The signs of the times are changing in Los Altos

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Intero Real Estate CA BRE #01191946

A hot topic these days in Los Altos is signage, of any kind.  Those discussions have included signs used by Realtors.  In the course of those discussions we've got two highly polarized camps; those who want signs and those who don't.  The ones who don't would like to see ALL Realtor signs banned.  They may, and I use that term loosely, yield to allow directional arrows.

So, why all the fuss?  It's simple, some agents use too many signs.  There are numerous intersections and streets with 2-3 signs at every corner on many weekends.  There are signs in medians, sidewalks, and other places.  In fact, there are signs in a lot of places they are NOT LEGALLY ALLOWED.  The agents have been told the rules and choose to ignore them or just forget.

Here's my take on what we need:

No More Than 3 Signs
People don't drive around at random and follow signs for miles.  You need one in front of the house and one each at the two closest intersections.  That's it.

Directional Signs Only
The purpose of putting a lot of extra signs out is to make the agent look bigger, busier, etc.  So we kill that benefit by limiting ourselves to directional signs only when placed off the property.  That levels the playing field for everyone.

Penalties For Violators
As of now, there are no penalties for violators due to how NAR and CAR rules work.  I'd advocate that agents violating local sign ordinances be fined (perhaps $500 per sign) to make it hurt when someone breaks the law.  If we're supposed to be fine upstanding members of society, let's try acting like it and follow the rules.

As of now, nothing has changed but there have been some strong recommendations.  If agents can't regulate themselves, the cities and towns will do it for us.


Cluster of signs


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Carla Dimond
CATARRA - Mountain View, CA
(Silicon Valley)

Bryan, I thought the city could fine you.

Aug 03, 2010 06:01 PM #1
Bryan Robertson
Intero Real Estate - Los Altos, CA
Broker, Author, Speaker

In theory they can but they don't.  At one point in time Los Altos had someone who went around to pick up signs in violation.  This was also done in Cupertino.  It isn't done in Los Altos anymore.  Is it done in Cupertino?

The whole sign issue is a real challenge in our area because some cities have strict rules and bans (Los Gatos, Saratoga, Menlo Park) and others are more reasonable (Los Altos, San Jose, etc).  We need consistency across all cities.

Aug 03, 2010 07:08 PM #2
Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Silicon Valley, California) - Campbell, CA
Silicon Valley, California

Bryan...  Looking at the picture, I am unsure if there are open houses that day...  lol... 

Aug 06, 2010 06:15 AM #3
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Bryan Robertson

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