The 2009 NAR (National Association of Realtors) report says that 59% of ALL buyers used yard signs as part of their housing search. That’s more than folks who said they went to open houses or looked in the newspaper as part of their search.
Smart agents inform their buyers of the complete suite of marketing options they will be employing when putting a home on the market, and smart agents know that the yard sign is one of the key elements.
Everyone knows first impressions are everything–and sometimes the only thing when house-hunting. When a potential buyer drives by, you never know if that person has been coveting your house for years, is a new, out-of-town buyer or is just coming home from the store and decides it’s time to move.
How can you squeeze the most out of the lowly yard sign? Check out these 5 tips:
1) FIRST IMPRESSIONS: You’re keeping your yard immaculate, you’ve staged the inside of your house for last-minute showings…you’re doing everything you can. But how does your sign look? It is straight? A bent-over, crooked sign that has been battered by snowplows or the errant postman deserves a new sign. Your sign should not be missing parts, be broken or cracked, or be so worn that the phone numbers or other important details can’t be easily read.
2) SIZE MATTERS: A small, low-to-the-ground sign can be hard to see when driving by at 40 mph. If your agent or their office has multiple sign sizes, ask for the biggest one. If you’re stuck with a small sign, experiment with placement in your yard and do drive-by’s yourself to see where the placement is most easily read. It may not be right next to the road, but further back on a shallow hill.
3) YOU KNOW IT WHEN YOU SEE IT: In spring and summer, it’s imperative to keep the grass and weeds away from the sign. It has to seen, and more importantly, your sign is a clear indication of the way you keep the rest of the property, so don’t forget to give the area around your sign extra care. In the winter, that means keeping it shoveled, especially if you live in an area with a lot of snow plowing.
4) I GOT YOUR NUMBER: I am a firm believer that NO sign should be planted without an agent’s number, preferably a cell phone. When buyers or their agents have questions or want to schedule a showing, they don’t want to call a main number, get put on hold, wait to be transferred, or go to voice mail. They want answers quickly. There is too much inventory (read: competition) out there to have your buyers go on to the next house because their patience is limited. Insist that someone (either your agent, their assistant, etc.) is available to answer calls and have that number either on the sign, or on a rider that attaches to the sign.
5) KEEP THE BOX FILLED: If your box has a sign for brochures…keep it filled. Not all sign have these boxes, but if yours does, keep it filled. Empty boxes looked neglected. When someone slows down, stops and gets out of their car, only to find an empty box, it’s frustrating and can look like the house has been on the market for a long time. Got a box? Keep it filled.
The yard sign is very underestimated. Lots of buyers look only in certain areas to be closer to work, to live in a certain school district, need to be close to certain amenities, and will scour neighborhoods just on the basis of signs alone to do house-hunting. Don’t disappoint them by having an inferior sign…it can make all the difference!