Friday, May 30, 2008

Sell Home Faster: Use Creative Freebies!

Your home has been on the market for several months and it’s been weeks since your Realtor handed you a serious offer from a potential buyer. You’ve dropped the price twice but you haven’t shown your home in over a week. You’ve seen other homes sell, and yours is at least as nice as those. You’re convinced that if more people would just come and see your home, it would sell. What do you do?

The first thing most home sellers think of is to fire their current realtor and hire someone else. “This may be the right thing to do but”, as Morrie Shepherd, Broker of Metro First Realty says, “not always.”

Shepherd has been in Real Estate for over two decades and has seen just about every market condition possible. “The Realtor is not a magician, even though sometimes it seems they are able to pull off the impossible. The Realtor is actually a consultant to the seller, a prospector for potential buyers, a shrewd negotiator and the seller’s personal cheerleader.”

So before you fire one Realtor and hire another, or worse yet, fire your Realtor and decide to sell you house yourself, consider the following ideas to speed up the selling process.

Instead of dropping your price another $5,000 consider offering a vacation package with the purchase of your home. That’s right, allow the new home owners the ability to pick their destination and provide a $5,000 trip allowance. Before you get the wild idea of offering the trip to your Realtor as an incentive, realize that will most likely get them into trouble and in some cases they could actually lose their license. The same goes with the other enticements I will mention.

Visit with a car dealership and investigate the possibility of offering a one-year lease on a new car as incentive to purchase your home. If this doesn’t trip your trigger how about offering a sizeable landscaping allowance that could be used for shrubs and trees or a new deck.

If your home does not have a designated theater room you could consider offering a professionally installed flat screen and surround sound entertainment system for the family room.

There is at least one computer in most homes but the average age of these computers is probably over 2 years. Why not offer prospective buyers a computer package; perhaps a new desktop for the study and a laptop for the kitchen.

If you home has an in-ground pool, consider pre-paying for the next year’s pool service. If home owner’s dues in your neighborhood are significant, offer to pay these in advance for the next year or two.

Anyone can offer a carpet or appliance allowance, you could offer to pre-pay for lawn service, security system monitoring, utilities, or moving company services. If your home has a wine cellar or closet, offer to include a selection of fine wines.

The list of freebies is nearly limitless. But keep in mind that many prospective buyers would still rather have the price of the home reduced by the amount of the incentive. And in the final analysis, you don’t really care. If the creativity of the freebie has attracted the buyer and they like your home enough to make an offer, does it really matter whether or not they take the $5,000 vacation package or you reduce the price of your home by that amount?

Now for the disclaimer: check with your realtor and your lender before publicizing these offers. The Realtor’s Broker may have some specific guidelines that apply to these kinds of offerings. Additionally, when incentives to purchase are offered, the language of the contract is very important for the buyer, the seller and in many cases the lender providing the financing.

Lenders can be finicky when it comes to purchase contract language. It is not possible to check with every lender for the correct manner to prepare the contract for this type of incentive, but check with a couple to get the basic idea of how they want the contract to read.

These are just some ideas to consider if you need to increase the traffic of potential buyers who come and see your home. Hey, selling a home just got fun again!

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