Throughout New Providence, a movement to rid the island of illegal signs has been underway. However, this positive move to clean up our streets has had a negative impact on the island’s real estate community. A group of morning broadcasters, led by popular radio personality Ed Fields, calling itself Broadcasters Against Dirt (BAD) had started a campaign to remove the unattractive, and ever increasing amount of posters, signs, and flyers that have accumulated over time. Over the past few weeks, The Bahamas’s Department of Physical Planning has started to remove the signs posted on lamp poles, trees, and government property, but real estate signs posted on private property have, by no means, been excluded from the exercise.
An outcry was raised amongst realtors, our own company included, in response to the signs being removed and an article was published in the Nassau Guardian dated January 20th 2009 where the President of the Bahamas Real Estate Association, William Wong, spoke on behalf of realtors expressing criticism against the Department. He commented that because of the declining Bahamian economy, such measures can stifle agent’s effort to make a living and make coping with the economic crisis even more difficult.
He argued that the signs are strategically positioned in locations as a marketing tactic to sell featured properties. Wong also alluded to the fact that the placement of realtors’ signs on client properties have always been a common occurrence both locally and abroad and has proven to be a fruitful method of advertising. Furthermore, they are erected on a temporary basis at the permission of clients. A frustrated Wong emphasised that these signs are costly and noted that after they have been taken down they aren’t returned which creates a direct financial loss for these companies.
After speaking with the Director of the department of Physical Planning,Michael Major, it was confirmed that there should only be one sign per property and the estate must be privately owned. Nonetheless, Wong did agree with Major who noted that signs posted on government and other private properties should be removed. Despite this,real estate signs are still being targeted and discarded.
Wong called on the government to review its recent activities and “allow common sense to sense to prevail for the good of the sector.”
We feel we should be allowed to have signs, and while we understand that the government would like the appearance of no signs, these signs help the properties get sold. The signs that were located on private property should not have been removed and the government should compensate agents for taking them off private property. Also, the government should not be actively hindering the sale of property in the Bahamas as real estate sales are a great source of revenue for the country.