If you’re a real estate agent or broker, you know that advertising plays a crucial role in attracting potential buyers and sellers. One of the most effective ways to advertise your services is through the use of real estate signs.

However, it’s important to understand the rules and guidelines surrounding real estate signs to avoid any legal issues.

real estate sign in front of house and says on the sign real estate sign rules and guidelines

Real estate sign rules and guidelines can vary depending on your location and the type of sign you plan to use.

For example, the City of Dallas has specific sign height, size, and placement regulations.

Meanwhile, the Texas Real Estate Commission has advertising rules that dictate what information you must include in your signs and ads, such as your name and contact information.

Why Real Estate Sign Rules and Guidelines are Important

Real estate sign rules and guidelines are important for several reasons. Firstly, they help to ensure that real estate signs are visible, informative, and not misleading. This is important because real estate signs are often the first point of contact between potential buyers and sellers and the real estate industry.

Real estate sign rules and guidelines also help ensure that the real estate industry operates fairly, ethically and complies with fair housing guidelines. By setting out clear rules and guidelines for advertising and marketing, real estate professionals can avoid making false or misleading claims, which can harm both buyers and sellers.

Another reason why real estate sign rules and guidelines are important is that they help protect the public from harm. For example, in San Diego, it is required that real estate professionals buy a sign permit to ensure that their signs are installed safely and do not cause any injuries or damage.

Real estate sign rules and guidelines also help to maintain the aesthetic quality of neighborhoods and communities. By setting out clear rules and guidelines for the size, color, and placement of signs, real estate professionals can ensure that their signs are not intrusive or unsightly.

Overall, real estate sign rules and guidelines are important for ensuring that the real estate industry operates fairly, ethically, and safely. By following these rules and guidelines, real estate professionals can help to build trust with their clients and the wider community.

Types of Real Estate Signs

Real estate signs are an essential part of marketing a property. They come in different shapes, sizes, and designs, each serving a specific purpose. Here are some of the most common types of real estate signs:

For Sale Signs

For-sale signs are the most common type of real estate signs. They are placed in the front yard of a property to indicate that it is for sale.

Signs come in different sizes and designs for sale, but they usually include the listing agent’s name, brokerage name and contact information.

Other optional items agents choose for a for sale sign are:

• Their Photo

• Their business slogan or tagline

• A QR Code 

Open House Signs

Open house signs are used to advertise an upcoming open house event.

They are usually placed on major intersections or street corners to attract potential buyers. Open house signs should be eye-catching and easy to read, with clear information about the event’s date, time, and location.

Directional Signs

Directional signs are used to guide potential buyers to a property that is for sale.

They are usually placed on street corners or at major intersections to help buyers find the property. Directional signs should be simple and easy to read, with clear information about the direction and distance to the property.

Sold Signs

Sold signs are used to indicate that a property has been sold.

They are usually placed on the for sale sign to let passersby know that the property is no longer available. All signs, including sold signs, should be removed as soon as possible to avoid confusion among potential buyers and as a professional courtesy to the new homeowner.

Some states have requirements regarding when the signs must be removed. 

General Real Estate Sign Rules and Guidelines

Placement and Size Requirements

When it comes to placing real estate signs, you must follow certain guidelines. Typically only one sign is permitted on the property unless the city council grants special permission.

The sign should be placed in a location that is visible from the street and not obstructing any traffic. Also, if you want to go large with your sign, check with the local governing body to ensure you comply with size regulations.

If you are unsure where to place your real estate sign, it’s always a good idea to check with your local government to ensure that you comply with all regulations.

Content Requirements

Real estate signs usually include certain information, such as the brokerage firm’s name, the listing agent’s name, and the agent’s contact information. The sign must also indicate that the property is for sale or lease. Check with your state’s real estate regulatory body for sign content requirements.

It’s also essential to ensure that the content on your sign is accurate and truthful.

Make sure the font size is large enough to be easily read from a distance. You want potential buyers to be able to read your sign from their car as they drive by.

Lighting and Illumination

Lit real estate sign at night in front of modern house with real estate agent contact information

Source: deesign.com

If you plan on having your real estate sign up at night, it’s important to ensure that it is properly illuminated. This can be done with spotlights or other lighting fixtures.

A well-lit sign will make it easier for potential buyers to see the sign and read its contents.

Removal and Cleanup

Once the property is no longer for sale or lease, removing the real estate sign as soon as possible is important.

Leaving the sign up after the property has been sold or leased can be confusing to potential buyers and can be frustrating for the new homeowner. Additionally, it’s important to properly dispose of the sign and any other materials used in its installation.

Make sure to follow all local regulations regarding removing and cleaning real estate signs. Failure to do so may result in fines or penalties.

I used a local real estate sign company that would install my professional signs, remove them and store them in their warehouse.  


National Association Of REALTORS® Tools and Handbooks

front of manual says membership marks manual for members national association of realtors with realtor logo

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) provides a variety of tools and handbooks that can assist the listing agent in understanding and complying with real estate sign rules and guidelines. These resources can help you navigate the complex landscape of real estate advertising and ensure that you are following all relevant laws and regulations.

One of the most important resources provided by the NAR is the Membership Marks Manual. This manual outlines the proper use of NAR’s membership marks, including the REALTOR® logo and the terms REALTOR®, REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®, and REALTORS®. Using these marks correctly demonstrates your commitment to professionalism and ethics in the real estate industry.

In addition to the Membership Marks Manual, NAR also provides a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice that all members are expected to follow. This code outlines real estate agent’s ethical responsibilities and includes advertising and marketing guidelines. By adhering to this code, you can build a reputation as a trustworthy and reliable real estate agent.

Another helpful resource provided by the NAR is a download of various logos you can use on your signs.

The tools and handbooks provided by the NAR can be invaluable resources for real estate agents who want to ensure they are following all real estate sign rules and guidelines.

By using these resources, you can demonstrate your commitment to professionalism and ethics in the real estate industry and build a reputation as a trustworthy and reliable agent.

Your Brokerage Guidelines

When it comes to real estate sign rules and guidelines, it’s important to check in with your brokerage or brand for any specific rules they may have. Your brokerage might have its own specific rules about how you advertise your listings, what you can put on your yard sign and if you can have your personal branding on your signs, and more.

Make sure to review any guidelines or policies your brokerage has in place before creating and displaying your real estate signs. This will help ensure that you are in compliance with all rules and regulations and that you are representing your brokerage in the best possible way.

Some common guidelines that your brokerage might have include:

• Restrictions on the size or placement of signs

• Requirements for including specific information on signs, such as brokerage name and contact information

• Prohibitions on certain types of language or imagery

• Guidelines for personal branding or logos on signs

By following your brokerage’s guidelines, you can help ensure that your signs are professional, effective, and compliant with all relevant regulations.

If you have any questions or concerns about your brokerage’s guidelines, be sure to reach out to your broker or manager for clarification.

Local and State-Specific Real Estate Sign Regulations

When it comes to real estate sign regulations, it’s important to understand that they can vary by state and even by locality. This means that you need to be aware of the rules that apply to your specific area and any restrictions that may be in place.

In New York, for example, the Department of State has recently adopted new comprehensive advertising regulations amending N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 19, § 175.25. These regulations aim to protect consumers from misleading or inaccurate advertisements and include specific requirements for real estate advertising.

California also has specific regulations in place when it comes to real estate signs. For example, real estate signs may be posted or displayed on the owner’s property or the property of another with their consent. However, owners have no right to post real estate signs in association common areas if prohibited by the association.

It’s important to note that these regulations can change over time, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on any updates or changes that may be made. This can help you avoid any potential legal issues or fines that may arise from violating local or state-specific regulations.

Your MLS

Has realtor logo and underneath logo says realtor and to the right says mls and under that says multiple listing service

Source: nar.realtor

If you are a real estate agent, you are likely a member of your local MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Your MLS is a powerful tool that can help you reach a wider audience and sell your listings faster.

However, it’s important to understand the rules and guidelines set forth by your MLS to avoid any potential violations.

One of the most important rules to follow is accurately representing your listings. You must ensure that all information, such as square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and other features, are correct and up-to-date.

Additionally, you must abide by the MLS’s guidelines for photos and virtual tours. These guidelines may include requirements for the size and resolution of photos and restrictions on virtual tour providers.

Another important rule to keep in mind is the MLS’s policy on advertising. You must ensure that all advertising for your listings complies with the MLS’s rules and guidelines. This may include restrictions on the use of certain words or phrases and requirements for including certain disclaimers in your advertising.

If appropriate, you can include the MLS number for the property or a QR code that links to the MLS property listing on your sign.

Finally, it’s important to understand the MLS’s rules and guidelines for submitting and withdrawing listings. You must ensure that you follow all deadlines and procedures for submitting new listings and withdrawing listings that are no longer available. Failure to do so could result in fines or other penalties from your MLS.

Your State REALTOR® Association

Your State REALTOR® Association is an important resource for understanding the rules and guidelines for real estate signs in your area. They can provide you with information about local ordinances, zoning laws, and other regulations that may impact the placement and design of your signs.

In addition to providing guidance on legal requirements, your State REALTOR® Association can also offer advice on best practices for creating effective and professional real estate signs. They may have resources available to help you design and order signs that meet industry standards and attract potential buyers.

It is important to stay informed about any updates or changes to sign regulations in your area. Your State REALTOR® Association can help you stay up-to-date on any new laws or guidelines that may impact your real estate business.

Remember that your signs are a reflection of your business and brand. By following the rules and guidelines set forth by your State REALTOR® Association, you can ensure that your signs are professional, effective, and compliant with local regulations.

Consequences of Violating Real Estate Sign Rules and Guidelines

If you violate the rules and guidelines for real estate signs, you may face consequences that can negatively impact your business. Some of the possible consequences include:

• Fines: You may be fined for violating sign regulations. The amount of the fine can vary depending on the severity of the violation and the local regulations.

•  Loss of Business: Violating sign rules can lead to a loss of business. If your signs are taken down or you are fined, you may miss out on potential clients who would have seen your signs.

•  Legal Action: In some cases, violating sign regulations can result in legal action. For example, if your sign causes an accident or injury, you may be held liable.

• Damage to Reputation: Violating sign rules can damage your reputation as a real estate professional. Clients may see you as unprofessional or careless if you do not follow the rules and guidelines.

It is important to take sign regulations seriously and ensure that you comply with all local rules and guidelines.

This can help you avoid the negative consequences of violating the rules and maintain a positive reputation in the real estate industry.

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