Selling Your Own Home – Day 9

realestateiconIt’s Monday and no showings. That is to be expected. Most [tag]realtors[/tag] end up working both Saturday and Sunday so they take Monday off which isn’t a very popular day with clients for showings.

Let’s talk about the [tag]sign[/tag] in your yard.

When you list your own home with the help of one of the [tag]For Sale By Owner[/tag] companies, they’ll probably offer you a [tag]yard sign[/tag]. If it comes free with the package I wouldn’t say no. If not, you have to buy one and it is probably pretty expensive. You can usually buy one cheaper at the hardward store. You’ve seen them before, red and white, they say “For Sale Buy Owner” in big letters.

I don’t like it. Here is the deal. For a lot of people out there for sale by owner means cheap. Cheap means low quality. That isn’t true, believe me I know, but perception is reality especially when you want someone to buy your [tag]home[/tag]. Instead of broadcasting to everyone that you are doing a for sale by owner, make your own [tag]sign[/tag].

Get the standard 18×24 sign. It is the internationally recognized size and shape for a [tag]real estate[/tag] sign. Without reading a word, people will know your house is for sale. Different dimensions or shpe might stand out, but then people won’t know if you are selling your house or running a dog grooming business from far away.

There are a number of outfits on the Internet that will custom make real estate signs for you. Keep an eye on the site though for minimum quantities. These sites usually sell signs to [tag]real estate agents[/tag] who probably need five or six of them, so you’ll be the exception to rule. Make sure they will sell you just one without a huge price markup. Also, beware of the “Starting From” price. That is probably for a one-sided, no color sign, with no graphics. Build your whole sign using their online tool and THEN look at the price.

The other option is to have it made locally. Especially when you take shipping into account it is about the same price. Here is what you need.

First, don’t bother getting a metal sign. You don’t need it to last ten years. Hopefully you only need it to last a few months. Get what is called plastic cardboard. It is basically plastic made up like corrigated cardboard (like the side of a box). It looks just fine and it will hold up for as long as you need it. Usually you can pick from several colors. The guy at FedEx [tag]Kinkos[/tag] where we had our sign made recommended black on yellow for best visibility in an outdoor yard sign. Make sure this makes sense for you. Walk out in front of your house and look from all the angles you want people to see your sign. Walk out into the street and imagine someone looking from their car. What is the background? Will yellow stand out or do you need something else. Keep in mind the whole point of making your own sign is to not look cheap and tacky, so avoid colors that scream, “I’m stuck in the 70s!” I would also avoid red on white which has become the standard “By Owner” color scheme. After all, not being associated with that crowd is the point of making your own sign.

The second thing you need to decide is one-sided or two-sided. Basically if you are going to put your sign parallel to the street in front of your house you only need one side. If you are going to put your sign perpendicular to the street so that people driving by can see it, then you’ll need two-sided (so people can see it no matter which way they are driving.) Again, walk into the street. On my street the trees and our landscaping means that no one will see our sign when driving by except for one second. So we got a one-sided sign. Don’t worry about whether or not people have enough time to read it as they drive by. People know what a sign in the yard means. If they are interested they’ll slow down or come back.

Now, what to put on your sign. Keep it simple. This isn’t a brochure. Ours ended up just saying:

House For Sale

Phone Number

Special Feature

You can list ONE (max of 2) special features on your sign if you think it matters to the person passing by. For our house we put the name of the highly rated local elementary school on the sign because that is a big selling point here. You could put “Backyard Pool” or “Private Park” or “Backs to Open Space” or whatever. Again, avoid “4 Bedrooms, 5 baths, 2 Car Garage” You can attach a brochure to your sign. Also, I wouldn’t really bother with a web site unless the address is very short and easy to remember. If you have family web site and are willing to put info about your house on the home page in a prominent way then ok.

www.ourhouse.com is fine

www.realtor.com/denver/streets/weasel/3823023.html is not.

We had our sign made at FedEx Kinkos after checking a bunch of websites and it ended up being the same price. Plus, we didn’t have to wait for it to be shipped. You can try other places like [tag]OfficeMax[/tag] or [tag]Office Depot[/tag].

[tag]Home Depot[/tag] sales the stand for your sign for like $20. Just buy it. We started looking at making our own. $3 each for two metal legs, $4 for a cross-support, $3 for a can of spray paint…you are getting close to $20 anyway and it won’t look as nice. Take a nail and make a starter hole through your sign and the screws will go right through and hold it up nice. Just past finger-tight is fine. You don’t want to crack your sign. Grab yourself one of those plastic carrying folders with the fold-over top from wherever you get your office supplies. Clear is best. Again, run a screw through inside the envelope (make sure you can still open it) and attach it to your sign. You can put flyers or brochures in there. You want a clear one because the brochures are always out on real estate signs and with a clear folder people can see that there are some brochures left inside and will make the effort to take one.

There you go, one professional looking sign.

One caution: You are trying to avoid the first impression that a cheap for sale by owner sign makes, but you are NOT trying to trick or lie to anyone. Don’t make up a phony real estate company name or pretend to be a real estate professional. You are just asking for legal trouble.

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