Sweetening the pot for home buyers

What it takes to sell in a slowing market

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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 o...