Every year, thousands of homeowners opt to avoid real estate commissions by listing their homes themselves without a Realtor®. It makes a lot of sense, why pay 6% of the sales price if you don’t have to (especially in a down market like today)? There is nothing wrong with this thought process or the decision to sell for sale by owner. However, the decision to go to a hardware store and buy a cheap white and red For Sale By Owner sign with a place to write in your number with a black marker, actually is a mistake that should be avoided.
Rather than use a For Sale By Owner sign, you should do one of two things. First you can design a custom sign that does not say For Sale By Owner and looks like a real estate company sign, but with your contact information. It does not have to say Realty, Properties, Real Estate or anything like that. It just should not say For Sale By Owner, By Owner, or anything of that nature. It needs to look like a real estate broker sign even if the subdivision name or something else is in the spot where you would normally have the real estate broker name. The second option is, if you are using a flat fee listing company to gain MLS entry, use that broker’s sign with your contact information on it (as long as it doesn’t have the same type of ‘for sale by owner’ slogans or URL’s the cheap signs from the hardware store have). You will benefit from the professional look with the Realtor® logos, while still getting all the drive-by phone calls that any For Sale By Owner using a cheap sign would receive.
Almost any sign company including several real estate sign companies on the Internet can assist you in designing and printing a For Sale sign. It might have a house on it, a snow scene if you live in the mountains or just be professional-looking with stylized fonts in 2 or more colors. You should place an Equal Housing Opportunity logo on it. Make sure it is the standard size metal sign that you see in your area, such as 2′ by 3′, and if possible, have it installed on a wood post or H-frame. Many major cities have sign installation companies that install and remove posts and signs for real estate agents; again this adds to the professional look and feel of the sign.
When your sign ceases to look like a cheap For Sale By Owner sign, you will cease to receive as many agents hassling you about listing your property with them. They are more likely to think you are already listed by an agent since your sign looks like a professional sign. (It is an ethical violation to approach the seller unsolicited and attempt to get a seller to cancel their listing and switch listing agents). Unrepresented buyers are less likely to realize right away that there are no agents involved and ask for a discount based on avoiding commissions. You are also less likely to be approached by scammers who attempt to prey on unrepresented sellers with various schemes like kicking back illegal payments to shill 3rd party companies. Finally, the professional -looking sign will tell prospective buyers that you are serious about selling; you did not just throw a cheap sign up on an overpriced property to see if anyone would pay your above market price.