Aug 10, 2021 by - Follow Up Boss

How to Use Real Estate Signs and Sign Riders to Generate Quality Deals

This article was originally featured on the Follow Up Boss Blog

Yard signs are an iconic part of real estate.

Yet only 6% of buyers start their home search by driving through potential neighborhoods they’d like to live in and looking for available homes — compared with a whopping 44% who begin their search online.

In this day and age, it’s not much of a surprise that only 7% of buyers find their home through a yard or open house sign, whereas 51% ultimately purchase a home they found online. And it’s worth noting that the gap is significantly larger among millennials and Gen Z. For those generations, it’s a whopping 62% internet vs. 4% yard sign.

So do yard signs still have a place in a modern Realtor’s marketing playbook? Are they even worth the effort?

To help you decide whether you’re still Team Sign Rider or all-in on online, we’ll explore some of the ways yard signs can help you generate high-quality buyer and seller leads, share a few ideas for eye-catching sign riders, and offer our best tips for turning your signs into a profitable lead source.

In other words, if you’re looking for a sign, this is it. (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.)

Table of contents

  • The Real Power of Real Estate Signs
  • The Best Sign Rider Ideas to Entice Buyers
  • Cool Ideas to Help Boost Your Brand with Your Signs
  • How to Use Sign Riders to Attract Sellers
  • Make Sure Your Real Estate Signs Are Successful

The Real Power of Real Estate Signs

Back in the day, yard signs drew in a much larger share of buyer leads, but just because the balance has shifted doesn’t mean your real estate signs are completely obsolete. In fact, for 46% of buyers, yard signs were still a key source of information in their home search (even though it wasn’t the first step in their search).

And what about seller leads?

Well, when sellers look for a real estate agent, the majority (39%) are referred by a friend, neighbor, or relative.

If you think the yard sign has nothing to do with that, think again.

When a For Sale sign goes up, you can bet that the neighbors are going to notice — and their curiosity is going to be piqued. Anyone who’s thinking about selling a home is going to have their eyes peeled to see how quickly the home sells.

What’s more, they may even reach out to close friends and family who are in the market to let them know a house is for sale. After all, moving closer to friends or family is the second most common reason for people to sell their home.

Let’s Talk About Sign Riders

Sign riders are those smaller signs that you can add above or below your primary yard sign. There are several ways that real estate agents use riders to enhance a sign, such as:

  1. Customizing a generic brokerage sign.
  2. Sharing updates about the listing.
  3. Providing additional information about the property.
  4. Strengthening your personal brand.

Sign riders are small and interchangeable, so it’s easy to customize and enhance signs for individual properties, even throughout a listing’s lifecycle.

The Best Sign Rider Ideas to Entice Buyers

Many riders are specifically designed to attract potential buyers. Here are a few of the best ideas and when to use them.

Generate interest and traffic

These may be simple messages, but they’re frequently used for a reason! These simple, buyer-focused riders can help ramp up the number of prospects who visit your site and listings.

  • Coming Soon – Your listing may not be live yet, but you can still start drumming up interest (and get the neighborhood to start putting out feelers for you). 
  • Open House – Not only will this help you advertise an open house in advance, but it can also ensure that attendees know they’ve arrived at the right property (especially if there are multiple homes for sale on the same street). 
  • Add a QR code for your online listing – Foot traffic isn’t the only traffic you want! You can drive traffic from your physical sign to the property listing or your real estate website by creating a rider with a special QR code. 
  • Under Contract  Sale Pending – Sometimes it’s best to hedge your bets. You don’t necessarily want to keep getting calls on a property that’s under contract, but if a highly motivated buyer wants to put their hat in the ring, you don’t want to dissuade them either by being too quick to say “Sold!”
  • Sold—but we have more! – Just because the home is sold doesn’t mean the opportunity to attract other buyers is gone. Encourage buyers to check out similar listings on your website to let them know it’s still not too late to find their dream home!


Highlight a unique or unexpected feature

Give potential buyers a taste of what’s in store inside the home.

  • Fully Renovated  New Upgrades  Must See Inside  I’m Gorgeous Inside! – We know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover… yet it can be easy for a buyer to dismiss a home out of hand because the exterior looks old, dated, or just plain ugly. But if your sellers have done the work to create an interior paradise, you’ll want to let potential buyers know!
  • Master on Main – In areas where main-level living is hard to come by and highly sought-after, this rider will be a sure winner. 
  • Wheelchair Friendly – When someone needs a wheelchair-friendly home, the advantage of buying a home that’s already suited to their needs cannot be overstated. This is a feature that definitely deserves to be called out. 
  • Basement  Walk-Out Basement – Want to let passers-by know that a small-looking home is bigger on the inside? Showcase the basement! 
  • Wine Cellar – A special feature like a wine cellar will be extra attractive to the right buyer — so let them know you’ve got what they want.
  • Bed/bath/garage count ● 5 🛏  3 🛁  3 🚗 – Sometimes the most important information is the basics. How many beds, baths, and garage bays does the home offer? You can even make it more visual by using images instead of words, like this agent:

Shine a spotlight on the exterior

Sometimes the most stunning feature of a home isn’t the home itself. If a certain aspect of the property is particularly special, you can capture even more attention by highlighting it with a sign rider.

  • Spectacular View – Whether the property offers views of a stunning city skyline or a peaceful rural vista, this sign rider can drive some serious foot traffic as potential buyers come to see the magic for themselves. 
  • Kid (or Dog!) Approved Yard – Fabulous play structure? In-ground trampoline? Outdoor kennel? Lots of grass to run and play in? Let parents (and pet parents) know that this property is ready for fun!
  • Acreage  X Acres – The more space, the better…at least, for a certain buyer. So if that’s the type you need to attract, let them know exactly what they’ll get. 
  • Beach Access  X ft. of Waterfront  Boat Slip – For the buyer who’s all about the beach or #lakelife, having access to water and a home for their watercraft is a sure win. 
  • Pool – In certain areas, a pool is an amazing feature to showcase — especially if they’re not common in the neighborhood. While you may not want to pull this rider out in the dead of winter, you can bet it’ll be tempting on a hot summer day.

Doesn’t this rider make you wish you could jump in the pool RIGHT NOW?

All about the money

Some buyers are more focused on finding a deal than finding their forever home — and that’s ok! While these riders may not be the strategy you want to lead with, they could help grease the wheels on a property that’s stuck.

  • New Price  Price Reduced – Listing gone stagnant? If the seller chooses to reduce the price, you may be able to generate more interest by letting potential buyers (or formerly interested parties) know the price has changed. 
  • Owner Financing – If your seller is ready to retire and wants to reduce capital gains taxes on their property, they may want to offer owner financing. They may also choose to offer financing if the property doesn’t qualify for bank financing. For buyers who can’t (or prefer not to) get financing from a bank, it’s an appealing opportunity. 
  • Make an Offer – While some sellers might be in the “make me move” camp, this rider is probably more effective when a seller wants out ASAP. But use caution…the message could be taken as an open invitation for low-ball offers.

Cool Ideas to Help Boost Your Brand with Your Signs

Add a personal touch

The problem with many real estate signs is that they’re a bit, well, generic. But when used creatively, sign riders are a great way to make them more personal while setting your brand apart as one to remember.

  • Your name and number – Let’s start simple: if your yard sign doesn’t have your name and your number on it, it’s time to fix that. Use a sign rider to make it clear who interested parties need to talk to. 
  • Use a different font or color – Got a super-blah brokerage sign? You can make it more eye-catching simply by changing the font or color on your rider. Just make sure it’s on-brand and easy to read! 
  • Say “Yes” to This Address  Your Story Begins Here – A little corny? Sure. But for the right agent, the right property, and the right buyer, it can work. If warm, inviting, and enchanting is the vibe you’re going for, go for it!


Make ‘em laugh

Create a positive first impression by giving potential buyers something to smile about.

  • Free Tacos with Purchase  Taco ‘Bout a Great Home! 🌮 – Okay, so we’re not TOTALLY serious with this one… but if funny is part of your brand and you prefer to work with clients who share your sense of humor (and love of Mexican food), it doesn’t hurt to try a little cheekiness. 
  • Santa Approved 🎅🏼 – Listing a family-friendly home in the fall? Encourage buyers to move forward before Christmas with this holiday-friendly rider.
  • Not Haunted 👻 – Some properties are just plain creepy looking. But by humorously calling attention to it, you may be able to break the ice and encourage potential buyers to give it a chance despite its appearance. (Just make sure the house isn’t, you know, actually haunted.)
  • Charming AF ✨ – Think your listing will be super popular with a younger crowd? Speak their language.


How to Use Sign Riders to Attract Sellers

Believe it or not, yard signs can be an excellent way to attract seller leads. But you’ll want to shift your sign rider strategy to appeal to their unique wants and needs.

Provide status updates

When asked what they want from a real estate agent, 20% of sellers care most about selling their home within a specific time frame. With status updates, agents have the opportunity to demonstrate how quickly they can match a seller’s property with the perfect buyer.

  • Under Contract  Sale Pending – While this sign can be used to lure backup offers on a property, it can also help you showcase your success even sooner and show the neighborhood that you can get things done quickly! 
  • Sold – It’s pretty standard practice to leave a sign up in the yard after a home sells for a little extra exposure. (After all, it doesn’t take any more effort.) 
  • Sold in 3 Days! If you can brag about how quickly the home sold, you should! Let the neighbors (a.k.a. other potential sellers) know that you absolutely crushed it — and you could do it for them too!
  • Sold Over Asking! Another thing worth bragging about that can draw in new business. 
  • We can sell yours too! This rider would pair well with another “Sold” sign to start planting the seeds in potential sellers’ minds.


Make Sure Your Real Estate Signs Are Successful

Choosing the right sign rider can take your real estate sign from forgettable to “Honey, stop the car!” But how do you really know if they’re working?

If you really want to assess the impact of your yard signs, the best thing you can do is use a unique phone number. Then you can use your CRM to monitor how many leads can be attributed to your sign.

Follow Up Boss makes it easy to set up dedicated numbers for any of your lead sources so you can clearly track your best marketing channels.

Of course, it’s possible that passers-by will simply go search for it online later on. But adding a rider with a unique QR code for the online property listing may help you capture those leads faster, and with a clearer view of your marketing channels.

No matter how creative you get with your yard signs and sign riders, remember that ultimately, the most important part about lead conversion — no matter where those leads come from — is that you have a solid plan for following up and turning those first impressions into lasting relationships.

About Follow Up Boss

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