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Thursday, October 18 News

New Canaan experiments with banning real estate signs

NEW CANAAN — It will be hard to spot a “for sale” sign in town beginning next month.

A six-month trial banning real estate signs in front of houses for sale, instituted by the local realtor organizations New Canaan Board of Realtors and the New Canaan Multiple Listing Service, will begin July 1 and conclude Jan. 1, 2019.

The reason for the ban is because people shop for homes online and the town looks better without them, Janis Hennessey, the New Canaan Board of Realtors president, seemed to say.

“This is about the beautification of New Canaan and that people do not buy homes from the (‘for sale’) signs anymore,” Hennessey said. “People interested in homes have access to HomeSnap and Zillow.”

According to Hennessey, this trial ban is a response derived from the results of a SurveyMonkey distributed through the Multiple Listing Service membership.

“We had about 199 people respond. 47 (people) wanted to keep signs and the other 150 wanted to either get rid of (the signs completely) or put a temporary ban on them,” Hennessey said.

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan lauded the effort.

“Many realtors and residents feel that the signs are unattractive and are unnecessary to promote the sales of homes,” Moynihan wrote via email Tuesday.

Like Hennessey, he referenced Greenwich as an example of a town that had done away with their “for sale” signs on residential properties in Chapter 6 Division 16 of their Municipal Code.

“Other area towns have already done away with signs and I suspect we will find that the absence of signs will work well in New Canaan too,” Moynihan said.

Asked if the town would enforce the realtors’ organization’s policy, Hennessey said that wouldn’t be the case.

“We’re going to ask people to take their signs down on the last week of June and we will conduct another survey at the end of the six-month trial in January,” Hennessey added.

A decision by the local realtor organizations will see how people respond to the trial ban once it concludes to measure ways in which to move forward.

“Generally speaking, people don’t call (realtors) anymore and so much information is online,” Hennessey said. “We’re giving this a try.”

humberto.juarez@hearstmediact.com

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