We’re perhaps in the middle of the most profound buyer’s market for real
estate this country has ever witnessed. Home values are down as much as 70
percent and more in markets such as California, Arizona, Nevada, Florida and
others. If you find yourself in a position where you absolutely must sell
your home in this environment there are several considerations you’ll want
to take into account so you can get the best possible price.
Buyers are becoming spoiled. It isn’t enough for some to get a discount of
30 percent, 40 percent or more from recent highs. Now they’re looking for
additional kickers as well. A kicker is a benefit or advantage that sweetens
the deal. And if you’re not willing to play along and offer a goodie or two,
many buyers will pack it up and find a seller who will. The following are
just a few of the possible items that buyers are finding necessary to
include so they realize more value in selling their homes.
Help With Closing Costs
This is one of the more popular benefits buyers are offering. If you must
sell, your agent might be able to cultivate more interest in your home by
advertising that you’ll pay all or part of the closing costs for your buyer.
Traditionally, closing costs outside of loan fees are pretty much divided
down the middle in most residential transactions (though all closing costs
are completely negotiable). These days a seller would do well to assume 100
percent of these costs to get the sale. Many sellers are actually helping
out with the buyer’s loan fees as well to get the sale.
You might want to offer your prospective buyer help with moving expenses. If
they’re coming from afar and plan on spending significant money in shipping
furniture and other belongings, offering financial assistance in this area
might just help seal the deal and allow you to realize more value for your
This kicker is probably the first add-on item your real estate agent
suggested you offer when listing your home. But if that’s not the case you
should strongly consider adding a home warranty to the deal. This often
gives the buyer a sense of security in knowing that if any major (or minor
according to the limits of the warranty) system goes awry during the
specified period of the warranty, repairs are covered.
Chattel is anything that’s not permanently affixed to the property, in other
words, personal property. If you’re trying to market a rural home would you
consider offering an older (age is relative to your motivation) pickup truck
to close the deal? What about a riding lawn mower or other yard tools? It’s
not uncommon to include items of personal property along with the house,
especially if it’s the deciding factor in closing the deal.
I know a seller who made a business of marketing his own properties after
buying low, fixing, and reselling them. He was often able to beat out the
competition by offering a 3-day, all expenses paid, weekend getaway for two
to Reno, Nevada. He resided in the state of Washington so Reno wasn’t all
that far. These little weekend getaway packages usually ran under $500 for
two people and often added the extra incentive necessary to close the deal.
There are other goodies you might consider offering. One might be help with
financing in the form of a second mortgage. You might agree to having some
modifications done to the house. Your imagination is the only limitation
when it comes to offering benefits to your buyers. Perhaps you should just
ask, what will it take for you to realize your maximum home value?