Signs in the Yard: Does Old-School Marketing Still Work?

Let's think of how tenants used to find places to rent before the days of the internet. In order to find a space, potential tenants looked at newspaper ads, asked friends and family, and drove around looking for signs in the yard. In 2014, that method seems outdated. Google search results show that real-estate related searches have increased over 250% in the past four years, which indicates that the internet is a key tool for those looking to rent a home.

As a landlord, marketing your property online is a must, but old-school marketing still holds much value. Hence, employing both is the most effective strategy, and there are numerous reasons why.

People Want to See the Property

Many people like to take care of personal matters online. In fact, when searching for a home, 90% begin with an online query. However, a surprising number still prefer to see the product or house beforehand. Consider this data:

  • 40% of adult millennials go to the store, mall, or product location to make a purchase rather than buying it online. This means that many young, tech-savvy folks want to see the product first, and this applies to rental homes as well. This is put into perspective when you think about that 41% of all tenants in the United States are under 30 years old.


  • Over 50% of home searchers consider yard signs as an integral source of information in the shopping process. 23% consider print advertisements to be important. This means that potential tenants are actively looking in the neighborhood they want to call home, and want to see the house firsthand before making a call.


Traditional Advertising is Cost Effective

Yard signs aren't costly and carry high potential benefit. A yard sign only costs $2 to $3, and it could possibly land you a good tenant for a number of years. That means it can be extremely cost effective, especially when compared to maintaining social media pages and a website. Print advertising in local ads in major cities runs roughly $200, which may seem high for some. However, with high circulation numbers, receiving many responses for your rental is very possible.


When considering why older models of home marketing still work, it's important to think about how a yard sign directly targets tenants looking in a specific area. You receive applications from those who already want to live in that district or neighborhood. Moreover, like social media, yard signs and local ads have a word-of-mouth value. If a friend of someone looking for an apartment sees a sign, that friend may snap a photo and send that info to the potential tenant. And don't forget that yard signs and local ads are more likely to encourage immediate action. Since yard signs are known for being there one day and gone the next, potential tenants are more likely to call you shortly after viewing it. This is because they sense it may not be available by next week.

Making Old-School Advertising Work for You

Now that you know these old-school marketing models can work for your rental home, it's only a matter of putting it into action. By following a strategy, you have a much greater chance of finding a suitable tenant for your property.

  • Think about traffic -- in every sense. Place a yard sign at a popular intersection with arrows pointing to where the property is. Use prominent colors to increase visibility. Make the ad in the local paper stand out with bold letters and exclamation points.

  • If placing a yard sign on the road, increase the size in relation to the speed of the cars. If you want to place it on a road where cars are going over 40 miles per hour, make it larger. If it's at an intersection within a major city, it doesn't have to be very big.

  • Make contact information easy to read. Tenants need a way of accessing you, arranging a tour, and looking inside the property.

Posted on Dec 04, 2014


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