Signage Restrictions in The Villages

The enforcement of front yard signage restrictions in The Villages North of CR 466 has many residents up in arms.

I’m hearing chatter on forums, on Facebook, and I’ve got people writing in asking about it after I mentioned it in last month’s issue of The Villages Monthly. So, I wanted to write this post just so I can direct people to my thoughts on the issue.

And the sign said “Long-haired freaky people need not apply”

First, a little background
Existing deed covenants and restrictions in most of The Villages prohibit any sign in your yard with the exception of your name sign and what are deemed “life safety” signs that are typically posted up close to the front of the home such as security system signs, medical personnel alert signs, and the like.

This restriction includes signs advertising that your house is For Rent or For Sale, however those types of signs ARE allowed to be posted in a window as long as they are 12” x 12” or smaller.

Despite the negative feelings some people have about it, “no signs” is actually a pretty popular restriction in communities throughout Florida, especially in newer communities. The reasoning behind the restriction is that these types of signs can be an eyesore, especially given the range of colors, sizes, and quality of signs available.

It’s important to note that this has not really been an issue South of 466 as this restriction has always been enforced. The main problems have occurred with the sudden enforcement of the restriction North of 466 which started on or around the middle of June.

Some residents of The Villages seem to think that this is some type of ploy by the developer to make it harder for people to sell their homes, but this doesn’t really seem like the case to me because the developer is supposed to abide by these restrictions as well.

I think that as long as this is what actually occurs, the restriction is a good one, and there should not be any major issues.

While I can’t predict whether or not there will be major issues or blowback about this restriction in The Villages, I can share with you what I’ve seen in some other communities I’ve lived in and/or sold homes in.

The sign said you got to have a membership card to get inside

A Happy Medium
Some communities that, rather than prohibiting these signs altogether, force residents to purchase a uniform sign, the design of which has been approved by the community standards committee. This seems to work well for these communities.

To the Extreme
But in another case, the no signs restriction was a lot tougher…you couldn’t have a For Sale or For Rent sign in your yard or your window.

The catch though, was that the developer could have for sale signs in the yard. So if you owned a home that you were trying to sell, you were at a distinct disadvantage compared to the developer.

Needless to say, even though they were supposed to be aware of it when they purchased and signed saying they received and read the covenants and restrictions, this left a very bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths.

It also caused problems between neighbors who, whether they agreed with the restriction or not, followed the rules, and those who did not. Some people desperate to sell their homes simply said screw it and put signs up. If they were taken down they put up another.

For Sale sign in a window

People tried getting around this rule so many weird and funny ways, like putting signs on their cars or in their driveways.

The community hadn’t really evolved to the point of having a code enforcement or standards enforcement committee, so the developer’s sales staff were recruited to drive around taking pictures of homes in violation of the rule and reporting these infractions back to the developer.

In one case (and thankfully it was only one case) things escalated between the developer and one homeowner to the point of the law being called and the homeowner being cuffed and taken to jail.

Talk about “arrested development”

And the sign said anybody caught trespassin’ would be shot on sight

Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid
Real estate agents have been some of the most vocal critics of the enforcement. There is a stat that I read from the National Association of Realtors which says that something like 1 in 5 or 1 in 6 home sales are a result of a sign being in the yard.

A few agents like to wave this stat around in defense of allowing their yard signs, while other agents are more realistic and will tell you that the main function of real estate signs in yards is to get THEIR name and/or the name of their company more visibility.

To be honest, if you are really trying to sell or rent your home in this day and age, you really should do it through channels other than a sign in the yard, or even the window for that matter. But that’s a whole other article for another day.

Let me know what you think about the sign restrictions in the comments below.

49 thoughts on “Signage Restrictions in The Villages”

  1. I was president of a home owners assoc. in an upscale waterfront condo project that had similar restrictions. We compromised and had a specific (no variation whatsoever allowed) sign that had for sale and a phone number. It had to white with black letters with a thin black line around the outside as a border. We may have even had a suggested sorce since we wanted them uniform, but that has been awhile ago and I’m not sure about that. There were no names of realtors or agencies allowed. It seemed to work well and was a fair compromise.

  2. We go around looking for rental signs for the next year. I am sorry that there may not be any out so that we can find a different place to rent. What are the alternatives to locating a rental for the Winter?

  3. This is to Tammy, Tammy, there is an online site called VRBO. You can find many, many rentals advertised in The Villages.

  4. Ryan, Some of your info is WRONG. This is NOT about the enforcement of existing deed restrictions in The Villages. Not ALL Villages have the same rules. For example, the deed restrictions for the Villages of Santo Domingo and Rio Grande, as well as many others north of 466, specifically state that they CAN have a For Sale or For Rent sign in their yards. That is the current deed restriction. The issue is….should the developer be allowed to change these deed restrictions by just issuing a letter of intent. There is a CDD meeting being held next week, open to the residents. We’ll see what happens. This is not an issue south of 466 because they always had the deed restriction that you could only have a sign in the window. No change there.

  5. I’m a Realtor and I think the big signs in the yard look ugly in a community like the villages. I was in one of our 55+ communities and there were 8 homes on the same street for sale almost in a row with signs out front. It really looked bad and gave the buyers a bad feeling about the community.

    I think the sign in the window works well, but 12 x12 who are we kidding. You might as well not have any sign. No signs kill sales of real estate. My parents lived in a neighborhood like that and believe me it’s not good for the home owners. The Villages has so many people who check out the neighborhoods to see what’s for sale, therefore a real estate sign is really important.

    Florida law requires the Realtor’s name and brokerage name be on any advertisement.

    A standard sign for open houses works, but not for in the window. Window signs should be at least 24 x 18 so they can be read. Let the community vote on it.

  6. I think signs all the same size are perfectly okay.It has been that way since the villages started. It certainly has not hurt us,look how we have grown?????

  7. I see nothing wrong with a for sale or a for rent sign in good taste, that is the way I found the home that we are now in the process of buying. We are trying to sell our old home and a sign in the window does not cut it, it is useless.

  8. The homeowners association board — on which I sat — of a townhome community in North Carolina did two things concerning the signs you mention. First, we specified that all signs had to be of uniform size, consistent with the security signs. Second we insisted on the removal of all signs that weren’t true. If you didn’t really have an active contract with “XYZ Alarms”, you couldn’t have their sign in your yard.

    A For Sale sign could include “by owner”. Otherwise, it had to be pretty much to be as described by Mr. Becker.

  9. I am even more concerned about the gaudy ugly signs in our new neighborhood from landscapers and building permits in a tube on a sign. A day or two is okay but 3 weeks??? And some of the signs are not standard size or color. I would NEVER call one of these companies to do work just because of their ugly signs. I totally understand the need to advertise their work but this is just ugly.

  10. Pingback: How to find a home now the For Sale Signs have gone - Page 2 - Talk of The Villages

  11. There are so many reason for The Villages success, but one of the biggest is the uniform appearance of the areas throughout each village. I was a Realtor for 10 years, I understand the value and function of yard signs “For Sale” & “For Rent”, but far more important is the continuity of community appearance. We will be permanent residents of the Village of Sanibel in just a few months. The developer may seem to be heavy handed, but it is that attention to detail that makes The Villages such an absolutely fabulous place to retire. We can’t wait to get in the action at the Villages.

  12. bobbi – please explain how a for sale sign in a yard lowers property values of a neighborhood…i have often asked folks who make that same allegation and only get a response that is the equivalent of ‘well, ya know, they just do.’

    i’d love to know how you come to your conclusion – and hop it is more informative than respoonses i have heard to-date. thanx.

  13. jack frost – the fact that some villages have the expressed ‘permission’ to use for sale signs in their yards written INTO their covenants and the fact that they have done so for 20+ years without incident of complaint and the fact that usage of said usage has NOT impeded home sales in the villages – not to mention that the future of home sales in the villages will soon be LIMITED to RESALES rather than offer new sales which will surely curtail the work of the villages realty because of the competition with ,ls realty agents…sure makes the developer look heavy handed to me!…it’s his game and he can make the rules – but in my book he’s a slug for CHANGING this one.

  14. I think this is a move on the developers to force future homebuyers to go thru the Villages Sales Centers after the buildout is completed. That will only leave resales in the Villages. They are setting the groundwork for that activity. A 12 X 12 sign is useless, and not very visable when driving thru various neighborhoods. Not to mention they have now increased their classified ad revenues in the Dailey Sun. Smart or Greedy,you decide…..

  15. That picture of the man being arrested was not in The Villages. There is a mailbox in the front yard and we do not have mail boxes in front. I realize you may have used another pic for impact, but , talk about misleading

    1. @Dmoore – As the article clearly states, this happened in another community that had tough sign restrictions.

  16. I think an uniform sign that is 18X 24 or smaller that was used by everyone would be acceptable. Placed on a wrought iron pole no higher than three feet would be a nice look. I agree that window signs cannot be seen without the possibility of having an accident while trying to see if a window has a sign in it. I have seen small signs in communities that were uniform and they were quite nice and did the job. I do not like all of the large realtor signs on huge, bulky poles. And honestly, a for sale sign in the window is a little tacky.

  17. I am a Villager. I cannot understand why they had to change the few villages that had for sale signs, in some cases, 40 years?????
    I live in one of those villages and most of my friends sold by signs. It is harder to sell the older homes than the new.
    Many older retired people and some of the poorer villagers don’t have computers. Neighbors are so important in this community where homes are very close together. There was a line of for sale signs in Springdale. We asked our friend why and he said it was because of this being too far away from everything – not a good location and two big barking dogs that drove everybody nuts. No realtor or write up is ever going to tell you that and yet it is so important.
    What I really don’t understand is they allow big 3 feet by 6 feet red signs for county commissioners(The Developer choices) and in windows but have dinky little for sale signs nobody can see.
    People who don’t live full time in the Villages never understand what we are talking about.

  18. I think it all bull… Just more control… I’d be damned if I ever lived in any of those communities where you purchase a home and ground and get told what you can and cannot do! How many vehicles you can have, what you can have in your yard, so forth. Just ridicules.

  19. I think a uniform sign put close to the house not in the middle of the yard is good for anyone looking to buy no big real estate name just realtor name and phone # all white sign nothing fancy black lettering

  20. I’m torn.

    Although I believe signs help in advertising, I did get tired of every time a sign came down another went up. So, yes, I don’t mind seeing them disappear.

    However, to the argument that they don’t work:

    We had a house up for sale up north once. It was on the market for almost 6 months with advertisements and open houses. Who ended up buying the house?

    The people who spotted the for sale sign in our yard while looking for another house advertised in our same area. (Would a sign in window work as well, I’ll never know.)

  21. For Sale signs .. especially on 1 street or a particular village sends an unspoken signal that there has to be something wrong. Why is everyone selling.

    The internet is the best way to take care of rentals anyway …

    AND those signs also say “Hey there us no one living here” invites break-ins

  22. I would like to see a uniformed sign 12″ X 18″ by the road because Im not house hunting but the sign might make think Oh so and so would love that house and it would cause me to call them. I think it would help bring in a more community thinking people. More friends.

  23. I don’t have a problem with the new restriction north of 466. There are plenty of open houses in the Villages listed in the paper and on the website. I don’t think, if you home is in good shape,updated and priced right, you will have any trouble selling it in the Villages! And the signs are an eyesore to residents. There are ALWAYS homes for sale here.

  24. I think the average Villager moves 3 times before they find the perfect house and the perfect neighborhood. That’s our favorite way to look . . . driving down the street and “clearly” seeing signs on the lawn. The homes are sold pretty quickly. I could agree on a standard sign instead of individual realtor signs that has information on it. One of my friends had no intention of moving and then saw the home of her dreams !!

  25. Ryan….I noticed that you answered some how about addressing the others.. you are basing your feeling on WRONG info and stirring the pot…SHAME ON YOU. Not ALL deed restrictions are the same in all villages. As I said before, Rio Grande and Santo Domingo,to name just two villages, specifically state that a For Sale or For Rent sign CAN be placed in the yard. The issue is whether or not the developer should be allowed to CHANGE the deed restrictions of THOSE villages. Check the deed restrictions, come to the CDD meeting on Monday, July 30 th 9am at Laurel Manor and THEN state the facts. If you chose to answer only some people and not others, we will have to guess the reason.

  26. njbchbum….You’re the only one that gets it. those that live in the Villages ride around and look for houses in specific neighborhoods and call our friends up north, telling the about the perfect house. SIGNS are the key. I bought 2 homes in The Villages by seeing a ForSale By Owner sign. I have also recommended homes in my neighborhood, based on seeing a SIGN. Villagers drop by the open houses in their neighborhood, get a look at the inside, and recommend to friends. This is how is has been done for 30+ years. There is a home on my block that is For Sale now… had a sign on the lawn and got many visits….now it has a sign in the window..which noone can see. I talked to the owner and she said “everyone thinks I’ve sold because they think the sign is gone. Nobody ringing the bell to look.”

  27. Those little tiny itty bitty sign are ridiculous…you cant see them at all. I’m from Texas…we like thing BIG. If I want to sell MY home, I’ m gonna get me a BIG sign. Don’t we still have Freedom of Speech in Flodida ?

  28. I will only buy from For Sale By Owner….I do not want to deal with any realtors… I NEED to have these SIGNS…they are allowed in the deed restrictions in My Village … I will be at that meeting.

    1. @Mary – It wasn’t deleted. It got caught in the spam filter, I’m guessing because of the choice of language. Per the information you provided in a previous comment, I edited the post to reflect the fact that not all Villages had this restriction in their covenants. Good luck at your meeting 🙂

  29. All my friends, including me have bought and sold through the yard signs. Those little signs in the windows are a joke. Useless. Even the Realtors can’t find any houses for sale with those things.

    Anyone who thinks Gary or Mark are concerned with the residents needs are new here and have drunk the cool aid. Its just about making more money. Took indoor pool away, took Relay for Life away, took all the Buffalo away, and told everyone of us, buy now or you won’t get in. They lie about everything.
    Harold really cared about us and was straight up. He is turning in his grave now.

    Its hard to sell used older homes unless you give your house away. There are tons of short sell and foreclosures. The Villages use to be great but its all about greed and lies now. Don’t know what you’re talking about unless you’ve lived here 10 years. Honor the contracts your father(Harold) wrote on using sale signs.

  30. We are thinking about relocating to a warmer climate, and The Villages in Florida is on our list. However, after reading Ryan’s book and learning more about all the restrictions, I’m not sure we will even be visiting. A sign may seem like a small thing to many, but it looks to me like the developers would like the freedom to put their signs but not a homeowner. Not a good “sign” for those looking to possible relocate to your community.

  31. Nancy…come on down’ll LOVE it. There’s so much more to love and only a few things to complain about. Please notice that Ryan is NOT a Villager..just saying.

  32. I would agree with Mary’s statement that there are more positives than negatives, for sure. Clearly Mary has not read my book or she would know my stance on that 🙂

    But, it’s still important for people to know what the negatives are, because a negative to one person is a positive to another. Just as it is with signs. To each their own.

    I’m not sure why Mary’s last sentence is even relevant to this particular conversation, but no, as I’ve said numerous times I am not a Villager.

  33. If maintaining a more uniform look for signs in The Villages is needed then standardize the signs. Doing away with all signs gives an unfair advantage to The Villages Real Estate office over other agencies that focus on resales.

  34. I think the sign ban is a great idea. It is keeping all the political campaign signs from littering our community. The issue of real estate signs is not valid. If someone is looking for a house, they can see the signs in the windows, see listings on the web and in the newspaper, or work with an agent. I had no problem seeing the signs in the windows of 2 houses on my street.

  35. signs in the window are enough. if i wanted to look like a trailer park I would have moved there. I am happy here in the villages.

  36. I agree with Dawn R (the realtor) in this thread! I don’t like to see signs in yards as it looks tacky. Especially if there would be several in one block etc. I think this has been addressed by The Villages in their covenances so to say/do otherwise is just “stirring the pot”. As a home-owner I rather like how ‘clean’ and uniform everything looks.

  37. The only reason, that I can see, the owners group doesn’t want any competition after the build out. They don’t want homeowners to sell their own property. Cause after the build out the owners group wants to control the resale market.


  39. As a former Realtor, I am aware that numerous signs in one area scare away buyers (because they wonder what’s wrong in the neighborhood). Larger window signs could work – but our neighborhood is starting to exhibit numerous political signs in their windows right now – and it is objectionable in appearance. If we didn’t restrict all the signs The Villages could look it does all over 27/441 and CR42. Those signs are intrusive and get left over long after the events they are promoting. Please don’t let it happen to our beautiful town!

  40. In CDD 4 in The Villages, no signage is allowed unless it has prior written approval of the developer. In District 4 the developer has provided written approval to put 24″ x 24″ for sale or for rent signs( with a professionally prepared appearance) in a window of a dwelling.

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