Video: Home sellers get creative as market cools

By Kerry Sanders Correspondent
NBC News
updated 10/23/2006 7:36:23 PM ET 2006-10-23T23:36:23

“Price Reduced” — it's the sign of the times in real estate.

Jack Timmons knows the pain. His Fort Lauderdale home has been on the market for six months. Buy his house for $349,000 today? He'll throw in a new plasma flat-screen TV.

“We didn't have to do this a year ago,” says Timmons. “Nobody did.”

Nationwide, homes that sold in four weeks a year ago are now sitting on the market twice as long.

So, to sweeten the deal, sellers are offering: Free furniture, luxury cars, even the use of a private jet.

“The buyers have to be very cautious when they look at these gimmicks out there, because a lot of them are gimmicks, to be honest with you,” says Bruce Hersey with the EH Building Group in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Another trend: Home auctions are up nearly 6 percent. Some auctions promise to sell a house on a certain date. But it can be “seller beware.”

Byron Meo in Riverside, Calif., wanted $680,000 for his three-bedroom home. He got $200,000 less.

“It was real disappointing,” he says.

But what's disappointing to sellers is good news for buyers. And real estate experts say they see no signs that will change soon.

Popular in California and now spreading, so-called “staging” sellers pay thousands of dollars to decorate their homes “just for show.”

“People are looking for that something different, and this is that something different,” says Paul Scott Silvera with Scout Staging in Oakland, Calif.

Jessica Moore in St. Lucie County, Fla., a single mother of two, bought her new home thanks to a five percent discount for all school teachers.

“This is my house, this is the future site of my home,” she says as she walks through a field where that home will be built. “I was happy, yeah!”

Home sweet home — such a deal.

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