Getting Buyer Feedback After a House Showing

Young couple looking at a new house with a real estate agent
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Not every home seller asks potential buyers for feedback about his or her house. Yet, the most important question a seller can ask a buyer following a house showing is: "What did you think?" Many sellers hesitate because they do not know what specifically they are looking for or because they are afraid to receive feedback.

Buyer feedback, however, is essential. Without it, home sellers will not know what they are doing right and what could be improved on. It does not matter what the seller thinks. Ultimately, the buyer's opinion reigns.

The following provides sample questions that may be helpful to ask a home buyer as the seller.

What Is Your Overall Impression of This Home?

Buyers will likely tell you the truth when you ask them this question, but they may pepper their answer with compliments they think you want to hear. They might use weak adjectives or make statements, such as "It is nice" or "I liked it." If they do so, you may need to probe deeper with follow-up questions. But regardless of what responses you do end up receiving, you should not become combative or argumentative with the buyer. Just thank them for their input and for taking the time to view your home.

How Do You Compare This Home With Others?

This question will let buyers think and 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 (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 the Most About This Home?

Your home may have attractive qualities that you have forgotten about or did not think made much of a difference to buyers. If a buyer raves about a particular aspect of your home that you do not understand, you should feel free to ask why that is important to the buyer. For example, a buyer might say the kitchen is beautiful. If you do not ask why he or she feels that way about it, you will not 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 the Least About This Home?

In response to this question, the buyer might (among other things) mention the color of a room or may note that your carpeting needs to be replaced. You can then ask the next buyer what she thinks about the color of the walls or about the carpet. After you gather enough opinions and hear the same drawback comments, you might want to consider painting the walls a different color, 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, you should ask if it is within the buyer's price range. Sometimes, buyers cannot afford the price you are asking but want to look at the home regardless. You should also ask how the price compares to other homes in that price range, in order to try determining the basis for the 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. You can try asking buyers what price they think it should be.

How Do You See Yourself Living in This Home?

If a buyer starts to tell you where he or she 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" or its variation, you should ask why. It might be a simple answer, such as the buyer wants a three bedroom with office space but your home does not have 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 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 may mention that only vacant homes are of interest; if so, you can assure the buyer that 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.