William's Blog...with a smile!


What a Real Estate sign does NOT mean...

I have been seeing a disturbing trend.

People don't understand what a Real Estate sign means.

Well, here are a few things it DOES NOT mean...


DOES NOT mean...

Go ahead and drive in the yard without an appointment.

Knock on the door and demand to see the inside, with out an appointment.

Look into the windows, without an appointment.

Walk into the outbuildings, without an appointment.

If you are doing the above things you are TRESSPASSING!

Even if the agent tells you to drive by these properties it is not permission to do any of the above.


The owners want to sell, please call the agent.

The owners understand you would like to see the inside, please call the agent

The owners understand that you may have questions, please call the agent.


There is no excuse for being rude.  There is a common courtesy that still stands in the real estate business and I will enforce it.

The excuse of if they want to sell they will let me in Holds no water and may actually get you bared from the property.


Don't understand what I have been saying...CALL A PROFESSIONAL REAL ESTATE AGENT.  Most will be happy to explain it to you.  If they can't you need to call someone else.




Comment balloon 67 commentsWilliam Feela • June 18 2016 09:20PM


Some thing seam like common sense and it surprising how many people just don't get it.

Posted by Mark Artesani, Huntington & Newport Beach, Fountain Valley Homes (Keller Williams Realty) over 3 years ago

That won't be accepted here William. Some people think there are no boundaries.

Posted by Noah Seidenberg, Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917 (Coldwell Banker) over 3 years ago

Hi William Feela every so often we need to tell our clients and others to wait for us.  A local friend had a place listed and the owner came downstairs in his boxers to find "visitors" in the back yard looking in the kitchen windows.  

Posted by Dan Tabit (Keller Williams Bellevue) over 3 years ago

Excellent post, William.  I don't know if this is a growing trend, but it sure seems to be.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 3 years ago

People need to know the difference between for sale...and no tresspassing !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 3 years ago

Good morning William.  AMEN! on your last statement, sadly they are out there and believe the rules of common courtesy doesn't apply to them

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) over 3 years ago

Good morning William and well done. I agree and appreciate you spelling it out for those who are clueless. Happy Father's Day.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 3 years ago

William Feela We, fortunately, have only had that situation occur perhaps one time on thirty years. I guess we are lucky, or we need to post more 'For Sale' Signs?

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Geneva Financial, Llc.) over 3 years ago

I have had some difficulty as of late also.

This should be featured so more agents can read this.

Part of the issue is agents saying go drive by and take a look.  Agents need to tell the client drive by means stay in our car.

Posted by Vern Eaton, Realtor 651-674-7449 over 3 years ago

William Feela 

Very well stated so true. Sign or not it is still someones home. Have a great weekend. 

Posted by Alan Kirkpatrick, Alan in Austin (Austin Texas Homes) over 3 years ago

Oh no kidding, Bill! And yet there continue to be agents who believe that a for sale sign is an open invitation to just walk into a home using their lock box key. The last time an agent did this on a listing of mine and scared my client to death, I reported her and our mls fined her $1,000. That's an expensive non-showing.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage ) over 3 years ago

You have just listed many reasons not to use for sale yard signs. We cannot regulate rude or stupid ... they are out there ... and they are procreating. 

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) over 3 years ago

I hope there are not too many buyers who are not abiding by these rules.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 3 years ago

They must be new agents, or just awful. 

If they're new it's a great time to coach them, and knowing they're out there workin' it (hustlin'), maybe they can help you grow your team. Join the pack. 

If they're just awful their PB should know.

Posted by Jeremy Cupp MRP, SRS, ePRO, Progress - Service - Legacy (12 Stones Realty Group Powered by eXp Realty) over 3 years ago

The public peeps in the windows, walks around the house, rattles the door knobs.  The real estate agents use their lockbox key without even looking at the MLS showing instructions.

Bad, bad, bad!

Posted by Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) over 3 years ago

I am seeing more "By Appointment Only" signs.  Maybe that is why.  A disturbing trend in a mannerless society.  

Posted by Carol Williams, Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager (Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals.) over 3 years ago

My friend's friend is looking for a house.  He has that same attitude. He drives by a house, if he likes the neighborhood, he jumps out and runs up and bangs on the door.  Unbelievable rudeness.

Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) over 3 years ago

William Feela - very well said!

There are some buyers who'd want to save commission and they approach the seller directly when they see the sign in the yard - but it does not mean...

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) over 3 years ago

I sell remote properties that are frequently on large lots. Some of the cabins cannot be seen at all without trespassing.  On most of these, I list as "Listing Agent Must Accompany." My Sellers usually want me to be there to make sure nothing is disturbed as well as to make sure we are only showing to QUALIFIED Buyers. Most of these listings will not have a sign in front.

Posted by John Mosier, Prescott's Patriot Agent 928 533-8142 (Realty ONE Group Mountain Desert) over 3 years ago

William Feela - A great post on what the "For Sign" does not allow you to do!

Posted by Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale TahoeLauraRealEstate.com, Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers (Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260) over 3 years ago

I always warn these looky loos that someday they will see the barrel of a shotgun inside that window.

Posted by Bob Crane, Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671 (Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities) over 3 years ago

I've seen a lot of people think it's a free license to just loiter around too. Some people are just strange!

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 3 years ago

It's one thing to be curious and another to be a moron, metaphorically speaking… I've seen a lot of this. Bob Crane

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 3 years ago

Congratulations on 23 comments! That's a decent amount and show that you have an active market!

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 3 years ago

"You have just listed many reasons not to use for sale yard signs. We cannot regulate rude or stupid ... they are out there ... and they are procreating. " So sayeth Kathleen Daniels. And, boy howdy, is she right. "You can't fix stupid".

Posted by Jon Quist, Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996 (REALTY EXECUTIVES ARIZONA TERRITORY) over 3 years ago

Absolutely, potential buyers should not be going on anyone's property without permission. 

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) over 3 years ago

William Feela "DOES NOT mean...

Knock on the door and demand to see the inside, with out an appointment.

Look into the windows, without an appointment."

Seen an agent do that at a listing occupied by a tenant.  Not a good thing.  Mr. Agent - let me introduce you to your Broker. Right on target!  and Re-blog!


Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty (Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area) over 3 years ago

Good morning William Feela ,

Congratulations on a well deserved featured post! I have not had this issue but have heard some other agents say they have experienced this with some of their listings. Being respectful of anther's home should always be top priority!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) over 3 years ago

Social media seems to have created a society that is short on manors where people think life is all about them. This is the age of the entitled.  

Posted by Ira Bodenstein, NMLS#: 445143 (PNC Mortgage) over 3 years ago

Gosh this, is so rude.  I'm guessing most of the people doing this are 1st time home buyers.  If they had sold their house, they would know what it's like.  Unbelievably rude.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 3 years ago

Some of the worse offenders are investors...they are some kind of special in their minds.

Posted by Raul Rodriguez, Looking out for the client's interest and not my p (Covenant Partners Realty) over 3 years ago

I have neighbors strolling up to a home during an inspection wanting to "Look Around". I politely tell them the sellers have to give them permission and they are not around today. Call the agent on the sign. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) over 3 years ago

Wow, I thought I was the only one with this problem - amazing the gaul of some people! Thanks for sharing William Feela 

Posted by Jennifer Mackay, Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582 (Counts Real Estate Group, Inc.) over 3 years ago

The comment about making a case for not using yard signs so motorists don't know the place is for sale does not sound like a sound practice to adopt to stay in business. We have sellers that are glad a buyer rolls in, they ring us up and we put together a sale. The buyer only has so much time, the seller wants to not miss an opportunity and herding buyers is like herding cats.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 3 years ago

Well said, William. I don't know how many times one of my lock-boxes have notified me that an agent was in one of my listings without an appointment as well. 

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 3 years ago

I am just appalled at the thought anyone would behave this poorly - but I guess I would not be surprised. 

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) over 3 years ago

I have recently had to remind people of this!  It is extremely rude and in Texas it is a good way to get shot!  You cannot just assume no one lives in the home and begin looking in buildings and peeking in the windows.

Posted by Debi McKamie, Realtor®/Property Manager (McKamie Real Estate Services, LLC) over 3 years ago

The best is when it is a rental property and people get out of the car to look around the property. I had one tenant call the police.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia III, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (RentVest) over 3 years ago

WOW! William, that is sad, there are many people who do not respect healthy boundaries!

Posted by Sybil Campbell, REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia (Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia) over 3 years ago

I have had people who cut off the front gate chain and removed the stake FOR SALE sign to have an edge.  Next the vacant building mysteriously side door popped open after locked to gain entrance.  I think the buyer and also agent acted like she had the right to gain in before escrow.  She was from Coldwell Banker.

Posted by Sam Shueh, mba, cdpe, reopro, pe ( (408) 425-1601) over 3 years ago

Agents and prospects as well. Someone needs to learn the details of agency law. I had an attorney last year that just blew off listing rights, and couldn't understand when I chewed her out. She is not my agent of choice.


Posted by Ron Barnes, "Most agents claim they're #1 - I THINK YOU'RE #1! (Associate Broker at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Georgia Properties) over 3 years ago

Those are some good ways to get shot in Texas.  

Posted by Jeanne Gregory, The most important home I sell is YOURS! (RE/MAX Southwest) over 3 years ago

I unfortunately had some buyers quite a few months ago get caught peeking in to the windows of an occupied home that was listed for sale. They were out doing other things and happened upon the house so they thought it would be ok to investigate. When the homeowner came out and confronted them they of course said they were working with an agent (me) and gave them my card. I got a call from the listing agent not soon afterwards. 

Posted by Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert, Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com (Zion Realty) over 3 years ago

I can't believe people would actually do any of those things.  It's illegal and rude! I hope the trend doesn't come our way.

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) over 3 years ago

OMG. This should not have to be explained. People can be so rude.

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) over 3 years ago

It has happened to me personally, when I was selling my Biloxi home. Of course it had my real estate brokerage sign in the yard, but someone walked up and started talking to me (I may have been in the side or back yard). I explained he needed an appointment and he never returned.

Posted by Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty, 601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell (Front Gate Real Estate) over 3 years ago

Very true, this type of behavior seems to become more common.  I had sellers startled by people so looked through their windows unexpectedly. 

Posted by Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES, Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living (Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch!) over 3 years ago

I'm not aware of that happening often in my area. At least my sellers haven't said anybody has been lurking around.

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten Broker/Owner, CRB, CRS, 602-380-4886 (Phoenix Property Shoppe) over 3 years ago

Everyone, these days, seems to be entitled to everything. Forget the rights of everyone else.

Posted by J.R. Schloemer, CRS (Kentucky Select Properties) over 3 years ago

If they had their own agent to begin with, a buyer's agent, who would handle the process professionally and advise them accordingly, this wouldn't happen either.  Many people don't get what the sign means, and they just do not think of "trepassing" onto someone else's property. Invading someone else's space doesn't seeem to bother many folks.  Pity.  I've had a "No Soliciting" sign on my front walk, and STILL get the solicitior, "I'm not soliciting, I'm introducing myself."  The excuses are amazing, aren't they? 

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) over 3 years ago

There are certain neighborhoods near us where they always have to put up a rider that says "Do Not Disturb Occupants"  or  "Showing by Appointment Only"  just because this kind of stuff happens frequently.  I don't care if you're my neighbor who I've known for awhile or not... I want my home to be SHOWTIME ready every time a potential client comes into my house.  Maybe I'm baking with my family, maybe the dog is running wild, or maybe there is a PILE of kids toys I don't want to deal with right now... Always make an appointment with your agent, and if you don't have one the listing agent will be more than hppy to help out... their number is RIGHT THERE

Posted by Chip Morgan, LSS, LSE, LMS (Long Realty - Dove Mountain, Marana AZ) over 3 years ago

I had a prospective buyer tell me one of my homes (posted by appointment only) had been BROKEN INTO--and when I asked how they knew this, they explained they were standing on the porch and walking on the beach and saw broken glass.  I explained that they could be in danger and politely asked them to vacate the property.  Unreal.  Appointment only truly means just that.  Nice post, congrats on the feature.

Posted by MaryKay Shumway, Door County Wisconsin's Real Estate Expert (The Kellstrom Ray Agency, Inc. (Est. 1948)) over 3 years ago

Great take about common courtesy!!!

There is no excuse for being rude.  There is a common courtesy that still stands in the real estate business and I will enforce it.  The excuse of if they want to sell they will let me in Holds no water and may actually get you bared from the property.

Posted by Sham Reddy CRS, CRS (H E R Realty, Dayton, OH) over 3 years ago

People are unreal. A lot of agents around here will not use signage in fear of squatters trying to move in on a vacant property. It happened on our block last year. Terrible situation. Reading through the comments here makes me want to remind everyone to be careful!

Posted by Mary Weiss, Trainer & Content Manager (Zillow Group Mortgages) over 3 years ago


We actually have out of town agents pull the same stunts.  They have their clients with them and just want to peek to see if there is further interest. No kidding.

Posted by Brian Rugg, Sun City TX Real Estate - Georgetown, TX Real Est (Rugg Realty LLC Sun City Texas 512-818-6700) over 3 years ago

In a society that expects instant gratification it should come as no surprise that people would do this.  Many probably get the addresses from one of the online listing sites and just feel they can go for a walk

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 3 years ago

Thank you for sharing and yes all of these items happen all the time. Really they do .... But why ... drive by does not mean get out of the car and walk around the property... Drive by take a look at the area go over a few streets check out the area but why do you feel the need to go into the yard of someone elses home ... Really please contact your agent ask for a showing. ... 

Posted by Laura Filip, What can we do for you today? (Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life ) over 3 years ago

Oh ya one more  to add lock the door once you go inside... folks walk right on in and expect to see the house ... Really yep scare the waaa hoo out of ya but that is right walk right on in.... Nope not any more the door is locked. 

Posted by Laura Filip, What can we do for you today? (Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life ) over 3 years ago

If you think you may like it, have more questions, do yourself a favor and start our right by courting the seller, and that is most easy by not being rude. Perhaps even call the r.e. agent.

Posted by Claude Labbe, Realty for Your Busy Life (Real Living | At Home) over 3 years ago

The sign does imply and express an invitation. Being alert about it is wise

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 3 years ago

This behavior is dangerous - for the trespasser and the owner. Call the agent! Great advice!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 3 years ago

unfortunantly we are seeing many people trying to peek in windows etc,,  and sellers are feeling like prisoners because of inconsiderate people


Posted by Lesley Wilson-VanGoethem, Residential Real Estate Broker Associate (Innovative Realty Solutions Group) over 3 years ago

I had a vacant listing where squatters attempted to move in also, saying that the previous TENANT (not owner) said that they could do so.  I told them to be gone within the next hour and pulled out my telephone and pretended to call the police to advise that they were there.  When I came back, they were gone.  We chain locked the house.  

Less than a week ago, I was showing a "hot" foreclosure property that is ripe for a rehab.  We were in the house - I did not lock the front door (not smart).  In walks this guy telling me that he wanted to see the house.  I said that I was showing my client; they were interested in it.  He said that he was as well (I DON'T KNOW YOU AND YOU WOULD DARE ASSUME THAT MY ETHICS WOULD ALLOW ME TO GIVE YOU PRIORITY OVER MY CLIENT?)  I asked him to leave.  As he walked out, he handed me his card and told me to call him; I left it in the house.  The nerve of some people.

Posted by Youree Lundy, Your Realtor For Life (Keller Williams Advantage III Realty) over 3 years ago

I haven't personally had this happen, unless it did without me knowing, but I know agents who have had people (maybe buyers?), according to the sellers walking around in the yard and peaking in windows while they were home.

I always shut and lock the door when showing a home as I have had 2 sets of people on different occasions walk in the door and asked if they could see it

A For Sale sign does not mean it's OK to trespass IMO

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) over 3 years ago

I agree on so mnay of your points. Some of them made me laugh too! Some buyers just don't have any respect.

Posted by CA COASTAL ESTATES Lauren Selinsky Perez CRS, "Your Real Estate Broker" #oclauren (California Coastal Estates) over 3 years ago

William- excellent- just because there is a For Sale sign in the front yard, doesn't mean it is now open to the public at any time. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 3 years ago

Some people don't understand what a sign means. They do exactly what you have listed as what not to do!  Had a guy stop to take a look at a property without an agent or appointment. He just walked up to the door.  It's dangerous for our homeowners to let these strays inside.  I always warn my seller about these possible experiences.

Posted by Melissa Jackson, Helping You Make The Right Move (Century 21 Alliance Properties) over 3 years ago