Real Estate Investor Bandits – The Ugly Side of Marketing

May 17, 2013 — 7 Comments

As a Professional Real Estate Investor with more than a decade of experience, this issue has always been in the background for me, and kind of made me mad.


Now, you may already be upset, but let’s think about it.  A lot of these “gurus” and “teachers” sell you this as a strategy because they want you to get your hopes up.  Typically, they want to show you that they know a way around the system, and that you should do it.  The problem with bandit signs is that they are in large part, prohibited.  Now, I understand you may be reading this thinking, yeah, Tim, easy for you to say, you have the money to advertise another way.  OK, yes, that is true.  BUT, I have never used bandit signs, even when I did not have the money.  i saved and budgeted like a responsible business person. To me, a real estate investor that uses bandit signs in conflict with ordinances has no discipline or regard for this industry.

Here are some of the disgusting practices people use:

  1. Use Google Voice or a “burner phone” so the city can’t track you.  REALLY?  What are you, a spy?  Are you hiding from your momma?
  2. They use some fancy extended staple gun to keep the sign out of reach from code enforcement.  WOW!  You like to play keep away with your little brother?
  3. Put them out late at night so we don’t get caught.  OK, so are you in high school?
  4. Leave them for someone else to pick up.  HMMM, sounds like littering to me…

Look, the bottom line is anything you have to do at night (hoping to not get caught) is a BAD thing.

If you are going to use bandit signs, here are some good rules to follow:

  1. Comply with local codes.
    1. If you are required to remove it by a certain time, do it.
    2. If it has to be on private property, make it so.
  2. Use your phone number.  Look, if you do something wrong, just own up to it, and fix it.
  3. Act with professionalism.  If someone calls to complain about your sign, address their concerns.

Look, they are called “bandit signs” for a reason.  The definition?  Noun A robber or outlaw belonging to a gang and typically operating in an isolated or lawless area.

At the end of the day, real estate investors get plenty mad about code enforcement issuing a red tag.  What do you expect?  Half of you run around town littering, and making them do extra work.  I understand that it is hard to get started in real estate investing.  Using illegal or prohibited means to get into a business is lazy, and undisciplined.  in the long run, you will undoubtedly fail.  Operate above-board, or get out of the business.  This industry has a bad enough reputation, without having people litter and break laws.

What do you think?


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I started at the bottom, worked hard and am now one of the top Real Estate Investors in the business. I learned from some of the best, excelling early as an acquisitions manager and then moved on to partner with other skilled investors to create my own portfolio of productive rental properties and later to mentor others to do the same. I am still actively involved in Real Estate, giving a current awareness to the training I share. My wife, Jennifer, and I live in Rockwall with our sons, Alex and Will.

7 responses to Real Estate Investor Bandits – The Ugly Side of Marketing

  1. Coming from someone who once threw signs at the beginning of my career, I can attest. Throwing signs is not worth the trouble it brings.

  2. Great post Tim! You are right I was guilty at the beginning of my career to use them but now use other methods!

  3. Bravo, Tim! As a novice REI, I never felt like I had the right to comment about bandit signs. However, I especially don’t like them in my nice, upper-class neighborhood and do my own patrolling! What gets me is, when you call the number on the sign, it’s like a bait-and-switch, “Oh, that house is sold, but we have another one … blah, blah…”! What’s more, the bandit signs are like gossiping to the world that someone in this neighborhood has, um, “personal issues”. Not that it doesn’t happen in any neighborhood, but it’s just a cheesy way of fishing for business.

  4. I am curious to know your advices to the potential home buyers in California state, as the rate is steadily increasing in California.

  5. Tim,

    I have to disagree with you on this issue. Bandit signs work in bringing people to you as part of your marketing. If there is a sign at a light that states $200 for a king mattress, and I have a need for a king mattress or whatever is being offered, I’d call. The sign is an extension of marketing, and people who have a need for what is being offered will call.

    I use banners as well on my houses, they drive people to call, it works. Now, the number is a local number and it goes to PatLive who is there 24×7 to answer the calls as they come in. Signs work, banners work, I had 80 calls on one house alone last month, just from a double-sided 4 x 8 banner.

    I also use postcards, mailers, and write articles for the local papers to keep my name out there and what I do, and bandit signs, while illegal in most location, do work, if they did not, people would not use them. I look forward to discussing this further with you at the Orlando REI event later this year.


  6. TheChampionMindset July 7, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    Again, I agree with Jack. I have had good success and have heard nothing but good success with she bandit signs.


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