Most real estate investors have used a bandit sign or two in their real estate investing. These signs, which tend to populate nearly every high-traffic corner over most weekends in most areas of the country,are a low-budget, high-return advertising option and also are a great source of real estate deal leads. These signs are so effective, in fact, that they are often used not just to advertise “I buy houses for cash” and other similar sentiments, but to promote open houses and official estate sales as well.

Much to the chagrin of a Huntington Beach, California, real estate professional, however, there is such a thing as “too much publicity” for a real estate open house – at least as far as the municipal government is concerned. The city fined him $2,750 for putting up too many open house signs. He was fined $250 per sign. The real estate agent did push back and eventually the city dropped the total fine to $500.

The issue, the agent told the Orange County Register, was that the signs were placed in a development that prohibited such signage. “I definitely violated the ordinance because of the location of the house,” he said. The agent had hosted an open house for a $1.4 million home he was trying to sell about a month ago. At first he had no attendance, so he posted many more signs to guide shoppers through each turn.

“We’re constantly trying to find ways to attract traffic,” he said.

Investor Insight:
If you use bandit signs in your real estate business, be alert not just to regulations, but also how those regulations are enforced.

Categories | Article | Market & Trends
  • Carole VanSickle Ellis

    Carole VanSickle Ellis serves as the news editor and COO of Self-Directed Investor (SDI) Society, a membership organization dedicated to the needs of self-directed investors interested in alternative investment vehicles, including real estate. Learn more at or reach Carole directly by emailing

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