The home seller called me and said she’d come up with a great idea after spending an afternoon clipping supermarket coupons. “What would you think if we put a coupon on Craigslist for $1,000 off our house?’ she asked.
I said I didn’t think that was such a great idea, since the knowledge of the price reduction would influence negotiations on both sides, and make both sides believe that they were paying more or getting less than market value. I could see the knowledge of the coupon chilling a deal rather than heating it up. Besides, mortgage lenders don’t like most credits, and they certainly wouldn’t appreciate a buyer “redeeming” a coupon at closing.
As we chatted some more, my client sounded sad that I’d burst her bubble. But when I said I had another coupon idea, she perked right up.
“What if you offered a $1,000 coupon towards real estate taxes or fuel oil?” I elaborated, “It’s the same money out of your pocket. But it’s a tangible savings for the buyer that seems unrelated to wrangling over the price of the house, and it shouldn’t raise flags with a bank.”
She loved the idea, and so did a buyer, who expressed appreciation for getting lots of “free” heating oil. Moreover, there was no scissor needed to redeem the coupon!