The highly competitive world of real estate sales makes it essential for agents to use every possible measure to attract potential clients and buyers. Realtors have used yard signs with riders for decades as a means of bringing attention to the properties they’re selling. Technological advances such as digital marketing and social media seem to be moving realtors further from the use of physical signs, but they’re still an effective marketing tool when used appropriately. A well-designed real estate rider works well with technology to generate leads.
What Are Real Estate Riders?
Virtually everyone in North America is familiar with the “For Sale” signs in the yards of houses on the market. A rider is a smaller sign next to the main “For Sale” sign that provides additional information about the real estate agent selling the property. The primary purpose of real estate riders is to provide passers-by with the realtor’s contact information, in case they’re interested in learning more about the property or even making an offer. Riders may also provide additional information on the property such as the date of the next open house.
There aren’t any particular standards on how real estate riders should be positioned in relation to the main sign. The most convenient method is often to simply suspend them under the main sign with hooks and eyelets, or snap hooks. These methods allow the agent to easily remove the rider, although they aren’t as secure as other methods.
Agents may place riders to either side of the main sign, which may require a more secure means of attachment such as nuts and bolts. This method typically uses nylon bolts that won’t rust and wing nuts that can be loosened and tightened without tools. Grommets can make the bolt holes more durable, especially for plastic riders.
An agent can also place riders above the main sign, typically to provide information that’s especially important. This method often involves placing a set of pins made of galvanized steel into the top of the main sign. An agent can then push the bottom of the rider into the exposed ends of the pins to attach the rider to the top of the main sign. Pins can typically be used only on signs made of corrugated plastic with vertical corrugations.
A variety of factors help determine how a realtor should use real estate riders, which primarily include the market and the realtor’s budget. Most realtors use them, although there is considerable variation on the extent of their use. Some realtors use riders on all of their listed properties, while other only do so when they’re actively trying to increase the number of contacts for a property. The manner in which information is listed on a real estate rider can directly affect their ability to generate leads.
Most prospective home buyers find the search for a new home to be a generally stressful process. They’ve probably spent some time looking for properties in a variety of sources such as personal references, internet sites and printed ads by the time they actually begin driving by listed properties. A real estate rider can make this stage of their search easier by providing them with more details about the property. It’s particularly helpful for a rider to provide details that aren’t visible from the front of the property such as an extended back yard, pool or theater room.
Benefits of real estate riders
Marketing is the biggest benefit of real estate riders. Without them, prospective buyers must remember the address and actively search the online listing instead of simply calling the number on the rider.
Real estate riders are also customizable, as they’re available in a variety of colors, fonts and materials. Furthermore, agents can match the language on the riders with property they’re trying to sell. Many agents include a catchphrase or joke on the sign riders to make them more memorable to the reader.
Riders are highly affordable and can fit nearly any budget. Basic riders are the least expensive, although the price increases with greater customization.
Promoting open houses is one of the most common uses of real estate riders. While listed properties normally have only one sign in the front yard, their use greatly increases during open house events. Real estate agents often place additional signs at the major entrances of a neighborhood to attract prospective buyers who don’t live in that area. The best location is about 10 feet before the turn into the neighborhood, which helps prevent people from missing the term. It may also be helpful to add additional signs throughout the neighborhood, which is where riders come in handy by providing additional directions without making the main sign appear crowded.
It’s essential for agents to be aware of the various rules for yard signs, which may be regulated by the municipality and homeowner’s association for that neighborhood. These rules can cover details such as the sign placement, the number of signs allowed, the length of time they can remain in place and physical characteristics of the signs. Violation of these rules can result in fines against the homeowner and removal of the signs. It’s also important to get the permission of neighbors if it’s necessary to enter their yard when placing a sign. This occasion is also a great opportunity to invite neighbors to the open house.
Real estate riders are available in a few standard sizes that will fit existing real estate signs. Agents who use customized signs may need sign riders in nonstandard sizes.
The most common rider size is 6″ x 24″, which will fit most signs and doesn’t obstruct the rest of your signage. A 24″ x 24″ rider is moderately popular, although its moderately large square shape may prevent it from being aesthetically pleasing for some signs. A 30″ x 24″ rider is the largest standard size, although it may be more aesthetically pleasing than a square rider. This size is less popular and is typically used by agents who want to describe a house with extra features or have particularly strong branding requirements.
Riders are typically unframed by themselves, but the frame for the main sign can include additional frames specifically for riders. The frame for a yard sign is most often an A-frame, which includes two legs that may be spiked for easy insertion and removal from the ground. The legs may also have feet, eliminating the need to push the legs into the ground. The dimensions for an A-frame are usually around four feet tall and two feet wide, with a weight of six to eight pounds depending on the framing configuration. The frame is typically made of iron bars with a thickness of ¾” and finished with a black powder coat.
A-frame types include standard frames, single rider frames and double rider frames. A standard frame only has a frame for the main sign, which typically measures 24″x18″. A single-rider frame allows for one main sign and one rider, usually below the main sign. A double-rider frame allows for a main sign, with a rider above and below the main sign. The rider frames are usually made for 24″x6″ riders.
The material that a real estate rider is made from is also a key consideration for obtaining the greatest benefit from them. The most common materials for sign riders include corrugated plastic, rigid plastic, aluminum and magnetic. Factors that influence an agent’s choice of materials primarily include cost and durability, with more durable materials generally being more expensive.
Corrugated plastic is the most affordable material for a sign rider, so these types of riders are widely available. They’re also the least durable, so they’re primarily used for short-term requirements.
Rigid plastic is harder than corrugated plastic and significantly more resistant to weathering conditions. However, it will eventually fade with enough exposure to the sun. The cost of rigid plastic is between that of corrugated plastic and aluminum, making it a “middle of the road” choice for riders. Agents who sell a lot of properties typically use real estate riders made of rigid plastic as a good balance between cost and durability.
Aluminum is one of the most durable and expensive materials for real estate riders. They last for years, even when you place them in harsh weather conditions with a high exposure to sunlight. Agents typically use aluminum sign riders only when they want to make a single investment, especially if they only have a few properties on the market at a time.
Magnetic sign riders need to be made of a relatively thick iron-based metal that allows them to hold a magnetic charge, typically steel. This requirement makes magnetic riders the most expensive type in common use. Their biggest advantage is that they’re highly replaceable since they can be easily attached to any steel surface. Magnetic riders also last for many years in a range of weather conditions and provide a more modern look compared to other materials.
Magnetic riders need to be carefully matched with the main sign to ensure compatibility. They won’t stick to aluminum, so the main sign is often made of aluminum everywhere except where the rider needs to go. This design cuts costs while ensuring an agent can easily place the rider correctly.
The most difficult decision regarding sign riders is the design itself. A yard sign is a means of visually introducing yourself in the property to a prospective buyer, so it needs to create a favorable first impression. Rider templates may be ready-made, blank or customizable.
Ready-made templates are ready to be printed and of the most common type of sign rider design. Virtually every sign manufacturer will have a selection of ready-made templates to choose from. This design only requires the real estate agent to select basic characteristics such as size and material. Ready-made templates typically display generic statements such as “sale pending” or “under contract.”
Blank templates are similar to ready-made templates except they don’t have a statement already on them or any other design features. Real estate agents need to add their own statement so this type of template is a good option when a quick solution is needed for an unusual requirement.
The primary difference between a customizable template and a blank template is that the agent must specify the design features of a customizable template. Agents can tweak the message on a customizable template to fit their branding and other unique requirements. For example, this design allows agents to include their contact information, allowing interested buyers to reach them without needing to search for this information elsewhere. Customizable templates are also for agents who want a distinct rider, but aren’t sure they have the eye for design or time to create template completely from scratch.
New technologies can work with traditional methods like sign riders to generate leads for real estate agents. For example, Digital Flyer is a lead generation texting application that allows real estate agents to receive leads via text and email. Text “101” to 678-929-1000 to see an example of a Digital Flyer a prospective buyer will see.
How it Works
The real estate agent includes a phone number and short numeric code on sign rider. The phone number is usually local, although it can have in the area code desired. The prospective buyer calls the number on the rider and texts the associated code and receives additional information on the property as specified by the agent. Digital Flyer then texts the listing information to the property directly to the agent’s cell phone, including description, pricing and photos. This approach allows agents to automatically respond to a buyer’s request for information on the listing.
The biggest benefit of Digital Flyer is that it also provides the agent with the buyer’s phone number via text message and e-mail while the buyer is still in front of the house. Agents can then connect with someone who is interested in buying a house in their area that they wouldn’t normally know existed. The combination of Digital Flyer and real estate riders is therefore able to capture curbside leads agents could otherwise be missing. The buyer’s contact information is also populated in CRM Pro for future reference, which is Pro Agent Solutions’ customer relationship management (CRM) solution. Agents can use CRM Pro in conjunction with Digital Flyer to nurture and close leads.
Yard signs are a great way to keep potential clients and buyers informed about your listed properties. This traditional approach to real estate marketing is still effective, especially with the use of riders to customize messages. One of the latest trends in real estate is the combination of riders and software like Digital Flyer to generate leads from prospects who are already in front of the property. This approach to real estate marketing becomes even more effective when leveraged with CRM software to nurture these leads.
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