Home sellers looking for ways to attract buyer attention -- or at least keep interested buyers on the hook -- may throw in a few "extras." Particularly if the real estate market is a bit sluggish in your area, you may see listings advertising televisions, all-expenses-paid cruise vacations, or motor scooters.
Do these incentives work? Are they necessary? Here's what real estate broker (and Nolo author) George Devine had to say on the matter: "I always scratch my head when I hear about home sellers offering things that are superfluous to the transaction, like a car or a trip to Hawaii. If they're going to pay for those things, why don't they just lower the list price? Especially because a higher selling price can result in a higher documentary transfer tax and real estate commission."
The bottom line is that your selling price is what buyers care most about. They may be pulling together every last dollar in savings to buy your house -- the cruise vacations can wait. So focus first on setting your price at a reasonable level that will bring in buyers.
But once you've got an interested buyer, keeping that person interested can make all the difference in seeing the deal to a successful closing. (Putting your house back on the market is expensive and no fun, whether the market is hot or cold.) Two of the most realistic way to help keep buyers on the hook include:
We'll give an overview of each below.
The last thing you want is for your buyer to get panicky looking at all the tangential expenses that come with homebuying, such as inspection fees, escrow fees, and moving costs. To sweeten the deal, you can offer to defray some of the following:
Your house itself offers an opportunity for some real incentives. As you may know, fixtures -- those parts of the property that are affixed to the property and can't be easily removed -- must be included in the sale. Anything that isn't a fixture is yours, however. That means you can take it with you when you leave.
Or not. You may have purchased furniture or other items that specially suit the house you're in: perhaps a Mission-style dining table that blends perfectly in your Craftsman-style bungalow, an energy-efficient stackable washer/dryer that fits perfectly in a designated spot, a patio set that blends with your landscaped yard, gardening equipment, or exercise machines are already assembled and ready to use in the basement rec room. A prospective buyer who sees these items may be impressed, and offering them as part of the package could seal the deal.
For more information on how to close your home deal see Selling Your House: Nolo's Essential Guide, by Ilona Bray (Nolo).