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The Ugliest Sign I’ve Ever Seen

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“That was the ugliest sign I’ve ever seen!”  This is what I was told by a seller that saw my bandit sign and called.  She had a $700,000 house to sell.  I will get to that call in  a minute.  First, let me discuss what generated that call. When marketing for leads to buy houses, bandit signs are hands down the most cost effective method.  These are the signs that are nailed to utility poles or stuck in the ground with stakes in the right of way.
Most investors use the standard “We Buy Houses” and add in “Cash” or “Any Condition, Any Area, Any Situation” with their phone number.  The key with these signs is to be seen and get the message across clearly and easily.  Use the 18×24 signs and keep it simple.  Don’t put a lot of text on the sign.  People driving by do not have a lot of time to read your sign.  Some people put their website address along with their phone number on their sign.  I don’t recommend this for the simple fact that I just want to talk to the people.  I don’t want them trying to remember my web address and then either never going there or visiting and deciding that they will come back after some shopping or something.   People tend to bounce around on the internet.  What I have found to work best is simply putting:

We Buy Houses

Many investors swear by black text on yellow signs.  Others prefer red text on yellow signs.  I’ve seen purple text on white signs.  I don’t personally feel the colors have much affect on the number of calls produced.  If the sign is bright and placed in the right spots, it will get attention.

What are the best places to place the signs?  I have the signs put up on busy intersections along highways and major thoroughfares.  Place signs at the intersections where cars back up gives people time to really notice, read your signs, and most importantly, time to enter your phone number in their phone or write it down.   Another good place to put the signs is at entrances to neighborhoods, big stores like Wal-Mart, grocery stores and fast food joints, and any other place where a lot of people come and go.

I get my signs from  There are other sites, like that offer them as well.  You can also check with local printers to compare prices.  I have found the best deal for me is SuperCheapSigns.  I usually order 100 at a time.  Important Note: If you are going to be nailing them to poles, be sure to get horizontal flutes.  This will prevent the signs from folding over in the wind.  If you are going to get the H-wire stakes for putting them in the ground, make sure you get the vertical flutes.

Ok, let’s get back to the seller with the $700,000 house.  I had to put up some handwritten signs because I had not received my next order of printed ones yet.  I have to admit that they really were ugly.  But, the fact that the signs were placed at busy intersections and were to the point, this seller noticed one and gave me a call.  She told me that she needed to sell the house.  To make a long story short, the house was worth about $700,000, which is well above the median home price in San Antonio (about $130,000).  This place was in an exclusive neighborhood.  I asked how she found out about me and she informed me that she saw a sign on a street corner.  Being that the house was in the high end price range, I decided to tell her that I am professional and do have advertising in the yellow pages and on the internet.  That is when she informed me that she was a graphic designer and that my sign was the ugliest she’s ever seen in her life.  It got her to call me though and that is all that matters.

As it turns out, I did not buy that house as she was asking too much, but it goes to show that bandit signs really do work, whether they are ugly or not.  Get the message out there that you buy houses.  I get more calls per dollar from bandit signs than any other media.  Just be sure to check your local ordinances as most counties have laws against them.  If so, there are some people that put the signs up on Friday night and take them down Sunday night, as code compliance officers don’t typically work on the weekends.


Comments (4)

  • Dee

    Howdy Danny
    Great blog! I saw in one of your post that you’re reader of Ron Lagrand. I too started with him back in 1999 or 2000. Hes the one that turneed me onto Dan Kennedy. My question is when you do mailers with letters do you do a “more you tell the more you sell” type letters 2 to 3 pages or just something simple. I remember what Ron said back then and it was send the 3 pages and let the letter sell them with all the facts rather than having someone call and play 20 questions with you… whats your ideas on this?


    • Danny Johnson

      Great question Dee. I have gone back and forth on this and actually spent last summer coming up with a handful of long letters, ala Dan Kenedy. Most of these ended up being a little ‘over-the-top’. Never really did test them enough, but the first several batches I sent didn’t pull as well as the short letters. I’ve been considering sending them out again this time and really letting them have a chance to pull. This last mailing actually had a two page one that I sent.

      As Dan says (paraphrasing), “If it is interesting enough and speaking to the reader, it won’t be too long.” Or something like that.

  • Dee

    Thats excactly what he says. I heard Dan speaking last month and he says that if your headline means something to them and you speak personally to them, they will read the whole letter and qualify themselves.

    Well im trying to get back into the RE game and with the limited time that I have wholesaling is the way that would work best for me. Im in SoCAl and know a lot of buyers, rehabbers and holders so im going to try hard and get this going soon. Love the blog BTW


    • Danny Johnson


      He certainly knows what he is talking about. Let us know how it goes. Good luck.

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