Not every home seller asks potential buyers for feedback about their house, but home sellers should, and the most important question to ask following a house showing is "What did you think?" Many sellers hesitate, either because they don't know what they're looking for or are afraid to receive feedback.
Buyer feedback is essential. Without it, sellers won't know what they're doing right or what could be improved. It doesn't matter what the seller thinks. Ultimately, the buyer's opinion reigns.
In most cases, sellers and buyers won't have direct contact, and they only communicate through agents. However, you can give your agent questions to pass along to the buyer. Here are sample questions that may be helpful to ask a home buyer.
- Without buyer feedback, sellers won't know what they're doing right and what could be improved.
- If a buyer raves about a particular aspect of your home that you don't understand, ask why that's important to the buyer.
- Regardless of what responses you end up receiving to any questions, don't become combative or argumentative with the buyer.
What's 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 like, "It's nice" or "I liked it." If they do, you may need to probe deeper with follow-up questions.
Regardless of what responses you end up receiving to this or any other question, don't become combative or argumentative with the buyer. Just thank them for their input and for taking the time to view your home.
How Does This Home Compare With Others?
This question will let buyers think and talk about what kind of home they want and how yours stacks up. 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 Most About This Home?
Your home may have attractive qualities that you've forgotten about or didn't think made much of a difference to buyers. If a buyer raves about a particular aspect of your home that you don't understand, ask why that's important to them. For example, a buyer might say the kitchen is beautiful. If you don't ask why they feel that way, you won't learn that the kitchen skylights are a top-selling feature of your house, which you can mention to other buyers.
What Do You Like Least About This Home?
In response to this question, the buyer might (among other things) mention the color of a room or might note that your carpeting needs to be replaced. Ask the next potential buyer what they think about the color of the walls or the carpet. After you gather enough opinions and hear the same 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's Your Opinion of the Price?
If a buyer says the price is too high, ask whether it's within their price range. Sometimes, buyers can't afford the price you're asking but want to look at the home anyway. Ask how the price compares to similar homes, to determine the basis for their statement that the price is too high. Buyers will rarely tell you that the price is too low. If everyone says the price is too high, you might need to adjust it. 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 they would put the living room sofa, you most likely have their interest. Discuss the various ways you have arranged furniture in the home over the years.
However, if the buyer says, "I don't" or a variation, ask why. It might be a simple answer, such as the buyer wants a three-bedroom home with office space, but your home doesn't have extra room for an office. In that case, point out another place in the home where a buyer could set up an office that might 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 might disclose their motivation to buy and explain how your home meets or doesn't meet their expectations. You'll learn how to improve your home's appearance and how to meet buyers' needs.
A buyer might need to move within two weeks and might mention that only vacant homes are of interest; if so, assure them that you would be able to offer a fast closing in exchange for an offer today.