Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Two Different Brokerage Signs, One Agent?

Two Different Brokerage Signs, One Agent?

There's a new listing in my neighborhood.  I noticed it a couple of weeks ago when I walked by as the sign was not a familiar sign in the yard, and I had never heard of the Broker before.  I won't say the whole Broker's name, but within the title is the phrase "New Home".  I assumed they were buying a new home, and doing one of those programs that some builders offer where they'll buy your house at a discount to guarantee the sale if your efforts of selling it with their preferred Realtor doesn't work out in time to close on the new house...

Then, I walked by last week, and was very confused.  There were now two signs in the yard, one which I recognized.  I thought to myself, "Oh, they must be having issues with the previous Broker and have decided to switch Brokers. But, Donna, isn't it poor manners to put your sign up before the previous contract is fully terminated and the sign is down?  Yes, it's very poor manners."

I continued my walk.  Then, I thought it would be an interesting blog topic about two Brokers duking it out for a listing.  I've heard of stories from "back in the day" when sellers would allow multiple Brokers to list their houses as they were not "exclusive" listings, so this was scenario two that ran through my head of what was going on.

I went home to get my camera to take pictures of the signs.  Then, something interesting caught my eye.  The same phone number was on both signs.  Huh?  Why would two Brokers have the same phone numbers?  I saw one sign had an agent's name, but the other sign did not. 

I went home and pulled it up in the MLS again.  It was listed under the Brokerage name that I had recognized and the agent's name that was on the other sign.  Huh?  Was this agent switching Brokerages and just trying to cover all her bases for when the switch happens?

If you saw something like this, what would you think?  If you were a seller, would you allow two different signs like this in your yard?  I think it's not only a bad reflection on the agent, but I think it's a bad reflection on the seller as it makes them look like they're not sure who actually has their listing.

I've been waiting for one of the signs to disappear over the past few days, but they're both still there.  I want to call the agent and ask what the story is, but I don't want a sales, recruiting pitch from her.  Has anyone seen two signs in someone's yard like this before?


Comment balloon 68 commentsDonna Harris • September 15 2008 04:44PM


Donna - In KY, you have to have your license returned to the Board from your previous Broker before you can join a new office.  I guess that she could have ordered signs, etc before telling her current broker that she was leaving but, she should have pulled the first one when she planted the second.  W/R/T consumers, I bet most wouldn't notice even if the signs were distinctly different.  Since they have a very similar color scheme, my guess is that 1 in 20 would notice and 1 in 50 would give it a second thought.

Posted by Erik Hitzelberger, Louisville - Middletown Real Estate (RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes) about 10 years ago

Donna - That is a very strange scenario and the picture makes the yard look cluttered in my humble opinion.  In this case, the larger (taller) sign would seem like the one that would garner more initial phone calls.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) about 10 years ago

I'd call the office numbers for both and inquire about information on the property.  That is just a very weird thing...

Posted by Jeremy Blanton, Myrtle Beach REALTOR®- (Myrtle Beach Homes Blog) about 10 years ago

I saw this with an Agent for a BIG company here who went out on his own.......I guess covering themselves.

Posted by Daniel J. Brudnok, REALTOR, SRES, e-PRO,ABR,GREEN,CSP (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, REALTORS - Exton - PA License #RS-225179-L / Delaware License #RS-0025038) about 10 years ago

Hi Donna - Well, that's just bizarre & tacky.  If I were the seller I would not like 2 signs in my front yard.  It's confusing to the consumer.  I have never seen this before & hope I never do.  KM

Posted by Kristin Moran, San Antonio,TX - Real Estate - 210-313-7397 (Owner - RE/MAX Access - about 10 years ago

Donna.  Jona and I drove by this home a week or so ago and couldn't figure it out either.  The real question is, what possible logic did the listing agent use to make the homeowners ok with this clutter?  What the picture doesn't show, and if memory serves, is that the brochure box was on the smaller sign but had the logo from the bigger sign on the flyer.

Wait, who's on first?


Posted by Leonard Thomas (RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs) about 10 years ago

That is very strange. Can't say that I've ever seen this before. I'd be confused as a buyer and that's not good for anyone.

Posted by Brian Belcher, Charlotte Realtor (RE/MAX Metro Realty) about 10 years ago

Very strange - not sure I've ever seen anything like that.  I think I'll go take a walk and see what I find!

Posted by Hope Goss, Ventura Real Estate (Ventura Property Shoppe) about 10 years ago

Almost looks to me like a team is trying to brand their team name but they are required to place the brokerage sign in the yard, as the listing does belong to that broker, not the agent.  Just my thoughts.

Posted by South Austin Real Estate Blog (Sky Realty South Austin) about 10 years ago

Erik, In Texas, they just go by the date on the envelope, but it's basically a seamless transfer on any day you want to change your license, so there is never a day a Broker is not holding your license.  I can leave a brokerage on a Friday, and immediately enter listings in the system under the new brokerage even though the state wouldn't get the actual license until Monday.

Jason, yes, it looks really cluttered and takes away from the beautiful landscaping.

Jeremy, I could, but then I would have to research the numbers since the numbers on the sign are the same.

Dan, But is that "legal" if you're still with the one Brokerage?

Kristin, Yes, tacky.

Leonard, Hope you're feeling better. I noticed a brochure box when it was the one sign previously, but didn't notice one since it's become two signs.  Did you see the other "MBT" sign is gone??

Brian, confused as an agent wanting to submit an offer too!

Hope, You would be amazed at what you will find just walking your neighborhood... Some good and some bad.

Gail, You could possibly brand a team, however, the big sign has the word "Realtors®" after their name, which symbolizes a Brokerage, not a team within a Brokerage.


Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 10 years ago

Donna, this is very confusing. Shouldn't there just be one listing agent/broker?? Who does the potential buyer call?

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) about 10 years ago

I think that's illegal here. Or should be. If the agent is switching, the old broker still owns the listing. You cannot have 2 signs up.

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) about 10 years ago

Donna - That sounds very odd to me.  I haven't seen (or heard of) such a thing...  :)

Posted by Debi Ernst, GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate (St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors) about 10 years ago

Gary, Exactly!

Erica, If they don't have an "exclusive" listing, it's not illegal to have two different brokerage signs, but if one agent is showing two brokers, that doesn't sound legal to me.

Debi, Yes, very odd.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 10 years ago

There is no intelligent excuse for this. It's ghetto and demonstrates that the listing agent has no class or professionalism.

Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) about 10 years ago

This does not look professional and is very confusing. This is turning heads though so it makes me question how many potential buyers have looked twice. I have never seen anything like this and I don't think it's legal in Georgia.

Posted by Brandy Bigler (Keller Williams Realty) about 10 years ago

What about the truth in advertising? If it's confusing us-it's not following the advertising rules! Someone needs to have a talk with the Association on this one.   Director of Education direct line:(214) 540-2751.

Posted by Doris Barnett-214-236-2908 cell/txt, Real Estate Consultant: Ask for your Better Biz (Consultant ) about 10 years ago

My guess is that the agent changed brokerages, and placed an order with the sign installation company to have the larger sign removed but that hasn't happened yet. Why not just call the agent and ask them?

Posted by John Novak, Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace) about 10 years ago

Donna - if the MLS has the broker's name with the agent, then the agent shouldn't be putting up any other signs until it's changed in the MLS.

Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) about 10 years ago

WOW Donna!  That is very interesting.  In the state of North Carolina, listings belong to the firm (not the agent).  Therefore, if the agent was in fact switching to a new firm, they don't "automatically" get to keep their listings... that depends on the firm's policy.

Posted by Cheryl Powell - The Powell Team, Concord,Harrisburg & Charlotte NC Area Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive - The Powell Team) about 10 years ago

Well, instead of wondering I would just call the number and ask about the listing -- like who has it.  I know it's fun to speculate -- but it is far more efficient to just ask. ~ Evelyn

Posted by Evelyn Panning (Property Connections Realty Inc.) about 10 years ago

Not sure what is going on.  I do plan to create 2 sets of branding for my business, but both would have my same brokerage name on it of course

Posted by Anna Matsunaga, Seller specialist, Certified Negotiation Expert (Team Momentum Keller Williams Realty Tacoma) about 10 years ago

This would be illegal in Oregon as well, as another commenter already stated. I'm sure the real estate board would love that photo...

Posted by Melina Tomson, Principal Broker/Owner, M.S. (Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon) about 10 years ago

The taller sign reads:  Exclusively Offered By...



Posted by Amanda Evans, Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas (DFW Living) about 10 years ago

How about looking up the listing in  the MLS and see who is "officially" brokering it. Then report the 2 sign issue to the MLS.

Here in the Triangle area of NC, this would be illegal, as others have mentioned.

Just another fun day in Real Estate!

Posted by Linda Jandura, Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist (Raleigh Cary Realty) about 10 years ago

Sounds like a case of office switching to me or Monty Hall has gotten into the Real Estate business and there is one sign missing.

Posted by Cameron Wilson, The Short Guy - Murrieta,Temecula,Menifee Californ (Labrum Real Estate) about 10 years ago


It's just a case of double affiliation, which is legal.  That's when two difference companies have agreed to work together with the same agents.



Posted by Elizabeth Mosley, BIC - Shepherd Real Properties (The Mosley Group / Shepherd Real Properties) about 10 years ago


It's just a case of double affiliation, which is legal.  That's when two difference companies have agreed to work together with the same agents.



Posted by Elizabeth Mosley, BIC - Shepherd Real Properties (The Mosley Group / Shepherd Real Properties) about 10 years ago

To wonder that much about it, make 2 or 3 trips by there, write an excellent blog on it, check the mls listing on it and not call the agent and ask them?  I believe with that much curiousity, I'd have to call the agent and ask.

Posted by 1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) about 10 years ago

Confusing to say the least. It seems to me that the best way to actually sell the house (If that is indeed what the goal is) would be to have one nice visible sign available.

mark hall vancouver wa real estate

Posted by Mark Hall, Homes for Sale Vancouver Washington (Elite Realty NW - Keller Williams, Vancouver Washington) about 10 years ago

Every state has different rules.  I am a broker and an associate broker with two different companies, so I can see where something like this may come into play. 

I currently have a property listed for sale under the company where I am an associate broker, even though the company I own and am a broker with has the property for lease under our property management group.  Agents, of course don't have the same flexibility, but I can be broker for as many companies as I want and only associate broker for 1 in the state of Georgia. 

Posted by Michelle DeRepentigny, Broker Athens, GA (Success Realty) about 10 years ago

I would be upset if I were the homeowner because you have now cluttered my lawn! I think it is unprofessional no matter how she would explain it. Our clients deserve the best representation and in my opinion, this isn't it!!


Posted by Stacey Pierce (Licensed Real Estate Salesperson) about 10 years ago

Here in Florida you can have your house for sale with one broker and for rent with another. Could that be what two signs are for.

Posted by Charles Stallions, 800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services ) about 10 years ago

Greg, I agree.

Brandy, And how many have looked twice wondering who they're supposed to call, so they don't call at all?

Doris, I'll think about it.  I don't like causing waves... usually...

John, I could call, but I've been busy, and it doesn't directly effect me enough to make the effort?

Sharon, I agree, but not sure she's "changing" brokers.

Cheryl, That's the same here.

Evelyn, I'm thinking about calling tomorrow, but I like "assuming" things.  Sometimes it can be really fun.

Anna, People do branding all the time. It's the brokerage part that matters most.

Melina, Possibly...

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 10 years ago

Amanda, I wondered that too.

Linda, I'm thinking about doing that tomorrow.

Cameron, Possibly.

Elizabeth, Never heard of it.  Your license is allowed to only be held by one Broker, and I doubt this "main franchise" broker is also broker of a small company.

Judi, The "trips" were just walking my daughter and the dog. No main effort except when I went back to take pictures.

Mark, I agree.

Michelle, "exclusive" for sale is completely different than "exclusive" for lease.  That happens all the time, but you can only hold your license with one broker, and your situation is different since you are a broker, but I believe in Texas, you either act as your own broker OR you affiliate with another as an Associate Broker.  Conflict of interest, like the builder reps cannot keep active real estate licenses.

Stacey, I agree.

Charles, You can do that here too, but that's not what is going on as I looked in the history of the property.  It's not for lease.


Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 10 years ago

I saw this recently and thought it was very odd but I did not check it out.

Posted by Shirley Parks, Broker, 210-414-0966, San Antonio TX Real Estate (Sands Realty 210-414-0966) about 10 years ago

The signs seem to have the same colors, and the same font for the phone number....not sure what is going on, either the agent is splitting off on their own, and using the same color schemes to make it seem less like a split, or to take advantage of the original brokers strength....

I have always thought that the more "junk" on the sign or in the yard, the more desperate the seller looks...I really hate it when the string up the plastic ropes with triangular flags, and they string it from the house to the sign and looks like a rummage sale....TACKY....the more signs does not mean a faster sale....Pat T

Posted by Pat Tasker, Your Milwaukee Metro Area Agent (WI) (Shorewest Realtors) about 10 years ago

Hi Donna,

If I saw two signs (which I have) I would just assume it was an open listing, period. There could be a dozen of them in the yard at a time in the case where a seller would give an open listing at the same time to more than one agent.   The fact that the number is the same, is another issue.

I've also seen a fsbo sign on one side of the yard and a traditional REALTOR sign on the other side while out previewing (back in the day as you put it). The minute I saw both signs I knew I hadn't read the listing as thoroughly as I should have. I looked down at my my out and sure enough it was an EA listing. An Exclusive Agency Listing, thereby allowing the seller to also try to sell the property him/herself, while still competing with the listing agent.


Posted by Lynda Eisenmann, Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co (Preferred Home Brokers) about 10 years ago

Donna, this would be a big problem with our state law.  If it is not against the law, it is definitely confusing and it seems to not be in the best interest in the client.

Posted by David Matney, Omaha, NE Real Estate | Omaha, NE Homes For Sale (BHHS - Ambassador Real Estate) about 10 years ago

Donna - Unless the house was a great deal and my client was dying to see it, I would probably want to skip this one.  If they cant figure out which sign belongs in the yard, how am i going to be able to negotiate with this realtor.....i don't know.  Strange...very strange.



Posted by Leander McClain, Cecil & Harford County Realtor about 10 years ago

there must be some commission or mls rules against this but it is the seller who is the loser in this game. it makes them look bad. it is like seeing a for rent sign right next to the for sale sign.

Posted by Mike Russell, Overland Park Kansas Real Estate (Mike Russell & Associates) about 10 years ago

This si very interesting.. I would thing someone would be calling the brokerage to see what is going on... Keep us posted

Posted by Roland Woodworth, Q Realty - Power In Real Estate (Q Realty) about 10 years ago

I believe that this would be completely illegal in WA state as well. You can only have your license held under one broker at a time and must turn in your license to the state and have them mail it to your new broker. Sounds like something isn't right here.

Posted by Reba Haas, Team Reba, CDPE (Team Reba of RE/MAX Metro Eastside about 10 years ago

Umm can we say confusion in the market!  I have see that before though with a property tht is both For Rent and For Sale with two different Brokers.

Posted by Garren Grup, REALTOR, ABR, CNE,CDPE, GRI, Naples & Bonita Springs, FL (John R. Wood REALTORS) about 10 years ago

What is the purpose of two signs anyway if the same phone number is on both?  The same agent could be branding their team name (big sign) within the brokerage (little sign) but those KW sign standards would dictate that the KW logo be on the personalized sign, which doesn't appear to be the case.  Nothing about this makes any sense, very tacky.  What goes through people's heads!

Posted by Janna Scharf, Coeur d'Alene Idaho Real Estate Expert (Keller Williams Realty Coeur d'Alene) about 10 years ago

An agent can only work for 1 Broker in Oregon and they have to change their advertising immediately. The owner doesn't care. They only want their house sold.

Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) about 10 years ago

The broker owns the listing - at least in NY - although the agent can negotiate that when they leave.  But you aren't allowed to have the same listing with two different brokerages.  I've had  situations where one brokerage was losing the listing but those who made offers before the cut-off continue to negotiate with the initial listing agent while a new listing agent attempts to bring in new buyers.

Posted by Ruthmarie Hicks (Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605) about 10 years ago

Hi Donna... OK... How weird and bizzare!  I am very curious about this house now.  Here local, huh?

Whomever the agent is, they forgot the cardinal rule of branding... CONSISTENCY (unless they are consistently cluttered and sloppy looking, which is also a bad image)!

Posted by Steve Shatsky about 10 years ago

I agree with other comments that this is confusing for the consumer as well as making the yard cluttered.  I don't see the upside.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) about 10 years ago

Interesting. Brokers must clearly identify the business. I don't think conveying 2 names manages to do that effectively. Keep us posted as you learn more.

Posted by Vickie Nagy, Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) about 10 years ago

This seems odd. Will be interesting if you do end up calling the party and seeing what is actually up.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) about 10 years ago

Very interesting, sounds like you need to call the agent.  Better yet, email and avoid the recruiting conversation.

Posted by Kim Peasley-Parker (AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc.) about 10 years ago

Very interesting, sounds like you need to call the agent.  Better yet, email and avoid the recruiting conversation.

Posted by Kim Peasley-Parker (AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc.) about 10 years ago

Are the two signs still there? Perhaps the larger sign required some assistance in moving.

Posted by Richard Weeks, REALTOR®, Broker about 10 years ago

Regardless of the legal or ethical looks terrible, and this agent is not serving their client well.  Doesn't the BROKER hold the listing?  How can they put two signs up?  It would get me into some serious hot water here in Maryland...


Posted by Brendan Cooke (Passport Realty, LLC) about 10 years ago

It just goes to show you that Realtors often times do not use LOGIC!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) about 10 years ago

UPDATE: I just spent over an hour on the phone with this agent.  She's very nice.  It turns out that she owns her own company, under a company license, and also has a personal license which is held under the other company.  She is actually a member of AR and I have spoken with her about the benefits of blogging, and hopefully she'll come back and introduce herself and make a blog post about why she co-brands her company with the other company.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 10 years ago

I guess I would have to call and ask. I may even forward it on to my local board. I have never done that but in this case I probably would. They could investigate and mine would have hefty fines attached to it if something was not handled correctly.

Posted by Sherie Earley-Womack (Choice Real Estate) about 10 years ago

Thank you everyone for talking about my "5 days of double signage situation." The large sign was removed last week 9/13/08.  Thank you especially to those KW agents that understand the real estate business by expressing tolerance & understanding in moving through a short-lived signage transfer & transport situation.  Hopefully everyone will focus back on their own business rather than publically discussing another Realtor's situation.  Did anyone think to call & offer help?  Thank you Donna for taking the initiative today to call & ask why I temporarily had 2 signs up.

Posted by Carolyn Conrey (New Home Hunters REALTY) about 10 years ago

It is rather confusing.  If it's the same agent, then one of the signs needs to go.  The only reason I see to have two signs in the yard is if two different brokerages are co-brokering.  Even then, I think the agents should sort out which sign to put in the yard as it is very confusing to consumers

Posted by Emily Lowe, Nashville TN Realtor (The Lipman Group | Sotheby's International Realty) about 10 years ago

CRAP!  That is my sign!!!!!!!

JK.  There is a serious issue with the seller and I, personally, would stand as far way from that house as possible....including showing it. 

There is madness written all over this one.  I doubt seriously there is anything wrong with the agents other than they fear being shot picking up their signs..... 

Posted by TIM MONCRIEF, Over 2,000 homes sold….. (Keller Williams Realty) about 10 years ago

Evening, Donna,  Doesn;t pass the " smell test " for me.  Also casts a bad reflection on the industry.

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) about 10 years ago

We have our answers everyone.... 3 above me is the key to it all.

Posted by Terri Favata, Associate Broker, Kent & Sussex County Delaware (Keller Williams Realty Central De) about 10 years ago

Talk about "back in the day"... Years ago I saw a picture on a local news broadcast  A homeowner came out to get his morning paper and found his yard full of dozens of real estate signs from many different companies.  He said to the reporter, "I didn't even know my house was for sale!"

A few days later, my cousin was telling me about a prank that one of his friends pulled after an evening of partying.  Mystery solved!

Who says real estate can't be fun?!

Thanks for an interesting post.  Like you, I wonder what the story behind the story is.


Posted by Terri Hattaway, PONTE VEDRA BEACH REAL ESTATE (Real Estate and Financial Services) about 10 years ago

is the one sign just a "exclusive" luxury sign?  Maybe a featured home, etc...  The one is clearly KW but the other one is not a clear... is it just another version of KW?

Posted by Mark Ryan, Broker, CRS, ABR, CDPE (Mark Ryan Group / Re/Max Victory) about 10 years ago

Terri, That's pretty funny!

Mark, No, it's not just another version of the one Broker.  The explanation she gave a few comments up is not the explanation I received when I spoke with her on the phone, and I'll leave it at that.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 10 years ago

I would say it was inexperienced agents, and one that was foolish enough not to get a release from the first listing before proceeding to list it themselves.

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) about 10 years ago

Ok, the whole thing is odd and more importantly, totally unprofessional.  Didn't the seller notice all the things you just mentioned? Oh, maybe the seller is a "relative". Gotta love the ol' "my cousin, brother, mother...etc" is a realtor.  Maybe that is why.  Either way, I would stay clear.

Posted by Cristal Drake, Realtor - Fullerton Real Estate (Prudential California Realty) about 10 years ago