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The real estate sign game

Posted by Rona Fischman March 28, 2011 02:28 PM

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Sam Schneiderman, broker owner of Great Boston Home Team is our Monday guy. Today he musing on who benefits from those yard signs springing up on our landscape.

What is the purpose of the real estate sign in front of a property for sale?
The answer probably depends on who you ask.

If you ask the listing agent, she might tell you that signs help sell the property sooner because everybody that passes by will know that itís for sale. In reality, the national statistic is that only six percent of home buyers in 2009 bought a home because they happened to see the sign. I know agents that have been in business for many years that have never sold a home based on a buyer seeing the sign. Surveys show that around 90 percent of todayís buyers are already searching for their next home online.
Having a sign in front of a property for sale from the day it is listed until the day that it closes is great advertising for the agent and the agency. That sign presence often leads to inquiries from other neighbors that want to discuss selling their home with the agent. (In fact, I once lost a potential listing to an agent that had lots of signs all over a particular neighborhood. She hadnít actually sold any of the homes in over 4 months, but that didnít seem to be something that the seller factored into the decision making process.)

Buyers like signs until they get tired of calling the agent or agency only to get hustled for their names, numbers and whatever else before they can get any information at all about the property or they find out that they are talking to an agent that has never seen the property. Agents have treated some buyers rudely once they hear that the buyer has his own buyerís agent.

Once a seller has negotiated an acceptable offer with a buyer, some agents put up a ďsale pendingĒ rider on the sign to show their success off to the neighbors. Other agents donít put that rider up because they use the sign to attract potential buyer prospects for other properties or they attract interested buyers for potential backup offers.

Then there are the automated response signs. They invite buyers to dial or text a number to get instant information about the property without speaking to an agent. I called one today because I was thinking about writing this post. I called a local number and the greeting message told me that by using the automated system, I was consenting to be contacted by an agent.

Give me a break!

How do you react to real estate signs?
Should there be some truth in advertising rules associated with real estate signs?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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