Etiquette Tip of the Day: Give some feedback!
Take the time to contact the listing agent and provide meaningful feedback on a home

This is one of the most overlooked courtesies in our business! 

Every day, thousands of homes are shown all across America. The seller knows a showing has been set. The listing agent surely knows a showing has been set. Both wait anxiously for word from the showing agent...

...And they wait. And they wait. The seller calls the listing agent immediately after the showing and says, “Have you heard anything yet?" The listing agent says not to expect to hear anything until the next morning at the earliest.

The seller still calls before the end of the day and asks the listing agent if they've heard anything. The listing agent, trying not to sound annoyed, says, “Haven't heard anything yet, but I'll be sure to let you know as soon as I know anything new."

Meanwhile, the showing agent—after showing 17 properties and enduring a city tour, lunch, and a cacophony of noise and smells from his back seat—is spent. The last thing anyone wants to do at the end of a tough day of showing property is go back through the list of properties and send feedback on how the showing went.

It's all a matter of perspective. The seller sees the showing as one of the single most important events of the day (since they had to leave the house for it to be shown). The listing agent is anxious to provide news—ANY news—to the seller. The showing agent is likely either writing an offer on one of the properties they saw that day or halfway through the first bottle of wine to numb the drudgery of finding another 17 properties to show this discriminating consumer because none of those seen so far have “worked".

Early on in my career, Linda Norton (a top producing, high volume agent specializing in affordable housing who passed away several years ago) made an incredible impression on me when I had my first listing. She would call—yes, call (after all, this was 2003)—and provide verbal feedback on the houses she showed. It wasn't just a mindless checklist of cosmetic issues and thumbs-up or down on pricing. It was solid feedback on whether the floor plan was problematic, did the staging work, curb appeal, did the house smell, and whether you're in the ballpark on price or might want to tweak it up or down. (Yes, UP! She was AWESOME.)

It was actually great info from a recognized expert. Armed with this feedback, I could proudly go to the seller and let them know what we needed to work on to improve the positioning of this property in the market. It made me look good.  It made the seller feel like they had some control, and it sure didn't hurt Linda's relationship with me in the event she came back later with an offer.

So here's my two cents: 

  1. Always give showing feedback.
  2. Provide it as soon as you possibly can.
  3. Give the kind of feedback that you'd want to receive if it were your listing. Don't rely on a meaningless checklist.
  4. Be constructively critical and complimentary of the property, but never be judgmental. Yes, there's a difference between being critical and being judgmental.
  5. If you're the listing agent, deliver the feedback to your seller in person or via voice. DO NOT simply forward the feedback email or voicemail from the showing agent. This has proven disastrous in so many cases I've lost count.

Courtesy is the highest form of demonstrating respect and it's crucial in building strong relationships. Providing meaningful showing feedback is a key component to building great relationships with the cooperative brokers in your community, and will be greatly appreciated and hopefully reciprocated!

Chris Hardy is a Broker Associate for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Fort Collins, Colorado. In 2011 he was named Realtor of the Year by the Fort Collins Board of Realtors.

You can send your feedback to Chris at chris.hardy@coloradohomes.com, and you can visit his website by logging on to www.chrishardyrealtor.com.

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