To Sign Or Not To Sign

Real Estate Broker/Owner with HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 311291


To put a For- Sale sign up or not.  I used to ask what side of the driveway or sidewalk should we install the sign.  Unless it was a condo or HOA that did not allow signage, all listings got signs. How else did buyers find out about properties before the Internet?



For- sale signs are sometimes vital and are an absolute must to sell a home.

Other times it can be a detriment. 


A few examples


Some years ago, I took a listing that had been on the market for a year or more. It was on a high trafficked street and adjacent to a church.



Tatiana church


The seller did not want signage because the property was vacant, and they had some safety concerns.  The previous agent was okay about that. When I took the listing, they only had a choice of where to place the sign.

Within minutes of the sign installation, the calls started. Most were asking about renting and callers who could not afford to purchase.

But then there was a call from the head of the adjoining church. They had been praying about purchasing the property but did not know how to contact the owner.

Remember, it had been on the market for over a year.

A showing and a meeting with the church officials, and we had a  ratified full price contract within days. That property needed the sign!





Another property, located at the exit ramp of the Baltimore Beltway, had been for sale for a couple of years.



Baltimore Beltway 695

The for-sale sign was up all that time, and most weekends had an open house. When I interviewed for that property, my suggestion, get rid of the post sign and no more open houses. They hired me without asking any other questions.

That home was under contract with the buyer coming from my advertising.  




And my most recent listing that had been on the market for four years with four different agents had a sign-up and numerous open houses. There is another home, with a sign, for sale in the same gated court. My suggestion, no sign on this property, no more traditional public open houses. If it hadn't worked in four years...why continue doing the same thing over and expecting different results.  I think that is the definition of insanity.

Now it's only been a couple of weeks and no sale yet!

But I have had five people see the property, shown by invitation only. The seller knew that none of the people would be the buyers, but it was a HomeRome way of marketing. Invited were special friends and clients who had heard me talk of this home and were willing to meet at the house today. Who knows, maybe they know someone interested.

Stay tuned, and I will keep you updated.


Margaret Rome





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Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Margaret and amen. Playing I've got a secret with selling never made any sense to me either. Great story.

Dec 15, 2019 06:56 AM #12
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

You so deserve Marti's "Smart Cookie" feature - for all your posts, actually. Signs are generally another useful tool in marketing a home, as are Open Houses, but if they are not working, get creative. Sellers are fortunate when they hire you. 

Dec 15, 2019 07:54 AM #13
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Margaret,
The home we purchased on the river many years ago did not have a sign. Only available through an agent. The owner didn't want a bunch of curious looky lous... only serious buyers. 

Dec 15, 2019 09:42 AM #14
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


In commercial real estate signage is very important even in these Internet days.  When we sold our home we did not want a sign.  And it worked for us, as it was an issue of privacy.  A

Dec 15, 2019 10:17 AM #15
Anna Banana Kruchten Broker/Owner, CRB, CRS
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ

Great post Margaret!  And I loved the story of the church. They sure did receive a 'sign'!!! And you showed up. Love it!!!

Dec 15, 2019 10:32 AM #16
Michelle Enciso
Pikes Peak Dream Homes Realty - Colorado Springs, CO
Exceptional Service for Exceptional People

I've always considered signage to be a vital part of marketing. This is such an interesting read to consider. I only wonder, was it really the signage and/or open houses that wasn't working for the sale of those homes or was that the only marketing done which didn't generate the interest needed? Signage should only be a small piece of the marketing for a listing. 

Dec 15, 2019 02:26 PM #19
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Michelle Enciso Welcome to ActiveRain. We never know what is or isn't going to work. 

Dec 15, 2019 07:56 PM #20
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Sometimes we just have to do what works best for the situation.

Dec 15, 2019 11:45 PM #21
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland ,

You have once again shown not all listings should be marketed the same way. Each one may have a nuance that calls for a different plan of attack. Something you are very good at doing!

Dec 16, 2019 06:04 AM #22
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Every listing is different but I usually prefer a sign to be installed. There was one time when I listed a house across from an elementary school and the seller absolutely refused to have a sign. 

I felt like my hands were tied behind my back with all the activity at the school and no one knew the house was available!

Dec 16, 2019 02:01 PM #27
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR So good to see you! Our properties are not all the same and may need a different way of marketing.

Dec 16, 2019 02:02 PM #28
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Margaret Goss Agree that in most cases a sign is necessary. There are HOA's and Condos that do not permit signage. 

Dec 16, 2019 02:11 PM #29
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Margaret, for sharing your experience and your advice.

Dec 17, 2019 03:52 AM #32
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland 
LOVED the Title of your post!
Good luck with the unsold (as yet) Listing.
All the best - Lynn

Dec 17, 2019 05:58 AM #33
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Margaret:

Signs still play an important role I think but certainly are no guarantee a house will sell. There are plenty of HOA communities that do not allow then and some high end communities where signage is not permitted. Homes sell!

Good luck with that listing - I KNOW it will sell the Rome way!


Dec 17, 2019 09:16 PM #34
Eva B. Liland Century 21 Doug Anderson
Century 21 Doug Anderson - Lancaster, CA
Glad to be of Service 661-714-1643

Some sellers, if the house is vacant, doesn't want a sign for fear of break-ins. There are exceptions to the rules sometimes.

Dec 19, 2019 08:33 AM #35
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

As always it's good to see you Jeff Dowler, CRS 

Dec 19, 2019 08:48 AM #36
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Eva B. Liland Century 21 Doug Anderson That was the case in my first example above. But it absolutely NEEDED a sign to sell.

Dec 19, 2019 08:50 AM #37
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Margaret - you know the best answer for each listing and with your advertising, people know you as the local expert and are listening! 

Dec 27, 2019 01:08 PM #38
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Hi, Jan Green Thank you and it's always good to see you. 

Dec 27, 2019 01:43 PM #39
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland

Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome
Sell Your Home Margaret Rome 410.530.2400
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