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Banning Boards.

News in this week is that Camden council in London is considering a ban on estate agents’ signs. And frankly, we can see why. On its own, one for sale sign is fine, but boards do have a habit of congregating, whether it’s because one person selling up inspires another, or if more than one property is genuinely available in the same building or, and here is where we think the idea to ban them comes from, because opportunist estate agents decide to chance it by sticking up their own sign where others are already present. This has been an ongoing problem for many many years, if not decades: in the 1980s regulation came into force limiting the size of boards and allowing just one sign per property at a building, but it’s hard to police and agents know this. The only people who insist that signs are valuable are estate agents, but their opinions are always anecdote based. I’ve been scouring their blogs for their reasoning to have a for sale sign and the arguments are always the same, with generous usage of the words “could” and “might”. A passer by could notice your sign; your postman might have friends looking to live in the area; people coming to view could have trouble finding your house, and, my personal favourite, your neighbours might be offended if you don’t put up a sign! However, not one single blog said anything like: “15% of our enquiries come from boards”; “we sold 3 properties last month from board enquiries”; “6 postmen refer their friends to us every year”. So why don’t these agents present any evidence or hard facts supporting their case for boards? Because there aren’t any. When I was a high street agent I was targeted heavily on getting boards up, for one reason and one reason only: to advertise our existence. I’m not saying it’s impossible that an enquiry might come from a board, but in an age of technology, property portals, the internet and smartphones, anyone who is seriously looking for a property on your street or area will be searching online. Christ, even people who aren’t looking for property still check out Rightmove on a regular basis. And they’ll get an alert for a property before the board even goes up. We don’t use boards, and never have. And given that we cover the whole of the UK and manage to sell people’s homes all over London and hundreds of miles away WITHOUT using boards, we’re sure a high street agent can as well. And if they say they can’t, use someone else!

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