Home not selling? Fresh tips for getting it sold part I

This week’s beautiful weather in San Francisco was a welcome reminder: Spring is almost here, which means buyers are coming back out. So if you’ve been trying to sell your home in the past year without luck, this could be your chance to come “back on the market” with a fresh new approach.

Timing may be key here, especially if you want to appeal to first-time homebuyers, who are looking to buy before the $8,000 tax credit expires April 30th.

Of course, in this economy, it’s not easy to sell a house, even with tax incentives. Here are two tips for struggling sellers to get you going. I’ll have three more tips for selling your home later this week.

1. Offer to “buy down” the buyer’s interest rate.

This means that you, as the seller, will pay money (generally 1 percent of the buyers’ loan) to get the buyer a better interest rate. For example, if it’s a $500,000 loan and the bank offers the buyer a 5 percent rate on their loan, the seller can pay $5,000 to get the buyer’s rate “bought down” to something like 4.75 percent or less. This one-time cost borne by the seller ends up saving the buyer a lot of money on the monthly payments over the life of the loan.

2. Offer closing cost and loan incentives on the property flyer and in all the marketing materials.

Don’t wait for a buyer to write up an offer before you start dreaming up ways to negotiate. Just like you set your price at the beginning, come up with any incentives you feel comfortable offering before your home goes on the market. Make those incentives clear in your marketing materials.

For example, if you’re going to buy the rate down (as mentioned above) or pay for the buyer’s closing costs, make sure you state those offers specifically in all your home’s marketing materials. Spell out the potential savings to buyers in your marketing, too.

You might attach a simple closing statement to the property flyer, with sample scenarios that reflect the potential savings. When you do the math for them right up front, buyers can clearly see the benefits of what you’re offering—right at the time they’re beginning to fall in love with your house.

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