Question Details

Brian Kurtz, Real Estate Pro in Dearborn, MI

Why do we leave cards behind after showings anyway?

Asked by Brian Kurtz, Dearborn, MI Mon Dec 30, 2013

I just realized something. You know how you stop by to show a house and see a collage of cards left by other agents? Then you add yours to the collection.

But what is the purpose of this? Why would the listing agent ask for a card to be left in the listing instructions? Doesn't the pile serve as a starting point for the seller to begin shopping for other agents if things don't proceed as quickly as they would like?

Help the community by answering this question:


Honestly, I don't understand why anyone wouldn't leave a card......and why all the banter about it.

Forget our "needs' as listing agents - forget whether we can check the Supra lock box electronically, or have email programs in place .............. or don't care if we get feedback - imo, it isn't about "us"!

At the very least, and for no other reason that matters..................... it is a COURTESY to the sellers!

I was a seller some years ago.

Agents make appointments - they don't always show up or call................or they show up late.....
I know what it is to have an agent say they will be there at 2PM.......I get home at 2:30.......if no card is there I wonder, was she here yet or not ?

Can I lie down to take a nap?
Should I wait to see if she still shows up...should I start making calls to see what's going on?.............and on and on it may go.....

How simple it is to leave a card behind which basically says: "Yes, Mrs Seller, I was here".
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 7, 2014
thank you Brian!
Flag Tue Jan 7, 2014
Perfect perspective I think.
Flag Tue Jan 7, 2014
Among all the other comments, leaving your card also indicates to the seller that you have been there. It is nice for them to know what agent or company was in there house.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 7, 2014
Exactly ! It's a courtesy to the owner.
Flag Tue Jan 7, 2014
I leave a card as a courtesy to the seller to let them know not only who I am when they open the door, but also to let them know that I showed up if they were not home. Sometimes an owner is given a window of time when an agent says they will be there and may step out, come back and not have a clue if the agent ever showed up. I certainly expect all Realtors that show my listings to do the same. I also advise my clients and their children to never allow a stranger in their home without identifying themselves as a Realtor. It's just a matter of safety.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 6, 2014
Interesting point.....

I view this as a courtesy extended to the simply lets them know who was there. I also like doing this because from time to time, I have been contacted by the owner personally. They sometimes value another's perspective......

2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 1, 2014
We use them to "call back" the Buyer Agents to get feedback if we haven't received it from them. Buyer feedback is very important!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 7, 2014
Hi Brian. Working as a buyer's agent I've never understood leaving a business card behind after showing a property.

For my seller clients I use a secured showing service and buyer agents provide feedback through the service via email or a phone call. My seller clients get the same report I receive and we both get it at the same time. The report provides buyer agents' information as well.

The majority of my business is referrals, and if I can't produce results within an agreed upon stated time frame the sellers should move on to another agent. I would if I were trying to sell my house and the agent could not fulfill the objective.

Thanks again for the great question. I hope you had a terrific Christmas and New Year!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 6, 2014
I just remembered this, and thought I'd share!

We're all discussing leaving (or not) a business card when showing a home.

OK, so .how would you like to see this one...........years ago an agent made up "special" cards to be used ONLY when showing homes.

They were 3 times the size of a normal business card....they had the agent's pic and contact information.........yet the body of the card had the following message:

"Thank you so much for allowing me to show your lovely home - It was my pleasure"

Haven't seen that one in long time..... and I say good riddance!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 4, 2014
same to you J - a healthy, happy and prosperous 2014!
Flag Tue Jan 7, 2014
I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year! Here we go...another year and counting.
Flag Mon Jan 6, 2014
In my area it is a big no-no to leave cards, but every agent must sign in when showing a property.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 4, 2014
Really? It's a frowned-upon tradition? Who knew?
Flag Sun Jan 5, 2014
It is still an MLS rule in my area & agents/brokers can get fined for not leaving a card.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 31, 2013
Wow...I've never heard of this rule with any MLS. Thanks so much!
Flag Mon Jan 6, 2014
If it's a vacant property, I don't leave a card behind. However, if a property is owner occupied, my first move is always to give them a copy of my card. If nothing else, that sets a tone with the homeowner that you're a professional, and who the buyer is.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 31, 2013
Leaving a card is merely a courtesy to the seller and the listing agent to help track showing traffic. We have a large and growing percentage of agents in our area who are not Realtors or MLS members and therefore don't have a Supra key. If we want them to show our listings, we have to put a mechanical key box on the property and ask that they leave a card.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 31, 2013
IMO, it's a courtesy to let the homeowner know I was there -

I am a stranger walking through their home.......agents may make appointments and then not show up at the last moment (yes, it does happen!!).

Leaving a card simply lets the seller know someone was there when they get home if they were a listing agent I stop by periodically and pick the cards up, and keep them for future reference.
(might even call an agent after a price reduction and ask if their buyer was still looking or if they had bought something .)

Also, for a home that hasn't gotten any offers, seeing that big pile of cards (or lack thereof) has more impact that me telling them about a list of names I got off of the Supra lockbox.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 30, 2013
I ask buyers' agents to leave a card for several reasons ...

It shows my sellers that the home is being shown.
It verifies that the agents who made showing appointments actually showed up.
It encourages potential buyers to move forward, lest they lose the home.

I guess it's force of habit, but I always leave a card when showing property, and I'm not concerned about sellers having a bunch of Realtors' names in the event that an issue arises.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 30, 2013
I think this is a throw back to a time before Supra boxes, to track who was coming and going. I dont leave cards unless the listing asks me to, seems pointless and wasteful.
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 30, 2013
I think it's so that the sellers know that we were there and WHO was there showing the home.

I left one at a home that I showed a few years ago. There was a renter that lived there that needed to move out and find their own home. They recognized my name and called me. I helped them buy their next home and they have already sent me a few referrals.

If it's a foreclosure or vacant home I won't leave a card.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 31, 2013
i specifically ask agents do not leave their cards. Before we made this decision agents were not only leaving cards but literature about themselves when they showed a home. This is extremely rude to try to promote yourself while showing someone elses listing. i can easily track who is there first through my showing service and through the lock box.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 31, 2013
If there is a PILE of cards that suggests two things:
#1. This is a new listing and getting exceptional traffic
#2. The home is not occupied. The folks living in their homes do not find a pile of cards to be a positive component of the staging scheme.
In case #1, if the owner did not open the door, I leave a card so the owner knows the visit has been completed, AND they should seek feedback via their agent. If they did open the door I hand my card to introduce me as a licensed agent and not a rogue 'cash' investor who buys homes 'any condition, any situation, and location" don't have a dime to call may own and intend to tie your home up for 5 months as I look for another buyer to assign the contract.
In case #2 my card on the pile will make no difference. MLS rules may be 20 years behind reality. The supra box has recorded everything. Not a REALTOR and need access? open house in June 12, 2014. Membership has it's privileges.
Any listing agent requiring a card to be left behind clearly is not aware of the message that appears on the back of my card. Be careful what you demand.
With the supra box I know when you arrive and will be notified when you leave. I'll be calling you about 10 minutes later. I'll ask, "Did you let the cat out?" You'll say, "What! I never saw a cat!" Then we can chat about your buyers evaluation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 31, 2013

and......if the homeowner IS home when I show the house, it's professional and polite to hand them a card so they know who they are letting into their home!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 30, 2013
Here in the Pacific Northwest, it is an MLS rule.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 30, 2013
It also shows the sellers that the house is being shown to other agents who will hopefully bring their buyers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 30, 2013
It let's the buyers see how much traffic the house is getting. Puts pressure on them to make an offer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 30, 2013
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