Feedback is useless

Today’s message came from Facebook again. An agent was complaining about agents who don’t leave or give feedback. I would contend it’s useless to do so at the least and damaging to your negotiation position at most.

Agents know what is wrong with a listing. We do. If it smells of cigarettes or a bad dog, we know it. If the carpet is worn out or the paint colors are too unique, we know it and don’t get me started on wallpaper or carpet in the bathroom.

Sellers sometimes don’t trust us enough or we’re not confident enough to share the good, bad and ugly of the listing. Sometimes feedback in that case helps but it comes from broker opens and a specific request by the agent.

Feedback from buyers at showings is usually wrong or too generic to be helpful. It’s wrong because buyers either love it or hate it in about 30 seconds and most of the time they don’t really know why.

Generic feedback is really coming because the don’t know what else to say.

I’ve seen both of these scenarios in real-time and this idea came to me after reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. If you’ve worked with buyers for a while, you know when they’ve decided on the house. We see signs like them putting furniture in a room, mentally or an exclamation, “this is it” as soon as they walk in the door.

A personal story, my wife and I were buying a house in Indianapolis in the 80’s and as we drove into the neighborhood with our agent, my wife said “I want to raise our boys here” and we hadn’t even seen the house yet. We bought that house even though it was a bit small and only had 1.5 baths.

We decide quickly and most times don’t know why. We just like it and if that’s true we’ll pick a house that is less than perfect because of it. I think this might be the source of our “buyers are liars” mantra. It’s not true, they just don’t know what they want until they see it.

So, what do you do about it?

First, I’d recommend the buyers do drivebys before you go show them the inside. They get to eliminate those houses the pictures don’t show all the things they don’t like. Power lines, crowded streets, uphill driveways, and the things agents attempt to hide from the public until they get in front of it.

If the buyer arrives to see it for the first time and they hate it, there is a compulsion to go inside, even if there is no intent to purchase it. Curiosity, obligation, or just unwillingness to reject at first glance causes us to show a house they don’t like, don’t want and we have to give useless feedback to satisfy the agent or seller. Drivebys reduce showings by about 80% in my experience and that reduces the need for feedback to those listings.

Second, agent responses are way more useful than buyer ones. If I know the buyer is walking and I don’t have to negotiate the deal, I’ll give some specific things to help the listing agent, otherwise, I’m bringing an offer and that’s is the best form of feedback, isn’t it?

I’d love to hear your ‘feedback’ on this article 😁because I know you have an opinion. See if you can change my mind.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson

PS I’d like to invite you to my Facebook group for agents who put in the hours and effort to work every day. It’s called The Everyday Agent and focuses on working by referral, serving our clients the best we know how. Come check it out.