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Remember, You Asked Me For Feedback

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Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You

The day after showing property is like hell for most buyers agents.  Touring fifteen properties only guarantees one thing; a minimum of fifteen interruptions from super needy listing agents due to phone calls the following day. Every agent with an over priced listings wears out their dialing finger trying to get feedback.  Their sellers want to know, the listing agent wants to know.

Last week I had the pleasure of showing fabulous qualified buyers couple of dozen homes over a period of three days.  Besides the usual hen-pecky phone calls I received on in particular that stood out.  It was from a gal who actually lives in the same community as the property I was showing.  I only mention that because not only should she know better but she should have known even *better* than better.

So, “Paulette” asks, “What did your buyer’s think of the condo?  My seller’s dying to know.”  I answered, “They thought it was overpriced, Paulette.  I agree with them, it is over priced, the view is less than fair and there is a street on two sides of the building.”  <crickets>

“Well, what am I going to tell my seller?” asks Paulette.  I said, “You should probably tell him that it’s overpriced, the view is less than fair, the absorption rate for that complex is 2.7 years and that I am a really smart real estate agent that knows stuff and that I’m right and he should listen to me.  As a matter of fact, that same floor plan is available in the next golf community down the street nearly $100,000 less.  Just an FYI.”

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Swallow The Jagged Little Pill

True to form this listing agent started whining and crying  in the most dramatic pms-y teenage girl who got stood up at the prom.  She  then began trying to rationalized why her listing price was fair in spite of the fact that the unit had been on the market since September of 2006.  Yes, it’s been on the market nearly three full years. 

I don’t know about the average listing agent but I would have been skipping and whistling Dixie on my way to tell a seller that they needed to reduce their price because I had back up.  I had the opinion of another agent who had just seen every single floor plan of that condo in every community in a 5 mile radius that actually had it available.  Not only that, I’ve made appointments for him, Mr. Owner, to see the competing properties, too.

Besides telling them there was 2.7 years of inventory I would have shown them a little math equation like this, too:

$425 x 12 =  $5,100 (Master Home Owners Assn)

$1,325 x 4 = $5,300 (Quarterly Condo Fees)

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$5,600 (annual taxes)

$150 x 12 = 1,800 (Electric)

That’s $17,800 per year in holding costs for a vacant condo without a stick of furniture in it and we’re not even looking at the charges for insurance, home watch or any repairs to the home.  I might have showed him what $17,800 x 2.7 added up to and asked him to, at the very least, drop that sum from his listing price.

Quit Making The Rest of Us Look So Sucky

Ultimately, feedback comes in the form of a contract.  Don’t ask for feedback or an opinion about the property if you’re going to whine about it and get your feelings hurt when you get the truth.  For gawds sake quit “buying” listings, lying by omission to your sellers and making the rest of us who are good at our jobs and serious about the profession look bad.  You’re totally making it look like absolutely anyone with $275 can sign up for a nine day class and get a real estate license regardless of their intelligence level.

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Written By

Written by Chris Griffith, a Realtor Associate at Keller Williams Elite Realty in Bonita Springs, Florida. Chris is the author of Real Life and Real Estate In Bonita Springs, and a real estate columnist at Naples Daily News. Chris is active in social media and can be found on social networking site Twitter as Twitterzilla.

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Kristal Kraft

    June 9, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Until listing agents become totally honest, realistic and get the gumption to educate the sellers, we are going to have to deal with overpriced listings. I wonder how come the seller didn’t have a clue…after nearly 3 years on the market, one would start to think something was wrong.

    Of course that is assuming there is thinking going on at all.

  2. Kari Battaglia

    June 9, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Great post! After 3 years of chasing the market you would think the listing agent would have figured it out by now. Who wants to carry a listing for 3 years?

  3. Fred Romano

    June 9, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Your right! Showing feedback is stupid… The listing agent “knows” it already, no need to bother the buyers agent. Show me the offer. No offer and you know the deal.

  4. Joe Loomer

    June 9, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    I try to beat them to the punch and send each listing agent an email with my feedback before they start calling.

    I cannot imagine having MY sign on someone’s property for three years screaming “Hi, I’m dumba#%! I can’t sell houses! Here’s my phone number! Call me if you want to see my sign in YOUR yard for three years!!”

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  5. Chris Griffith

    June 9, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Kristal, they’re all holding hands in a prayer circle and didn’t notice the price was stale.

    Kari, what do you suppose that has cost the agent to hold for 3 years?

    Fred, maybe every time they don’t get an offer they should reduce $10K.

    Joe, that’s hilarious!

  6. Wendy Hughes-Jelen

    June 9, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Totally scary – I would have fired that seller a long time ago and moved in. I only want to work with reasonable people – you’re supposed to be a team. If someone is going to drive me crazy by being stupid, my patience runs out in short order. I would rather spend my time with a client who is going to work with ME.

  7. Debbie Bremner

    June 9, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    My only question is this: Why are you showing this overpriced listing with the less than fair view when the identical floor plan is available down the street for $100,000 less? I think the listing agent has every right to ask for, and expect, feedback from you. You made the choice to show the property, and she made it available for you. Courtesy goes both ways. In this business, all we have, ultimately, is our reputation. I’d rather be known for my ability to work well with other agents…the time may come when you need help from *Paulette*. Pay it forward- there may not always be 12 good listings for you to show your well qualified buyers.

  8. Paula Henry

    June 9, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Chris – I was thinking the same thing – how much has it cost the agent in three years? I don’t thinkl I have enough patience to stay with a client for three years, while they try to chase the market down.

    Get some backbone and tell sellers the truth.

  9. Paul Mausteller

    June 9, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    I prefer e-mail about feedback or an auto system feedback tool, streamlined, time management saver, response then it goes directly to the seller no fluff no secrets.
    I respond quicker to emails then retrieving a phone message, have a blackberry, get with the times, if your on board then your service is lacking. Email gets to the point so you have something in writing that you can send to the seller so they see it first hand. No sugar coating, honest and transparent so consumer/ client see first hand. This is people business face time is important too, true hard facts is what the client needs to know about their property. You can then elaborate on declining market won’t appraise etc..

  10. Chris Griffith

    June 9, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Debbie, I showed it at the request of my buyers. I work for them. If there’s one thing you can be sure of, I’ve paid it forward more than just about any other agent in this village. Who said that I am not working well with others, besides you?

    Wendy & Paula maybe we’re just seasoned and less tollerant. 🙂

    Paul, I agree with email being easier. It also give me something to do before the roosters start crowing.

  11. LesleyLambert

    June 9, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    I find feedback to be the most tedious of chores. “blah blah blah bathroom too small….meh the kitchen isn’t granite, etc” It all comes down to price. The only people that are slaves to feedback are the listing agents that take listings that won’t sell.

  12. Linsey Planeta

    June 9, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    I hate the process of calling for feedback, but I DO find it useful. I often find the things that are posing a challenge. Is it a condition (something we can’t change) or an objection (paint color, accessibility for showings, etc).

    If it’s a condition I hear repetitively – time for a price reduction because at that price, it’s not worth overlooking the condition.

    Recently, I had someone mention confusion about the floorplan. It came up actually twice. I brought copies of the floorplan to the listing to help illustrate the area of concern, problem solved. I wouldn’t have known about this easy fix without calling for feedback.

    BTW – I DO NOT price justify. I note it and move on (unless they ask me specifically about how I arrived at the price). There is nothing worse than having an agent call me for feedback, I provide it, they debate me. Uncool.

  13. MN Realtor

    June 10, 2009 at 5:01 am

    Like other commenters, I prefer all non-critical communications, such as feedback, be sent through email. Email gives me the freedom to respond at my own time. On busy days, I have my answering machine tell callers to just send an email:
    “Hi, blah blah, it would be a better idea to send me an email. Here’s my email address: xxxxx@xxx.com. I promise I’ll get back to you ASAP”.

  14. Linda Davis

    June 10, 2009 at 5:24 am

    I use http://www.homefeedback.com and get returns about 80% of the time. No fuss. No muss.

    As far as pay it forward, Chris is the queen of pay it forward. In fact, she deserves a crown. Maybe even a throne.

  15. Bob Carney

    June 10, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Masterpiece!!! Absolute Masterpiece! As a buyer’s agent is not your job to make the seller happy or do the seller’s agent job. Yes feedback is an essential part of the showing but not a requirement. The amount of showings and lack of offers should be a tell-tale sign that you are out of the ball park either with condition or price.

  16. Ken Brand

    June 10, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I’m in the if you’re smart enough to get the listing, you’re smart enough to know how to market it without my help. Why would I help a competitor position their sellers ahead of my sellers or the sellers of my brokerage.

    I have spit flecked rant sprayed at this subject of feedback and Broker Open Houses…it’ll be up on Monday.

    Great post!

  17. Chris Lengquist

    June 10, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Here in KC our initial feedbacks are all done by email….thank God. I’m happy to fill them out. But get very annoyed when an agent calls me and starts trying to sell me on the home.

    First – I’m not buying.

    Second – I’ll let you know if they are making an offer on your property.

    Third – Like you said, if you don’t want to know, don’t ask.

  18. Michael

    June 10, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    I’ve actually started using text messaging to give listing agents feedback (and also to schedule showings), which saves a lot of time and is incredibly easy. Most experienced agents don’t need a huge explanation, “liked layout but yard too small” type feedback seems to work just fine for me.

  19. Louise Scoggins

    June 10, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I believe that what goes around comes around, so I try to provide feedback as much as possible (when requested). I personally prefer an email over a phone call and also use Homefeedback.com for my own listing’s feedback.

    I think I would have been a little taken aback by “Paulette’s” response to your feedback. It’s called feedback for a reason. You want that agent’s honest opinion so you can go to your seller and address any conditions or objections openly — with something solid to back it up. I love getting feedback, positive OR negative!

    And seriously, the home has been on the market for 3 years??? Good grief! At what point does someone pick up on the fact that something isn’t right?? Yikes.

  20. Missy Caulk

    June 11, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    I hate it when a Realtor gets defensive, been dealing with one this week. He is too emotionally involved in his sellers house.

    Every comment is a counter.

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