Feedback can certainly assist in addressing any negative response upon viewing before future showings but it is sometimes difficult to translate and in many cases it isn’t well received by sellers unprepared to hear the viewpoints of others as to how the home measures up.
What feedback is good feedback? Is there action required to be taken when negative feedback is received? Should a seller take offence to the feedback being given? Does good feedback mean a sale is imminent? In short, what does all this feedback actually mean?
The biggest challenge we see with feedback is the offering, explication, and finally how it is received. As Canadians we are polite to a fault. What we mean by this is that we have seen, interpreted and provided thousands of feedback responses both live and via email/text to our clients and have found that the buyers and their agents, as polite Canadians, do not want to offend the seller which results in feedback that is most times vague and unproductive. In addition, many listing agents also do not want to displease their clients and will sugar coat the message to make it more palatable. Not only this, but many sellers themselves prefer that they are not given any negative reviews of their properties.
(Disclosure: Rod went to an American College, worked, lived, bought and sold real estate, and did business in the US and globally for over 7 years.) So we are speaking from experience when we state, there is a significant difference between cultures especially in the area of delivering blunt criticism. Americans get to the point quickly whereas Canadians try to soft pedal bad news and/or avoid delivering criticism by giving cryptic responses or adjusting the message to make it more appealing.
Here are some examples of the feedback I have received when working for sellers. Many agents supply the following vague feedback comments from their buyers after viewing a listed home instead of offering constructive criticism:
What Agent & Buyer Say: - What Agent & Buyer Really Mean:
The house is too small - We found larger homes for the same price.
We like the house but will keep looking. - We found houses of better value.
It is on our short list. - We have 1-3 homes we prefer to pursue at this price.
Our parents want us to keep looking. - Person with the money did not believe the value was there.
Needs too many updates. - We found a home with less work at the same value.
Yard too small, street too busy… - We found better valued homes with larger yards andquieter streets for the same price.
In general, price objections are camouflaged by vague feedback. As you can see from this sample feedback there is particular avoidance to comments on the price. Many of us do not like to be blunt and say that a home is overpriced. Unfortunately this gives sellers a false sense of comfort and as a result we will often hear comments like “no one has said anything about my price so it must be fine”. The courageous and successful agent will interpret the feedback in such a way as to deliver the honest communication to the seller where it applies to price. And it most cases it does. How can a seller definitively know if price is an issue?
A quick rule of thumb is if you are not getting many showings (your agent can define what a reasonable number of showings would be in your market) or an offer within 19-27 days (in most markets) you generally have a price problem. In today’s market in the Okanagan that time frame is considerably shorter. So make sure you have discussed the current sales cycle with your agent so that you can align expectations.
To ensure a successful sale at the highest price in the least amount of time with the least hassles it is important for you and your agent to discuss your communication guidelines and the importance of having candid honest discussions about the feedback you are receiving. In the end as a seller your goal should be… to be the very best house in the price range you are listed in… and this may require you to have a thicker skin when it comes to receiving the feedback from the marketplace about the price of your home and an agent that is willing to give it to you straight.