Everyday we are bombarded with advertisements. From TV to radio, podcasts and social media; the list goes on and on. You literally cannot open your eyes without being drenched in the flood of promotion. In a culture of over stimulation, it can be tricky to get your sign riders noticed. Yard signs may seem like an old school take on publicity, but the good news is: They still work!
Why else would you see people still putting up billboards? Albeit, most have upgraded to the LED screens that change as quickly as you change lanes, but pay attention today to every stop sign and intersection you come upon. These areas are LIT with print signage. From every politician wanting to make your city great (again?), your neighbors alerting you of their garage sales (so their crap can become your crap), to roofers and power washing local businesses spreading the good word.
Why do you care?
Because you are a real estate agent. You are among the population that contributes to these signage land staking claims. Realtors use yard signs and sign riders constantly. You want to let the public know what and where the house, property or land sale is happening. Sign riders are a true testament to the phrase ‘An oldie, but a goodie’.
#1. The Basic Sign Riders
You’ve heard Bill Engvall’s skit “here’s your sign”, well HERE are your run of the mill sign RIDERS. A typical yard sign contains a vast amount of information, from the brokerage, the agent’s name, phone number (of agent and brokerage), possibly an email address. The big space grabber though, is that giant FOR SALE. In comparison, the space of a sign rider is very small, but packs a mighty punch.
A sign rider forces you to pick two-four words, maximum, to grab a passerby’s attention. Unlike your MLS description that boasts about how this listing is an “investors dream” or “freshly painted”, which by the way, we all know is a filler word for ‘not much, but I didn’t have anything else to brag about’. Your sign rider can serve a few different purposes. It can either alert people to the status of the transaction:
- New Listing
- Under Contract
- Sale Pending
- SOLD (every agent favorite)
Or your rider can be more specific about the property listing itself:
- New Construction
- New Price
- For Lease
You can also use your sign rider to capture buyers’ contact information. Digital Flyer, from Pro Agent Solutions, allows interested buyers to text a short numeric code to a local number for more information on the property. Meanwhile, you, the listing agent, get an immediate text and email notification that someone is interested in your listing. If you call the contact number immediately, they will still be standing in front of your listing. Pro Agent Solutions also captures the lead and populates it in their CRM so it’s easy to follow-up later. Pretty sweet deal. Check out their free trial. Now that we have a baseline for typical real estate sign riders, here is a countdown of some creative and clever signage ideas.
#2. The Price Is Right
The sign rider that tells people your seller is motivated. While also saying, don’t come at us with the low-ball type offer you would give to a tree house. As a real estate agent, you will inevitably come across buyers, investors, and even other agents, who mistake your private listing for a bank auction. Some of their offers are just downright insulting to both you and the seller. However, all reasonable offers will be considered. While some may take offense to this type of advertisement of the price being reduced, those people are probably the ones submitting their offers a hundred thousand under asking, simply because the property is being sold ‘as-is’. I wonder if the haters would back off if you fancied it up with “But not ill-advised or forlorn”.
#3. Spooky Special
This sign rider seems about as legit as the van down the street, with no windows, and ‘FREE CANDY’ spray painted on its side. If you have an older listing, and you’re trying to convince potential buyers that those noises are ‘just the house settling’, or that “no, I don’t feel a chilling whisper in my ear, it must just be the furnace starting up”, this may be the perfect sign rider for you to use.
#4. The Cold Hard Truth
I mean, they’re not wrong. Unlike sign rider number three, the only thing supernatural about this listing is the (rest in) peace and quiet it has built in. You know how Realtors will tell you, never to purchase a property because of the view, unless you buy that land too? Problem solved. Maybe you’re not into this house for the actual view, per se, but this is a neighborhood amenity that won’t someday soon be replaced by a water park or amphitheater.. Hopefully. I mean, you can’t blame the realtor for trying to provide a sunny disposition on an otherwise gloomy situation. Realtors are, after all, glass half full type.
#5. The Give-away
Who doesn’t love pizza? Or tacos..or mozzarella sticks. Sorry, I got distracted (and hungry). This sign rider is not only attention grabbing and memorable, but inserts a contingency that I for one, would definitely write into my contract. Imagine showing up to the closing table like, “You got the loan?” Buyer: “That depends, you got the pepperoni?”
Business doesn’t always have to be so serious. I would bet money, on a 16 inch meat lovers pie, that this buyer will tell this story to her buddies every time the topic of real estate comes up. And what happens when we are memorable to clients, and make them talk about us? Referrals!! This sign rider is marketing upon bonus marketing. Guaranteed to be Snapped, Tweeted and Insta’d by neighborhood joggers and dog walkers. Plus, the cocktail/tupperware party hit.
#6. Placement Importance
Perhaps this sign rider placement is exactly where the seller wanted it. I happen to have an excellent bonus Mom, she makes me peach pie, but I know others are not so lucky. I think we can all agree that the intention this agent had, was to spark interest about the quote “Mother-In-Law quarters” this listing features. Some homes will refer to this as a guest room, an apartment type feel in the basement (although some may prefer to stick their mother in law in an unfinished basement) or possibly even a Granny pod. Which, if you haven’t heard of the GrannyPod, it’s an upgraded version of Cheryl’s She-shed.
Mother-In-Law quarters can be tricky in a listing, since there is really no fanciness scale for the type of domain you keep your in-laws locked, I mean living in. Does this sign rider mean it’s a room, a wing, or an out house in the backyard? We don’t know. The good news is that SINCE we don’t know the specifics, it is intriguing you to at least go take a look to cure your curiosity. Equaling more showings and more potential buyers.
#7. Self Esteem Check
I’m willing to bet that Sally, in fact, IS gorgeous on the inside. I would like to wear this sign rider as a T-shirt. It is, however, slightly concerning that you would need to let people know this. We are all aware we shouldn’t, but we ALL do it anyway. We judge a book by it’s cover, or the house by its curb appeal.
What type of curb-appeal, or lack thereof, are we looking at here? ‘Don’t mind the busted driveway or shutters falling off their hinges; we just installed new vinyl flooring throughout.’ Perhaps Sally was entrusted with listing the best house on a bad block, and she wanted to give this home it’s day in the sun. At least to pump up the houses confidence.Then again, maybe pessimism got the best of me. This homes curb appeal could be just dandy, but the seller needed to make sure that the looky-loos knew, for how beautiful the outside is, this home is over the top and “gorgeous on the inside”.
#8. Play to Your Audience
Would your listing be perfect for a family or young couple? If they’re cool, they probably have a dog. However, If you’re listing a penthouse in Manhattan, this probably isn’t the sign rider for you. It does an agent well to know the area, and the home you are listing. Great yard, park nearby, walking trails? All the buyers with furry friends, are looking for a home that will let their fur babies live their best lives. Or perhaps, the buyers are coming from an apartment that did not allow pets, and they know they want to extend their little family by 4 feet.
The sign rider is keeping up with the times, because more and more people want dogs instead of children. I don’t know if that’s actually true, but I would completely understand if it were in the stats. Just make sure you know if there is an HOA restriction on animals before hammering this sign in the yard.
#9. Apocalypse Now
It’s good to let potential buyers know that the site of this home did not used to be an underground lab for the Umbrella Company. However, unless you expect the buyers agent to pull up those top secret land use records that the government shredded long ago, I think you’re in the clear.
If we’re all being honest, I think I am more afraid of her poorly handwritten name on the wood, than I am of there being actual zombies in this house. That being said, I am well aware that I would not survive long in the Zombie apocalypse, so a home that is certified zombie-free, may be the perfect fit. I just hope this doesn’t mean the HOA forbids me from rocking out to The Cranberries.
#10. The Best Sign Rider EVER
The gold medal of real estate sign riders. The favorite, the front-runner, the revered and beloved by all. Is there anything better than slapping that SOLD sign rider up there? Man! Just thinking about it makes me feel like I’m standing on top of a mountain, taking a deep breath and a smile. You begin to reflect on the roller coaster of emotions you went through during this transaction. Not only the fear of the inspections resolution and the appraisal, but the actual hot sobbing tears from your client over the sewer lateral. You did it. You persevered, you knocked it out of the park, you made it!. And then..your phone dings, with the second best words you can ever see after ‘SOLD’…New Listing.
Thank you for exploring the world of real estate sign riders with me. We all grew today, three sizes, just like the Grinch’s heart. No longer will the sign rider be known as the parasitic little brother of yard signs. Attached at the hip and useless. Don’t forget what we learned here today, that your sign riders have the potential to be even more impact than the yard sign itself.
How will you choose to maximize use of this tool in your arsenal? Perhaps you will still go with the bare basics or stick to the sale status that passers can Google to figure out what ‘pending’ actually means. If you’re fancier than basic, you may choose to elaborate on a special feature perhaps. But maybe, just maybe, this article has inspired you to get the absolute most out of this tiny heavy-weight contender and you are hereby prepared to make every sign rider you zip tie on, to be memorable AND useful to your business.
You’re not alone, let Digital Flyer from Pro Agent Solutions help. Pro Agent Solutions will capture buyer leads for you, even as you sleep. Hopefully you’re not sleeping in house number three.