Coldwell Banker's new promo 'extends' home-buyers' tax credit? Not exactly

Coldwell Banker's tax credit not so real
Coldwell Banker's tax credit not so real

To the unschooled eye, the Coldwell Banker's Buyer Bonus Sales Event may have you running to your nearest CB office. But we're not so sure the promotional campaign actually does anything that isn't already being done -- except maybe help keep the housing momentum going, which in itself is nothing to sneeze at.

"The Buyer Bonus Sales Event will allow participating Coldwell Banker home sellers to essentially extend the benefits of the (tax) credit," said Jim Gillespie, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker LLC. "Without restrictions such as household income caps, the Coldwell Banker Buyer Bonus Sales Event allows for greater participation for all home buyers. And our sellers have a unique opportunity to allow their home to stand out from the competition in the marketplace."

What CB is doing is asking its listing clients to commit to giving 3% of the purchase price (up to $8,000) back to the buyer.

But, as even Gillespie admits, the home-buying process is one of negotiation anyway. A seller lists their home for what they think it's worth. A buyer comes in with an offer of what they are willing to pay. The two sides negotiate. And one thing invariably negotiated is the price. So if you're a buyer who wants a 3% reduction up to $8,000, why not just ask for it when you make your offer? Additionally what buyers typically do to nibble away at the purchase price is insist that the seller cover the closing costs instead of splitting them. Buyers can also ask for appliances to be included, repairs to be made, and a "credit" be given to finish the landscaping, replace the roof or remodel the outdated bathroom and bring the electrical system up to speed. (A buyer's best friend is the home inspection, which provides a laundry list of things buyers can ask for all with the endgame of trying to squeeze every last nickel out of the seller.)