Will My House Ever Sell?

Four novel ideas for (finally) attracting some contract offers  

Worried about  whether your house will sell or fretting about how long it’s taking?


If you’ve followed the advice of your listing agent and cleaned, staged and lowered the price of your home to make it more competitive, there are a couple of other ways you can boost interest in your property and snag an attractive offer.


A recent story on the real estate web site Trulia offers four novel suggestions to help your home outshine  others on the market (http://www.trulia.com/blog/taranelson/2011/08/4_buyer_incentives_that_sell_homes). These techniques are growing in popularity and might make a difference for you.


Interest Rate Buy-Downs

When seeking mortgage financing, buyers often have the option of paying “points” on their loan to lower their interest rate. To promote buyer interest in a listing, homesellers can offer to pay the points on a buyer’s loan. This incentive allows buyers to obtain a better interest rate than they might otherwise qualify for, allowing them to save thousands of dollars on mortgage payments over the life of the loan. Plus, in many cases, the points are tax deductible for the buyer for purposes or computing income taxes.


Closing Cost Help

Seller offers of closing help are common in this area. Such credits to the buyer from the seller are a highly effective tool for closing a deal, since the main barrier to homeownership for many people is the initial amount of money they must come up with for a downpayment and closing costs.

The amount of closing help varies in this area with some sellers offering zero help and others offering well north of $10,000. A typical amount in central Maryland is 3 percent of the purchase price. Note, however, that the amount of seller closing help may be limited by the type of financing the buyer chooses and the type of transaction (foreclosure, short sale, etc.).


HOA Dues

Homeowner association fees often are the ugly, unspoken component of a home purchase. Buyers rarely focus on them, but the fees can be expensive and they usually aren’t tax deductible.


These days, it’s becoming more common for sellers to offer to help pay such costs for buyers, at least for the first six months or one year after purchase. If your home has been languishing on the market and showings have effectively stopped, you may want to offer potential buyers the benefit of paying the first year’s HOA fees for them.


Incentives to Buyer Agents

Finally, what better way to draw the attention of a buyer’s agent – and by extension, the attention of their client – than to offer the agent extra money! It’s probably no surprise to you that realtors like money. So, as a seller, why not offer a specific cash incentive to buyer agents to push your property under the eyes of their clients?

Your home may have spent the last eight months stagnating on the market. But it’s likely still as lovely and amenity filled as the day your agent posted it on the MLS.

A price reduction may push your home back up the list of properties to be noticed. But offering a $1,000 cash bonus to agents who bring you a signed contract offer by Oct. 1 (or any other specified date) may have the same effect. And be a cheaper alternative.

The point is to get as many buyer agents as you can selling your house for you.


Jerry Kline is a Realtor with the Odenton, Md., office of Keller Williams Flagship Realty (1216 Annapolis Rd., Odenton.) For more information on the local real estate market, contact him at (443) 924-7418, or visit his blog (www.JerryKlineRealtor.wordpress.com) or website (www.JerryKline.kwrealty.com).


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