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Real Estate "For Sale" Signs are Terrible

Updated: Mar 7

In addition to periodic posts on weighty strategic issues, I thought it would be fun to also do a periodic “Pocket Post”, which is my name for a posts on less substantial business issues.


Please pardon my alliteration. For this particular post I am penning a Pet Peeve Pocket Post.


Think about the last time you were looking for a house. What was important to you? Affordability? Location? Being near good schools? The number of bedrooms? Square footage? Maybe a view? A great kitchen because you like to cook? A welcoming neighborhood? Proximity to work? The list goes on and on.

But I am betting there are two factors that never appear in the wish list of a prospective home buyer: The name of the real estate agent and the company listing the house for sale.


Yet those are the two characteristics that dominate almost every house For Sale sign. Somehow, despite all the important house attributes I mention above (and many others), that might interest potential buyers, these signs highlight two irrelevant details: the real estate broker and the real estate agent.

Today it is easy to use an app or the web to look up the price and details about any house. And real estate yard signs are more costly to customize for each house an agent sells. But neither justifies real estate signs helping to sell the real estate agent and broker rather than the house itself! I even found this article on the web citing the 36 best real estate signs. I would tell you to check it out, but I’ll save you a few clicks instead. I counted how many of these signs actually help sell the home that is for sale. If I am being generous, I might count one. If the home for sale has a brand-new kitchen, shouldn’t the yard sign say so? Maybe you want to advertise how many bedrooms you have or that the house has a great yard, a pool or a view? Every real estate sign should pick one or two of the most important features of a house and advertise them on the For Sale sign along with a website and phone number to learn more.


There are tectonic shifts going on in the real estate market. The web has dramatically changed the market. Redfin introduced a new business model when they launched in 2006. Folks like OpenDoor and Zillow are now offering to buy houses themselves in many markets. Now it’s time to fix the old and outdated real estate sign. Next time you are selling your house, insist on a better sign that helps you sell your house. We can even call it a new sign of the times…

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