I'm cute, buy the house
December 10, 2008 12:41 PM   Subscribe

Why do realtor often put their picture on "for sale" sign?
posted by racingjs to Home & Garden (19 answers total)
In Real Estate, like most sales, realtors are selling themselves more than they are selling homes. They brand themselves by putting their picture on everything.
posted by ginagina at 12:44 PM on December 10, 2008

Also, it does you no good at all if someone calls up your office and ends up buying a house from the guy in the office next to you. Real estate is a commission-based, not salaried job, so it's critical that you do everything possible to make people come to you, personally, and not someone else who happens to also work for, say, Century 21, or re/max.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:49 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

i also suspect that it's a way for them to create familiarity and a connection whereas just a name is pretty random and impersonal.
posted by violetk at 12:50 PM on December 10, 2008

Exactly as stated: A real estate agent's name and likeness is their brand identity. It also helps them to keep customers even when changing agencies.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 12:55 PM on December 10, 2008

it's just the same as used-car salesmen wearing tacky silk ties and little gold chains. someone started it, everyone else just goes along doing it because hey, that must be why this one person is making the sale. no, it's not because they provided great service or actually just refrained from bullshitting the customer, it's because of the silk tie. or the great horseteeth smile on the park bench.

it's people who learned from a book at kinkos about marketing and advertising trying their hand at it.
posted by krautland at 1:10 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Real estate broker here, and as everyone said - you are your own brand. This is especially important if you switch real estate companies (which happens a lot in my area). You want to be known as Joe Smith, Real Estate Agent, not Joe Smith of Company XYZ.

You always want the potential buyer/seller to call you, preferably on your cell phone, instead of the company you work for on your office phone (unless you have your own number at the office. As Tomorrowful stated, a call coming to the office has the risk of being shuffled elsewhere if you're not around.

In my area, very few agents have their picture on the actual sign. Everything else (ads, business cards, flyers) will almost always have the agent picture.
posted by shinynewnick at 1:16 PM on December 10, 2008

with no knowledge whatsoever Real estate is a lot about building trust. When you're gonna make a huge purpose like a house (or for that matter, a car), you want to know you won't get scammed. It doesn't matter if you know Sam Walton when you go buy your widget cause the widget doesn't cost that much money. When you buy a car or a house, you want to look 'em in the eye.

Where I live, we have realtors who not only show their face, but incorporate their kids and grandkids too. Surely a grand father/mother wouldn't scam you..
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:20 PM on December 10, 2008

And krautland is right. Agents do it because everyone else does it.

And it doesn't sell houses.
posted by shinynewnick at 1:21 PM on December 10, 2008

Best answer: And it doesn't sell houses.

Ah, but that's not the point.

Yeah, sure, a real estate agent sells houses. But they don't have to market themselves to home buyers. After all, you buy a house because you want to live there, not because you recognize the guy on the sign.

The ones a real estate agent has to market himself to are the sellers. A successful agent is one who can inspire you to say "Gee, I'd like to sell my house.... I know, I'll call Joe Smith!" When they put their pictures on the sign, their target audience is people who might sell a house soon, not people who are trying to buy one.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:43 PM on December 10, 2008

D'oh. You knew that already. I didn't notice you were the Genuine Real Estate Agent from a few posts before. Sorry.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:44 PM on December 10, 2008

Of course, we all know that no real estate agent would ever post such a photo so that potential clients could see the agent's ethnicity or race.
posted by Carol Anne at 1:52 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Of course, we all know that no real estate agent would ever post such a photo so that potential clients could see the agent's ethnicity or race.

Um, Carol Anne, why would they bother? I mean, that's gotta increase their revenues by at least 0.01%... while simply advertising their success via for-sale signs is probably driving ten or a hundred times that much new business.

Drop the conspiracy theory.

Here's another real-world example: both times when I began to sell a house, my first thought was, "Hey, there's a realtor selling a neighbor's house... probably knows a bit about this neighborhood... maybe I should call them." And that's exactly what they want me to think (and is probably true). Good advertising, with no nefarious, racist intent.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:01 PM on December 10, 2008

I agree with Carol Anne. I think their mentality is "see--I'm one of you". I live in a very mixed area, and I'm not the only one that thinks this is why it's done.
posted by 6:1 at 3:22 PM on December 10, 2008

Not only that, but humans love to look at other humans, so putting a face on the sign almost certainly makes more people look at it.
posted by kindall at 3:36 PM on December 10, 2008

Carol Anne, my husband has been in the business for over a decade and has had just as many black clients as white ones, both as buyers and sellers. Remember, the color that counts is GREEN. $$$$.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:40 PM on December 10, 2008

I think Carol Anne has a point, especially in areas where diversity is just now starting to happen.
posted by dejah420 at 4:48 PM on December 10, 2008

It'd be pretty astonishing if there werent' implications to the skin-color of whoever appears on the sign. Housing isn't exactly 100% integrated in a lot of markets out there.

Whether or not it's intentional is another matter. I'd imagine it's generally not-- except, as 6:1 and dejah420 suggested, in particularly mixed (or transitioning) areas.
posted by col_pogo at 4:56 PM on December 10, 2008

Well known ad design tip - anything with a face on it - human or animal - gets more attention (people will spend more time looking at it) than an ad without.

So I don't know if the realtors every had this as a factor, but by luck or design, the signs with faces get more attention.
posted by Xhris at 5:51 PM on December 10, 2008

Regardless of their own race, real estate agents have to tread very lightly with anything involving the race of the buyers, sellers, or neighborhoods. The Fair Housing Act has very specific laws about race in real estate, check out the terms "blockbusting" or "steering" for more information.
posted by shinynewnick at 6:08 PM on December 10, 2008

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