Signs For Sale By Owner: Why They’re a Big Mistake

Each year thousands of homeowners choose to avoid real estate commissions by listing their homes themselves without a Realtor®. It makes perfect sense, why pay 6% of the asking price if you don’t have to (especially in a bear market like this one)? There is nothing wrong with this thought process or with the owner’s decision to sell for sale. However, the decision to go to a hardware store and purchase a red and white For Sale by Owner sign with a place to write your number in black marker is actually a mistake that should be avoided.

Instead of using a For Sale by Owner sign, you should do one of two things. First, you can design a custom sign that doesn’t say For Sale By Owner and looks like a sign for a real estate company, but with your contact information. It does not have to say Realty, Properties, Real Estate or anything like that. It just shouldn’t say For Sale By Owner, By Owner, or anything of that nature. It should look like a real estate broker sign even if the subdivision name or something else is in the place where it would normally have the real estate broker’s name. The second option is, if you are using a flat rate listing company to get entry to MLS, use that broker’s sign with your contact information (as long as you don’t have the same kind of slogans of ‘for sale by the owner ‘or URL that have the cheap signs from the hardware store). You’ll benefit from the professional appearance with Realtor® logos, while receiving all the phone calls from the car that any For Sale by Owner using a cheap sign would receive.

Almost any sign company, including several internet real estate sign companies, can help you design and print a For Sale sign. You can have a house, a snow scene if you live in the mountains, or just look professional with stylized fonts in 2 or more colors. You must put an Equal Housing Opportunity logo on it. Make sure it is the standard size metal sign you see in your area, such as 2 ‘by 3’, and if possible have it installed on a wooden post or H-frame. Many major cities have sign installation companies who install and remove posts and signs for real estate agents; Again, this adds to the professional appearance of the sign.

When your sign stops looking like a cheap For Sale by Owner sign, you will stop getting so many agents pestering you for listing your property with them. They are more likely to think that you are already on an agent’s list, as your sign looks like a professional sign. (It is an ethical violation to approach the unsolicited seller and try to get a seller to cancel their listing and change their listing agent.) Unrepresented buyers are less likely to immediately realize that there are no agents involved and request a discount based on avoiding commissions. Scammers trying to take advantage of unrepresented sellers with various schemes, such as returning illegal payments to third-party companies, are also less likely to be approached. Finally, the professional-looking sign will tell potential buyers that you are serious about selling; He didn’t just throw a cheap bill on an overpriced property to see if someone would pay his higher-than-market price.

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