You've seen 'em. The ubiquitous little signs that say "We Buy Houses" or something to that effect and pop up on street corners and utility poles. One man in Philadelphia got so tired of looking at them that he publicly offered a $1 bounty for every sign collected and dropped off at his house. Luckily, he's a lawyer and was wise enough to set a $200 limit, because it took less than 48 hours to reach it, reports Philly.com. But the campaign was such a hit—residents posted tips on Facebook on getting hard-to-reach signs—that another neighbor has come forward to extend it with a $200 offer of his own. “Everyone who came by said they already do this anyway,” says Michael Froehlich, the attorney behind the first campaign. “They’re motivated by the sense that investors are coming into their neighborhoods and taking advantage of longtime residents."
Froehlich says he's fine with people selling their property to make a buck on, say, a neighborhood being gentrified. But he says that too often, people get suckered into selling too quickly and for too little money by calling the numbers on the signs or fliers. A separate story in the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that it's actually illegal to post such "bandit signs" at intersections, although a city official in the streets department acknowledged that he's fighting a losing battle in trying to keep up with them. The fine is $75, but raising the penalty probably won't help. "If you can’t find out who they are, what’s the sense of having a higher fine?" asks the city official. "I’d rather have people just rip them down and dispose of them." (The sale of dilapidated houses is behind a depressing new real estate scheme.)