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Offer incentives, incentives and more incentives

Posted by James Osmar | Posted in Real Estate Articles | Posted on 02-02-2010



Builders continue to chip away at prices with special deals, some of which have taken $100,000 or more off the price of a home. But individual sellers also should consider price and other incentives that could entice a buyer to take a look.

"You have to attract their attention somehow," Travis says. "You want to create the buzz."

Travis' sellers have offered gas cards when prices skyrocketed or offered to pay for a year's worth of propane for an old house. He's sold condos in which the seller has paid for a year's worth of expensive homeowners' fees.

Travis' most unusual sale happened when he advertised a free lakefront house with the purchase of a $405,000 pontoon boat that he says was "beat to hell." Travis says he was having a hard time selling the home, even though it was lakefront on a 300-acre New Hampshire lake, because it was on a cove lot without any beachfront.

When he advertised the house as free with the purchase of the boat, potential buyers came out just to see what was going on. The house eventually was sold, but the boat was turned down.

These and other incentives — some sellers have offered free vacations and spa trips and boat and car leases for a year — can get traffic through your door, Travis says.

Sometimes people see the concessions and realize the sellers are willing to work with them. "They realize they have a little more negotiating room," he says.

On second thought: Don't include items, such as lawn or recreational equipment, in the ad for the home. But during negotiations, you might want to throw in the pool table or lawn mower to help seal the deal.

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