Michelle Avery: Ban real estate signs


As a long-time Realtor in Steamboat, I have seen the rise and fall of the real estate market on more than one occasion. With the tremendous amount of properties for sale these days, the primary crop sprouting up this spring is the real estate sign.

The city currently is reviewing the sign code, and I feel that they should prohibit the use of real estate signs.

Other resort towns have adopted this ordinance, and I feel strongly that Steamboat should do the same. Simply stated, the signs are an eyesore.

If someone wants to advertise a property for sale, they can do it in other ways that do not detract from the appeal of our wonderful community.

Michelle Avery

Steamboat Springs


ralph cantafio 7 years, 10 months ago

I read Michelle's comments with great interest, but must disagree with her on several different levels.

The right to have for sale signs placed on a property is a right of a home owner. Certainly, those rights can be forfeited voluntarily - as in the case of certain Restrictive Covenants that prohibit such in a Condominium, Subdivision, et al. This is altogether different. While government is free to restrict the way in which a homeowner uses their respective property, government should be very careful to use only reasonable restrictions.

Such restriction would place owners in the City limits at a potential disadvantage to those who reside in the County. It would also make For Sale By Owners much more difficult. These results seem unfair.

Already, there is a sign code in Steamboat Springs. That seems reasonable enough. I agree that no one wants to create a visual blight on our community, but so long as that is not the case we are really discussing aesthetics. Aesthetics except in the most obvious cases are quite subjective. So the question becomes are these signs so patently offensive that they should be prohibited? The mere fact that some people may not like the appearance of for sale signs does not appear to warrant their wholesale removal.

I would also mention that the timing of this proposal seems to me to be cruel and somewhat thoughtless in nature. There are many owners in great distress financially and desperately need to sell their property. Irrespective as to whether or not for sale signs are an effective tool to actually sell property, those individuals should be afforded every single opportunity to achieve their goal.

Lastly, eliminating these signs is offensive because in an Orwellian way it also eliminates communication. Free communication is a hallmark of our democratic society. These signs not only communicate the desire of owners to sell, but they provide significant antidotal information as to events going on in our general economy.

Reasonable regulation is not offensive. I submit outright elimination for aesthetic reasons is simply inappropriate.


seeuski 7 years, 10 months ago

Ralph has it exactly right, and to take it a bit further, campaign signs or retail business signs could be next, or whatever else might tilt the playing field for the advantaged. The suggestion by Michelle would create a monopoly by the elite few as to who causes properties to sell. As Ralph stated, there are signage rules in place that when adhered to, maintain reasonable control.


diplodocus 7 years, 10 months ago

Right on, freerider. Finally a creative solution to the problem.


Scott Wedel 7 years, 10 months ago

This is a situation where if the problem and the solution are to be believed then the property owners in a neighborhood would all agree to remove the for sale signs. If the signs are a blight and the alternative methods of informing people what properties are for sale are sufficient then why would anyone put a for sale sign in front of their house? Making the property into a blight with a sign when the alternatives are just as good would not be an optimal way of selling a house for maximum value.

Thus, the premise of it being a blight and sufficient alternatives appears to be false.

And considering the primary other way of stating that a house is for sale is the MLS in which only brokers can insert a for sale property and is not an open database of properties for sale but has to be accessed via broker's web sites and their limited search options, the alternatives to signs is heavily in favor of real estate agents and biased against anyone other than an agent selling a property.


freerider 7 years, 10 months ago

Why don't we just ban realtor's all together ...the real estate industry as a whole isn't doing anything to help the housing market anyway. They are way out of line with there fee's


Kristopher Hammond 7 years, 10 months ago

Ms Avery's letter is like a car dealer trying to ban this week's fake "sale-a bration" in the newspaper. So if I want to sell my house, I'll have to go through a realtor who knows the "other ways". I think I'll just paint "FOR SALE---CHEAP!" on the side of my house. My creative approach is a perfect example of the "appeal of our wonderful community".


Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 10 months ago

Why not meet halfway? Let only FSBO signs stand since they don't go thru Realtors and are not as prominent and Realtors can push by way of the MLS and also do their own heavy advertising in the newspaper inserts and other books?


housepoor 7 years, 10 months ago

They reason she doesn't want for sale signs is not aesthetics. It's because it hard to make a case that a piece of property is a good investment when 3/4 of the properties in the area are also for sale. The signs just make it that more obvious.


seeuski 7 years, 10 months ago

There are househunters who drive through areas of interest looking for signs. I know of properties here in Steamboat that have sold that way. The freedom to post a sign being limited or restricted from a segment of society while ok for another, what an un/American idea. The rules should be fair to FSBO's or Realtors with no exceptions. One sign per home for sale that is not hand written and within size constraints except where accepted covenants have been established, such as Treehouse. Enjoy the weather.


greenwash 7 years, 10 months ago

Make ordinance that all real estate and by owner signs be 1color, name, phone, email only-basic dark green with white block lettering.No frills or advertisments of any kind just generec 1size fits all . And only one per lot. No directionals allowed .Period.


housepoor 7 years, 10 months ago

what the heck, maybe we should tell people what color they shoud paint their house also??? reminds me of the republic of boulder


oldskoolstmbt 7 years, 10 months ago

why????(greenwash)...were you being sarcastic??:)..


steamboatsprings 7 years, 10 months ago

Michelle is special, just ask her and she will be happy to explain. Why not tune the rules as needed and continue to allow people or their designee advertise their houses for sale as nearly all communities do. Steamboat remains a desirable place to live so more people looking for a change will come our way and balance will return. Go to Florida if you want to see what too many signs looks like.


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