|House hunting? Here's a great deal for you
Sacramento-based Re/Max Gold agent Loren Ransier
has seen his share of incentives. "One of the other incentives
I'd recently heard about is a home builder advertising that they'll
even completely pay off your Mello-Roos
tax, a special tax we have in California," he says. "A
typical Mello-Roos bond can be a $40,000 to $50,000 bond, and they'll
now pay it off for you upfront so you won't have that tax increasing
your monthly payment when you buy a new house."
In a separate promotion, home-builder William Lyon Homes had recently been providing a free $30,000 pool to customers buying a new Sacramento-area home through the company's mortgage lender, William Lyon Financial.
Generous incentive packages can even be found in the conservative Midwest.
Those who sign a new home contract with MasterCraft
Builders based in Kenosha, Wis., for instance, can now win a
number of expensive prizes, among them a three-car garage or a trip
to Las Vegas, in the company's "Spin-N-Win" game.
Buyers purchasing lots in the high-end subdivisions
of Bavarian Woods, in Germantown, and Weston Highlands, in Brookfield,
through Wisconsin-based Simon
Group, on the other hand, can simply choose between either a
brand new Mazda Miata convertible or a $20,000 rebate.
Other companies in the area have noticed the incentives
builders are offering.
"This year, there's definitely a lot more negotiating
and discounting going on with most builders in our area," says
David Balcerzak, vice president of sales and marketing at Pulte
Homes in Detroit. "But our company has taken a different
approach. We're taking a much closer look at our potential buyer's
situation and asking what we can do to help offer them a solution.
We're not playing pricing games because we feel we've priced our
homes to a level that's appropriate for today's market, and we're
not resorting to gimmicks and giveaways."
It might not call them "giveaways," but
Pulte is certainly assisting buyers in generous ways. For instance,
one of the biggest hurdles new home buyers now face is selling an
existing home. To help them, Pulte (through its own mortgage company,
Pulte Mortgage) has implemented a special program which basically
covers three to six months of buyers' existing and new mortgages,
both interest and principal, plus tax payments so that these customers
aren't stuck with the pain of making twin payments on two properties.
"This program is an incentive, but it's not like
giving somebody $20,000 off, which really might not be helpful if
they still have a house to sell," Balcerzak says. "This
program is available to all Pulte home buyers, as long as they qualify
for the mortgage. And it's also available to folks who might've
already sold their house and, yet, who want to take advantage of
the program and who want to live in a new home basically payment-free,
for up to six months."
Buyers can also avail themselves of Pulte's "stager"
promotion to help sell their existing homes more quickly and for
higher prices. "We're providing customers with about $2,000
staging by a certified ASP
staging professional to help get their current home ready for
sale," says Balcerzak. "We think that this service ultimately
makes much more sense to our customers than a $10,000 discount,
for it has the potential, in the end, to get them much more money
when they sell their existing home."