I would wager that there is a strong correlation between the number of “For Sale” and “For Rent” signs in a neighborhood and the level of graffiti, grime and crime.
Real estate agency boards now line and clutter many city streets, but in an age of booming online real estate and rental markets, is there really a need for them?
The worst examples tend to be found in student neighborhoods, where the gaudy signs stand in front of neglected homes that appear to be constantly for rent.
Not only do these signs offer real estate agents cheap brand awareness, they also advertise that people living in the neighborhood are transient and have nothing invested in the community.
As a result, they are a continuing nuisance to the streetscape for those who have lived there for years and will continue to do so for years to come – and are certainly dragging down property prices in the area as well.
We can’t underestimate the impact of community aesthetics on the vibes of those who live in these real estate agent hotspots. Author Charles Montgomery writes in his urban design book Happy City: “The frequent sight of garbage, graffiti and decay leads to alienation and depression, especially in the elderly.”
The “broken window” theory in criminology posits that visible signs of disorder – such as vandalism and trash – lead to more of the same behavior. I would argue that clusters of real estate agency signs are not far from this vicious cycle.
“Rental Boards” in particular can eliminate any sense of neighborhood and community pride. The result is that locals don’t bother to get to know each other or care about their environment.
A recent trend from the United States is the use of a real estate agent’s face on the board of directors. Britain should put an end to this crude commercialization of brick and mortar.
It now takes around a month to accept an offer for a house for sale and English law states that the boards must be removed within two weeks of an agreement being reached. Yet the boards seem to sit there for months longer than necessary, and are often only removed when they’ve been knocked over by the elements or vandals.
Laws also require signs to be no taller than 4.6 meters and cover an area of no more than 50 cm2. Breaking the rules is seen as an offense with fines of up to £2,500 on the table. These laws are flouted across the country.
The prominence of estate agents’ signs in the UK is now spoiling many roads and ultimately elevating property over people. Good neighbors are a tremendous asset, and productive real estate agent signs flout this important truth. They serve no real purpose and certainly are of no use to anyone who lives nearby. Instead, they have turned many of our neighborhoods into anti-social places. They should be allowed in exceptional cases rather than as a rule.
Banning them might simply hide the problem of waning community spirit, but at least it would shed that sense of dispossession and send a message down our streets that real estate agents don’t own; we do.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/consumer-affairs/sale-signs-scourge-streets-destroy-neighbourhood-pride/ ‘For sale’ signs are a scourge on our streets that destroy neighbourhood pride