Courtesy Card or Toe Stepping?

September 1, 1996

Like many showing salespeople, you've probably left your card at listings to let sellers know you were in their home. Seems like the courteous thing to do, no?

Not according to members of the East Central Board of REALTORS® in Hebron, Conn. They say the practice is unfair to listing salespeople. In fact, board members recently voted that showing salespeople should leave a card only if the listing salesperson or the seller requests it.

''It puts everyone in a bad position,'' says Teri Gardner, a member of the board and a salesperson with McCorrison D.W. Fish--Better Homes and Gardens, Hebron. ''Co-op salespeople leave a card to show sellers they're actively working to sell a house. So it's an active solicitation of the listing salesperson's sellers. And with buyer brokerage, homeowners might contact the other salesperson and give out information they shouldn't, not realizing the person is working for the buyer.''

East Central's EO, Debra Crider, reports that there were no dissenters to the proposed policy, which was voted on during a general membership meeting in January 1996. She has followed up with a reminder notice in the board newsletter. ''I've sent only one reminder letter directly to a member,'' Crider notes, though she points out that the only way one can find out whether someone isn't adhering to the policy is if sellers let listing salespeople know that another practitioner left a calling card.

NOTE: NAR policy permits boards and MLSs to adopt rules that require cooperating salespeople to leave cards at showings or, alternatively, prohibit them from leaving cards. An alternative in some areas is to require cooperating salespeople to sign an on-site roster so that the listing broker and the seller have a record of who viewed the property.

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