Get Buyer Feedback After a Showing or Open House
Not every seller asks for buyer feedback, nor do their agents. Yet, the most important question a home seller can ask a buyer who has just finished viewing a home is "What did you think?"
Truth is many home sellers (and their agents) hesitate to get buyer feedback after showings. Why? Some people don't know which questions to ask, and others, most likely, are afraid to hear the answers. Sometimes agents are hesitant to deliver bad news to a seller. They don't want the seller to shoot the messenger.
Buyer feedback is essential. Without it, home sellers won't know what they are doing right and what could be improved upon. Because after all, it doesn't really matter what the seller thinks. It's the buyer's opinion that matters. Here are sample questions that you can use to get buyer feedback:
What Is Your Overall Impression of This Home?
Buyers will tell you the truth but pepper it with compliments they think you want to hear because nobody wants to offend you. They might use weak adjectives or make statements such as "It's nice," or "I liked it," which is why you may need to probe deeper. In any case, whatever responses you receive, don't become combative or argue with the buyer, just thank them for their input and for viewing your home.
How Do You Compare This Home With Others You Are Considering?
This question will let a buyer talk about what kind of home they want to buy and how yours stacks up to the ideal home they want. You may also learn facts about other homes on the market. For example, you may discover that your home has better exposure to the sun than those on the opposite side of the street because orientation is an important factor to many buyers, or that your square footage appears larger than identical square-foot homes in the neighborhood.
What Do You Like Most About This Home?
Your home may have attractive qualities that you have forgotten about or did not think made much difference to a buyer. If a buyer raves about a particular aspect that you do not understand, feel free to ask why that is important to the buyer. For example, a buyer might say the kitchen is beautiful. If you don't ask why she feels that way about it, you won't learn that the kitchen skylights are a top-selling feature, which you can mention to other buyers who might not notice them.
What Do You Like Least About This Home?
The buyer might mention the color of a room or maybe your carpeting needs to be replaced. Then you ask the next buyer what she thinks about the color of the walls or the carpet. After you gather enough opinions and hear the same drawback comments over and over, you might want to consider painting, removing the carpet or offering a decorating allowance in your home marketing materials.
What Is Your Opinion of the Price?
If a buyer says the price is too high, ask if it's in the buyer's price range. Sometimes buyers can't afford the price you are asking but want to look at the home regardless. Ask how the price compares to other homes in that price range to determine the basis for a statement that the price is too high. Rarely will a buyer tell you that the price is too low. If everybody says the price is too high, maybe you need to adjust it. Ask buyers what price they think it should be.
How Do You See Yourself Living in This Home?
If buyers start to tell you where they would put the living room sofa, you most likely have an interested purchaser. You can discuss the various ways you have arranged furniture in the home over the years.
However, if the buyer says, "I don't," ask why. It might be a simple answer such as the buyer wants a three bedroom with office space, but you have no extra room for an office. You may be able to point out another place in the home where a buyer could set up an office, which may not be readily apparent to most people.
What Would It Take For You to Buy This Home Today?
When you ask a loaded and bold question like this, your buyers just might disclose their motivation to buy and explain how your home meets or does not meet their intentions. You will learn how you can improve the appearance of your home and how to meet the buyer's needs.
A buyer might need to move within two weeks and mention that only vacant homes are of interest; if so, you can assure the buyer you would be able to offer a fast closing in exchange for an offer today.
At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, CalBRE #00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.