I arrived home from work and Christmas shopping this evening to find a real estate agent's sign nailed to the corner of our fence. No, my husband hadn't put the house on the market in my absence. I had a fair idea of what was going on, but I had to inspect the sign more closely to check it out. It was, in fact, advertising a house for sale just up a private right of way which runs from the end of the cul de sac by our house.
It happened once before. We rang the estate agent to complain, obtained an apology for putting it there without our permission, but let it stay. After all, our beef was with the agent, not with the neighbours who were selling their house.
This time, I rang the day time phone number rather than the agent's cell phone. It costs money to ring a cell phone, whereas local calls to a landline are free. I got the answering service who had the agent call us back. My husband took the call.
Her explanation? Well, she was going to put the sign on the other side of the alley, and she was going to ask permission, but the neighbours said "the sign was there" (ie on our fence) "when we bought the place". "Yes" P said "and we complained then too, and were promised it wouldn't happen again". (Different agent, of course).
What is more, she gave some excuse about how the fence was along common property, ie the access lane. She seemed to think that this made the fence somewhat common property as well. That would be very nice. Maybe the neighbours would contribute funds to help us repair it, which it will be needing very soon. No? I didn't think so.
So, the sign is coming down. All she needed to do was ask nicely in the first place, maybe with a box of chocolates or packet of Christmas mince pies as a "thank you", and she would have no doubt been given permission. An arrow pointing up the lane to make it clear that it wasn't our house on the market would have helped, too. (The sign displayed the house number involved, but it wasn't all that obvious).
Our neighbours on the other side had their house on the market and it sold in a week. The house market is crazy around here, the estate agents are doing very nicely for not much work. Five minutes and a few dollars is surely not too much to ask?