Local News

Real estate agents ask Cary to relax open house rules

Posted June 20, 2009 6:42 p.m. EDT
Updated June 20, 2009 7:00 p.m. EDT

— Real estate broker Brenda Carroll has a new listing in Cary that she is trying to sell, but a Town of Cary ordinance is making her job tougher, she said.

She would like the town to relax its rules regarding open houses and open house signs. Town leaders said they are open to exploring the possibilities, and they have asked staff to review the ordinance.

Cary allows two open houses per house, per year. Carroll said she would like that cap lifted. Also, real estate agents and homeowners can put up no more than three directional signs to point prospective buyers to an open house. That can be tough in a large subdivision, Carroll said.

“What if you have a home that needs four (signs)? Are you supposed to break Town of Cary laws by putting up the fourth? Or are you supposed to not have an open house?” she said.

Town rules also state that open house signs can only be displayed on Saturday and Sundays. Real estate agent Rich Murray said he would like to see them allowed on Fridays.

“Then it allows more exposure. So as people come home on a Friday evening, or if they’re out running errands, it gives them that exposure,” he said.

If agents put up too many open house signs, Cary staff takes them down. The agents could also face fines.

Cary council member Julie Robinson said the real estate agents' concerns are valid.

“I think it’s a very fair question in an economy like this,” she said.

The rule’s intent, according to Robinson, is to reduce sign clutter. The council is asking staff to come up with some alternatives. Their ideas will be presented in the next couple months.

“We’re open to looking at things, you know. Every once in a while, policies need to be amended and adopted,” Robinson said.

Current market data shows Cary homes sell the fastest in the Triangle with an average of 55 days on the market. Raleigh houses take around 80 days to sell. Homes in Durham take more than 100 days, on average.

Cary business owners complained to the town in May about sign restrictions placed on them as well.