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Campaigns mount against agents' signsA Sussex estate agent is the latest to call for a ban on For Sale and To Let signs - in this case he wants them outlawed across Brighton and Hove.

This is a contentious issue with some agents who want them and a large percentage of the public who don't. But there are plenty of other ways to advertise properties these days explains Marc Cox, sales director at the Mishon Mackay agency's Hove office.

You don't need to spoil the look of a street in order to find a buyer. Too many boards have a negative effect on a neighbourhood and can make it look shabby and rundown he says.

The local council already bans boards within conservation areas but Cox's call is for this to be extended throughout larger parts of the town.

My parents would drive around looking for the boards and then they got in touch with the agents, but these days you can go to our website or one of the many other agents or specialist property websites says Cox.

Most councils have guidelines on what size boards are permitted - a fairly typical example is Basingstone local authority, which says an agent's board must not exceed 0.5 square metres in area, or 0.6 square metres for two joined boards.

Some councils go much further. Reading, for example, has this month invited agents to a meeting - taking place in late March - to consider the future of boards in that town.

The invitation says measures under discussion include enforcement action including prosecution where signs are left in place for too long, the removal of illegal signs and the council issuing a direction under regulation 7 of the Advertisement Regulations which would remove the right to display agents' boards in designated areas of the town.

High levels of student accommodation and shared properties make certain parts of Reading a hotspot for unscrupulous estate or lettings agents who flood streets with 'to let' or 'for sale' boards. Some are left in place far longer than necessary. Both of these have the effect of spoiling the appearance of some of the town's streets and conservation areas, much to the annoyance of local residents a council spokesman told EAT.

Last week, as reported by EAT, Gideon Gold, director of Hunters' branch in West Hampstead, said he would no longer erect boards in his area. Nearby locations such as Belsize Park and West Hampstead have already declared large board-free areas.

Comments

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    Ban all boards. They look disgusting and are not needed. Just free advertisng.

    • 29 March 2014 19:44 PM
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    Poor old Glenn must be spinning in his grave! - No wonder MM have lost market share - Had to actually read this again, An agent is advising that it is not best practice to have your property shown for sale 24 hours a day when it is proven potential buyers drive round areas they aspire to live in!

    Think i will be taking this page out on valuations when i am up against MM!

    • 28 February 2014 11:21 AM
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    Boards breed boards they quickly show local potential vendors who is attracting new business.

    On a separate note I see that Hunters are flogging their franchise offering once again.
    What they dont mention in the sales pitch for their franchise is the FACT that the vast majority of their growth to date came from acquiring another franchise network (Bairstow Eves) and rebranding it as opposed to organic growth of the Hunters brand and proposition.

    Hunters, honesty is still a virtue, please adhere to it.

    • 27 February 2014 09:54 AM
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    Boards help everyone, but yes they can be ugly sometimes. We almost always have them & charge our clients a higher fee where there is no board as it takes longer to sell the property (heling no-one & costing us more). No board also increases the number of times our staff turn up but the viewer is a no-show .... saying they could not find the right house & were in a hurry, viewing several that day. If we put the full address on our details or www then the vendor gets all sorts of junk mail and scams, so we only use the postcode. On the whole they are very useful & helpful to everyone and are not simply 'free' () advertising for the agent as some seem to think. They also eliminate many vendors who are not serious.

    • 26 February 2014 15:15 PM
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    Boards are great for Agents, buyers and sellers, not so good for local residents. If boards are banned they can no longer be abused by some agents and everyone will have to adapt.

    • 26 February 2014 12:32 PM
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    This story rears itself every year, normally when they are scraping the barrel for news.

    The fact is that the property market is recovering, internet is available to the vast majority, so why do we still have boards

    Estate Agency boards are a 24/7 cost effective advertising tool, at less than 20 for this type of advert, they offer exceptionally good value for money. The boards also act as a marker for the property, capturing the attention of locals and raising the estate agency's branding.

    The internet has probably been responsible for replacing newspaper advertising rather than boards plus the older generation might not use the internet/ smartphone and still work on more traditional methods when searching. There are two or three paths a potential vendor/ purchaser will take

    1) Search internet, call agent, meet at property (board is a clear marker/ meeting point)
    2) Spot the board, call the agent or visit the website (both details on the board, driving traffic)
    3) Potential seller will see lots of sold boards and instruct that agent (winning the agent instructions)

    So, for less than 20 an estate agent can have a 24/7 advert in the most prime location, enhancing brand, drive traffic to their website / telephone number and with Sold boards, they will potentially be instructed from their success and win another instruction to sell the 'next' property. I think this probably clears up the argument for the 'pros' on estate agency boards.

    There are obviously regulations on size and guidelines concerning the removal of the boards, which the vast majority of agents stick too. Also the councils are cracking down with warnings & fines which keeps everything 'sensible'.

    The minority are agents who never collect boards or 'fly-board'. These are the exception to the rule and quite easily spotted. Perhaps its the local councils responsibility to crack down on this minority with fines or even individual bans if they continue to ignore the rules. This would put these individual agents on the back foot. Obviously, the boards should be kept in good condition and well manufactured because they represent the company and are most likely the first impression of the estate agency brand. Boards which are faded, poorly manufactured and 'done on the cheap' also look poor on the streets.

    Ref: www.kremersigns.co.uk
    Contact: Gary Gosney gary@kremersigns.co.uk

    • 26 February 2014 11:57 AM
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    Lets face it every town has its fly boarding, misleading ex corporate spiv who'll chuck a board up on any available bit of dirt he can find and leave it there until someone chops it down. (ScotMan, have I described you correctly there)
    I've been told that while it is the local authority that have to investigate the abuse of boards, any fine they win goes back to central government so there is no incentive for local councils to follow complaints up. Costs to much time and money.

    • 26 February 2014 10:45 AM
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    Marc Cox doesn't seem to know that it is nothing to do with "council guidelines" but all to do with the Town & Country Planning Act. Guest David also thinks it's Trading Standards who police this but in fact it is up to the local authority to take action.

    • 26 February 2014 10:31 AM
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    'Spoil the look of the streets'
    Has anyone noticed the profusion of black, brown, green, etc 'plastic bins' in the streets

    • 26 February 2014 10:12 AM
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    People do look at signs. A lot of potential purchasers drive round an area they like to see what is for sale. Internet advertising is essential of course for a proportion of buyers but not everyone is a computer geek. Surprisingly there are some real people out there that don't use TwitFace and the like. Boards are also a useful tool for advertising for valuations as most people couldn't name three estate agents even if they were asked whilst standing outside one. It is about product awareness and putting your name into the minds of potential vendors.

    • 26 February 2014 09:53 AM
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    I am all for boards. Savvy agents can add a QR code or NFC chip and enable interested buyers to access full property details there and then. One click is easier than searching out a particular property when you might not have an idea of the price.

    • 26 February 2014 09:48 AM
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    Not only signs for sale or let are dreadful and damage the walls of the buldings and spoil the view of london, they are useless, because no one seriouslylooking at signs, people go on the internet, where they cansee clearly the price, the details and the dates. managing companies are lazy to implement ban on these ugly monster signs and show lack of care about the properties theymanage. Estate agents show their dislike of the cities and towns they work in. Ban! please, total ban!

    • 26 February 2014 09:24 AM
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    I agree with him. Boards are ruining some areas. I'm in London and some streets which are less than 100 yards long have over 20 boards on them, mainly from Foxtons and other unscrupulous agents who are the ones that really take the biscuit. How trading standards are not on their case I have no idea. Probably too busy making sure everyone has their useless EPC's in place...

    • 26 February 2014 09:19 AM
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    The article is about someone who obviously is a weak agent in his area with NO SIGNS so he gets no business - Jog on

    • 26 February 2014 09:09 AM
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    For many the next home they buy is an impulse - they see a board on a home they were always interested in and that is the catalyst. Also - sold boards is a good measure for any seller wanting to seek out the most effective agent in the area - websites don't do this as so many agents leave sold stock on their for months.

    • 26 February 2014 08:50 AM
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    What a load of rubbish, 30% of my valuations come from people seeing boards. The local rag is a waste of money

    • 26 February 2014 08:41 AM
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    Turkeys voting for Christmas springs to mind. Like anything else though, abuse it and lose it.

    • 26 February 2014 07:23 AM
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