Feedback Wanted!When a real estate agent shows a Silicon Valley home for sale to prospective buyers, most of the time the property is occupied and the sellers clear out to give the Realtor and his or her clients some space.  What those sellers really want to know, as soon is possible, is this:  what did the buyers think of the house?  Will the buyers write an offer?

They want showing feedback.

Few showing agents will provide feedback

Some listing agents do not request showing feedback at all because the majority of buyers’ agents will not take the time to respond (probably 1/3 to 1/2, if that).  Many of these agents believe that “the only important feedback is an offer“.  However, that’s not everyone. A good number of Realtors who work with home sellers do follow up with showing agents, though, either by phone (calling personally or asking an assistant to do it) or by email, usually using an automated system such as the one provided by our key safe service, through our personal websites or services we contract with ( or or others).

With electronic feedback, usually the listing agent can either have the information come only to himself or herself or also to be copied directly to the sellers.  Sometimes the feedback is not only brutal, it’s downright rude, so normally I do not have my sellers get the feedback directly. Selling is hard enough without getting insulted in the process.

Why don’t buyers’ agents give showing feedback after visiting a listing?

So the question at hand is why the buyers’ agents so seldom volunteer their buyers’ reactions to the viewed home.  Here are the usual reasons, for the most part in order of prominence:

  1. The agent is simply  too busy with running her or his real estate practice to respond (and the buyer isn’t interested, at least not then). This is especially true if returning a phone call is involved.
  2. The buyer’s agent does not want to respond for fear that it could negatively impact negotiations later (the buyer may be interested, but the agent may not want to be overly complimentary or negative).
  3. Many agents think that by providing feedback, they are “helping the listing agent with marketing”, and they don’t want to do that.
  4. Some listing agents will use the feedback against the buyer’s agent later, if there’s an offer. (I’ve had this happen to me!)
  5. The house or condo may look fine, but the inspections or disclosures (or lack of them) may be scaring the buyer off.
  6. Possibly, the buyer is not serious or ready – this can happen with relocation buyers on their first trip to an area.  Showings to them are primarily to give them a feel for the market. Most Realtors in Santa Clara County will only show homes to pre-qualified or pre-approved buyers, but not all.
  7. On occasion, the listing agent is showing a client who plans to list his or her house for sale in the near future, and wants to better understand the competition.
  8. Lack of organization – the agent means to complete the survey, return the call or respond to the email, but it simply falls through the cracks.

What can be done to improve the odds of getting real estate showing feedback?

It is a helpful favor when agents do provide showing feedback, though.  The odds improve on a response when the request comes via email (it’s less intrusive and faster) and the number of questions is limited.  The longer the survey, the less likely someone is to complete it.  Also helpful is providing a photo and some details of the house as most Realtors will need a memory jog.  Finally, the request needs to come promptly, not a month later!  By then it will be a forgotten home!

The program I use has only 4 questions with a scale of 1 to 5 (poor, fair, average, good, excellent), requesting info on just a few things and a spot to add comments:

Location: (pull down menu scale of 1 to 5)
Exterior Condition: (pull down menu scale of 1 to 5)
Interior Condition: (pull down menu scale of 1 to 5)
Pricing: (pull down menu scale of 1 to 5)
Under comments, the showing agents may say anything they wish. Most of the time it’s an explanation as to why the home is not a fit –  room sizes too small, neighborhood or other problems with the property (cooking odors, house seems dark, street with too many cars on it or something else). Sometimes it’s a compliment, like “shows great!” Or a response related to the buyer “just starting to look, not ready yet” or “decided after seeing many homes to focus on areas closer to work”.
Unfortunately, home sellers are sometimes their own worst enemies when it comes to selling their house.  A year or two ago I showed a San Jose property at 1pm and in two of the three bedrooms, people were in bed!  This made us feel extraordinarily uncomfortable, of course.  If there’s a seller-related impediment to the sale, this comment section is where we might hear about it. “Seller was home and followed us through the house – we could not talk privately” or “the house smelled like pets” (dogs, cats, rabbits, dirty bird cages, you name it – or possibly incense, strong cooking odors, dirty diapers or other things).  “All the curtains were closed and the lights were off. We felt that we were not welcome.”  These kinds of things are helpful to the listing agent so that the home can be shown better.

Silicon Valley home sellers can help to get feedback too

Silicon Valley home sellers: if you want feedback, be sure to tell your real estate sales person when there’s a showing if the appointments are scheduled through you (as is usually the case here in the South Bay).  Include the name, brokerage name, phone number and email. If your agent uses a service for obtaining feedback, it is possible that you can upload that information directly yourself, insuring that it happens speedily – and that increases the odds of response.  Please note: do NOT call the buyer’s agent directly and ask for feedback.  This will create tension in the relationship between you and your agent as well as between you and the buyer and her or his agent. Communication should be between the real estate licensees, and if you bypass your agent, it causes professional embarrassment for your misstep on top of everything else.


Selling a home is stressful, so you may be happier getting a simple synopsis of the feedback rather than a blow-by-blow.  Agents whose buyers reject the property are more likely to respond, in my experience, than those who like it, so when you get feedback it may feel like nothing but unhappy comments at times.  In other words, if you want feedback, be careful what you wish for!