Signage plays a prominent role in the day-to-day of a real estate professional. Consequently, if you’re interested in becoming a real estate agent, you need to understand the basics of real estate signs. That’s why we put together this guide introducing the basic types of real estate signs for new and aspiring agents. These are the types of signs that new real estate agents will be working with daily. In other words, you need to know these to avoid looking like you’ve just started selling real estate.
Real Estate For Sale Signs
The most common real estate sign is your standard “for sale” sign. You likely drive past at least one of these signs every day. A for sale sign is to a real estate agent what a spreadsheet is to an accountant. For sale signs usually take the form of a custom yard sign. Typically, on a for sale yard sign, you will include your name, your phone number, your website address, and the logo of the franchise you work with (if you are part of a franchise). Some agents add a QR code as well. Besides yard signs, hanging signs are often used as for sale signs. We’ll get to hanging signs later in this article.
Size and Shape
The standard size for a real estate yard sign, including for sale signs, is 18 inches tall by 24 inches wide. However, they are available in various other sizes and shapes. The most common configuration is rectangular, but you can find yard signs in plenty of other shapes. Using a novel sign shape for your for sale signs is one way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Keep in mind, however, that most real estate franchises only allow their agents to use certain sizes and shapes of signs.
What You Should Include on a For Sale Sign
It’s often hard for agents, new agents in particular, to resist including too much information on for sale signs. If you’re thinking, “How can more information ever be a bad thing?”, you’re in good company. To understand the “why” behind limiting details on signs, you have to stop thinking like yourself and begin thinking like a prospective buyer. Consider the following scenario:
Jane Smith is in the market for a larger house. She hasn’t put her house on the market yet, but she plans to soon. Finding a house to buy is on Jane’s mind, but it isn’t her top priority. The busy mom is on her way to work. She’s driving faster than usual because she’s running late. Jane takes a shortcut to save time. As she speeds past a house that’s not on her typical route, she spots your for sale sign in the yard. The house piques her interest. She quickly scans your for sale sign. Unfortunately, you included every possible way to contact you on the sign. Jane cannot quickly distinguish your name from the mass of text. You never hear from Jane and lose out on her purchase and the commission from the sale of her home.
This fictional scenario is a prime example of how real estate signs are viewed in real life. Homebuyers and potential clients don’t live in the ideal world we all tend to envision when choosing what goes on a real estate sign. The easier you make it for prospective buyers to get the information they need, the more you will sell. The amount of information on a real estate sign is like aspirin for a headache — the ideal amount is helpful, but more is not better.
Riders for Real Estate Signs
Even if you don’t know what a sign “rider” is, you’ve certainly seen one. Most real estate signs have riders. For example, if you’ve noticed a yard sign with “Sold” at the top, that was a sign rider. Riders are sign frame inserts. They’re smaller than the main sign panel and add information to the sign. Sometimes this is information about the property, sometimes it’s information about the agent, etc. You can conveniently swap out riders whenever you need to. This allows you to quickly update the sign without placing a whole new sign in the ground.
Standard vs. Custom Sign Riders
Real estate sign riders fall into two categories: standard sign riders and custom sign riders. Standard riders have general information about a property like “New Kitchen” or “Large Lot”, while custom riders contain unique information like the agent’s name or a contact phone number. However, even general sign riders are frequently custom-made to match a franchise’s branding.
Sign riders enable you to reuse the same primary signs for multiple listings while adding enticing information about each specific property. If one rider isn’t producing the results you were expecting, you can trade it out for another one to see if a different rider will perform better. Remember that the ability to add riders, and how many you can include, depends on the kind of frame you’re using. Think ahead before you choose a sign frame to make sure it will satisfy your needs.
Open House and Directional Real Estate Signs
An open house is your chance to show a property to many potential buyers at once. To maximize the benefit of an open house, you need to boost awareness. The best way to do that is through signage.
Open house signs are different than for sale signs you would place in a client’s yard. While you might use a rider slot as a way to promote an upcoming open house, dedicated signs will do most of the heavy lifting of pulling in drive-by interest. The signs you will use to advertise your open house need to be easier to move. Because of this, open house signs frequently (but not always) take the form of a-frame signs or similar styles of frames which aren’t staked in the ground.
The Critical First Impression
Many visitors to your open house are looking at properties more casually than potential buyers at a scheduled showing. For this reason, open houses are an ideal opportunity to market your services as an agent. Your open house signs are the first impression you will make on these prospective clients. In light of this, you must present open house visitors with signage that represents the way you wish to be seen. One thing you’ll learn early in your career as a real estate agent is that image and perception is vital. After all, a poor first impression is all it takes to cause potential clients to look for a different agent.
An open house can fail if people have trouble locating it. Because of this, open house signs are frequently directional signs. These are simply signs that tell people where to go. They are vital to the success of an open house. Often, the visitors to your open house weren’t planning to check out the house you’re selling. Their eyes were drawn to a sign pointing toward your client’s property while they were driving past or viewing a listing nearby. Without optimal directional signage, you will miss out on opportunities like these.
Hanging Real Estate Signs
A trend in real estate signs is to employ hanging signs. Made up of a hanging signpost or “swing post”, and a hanging sign panel, they serve the same function as a yard sign. Many realtors use hanging real estate signs because they feel they present a more elegant look than traditional yard signs. Some franchises have moved exclusively to hanging signs as part of their branding.
Hanging Signposts (aka Swing Posts)
A hanging signpost can be made of various materials, but better quality swing posts are crafted from steel or aluminum instead of plastic. It’s especially important to use posts that are powder-coated if you’re using a steel post as it deters rust from forming. However, most swing posts of any metal material are already powder-coated for aesthetic or branding reasons.
The main sign panel hangs from a part of the post called a crossarm. There’s space for a rider above the crossarm on most models that you’ll find. The crossarm needs to have the strength to support the sign panel and any riders placed on top. This is particularly important because riders are routinely hung from the bottom of the main hanging sign panel.
Other Types of Real Estate Signs
Automotive real estate signs are normally magnetic sheets that adhere to the side of your vehicle without the need for adhesive. One thing to keep in mind is that only car doors made from steel or another magnetic material can hold a magnetic sign. Also, remember to move magnetic car signs periodically to avoid harming your vehicle’s paint.
Magnetic car signs can be highly effective, particularly for new real estate agents who are just getting their start. As with all real estate signs, it’s best to keep the details provided on your magnetic car sign clear and limited to the essentials.
Commercial Real Estate Signs
Unless you intend to specialize in selling commercial properties, you likely won’t encounter commercial real estate signs in your work. That being said, you’ll see commercial signs everywhere if you’re watching for them. These are especially prevalent in undeveloped areas with land for sale or places where many businesses have outgrown their facilities. For more details, check out our article on commercial real estate signs.
Real Estate Feather Flags
While they’re not always considered signs per se, it’s increasingly common for real estate agents to utilize feather flags to promote their listings. Feather flags have the benefit of constantly being in motion while the wind is blowing. As a result, they’re more visible than conventional signage which doesn’t move.
In this article, we’ve covered the basic forms of real estate signs you will work with as a new real estate agent. There are many more varieties of real estate signs, but it’s best to get begin by getting familiar with the signs you’re most likely to encounter as you’re getting your start in real estate.
If you have any real estate sign questions, the experts at Dee Sign are glad to help. Give us a call at 800.333.7446, or use the contact form below to send your questions.