Real Estate Investment News & Blog

Are You Ready to Be a Bandit Investor and Steal Some Deals?

In my previous article, “Why You Don’t Need Fannie Mae or HUD,” I shared why I believe we are at a critical time for real estate investors to begin finding their own deals.

With foreclosure inventory so high and distressed property so easy to acquire, many investors quit marketing to find their own deals.  But recent changes in the way foreclosure inventory is handled will drive investors back to the heart of generating leads from motivated sellers.

I have wholesaled hundreds of houses, and the primary question I always get is: How do you find all those houses to buy directly from the owners.

The truth is that there is not a single silver bullet that generates all the leads.  It takes intentional and persistent marketing efforts to consistently have your phone ringing with motivated sellers.  The good news is that there are a lot of guerrilla methods that collectively work very well at a minimal cost.

Running a bandit sign campaign is one of those methods.

What is a “Bandit Sign”?bandit signs bandit

Bandit signs are usually about 18″ by 24″ in size, and they’re essentially mini-billboards that shout your message to everyone passing by. Bandit signs are simple and very cost effective.

Since there are significantly fewer bandit signs being placed today than there were a few years ago, it’s easier to get your signs to stand out.  The challenge is to get your message to as many people as possible while understanding you only have 3 to 5 seconds for the driver to capture all of your information.

The Bandit Sign Message

Your message needs to be short and direct.  What can you say to the drivers if you have less than 5 seconds to catch their attention?  You MUST get them your phone number as the number one take-away while driving by.  Drivers can quickly write the number onto a piece of paper or even just start dialing it as they drive by.

I like to provide two methods for drivers to contact me, so I use a web site as well.  In addition to the important contact information, it helps to have a unique selling proposition (USP), so the driver remembers you as they drive away.

Some possibilities are:

  • We Buy Houses
  • Sell your house fast
  • Need cash?
  • Sell your house this week
  • Avoid foreclosure

Bandit Sign Design

I like to use the 18 x 24 yellow chloroplast with black printed lettering.  I feel this is the easiest sign to read for a driver going about 30 mph or sitting back in traffic at an intersection.  White signs with either blue or red ink also work well.  You can find plenty of places online that will allow you to purchase signs at a very reasonable rate.  A one-sided sign, with delivery can be purchased for about $1.50 per sign.

Where to Place Bandit Signs

This is the biggest challenge for real estate investors.  Place your signs in the wrong location, and you could end up with a fine or a call from your local police department.

I do not recommend breaking city code when placing your signs.  Many investors love to staple them onto telephone poles, put them on the major intersections, mall exits, and highway off-ramps.  I agree that each of them are highly effective at generating leads, but I can not advocate breaking city or county code.

I recommend you place them in the yards of vacant houses, vacant lots, and stretches of land along highways with speeds below 40 mph.  This works very well if the vacant house or land is near an intersection, on a busy street, or near a railroad crossing.

To get your phone ringing right away, place about 25 signs into an area of about 5 miles in diameter.  I ask sellers where they saw my sign and often times they tell me they saw my signs in multiple locations.  That is a way of consistently getting your message to people that need to sell their houses.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be writing about additional ways to generate motivated seller leads. In the meantime, I ‘d  love to hear from you.  Tell me how you use  bandit signs, what works well,  and what kinds of challenges you have.

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About the Author...

Jim Ingersoll is a real estate entrepreneur who has bought and sold hundreds of homes. He is the author of Investing Now and Cash Flow Now (both available at, and enjoys speaking and coaching others on how to obtain their financial freedom.

You can visit Jim at and

You can find Jim on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Jeanne says:

    Great tips, Jim. Thanks.

  2. Monty Cashflowstoo says:

    Very good information Jim. I have worked with some exceptional realtors in my time. I have used signs on a regular basis and it worked consistently. Here are two things I hold to be necessary, keeping your signs. The fact is we would drop the signs on friday night and must pick them up by sunday in order not to loose them. The fact remains the signs got calls that were good leads. Also, be sure to have a number outside of your normal number that allows you to track the signs performance. If you don’t have a number have at least a name that allows you to track it. Ideally you can have a different name for each market which allows you to track which location works best. We did this an it allowed up to know how the the marketing promotion worked and where it didn’t.

    That said.. working with the learning curve of others is always better than trying to learn on its own. In any event, I wish you the best & I value Jim Ingersoll’s information tremendously.

  3. Jim Ingersoll says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on keeping your signs. I don’t like to put them in places where they violate code, but there are plenty of other anti-bandit sign people that will just grab them so that is a good point.

    My latest batch of signs I had printed were $1.55 each, one sided printing 18 x 24 yellow signs. I am putting them out and just leaving them. At that price I can afford to put them out and leave them for as long as they last.


  4. Marty England says:

    I went out last Friday night to setup my 25 bandit signs here in Las Vegas. However, the desert ground around here is rock hard and I couldn’t stick the “H” wire frame into the ground. I couldn’t even push them into the ground with my foot (like a shovel). So now I’m thinking that I need to pre-drill a hole (just larger than the diameter of the “H” wire frame a couple of inches into the ground to setup these bandit signs. I really don’t want to buy a cordless drill. I also thought about getting a 3″ – 4″ long nail (a little larger than the diameter of the “H” wire frame) and pounding it into the ground first to make the holes, but some of the area’s for signs are landscaped with dessert rock (various sizes – small to 6″ or larger) so I figured that a nail and hammer won’t be sufficient for all the different ground cover in town.

    Do you have any suggestions for me? I want to get my signs up to get the phone to start ringing.

    Thank you,

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