From the New York Times:
Sweetening the Pot for Home Buyers
By LISA PREVOST
WHAT does it take to sell a house in a slowing real estate market? Lou Aloupis thinks he knows: a 2006 Mercedes E-Class sedan.
A partner in a contracting firm that renovates houses for resale, Mr. Aloupis is trying to sell a remodeled ranch on a dead-end street in Stamford. “Every single thing in that house has been replaced,” he said. Yet the listing has languished since February, and Mr. Aloupis is growing impatient.
He has shaved more than $100,000 from the initial asking price, bringing it down to $679,000. He is offering the property through both a real estate agency and for-sale-by-owner Web sites. He even invited a woman who runs estate sales to display merchandise at the ranch, then distributed sales fliers to her customers. “At the end of the day, nothing came of it,” he said. “Not even a phone call.”
So now he has sweetened the pot: Mr. Aloupis will sign over the lease on his Mercedes for one year to the buyer who closes on the house. He will prepay the lease; the buyer will have only insurance costs to cover.
As for Mr. Aloupis and his partners, Scott Kaluczky and Robert Bove, “we’ll be happy right now if somebody buys the house for $660,000,” he said. “We’ve got too much money tied up in it.”
One local plastic surgeon is offering free Botox treatments to the agent who sells his home. Such incentives arouse curiosity, Ms. Ballard said. “I’m not a big Botox girl myself,” she said, “but it certainly got my attention.”
Carole Maisano, an agent in the same office, is using a more exotic incentive to drum up agent interest in her 4,400-square-foot contemporary home in Wilton. Ms. Maisano listed the four-bedroom home in April for $1.375 million and has since reduced the price to $1.285 million. Showings dropped off, however, so she is now offering an African safari for two to the agent who brings a sale to closing.