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RISMEDIA, May 8, 2007—Everyone knows the old adage when it comes to real estate – location, location, location. But when it comes to successfully marketing a listing in a buyers market your mantra should be – differentiation, differentiation, differentiation.

Existing home sales have slowed in many parts of the country. Where we used to see Pending signs on the home after a couple days or weeks on the market, now typically, the For Sale signs are staying up for months at a time. Bad winter weather and a decrease in subprime lending volume have both been blamed for slowing homes sales, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

True, marketing is the first important step in securing prospects for a listing. But in a market where buyers are at a premium the question we need to ask is why should a buyer purchase your listing? The most obvious answer is price, and surely the listing should be priced at market. Assuming it is what can we offer a buyer to choose our listing over another?

Simple, offer the purchaser safety and security in choosing your listing over your competitors. Don’t forget purchasing a home is a very expensive endeavor. And due to the run up in home prices over the last several years it is not uncommon for purchasers to be forced to invest nearly all of their available cash into their home purchase. Knowing this we are presented with a golden opportunity to differentiate our listing from the competition by offering to the buyer something as simple as a home warranty.

Home warranties protect against the normal wear and tear of major mechanical systems and appliances such as heating and air conditioning, plumbing, oven/ranges, refrigerators, washers/dryers, and more. When a problem occurs with a covered item, a service technician repairs or replaces it using brand-new, top-quality parts and appliances. A home warranty gives the buyer peace of mind when making that difficult decision to buy a home or condominium.

Studies show that buyers are more likely to purchase a home with a warranty than without. On average, a homeowner will make two claims during the first year with a home warranty. Those two claims can really save the homeowner who is probably on a tight budget after the purchase of the home in the first year.

Many real estate professionals are incorporating a home warranty into their marketing plan. Oftentimes, agents will offer a warranty free to their clients to help them gain an edge over all other agents competing for the same business. The listing presentation is a time for the real estate professional to shine. In a home with older appliances and mechanical systems, a home warranty would be a perfect way to put the buyer’s minds at ease.

“In my experience, today’s sellers will interview several agents before choosing who they want to work with,” says Martha Perez, a first-year agent with Keller Williams Realty in Katy, Texas. “(A home warranty) gives me that extra edge and makes me more competitive, which is so important because we have to compete with a lot of builders here.”

Some home warranty companies provide free protection during the listing period — they cover items during the listing period at no additional cost. Contract payment is not made until closing and includes coverage for the buyer.

A home warranty can be the difference that closes the deal. Encouraging your clients to purchase home warranties helps you avoid last minute repair negotiations that can postpone closings and boosts your earning potential by helping sell homes faster at higher prices. For more information on home warranties, please visit HWA.

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