Buying Boards – A Double Edged Sword?

MOST listings are now viewed online. Nothing controversial in that. So where does that leave the good old fashioned For Sale board?

Whether nailed to a tree, the side of a house or one of those fancy ‘hotel-style’ ones, the old fashioned estate agents’ board is still a common site.

And with good reason. It may be that not as many people see a board and then go looking for the details as they once did, but that was never its only use.

It acts as a literal signpost to prospective buyers whether they are working their way through a labyrinth of identical terraced streets or driving miles through rural farmland – they’ve found the right house to look at and are not accidentally becoming trespassers or peeping toms.

But it also acts as key advertising for your agency. Very few agents have a monopoly in their patch and it is very easy to tell which agency is currently knocking the socks off its rivals by a quick drove around and counting boards.

Important for a prospective seller – why list with the one that doesn’t appear able to shift houses?

(As a side, can you can tell when a branch manager has changed by seeing a sudden rash of boards for one agency appearing over another? And again a few months later as either initial enthusiasm wanes or the other agency’s manager changes in response?)

So if boards still send important messages, is it worth making sure you get your boards in the right places?

Some agencies are not above buying boards – where they will deliberately and knowingly overvalue a property they really want to list for their own reasons, and so flatter the vendor into signing with them.

This gets the all-important board up and seen by everybody passing by – maybe the house is particularly prestigious, or celebrity-owned, or just in an absolutely prime location for boards to be seen – key road junctions or pedestrian areas.

But does it help?

On one hand your board is the one that is seen by all and sundry. Brilliant. That may attract a lot of interest in the property and also some new listings off the back of it.


If you overvalued the property to secure the instruction….

Will it sell? Your board could be up for a very long time. ‘Great’ say some – all that lovely advertising, all for the cost of a board.

But what message are you sending potential customers? That you can’t sell houses? Does it look good to have ‘Reduced’ on there instead of ‘Sold’?

And what do the vendors – remember them, the ones that actually own the house? – think of their prime property being spectacularly unsold by the agent that promised them enough to retire on with a bit left over for a flash car and a cruise around the Norwegian fjords?

Hope this post got you thinking. More like this over on I help estate agents get every valuation, win every instruction and sell every property. Feel free to email me with any questions on

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Sam Ashdown

Sam is an industry-renowned marketing strategist to estate agents. She helps agents grow and flourish, using her unique smart marketing techniques and strategies. Sam works with agents throughout the UK to help them gain more valuations, win more instructions and sell more properties.

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