The teal green signs intermingled with campaign advertisements around metro Phoenix are irritating a lot of real estate agents.
A Utah real estate company has blanketed the Valley with signs that say "VoteforHomie," “Significant Change” and “HomieforSenate.” But the ads aren’t for a candidate.
The signs, plopped down on many street corners next to real candidate and election ads, are marketing a real estate start-up called Homie.
“They are ambiguous and say Homie for Senate. If you follow the website display you will see they are not about any person running for Senate," said Dianne Keck Weaver, a Valley real estate agent with Home & Away Realty.
She said agents need to call out advertising or behavior by real estate firms that doesn't follow Arizona Department of Real Estate guidelines or the National Association of Realtor Code of Ethics.
“Realtors and brokers are a self-policing group," she said.
Homie says its “teal party” campaign is to give homeowners money back through cheaper real estate transactions.
If you go to the company’s website, it explains Homie’s operations.
“There are a lot of campaign promises and signs this time of year,” said Homie’s CEO, Johnny Hanna in a statement. “But few promise the type of change that actually impacts Arizonans’ pocketbooks and bank statements.”
The signs also say in very small letters that they are paid for by Agents for Change.
Company spokeswoman Taylor Armer said a Supreme Court case makes the signs “completely legal.”
A 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Reed v. Town of Gilbert essentially found that governments can’t restrict content on signs because they are a form of free speech.
Most interpret that to mean signs on public right-of-ways or busy corners during election season.
Some real estate agents are still concerned the signs cross the line.
Real estate agents have asked local realtor associations and the Arizona Department of Real Estate to look into the legality and ethics of the signs.
Louis Dettorre, spokesperson for the Department of Real Estate, said the agency has received a complaint and is currently reviewing the matter.
“The signs are misleading the public by making people think they are promoting a candidate,” said Bobby Lieb of HomeSmart Elite Group. “Some may say it’s a creative marketing plan, but I feel it is not right.”
Christa Lawcock of Realty Executives said the signs don't include a Realtor logo, or the fair housing logo required for real estate ads.
“Those Homie signs piss me off,” said Christa Lawcock of Realty Executives. “They (the signs) reinforce wrongly to the general public that we realtors are slimy with no oversight.”