The Importance of For Sale Signs in the Yard

A for-sale sign is seen on a home
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For sale signs are still popular, even with the internet. In some markets, buyers drive by a home, spot a for sale sign and slam on the brakes. The question isn't whether you should have a for sale sign in the yard—unless you want to keep secret the fact that your home is for sale—and some sellers do. It's whether the for sale sign will generate an inquiry about your home.

Most sellers expect buyers to call for more information. If you are selling the home yourself, a sign can encourage a buyer to immediately call. If you have hired a real estate agent to list your home, then the phone calls will go to your listing agent. A phone call is an excellent opportunity to discuss all of the wonderful features of your home, sometimes not readily apparent from the curb.

Types of For Sale Signs

Some homeowner associations do not allow for sale signs in the yard, or the HOA may have restrictions about size and placement. If you live in a planned community, you may want to read your HOA regulations before putting a sign in your yard.

Standard types of for sale signs vary depending on inherent weather conditions where you live, type of brokerage that has listed your home and, in some cases, simply personal preference.

For Sale By Owner Signs

Sellers who try to sell without representation generally don't want to spend a lot of money on signage. In fact, a less expensive sign may play to a for sale by owner's advantage because a buyer might believe the seller is desperate to sell and the buyer can get a great deal. You can buy a for sale by owner sign at a hardware store, some Boards of REALTORS® or online. Most of these signs are made from metal or plastic and secure to the ground with stakes or wires.

Real Estate Agent For Sale Signs

The two most common types are small signs with stakes, which are pounded into the ground, or larger sign panels, which generally hang from a signpost. Materials for the signage can range from wood to plastic to metal. Sandwich boards are inexpensive but portable enough that some kid might run off with them.

For Sale Sign Content

A REALTOR®'S For Sale Sign will catch the eye of a buyer, and promote the real estate brokerage and the agent. It may contain the following:

  • Name of the brokerage
  • Office phone number with area code
  • Web site
  • Company logo
  • Brokerage address

Some agents utilize space on top of the sign post or below the sign panel. They may secure a smaller sign on top. Examples for the top of the post are:

  • Virtual tour web site
  • Open House days
  • The specific asking price
  • Price reduction
  • Neighborhood slogan
  • Buyer benefit such as a home warranty

Here are examples of a sign rider, which may hang by hooks below the sign panel:

  • Agent's cell phone number
  • Co-Agent's name / number
  • Home feature such as number of bedrooms / pool / horse property
  • QR codes
  • Text options

Placement of For Sale Signs

The for sale sign should be easily visible from the street. Avoid placing your sign where it is blocked by cars parked on the street, trees, or telephone poles.

  • It seems less intrusive to place the for sale sign near the sidewalk or street than close to the home.
  • If the home is located on a corner, consider installing a sign on each street to catch traffic from both directions.
  • For out-of-the-way homes such as those on secluded streets or in an area where traffic is limited, you might ask homeowners who live on a busy street if you can place a directional sign in their yard.

Removing For Sale Signs

Sometimes problems crop up when the listing expires with one agent and the seller signs a listing agreement with a new agent. It's possible that the first agent may be reluctant or slow to remove his sign. A delay could mean more calls for the agent who was just fired.

We're not suggesting that you yank the sign out of the yard yourself, but if calling the brokerage leads to a dead end, you might have to do it. The absolutely last thing that you want to happen is for a buyer to call your former listing agent.

Sometimes, when agents lose listings, they develop a bitter attitude. If a buyer calls your former agent by mistake, it's possible that agent may do everything in his or her power to talk the buyer out of viewing your home.

When a home closes, some sign companies will not venture onto private property to search for a sign the buyer has removed. Instead of pulling the sign to stick in a garage or by the side of the house, It is generally best to leave the sign in place until the sign company retrieves it.

At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, CalBRE #00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.