I was driving home after showing some property for sale the other day and I just happened to see real estate signs in St. Louis from another real estate team. I’d seen it for the past week, and it wasn’t at the house, so I thought it would be fun to write about it. When you work in real estate sales, you notice more signs than the general public. Here are 7 things you never knew about real estate signs in St. Louis.
- Real estate signs come in all sorts of shapes, colors, and sizes. A couple years ago, I looked at signs from some of the top producers to see if there was any sort of logic to their signs that we might miss when we started our brokerage. Turns out, there’s no right or wrong size. For sign installation, if you see a sign with a wooden post, that is probably not going to be installed by that agent. Reason being, those real estate signs in St. Louis are really hard to get into the ground! Also, hanging signs are a little tricky because they wobble when you try to install them. They do move in the wind, so it draws a little attention to them.
- There are Missouri Real Estate Commission requirements for signs. According to the Missouri Real Estate Commission(MREC), the real estate sign has to have the broker name and phone number. There are creative real estate signs in St. Louis that don’t show the brokerage or brokerage phone number as well as the agent phone number, and that’s by real estate agent or team design. When someone calls on a sign, the agent wants to talk to that person, they don’t want it going to the brokerage where another agent could “steal” a potential buyer.
- The vast majority of agents love to see real estate signs featured prominently when showing property. Sometimes, it’s dark, raining, oddly numbered street, or there’s some horrible traffic when I’m out showing property. When you see the sign in the yard, you know you’ve made it to the right house. There’s a super low possibility of ever getting that listing, because it is already listed, so there’s no threat to either agent, and you can just be guided by the real estate signs in St. Louis. Sometimes, I’m so confident that I’m at the right house because I see the sign that I’m actually at the wrong house because the sign is from the wrong agent.
- When you call the agent off the sign, the agent knows the possibility is low that you will actually buy that particular house. When you are working in real estate sales, you pick up on a lot of things quickly. One of those things is that when someone is calling you off of a real estate sign in St. Louis, they are likely either nosy neighbors or people who are just starting their search and they haven’t signed with an agent. As the listing agent, you are hoping that the person is in the second situation, because you can then put your best foot forward in convincing that caller that you are the best agent for their eventual home purchase.
- Some agents intentionally leave out their open house signs. As we began the blog, I was explaining that I’d seen a sign out for longer than a week. Some agents are crafty. They see their listing in a particular part of town as a way of marketing their services to those in the area for next to nothing. So, they buy about 4 or 5 directional signs and they make sure to put them on “public” property. The signs cost maybe 50-100 bucks total. Usually, street corners, next to storm sewers seem to work best. Then, the real estate sign in St. Louis sits there…until some lawn cutter or someone else gets sick of seeing it for what could absolutely be months. Think of it! Free advertising on some of the biggest intersections for months…What could be better?
- Some municipalities, homeowners associations, and condo boards have figured out sign tricks. There are people that are aware of the advertising potential for signs, and these groups actively oppose signs. For example, many condo boards have rules that say no signs. I’m a little torn on this one; sometimes it’s hard to tell which condo is for sale without a sign in the window! Other municipalities hit back with fines for those who “accidentally” leave their real estate signs out well past open houses.
- You’ll never see a real estate sign in an online real estate board listing. As real estate board members, you have to abide by the requirements of the board. One of those requirements is that you not have a real estate sign in the photographs for the listing to be presented online. I understand the sentiment; what would be the point of having everyone’s sign in online pictures? This would again be free advertising and very confusing to potential home buyers. Perhaps Zillow and others have taken advantage of this by showing advertising partner agents first instead of the actual listing agent if they haven’t signed up for an account. Sometimes, you will even see poorly photo shopped areas where there would be signs in the photo.
I hope that you learned something today about real estate signs in St. Louis you might not have known. The signs themselves are a much more powerful form of advertising than you might have realized. At Deerwood Realty, we try to be good community citizens. When there is an open house, we will use directional signs to help guide folks to our listing, but we always remove the signs after the open house. Our feeling is that it is our job to focus on the client first by servicing their listing versus any benefits we might get from leaving our signs out for months.
John Schink is a real estate broker in the St. Louis metropolitan area who specializes in full service listings and buyer agency. He is a member of both the Saint Louis and Jefferson County Boards of Real Estate. If you are looking to buy a home for sale in Saint Louis, Missouri or the surrounding metropolitan area or considering selling your home, or for general real estate related inquiries, he can be reached at 314-707-4821 or firstname.lastname@example.org