You have the For Sale sign up, the announcements are sent, and photos are uploaded to the internet. Now you’re ready for showing appointments, which are immediately followed by a ‘request for feedback’.
Here are some thoughts on what to be prepared for, how to interpret remarks, and what to do if there is no feedback.
Buyer feedback is a valuable tool. Once you know what potential buyers and real estate agents say about your property, you can use what you have learned to maximize the positives and minimize the negatives. When selling, it is the buyer’s opinion that matters. If there are any problem areas that are putting people off, you may be able to make changes to make the house more attractive. If you are using a real estate agent, he or she will also be able to highlight the features that buyers complimented.
But when selling your home, it can be difficult to wait for and to receive showing feedback. Let’s face it; our friends and family tend to make positive comments when they visit! Remember that nobody is perfect, and no home is either, so there will be drawbacks and buyer concerns with any property and in all price ranges.
The best showing response is an offer. Your goal should be to get a fair price – something that’s reasonable given the price of other homes in your area. The most critical time for showing activity is the first two weeks on the market. This is because buyers who have already been looking in your area will be waiting for new listings to come on the market. These are typically folks who are ready to make a decision and already aware of the competing properties. Buyers who are actively searching for a home will take action on what they evaluate as a fair value.
If you have no offers on your home after the initial first wave of showings, then the overall message (often unspoken) is ‘We’ll just keep shopping because we think there are plenty of other choices to consider.” Buyers will tell you the truth but pepper it with compliments, because nobody wants to offend you. They might use weak adjectives or make statements such as “It’s nice” or “I liked it”.
What else we can learn to help increase the chances of selling your home to the next buyer? You may get comments that the condition of the property or the décor is off-putting. Most of us look at customer reviews of hotels, products, services online, and quickly realize that individual opinions will vary, however there can be a majority consensus. After you hear the same drawback comments over and over, it makes sense to consider painting your home, removing the carpet, or offering a decorating allowance. Consulting a professional home stager can save time and eliminate these comments. Often maintenance and cosmetic changes can be addressed for less than a typical price change since most price adjustments are at least $10,000.
If the feedback says the price is too high, schedule a time to review an updated market analysis with a real estate agent. Since most buyers comparison-shop, they can pinpoint quickly whether your home offers a good value in comparison to others on the market. When meeting with your agent, also review how many homes have sold in your neighborhood/community in the last 3-6 months. If no homes have gone under agreement in the past month or more, it is an indication that buyers are rejecting the entire available inventory. This may be a signal that you need to get ahead of the market. What will it take to be a success story in the next round of home sales?
What if you have a showing and the buyer or their agent has not provided feedback? Your agent will make several attempts by phone and email to get comments. However not every buyer or agent will respond. Sometimes, if they have seen many homes in short period of time, they may not even remember your home in great detail. Ouch – that hurts, but it lets you know your home has been likely eliminated from their list. What if the buyer wants to come back to see your home again, maybe bringing their spouse or other friends/relatives? This is typically a good sign that the buyer is approaching a decision. If they do not follow up with an offer, have your agent ask if they are pursuing another home or still considering your property.
Showing activity tends to increase the first 2 weeks a home is listed, and then spikes after price changes, positive economic news, or interest rate changes. In New England we also see seasonal trends with more showings after the holidays, in the spring and once again before school starts. A Broker’s Open House can be an opportunity to gather professional opinions if you don’t have recent buyer feedback. Lack of showings for 2 weeks or more is usually an indication that buyers are shopping online and have already decided other homes interest them more. This is a critical time to review your home pricing strategy with your agent as online buyers will look at many homes in a range and you may need to position the home in a different range to get noticed.
Getting your home sold can require a thick skin sometimes, however, not to toot our own horn, but Prudential Verani Agents have the tools to you gather, evaluate and effectively react to buyer and agent feedback.