Some feedback on providing feedback
Responding to requests is good business; avoid potential violations of Code
By Michele Di Donato
Vice President Risk Management
One frequent complaint made by Realtors® is that requests for feedback are ignored. For most Realtors®, receiving feedback after a listing is shown is important. Many look to feedback for ideas on how to improve the appeal of the home to potential homebuyers.
Some Realtors® do not provide feedback because they believe it is a listing agent’s job to know what steps to take to prepare a home for sale; they assert that feedback that helps the listing agent do his or her job should not be provided. Therefore, Realtors® who show homes might ignore feedback requests. However, even though the listing agent should be skilled enough to know what needs to be done to make a home sell without input from potential buyers, even the most skilled agents cannot always think of everything. Feedback can be a very helpful tool for you and for other Realtors®.
Professionalism shows in feedback
The Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association and Carolina Multiple Listing Services, Inc. (CMLS) do not require that you respond to requests for feedback; however, by doing so, you show fellow Realtors® that you are serious about the business. Responding in a kind and courteous manner to feedback requests is a sign of professionalism.
On the other hand, some showing agents provide feedback that could be considered far less than professional. While a constructive critique of the home should not be considered as an attack on the property or the seller(s), a scathing review with derogatory comments about the home and/or the seller(s) is not professional, and could be construed as a possible violation of the Realtor® Code of Ethics. In addition, it’s just bad business.
Requests for feedback often come shortly after a listing is shown. The request may come directly from the listing agent via email or through Centralized Showing Service (CSS). Realtors® requesting feedback should be mindful that some Realtors® spend all weekend showing properties. Receiving an immediate response to feedback requests sent over the weekend may not be possible. CSS also sends out feedback reminders to showing agents after a property is shown, which often effectively prompts the showing agent to send comments.
When providing feedback, showing agents should be aware that their comments might also be viewed directly by the seller. Giving too much contact information in your feedback (e.g., providing more than your first name) could be construed as interfering with the agency relationship a Realtor® has with a client, which is covered under Article 16 of the Code of Ethics. Be careful to not include so much contact information that another Realtor® or his or her client(s) may consider your signature line to be an attempt to advertise your services.
While not responding to feedback remains the number-one member complaint, we are happy to relate that according to reports produced by CSS, as of December 2011, CMLS Participants and Subscribers maintain a 64 percent feedback response rate. This rate is in line with what other MLSs in North Carolina are reporting.