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AU Humble signboard is still simple and direct

Property Here - Wednesday, June 05, 2013

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A RECENT conversation with a modern-minded and, yes, considerably younger real estate agent, got me thinking.

This agent had more Twitter and Facebook friends and apps on his phone than sales he had actually transacted.

But the reason he got me thinking was because he had dismissed the power of the sale board.

He questioned whether a sign stuck in someone's front yard really still represents any marketing value.

Does it have a place in the modern home sale, who does it actually assist for and what is its purpose?

Back in the day, it was a vital ingredient to the sale process.

Signboards ensured people could find the property (remember this was the dark ages, pre-GPS) and there was no internet and no social media.

It promoted the agent, to be sure but there was a clear argument that selling without a board was a mistake.

The only people who declined them were those wanting to sell "discreetly'' - a contradiction in terms, really.
But today this is impossible because there is no privacy with the internet.

With all these new and modern techniques now available, this young agent felt sign boards to be rather futile.

But I beg to differ. Firstly, from an agent's point of view, this is one of the simplest and most direct ways to show off listings and selling abilities to the immediate area.

They get free advertising in your front yard. For an agent it is win, win, win all the way.

However, the role of the signboard for buyers has changed.

Now, you are no longer reliant on boards to notify you of an upcoming sale - unless you are a neighbour.

Although they are useful for flagging that you've parked outside the correct house.

The job of driving attention is now dominated by advertising online and in property supplements in our weekend and suburban papers.

And signboards now feature, in some instances, just as much space dedicated to an airbrushed photo of your agent as they do to your home features.

So here are some guidelines for getting value for your signboard:

1 Always make sure the image on the signboard does not feature a photo of the front of your house. If the board is stuck in your front yard this is superfluous.

2 Your board should have beautiful photography of a feature of the home that is not immediately evident from the front of the house. It should indicate that your home is rich with features and lifestyle benefits.

3 Always proof the details on your board and sign off on the photography. Work with your agent on this. Don't just assume they will get it right.

4 If you suspect that the signboard is all about your agent and you are being asked to pay for their promotion rather than that of your home, ask them to use a plain For Sale board in black and white with only their mobile number on it with no website, no company logo, no gorgeous picture of them in moody lighting.

If they are not too keen, there is your answer. Alternatively, if it is all about them, suggest they pay for the board themselves.

5 Never allow more than one agent board to be displayed at one time.

Such a move screams desperate seller to the world and will undermine your pricing strategy.

Andrew Winter is the host of the Lifestyle Channel's Selling Houses Australia.

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