Everything you say can and will be used against your client to benefit the other side. You know that’s true. Then why do we give the listing firm feedback from our client? We do it because we always did it, and a long time ago, we were legally responsible to do it. Licensees, under the old agency law, represented the seller; they had an obligation to share all pertinent information with the seller. The law changed and made disclosing confidential information an illegal act. And still, we reveal relevant negotiating information to the other side without the permission of the client.
Everyday buyer agents are responding to showing feedback requests and placing their clients in compromising positions. A sample of questions include: “Is this your clients 1st choice, second choice, third or fourth choice house?” “When does your client need a home by?” “What does your client think about the price? Too High, Just Right, Too Low?” “Is your client making an offer on another house?” “Is this price at the bottom, middle, top of your client’s price range?” “What does your client dislike about the property?””Was the house clean and well presented? Disorganized and unprepared? In need of cleaning?”
It’s easy to see the questions that a buyer is likely to prefer you not answer. If the house is the buyer’s first choice, advantage seller. When seller knows the date the buyer has to move by, advantage seller. There are other questions which if answered could work against the buyer. A response to a question on condition may not set well with an owner. “They thought my house was not clean???!! They said my basement smelled musty???!!” How many buyers want to tell the seller, “We think your house is priced right.”?
Listing agents who ask questions to gather information to persuade the seller the price is too high, or the condition needs attention are using you to do their job. “I didn’t say your house was a mess, the other agents did.” There is no good reason for a buyer agent to bite on these questions. Our job is to put our client first, not the listing agent. If my answer to a condition question is not well received by the seller, it could be my client who loses when the seller connects my statement to this buyer’s offer.
Showing feedback in the day of buyer agency is at least a dangerous practice, and arguably a violation of confidentiality. Maybe a safe response is: “Nice house. Thank you. The buyer wants us to tell the seller they have a beautiful home.”