BLOODHOUNDBLOG.COM

There’s always something to howl about

Time of the signs: Let there be light

This is my column for last week from the Arizona Republic (permanent link). Since I wrote this, Cathleen found a solar-powered flood light solution, which we’re testing now. At some point — ideally when there is more sunlight and when electrons aren’t quite as sluggish outdoors — I’ll let you know how it’s working out.

 
Time of the signs: Let there be light

We’ve been playing with sign lights.

Signs matter. If you’re trying to sell your home, the yard sign just might swing the balance. A whopping 63% of home buyers discover homes they’re interested in seeing from yard signs, and the sign can be the first “salesman” for the home in one out of every six home sales.

Our signs are custom-made for each home we list, with big photos of the interior of the home. The idea is to swing the balance toward our sellers by whatever means we can think of.

But I cannot imagine a more profound enemy of custom real estate signs than darkness. During the day, you can spot the signs, see the photos, read the copy. At night, our signs, like all real estate signs, are silhouettes against the void.

So we’ve been looking for lighting systems that will extend the hours our signs are visible — from twilight to 9 pm at least, although all night would be ideal.

Our first swing at the ball is a device called the Listing Light. It uses six C-cell batteries to set two light-emitting diodes ablaze. It actually works in the sense that the signs seem to be aglow from a distance, and they are completely readable up close. But the effect is a lot like reading by flash-light — doable, but not to be preferred.

My friend Teri Lussier, a Realtor in Dayton, Ohio, has set her husband loose on the problem of lighting signs. His first invention builds the lights into the underside of the crossbar of the sign post. By now, he’s playing with the idea of building a box composed of two translucent signs with fluorescent tubes inside, much like a commercial sign.

I like what ground-mounted flood lights do for a home, so I’d like to make a deal with a seller to get an electrician to illuminate the home, building in two additional flood lights for our signs. This would not be cheap — but as our massive unsold inventory makes plain — cheap efforts don’t get the job done.

Technorati Tags: , ,

7 comments

7 Comments so far

  1. Kris Berg December 26th, 2007 8:37 am

    Happy day after. You don’t waste much time!

    We have been using the Listing Lights for about a year, with moderate success (as measured by not too much fuss). The batteries generally last a couple of months, and we have only had one completely give out on us. I don’t worry as much about giving enough lumination to the sign to read it from a block away. The key is that it is noticeable and catches the attention of the passers by. The sellers really like them as well. We don’t have to worry about monitoring the battery life – We get at least one “our light is out” call a week.

    On a related note, our “Going Green” signs are ready, and when I return from the frozen tundra that is my vacation cabin next week, I’ll share what we are up to. It’s part of what we call our Curbside Conceirge.

  2. Greg Swann December 26th, 2007 8:46 am

    I have a huge toolbox in the back of my car, with all my listing junk in it. Because of the Listing Lights, I’m now schlepping what may be an actual ton of C-cells.

    I’m interested to hear what you have going.

  3. Jim Klinge December 26th, 2007 8:07 pm

    Give reflective paint a try. Signs done with reflective paint are shiny enough that they can be seen with little, if any, light for those walking by, and you can see them from 100 yards away with car headlights.

    Champion Signs in SD charges $183 per sign, doubled-sided, but I figured my time spent refilling the dead batteries would cost me more.

    I’ve seen sign lights that were so dull you could barely see the sign – that’s a turnoff.

  4. […] Set the post, hang the signs and flyer boxes, mount the lockbox. For now we use a normal six-foot 4×4″ white post. When we can afford to have it done, we’re going to switch to a custom-made sign structure, framing off the big sign and the riders and attaching everything will small bungee cords to keep things from flapping around in the wind. We’re always looking for better sign-lighting solutions, too. […]

  5. […] Set the post, hang the signs and flyer boxes, mount the lockbox. For now we use a normal six-foot 4×4″ white post. When we can afford to have it done, we’re going to switch to a custom-made sign structure, framing off the big sign and the riders and attaching everything will small bungee cords to keep things from flapping around in the wind. We’re always looking for better sign-lighting solutions, too. […]

  6. […] a recent blog post Greg Swann (a REALTOR in AZ.) and Kris Berg (a REALTOR in San Diego.) indicated that they were both […]

  7. […] Set the post, hang the signs and flyer boxes, mount the lockbox. For now we use a normal six-foot 4×4″ white post. When we can afford to have it done, we’re going to switch to a custom-made sign structure, framing off the big sign and the riders and attaching everything will small bungee cords to keep things from flapping around in the wind. We’re always looking for better sign-lighting solutions, too. […]