Redefining Real Estate Signage in Charlottesville

I love our new signs

As a cost-saving measure, all listings I market will have to be priced at $360,000.


This is our first attempt at doing custom yard signs. Some developments won’t allow post signs, others require their own, neighborhood-approved signs in accordance with their homeowners associations’ regulations … some neighborhoods don’t allow signs at all.

One size does not fit all, and this is but one way that we are seeking to re-define how real estate is done in Charlottesville and Central Virginia.

We want to market our clients’ homes, not our brokerage.

The early feedback has been promising.

– “I love that the price is there!”

– “I love the interior photos!”

– “I think sellers are going to be wild about these!”

– Phone number is too small, sign’s too busy. (We’ll work on this)

– “am surprised that your contact info (esp your website) isn’t more prominently displayed” (This will be addressed in the next generation)

The next ones will be better.

But … do they work?

They did here

Here’s the really interesting part. After hanging the sign I started to pull away and had to stop and get my camera out again. Three cars in a row stopped to look at the sign and one actually sent their child out to get the flyer.

So: within minutes of hanging the sign I had eyeballs from three cars and conversion on one; you have got to love that kind of impact! BTW, the first thing my clients said was they loved the sign. I remarked how standard signs only tell people a house is for sale while marketing for the brokerage. One of the ideas behind a custom sign is to encourage people to stop the car and get out to read the sign (thus increasing the possibility of interest).

Saturday and Sunday I held an open house and the feedback I received from the nine to ten sets of people who came through was universally positive. Positive feedback is good – constructive feedback is better.

Now, how long until we’re copied? 🙂

Update 23 March 2009: NBC 29 did a nice story about the signs.

Credit where credit is due –

Greg’s series of posts on custom yard signs

A real estate sign of the times: Our first custom yard sign printed in both English and Spanish

Describing Mariana and Derek’s signs in Colorado Springs

Describing John Kalinowski’s signs in Northeast Ohio.

Our graphic designer.

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  1. Joel March 23, 2009 at 08:54

    Approximately how much is it to produce a custom sign like this? Curious to see if price will be a deterrent for wide-spread adoption. Thanks for the great post!

  2. Joshua Dorkin @ March 23, 2009 at 10:53

    Nice sign, Jim! You’re bringing a novel approach to real estate – actually sharing price! I think your signs will certainly help you to stand out in your market.

    It amazes me that at least half the homes I see listed don’t have a price on the flyers posted at the property. Do the agents using this stupid tactic really think that they can somehow sell someone better if they force a potential buyer to call in?

  3. Jim Duncan March 23, 2009 at 12:03

    Joel –

    I’ll hit you up offline …

    Josh –

    Thanks. The “price on the sign” part has been among the most well-received so far … it’s not new, but it’s new here. 🙂

  4. Gerry Davidson March 23, 2009 at 16:19

    Really great marketing, Jim. Best yard sign I’ve seen. I’m heartened to see that your getting results from giving information rather than withholding it for a phone call. Kudos.

  5. John Lauber March 23, 2009 at 19:05

    Did you have the sign posts already to re-use? Or did you purchase with the sign?

  6. Jim Duncan March 23, 2009 at 19:07

    Sign posts are reusable … still deciding what to do with the signs, though we have a couple great ideas ….

  7. Chris March 23, 2009 at 21:10

    This is better in so many ways than a standard sign but I’m curious to hear your ideas on what to do with the signs afterwards. The only down side to me seems to be that they’re not readily reusable.

  8. Duane Gran March 24, 2009 at 16:30

    Excellent design. So many RE signs are hampered by the dual role of promoting the product and the agency. Your sign clearly promotes the product and as a result people are going to be curious to know more about who uses such sensible signs.

  9. Genuine Chirs Johnson March 25, 2009 at 11:22

    Price saving measure…made me laugh. How do you accommodate price reductions? Why not say “$360s” or whatever for flexibility.

  10. Danilo Bogdanovic April 30, 2009 at 10:30

    Love the signs! Seems you and I are on the same page with the way signs should be like. The property comes first – the brokerage firm and my information is secondary.

    I redesigned mine a few months ago to feature 5 to 7 key points about the property and the property-specific web site url. It’s been a hit with sellers and those seeing the sign.

    But I have to admit…your sign is much better looking than mine. Mind if I borrow some ideas from your sign for use up here in NoVA?

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