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Smoke, Mirrors, Bells, Whistles, Balloons & More ...

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Award BRE # 01924314

Every weekend, I make sure I have some activity for real estate happening. Makes sense, right? If you are not sitting an open house, then maybe work a buyer. Don’t have either of those options available? Then maybe you can prospect or hell … get out in the field and preview new listings … learn the inventory.


Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the clients and just see some of the homes out there at your own pace in areas that you farm or have interest in without anyone bothering you. Get a feel for the world from the consumers eye for a moment … right?


WOW, ever notice how many open house signs are out there? At least out here. They. Are. Everywhere. Forget the limits or HOA and city guidelines … put ten six or ten on every corner! I just can’t believe there is not more regulation on the numbers. But, to add to it … most areas have restrictions on the size and color of open house signs … that are usually completely overlooked.


I see open house signs with riders, balloons, flags, spinners, reflectors, every color you can imagine … then you get to the house … more balloons, flags, etc … all the smoke and mirrors.


Are we really in a world where Realtors® have such an ego that they have to “win every corner?” I know, I’m the “naysayer” right? “James, agents have to make themselves stand out. Agents have to make sure people can find their open house among all of the other signs. What’s wrong with standing out?”


Oh the clutter! Do people really want to live in a community with signs up every single weekend EVERYWHERE? Seriously, have you ever driven into a community that you have a listing looking through the eyes of the consumer … it not only screams “move away, everyone is moving away” … it looks like a parade … not a community. If there are ten signs up on the corner already, certainly you don’t need that one extra one so people can find you … just put one somewhere else in the neighborhood.


You don’t need to break the rules to stand out. And, if you’re not breaking the rules … do you really think you need a parade to get people to your open house? Most visitors look at apps on their phone to get to the open houses anyway. Do you need 37 signs to guide people in? Have you ever, just for fun, tried only one sign in front of your listing … nothing special … just a little green arrow that says open house … maybe has your name on it so people don’t run off with it?


I’m not saying “don’t put signs out” … but I see things like “Open House” with a rider that says “AREA SPECIALIST” …


Oh, okay … well … I wasn’t going to visit the open house but if you are an “AREA SPECIALIST” (thanks for yelling) then I’ll definitely stop by.


This industry is such a measuring contest to so many. Even the open house signs have become a “battle to win.” I love this business but I don’t sell my soul. I do plenty of business … I am just me … people like that …


If you need the smoke and mirrors, the bells and whistles, the riders to say you’re the best (and if you have to say it … you may not be … … … by the way) … you may just be pushing too hard.


“Cookie Cutter” is not the answer I am suggesting … but sometimes the loudest cry is not the one that gets the attention.

Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

The signs are illegal in the City of Tallahassee, on rights of way and medians...  but there is an unofficial "grace period" from Friday afternoon until Monday morning.   Other times, Code Enforcement will pick them up and take them to the landfill.

Jun 14, 2016 10:11 AM
Robert Havana

wow thats interesting.  i suppose they probably are not 'legal' in my city either, but have just historically been ignored or left alone. 

Jun 14, 2016 10:23 AM
James Hoff

That's really interesting Fred Griffin ... and ... as surprising as that is to me ... I'd have to say, you probably don't suffer too much from it because technology allows most to be able to be able to find their way to whatever is open from an app on their phone!

Jun 15, 2016 12:24 PM
Robert Havana
Park and Protect- Alberta Real Estate License Parking - Calgary, AB
Alberta Real Estate License Parking

I was just commenting on how few open house signs I see in my area.  I am redesigning my own signage and looking at some options to make them as awesome as possible.

Jun 14, 2016 10:22 AM
James Hoff

Good idea Robert May ... there are so many here that cities actually "regulate" (or they are supposed to) what the signs can look like. Good luck on the redesign!

Jun 15, 2016 12:21 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Signs are totally legal here, except they have to come down after the Open House ends.  It can get out of hand in areas where there is a lot of new construction.

Jun 14, 2016 01:15 PM
James Hoff

Totally agree Patricia Kennedy that it can get out of hand. Problem here is that agents are willing to "test" the rules to see what they can get away with instead of just working the way they should. Signs are supposed to go up in many places ... no sooner than 10AM (unless approved otherwise) and be down by dusk ... but many just put them up the night before and leave them all weekend. I just think it's tacky and unprofessional. Especially the ones that have to announce their status and put up their flags and signs and balloons ... etc!

All the best out there!

Jun 15, 2016 12:23 PM