Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fancy a vacation?

This unremarkable 3 bedroom house in Falls Church, Virginia is listed on Craigslist for $510k. Like so much property, it is massively overvalued. Nevertheless, it would not merit a posting, were it not for the somewhat unusual incentive offered by the realtor.

The realtor is offering a one week holiday at an RCI resort, provided the sale is completed before June. Before you start digging into you back pocket for your check book, the realtor tagged on those infamous words "terms and conditions apply". It is one of those offers that states that travel is permitted only the 31st of any month beginning with the letter "j", providing it doesn't end with the letter "y".

Before you even think of vacation, sober up with a fifteen minute scan of the bubblemeter. Prices are tumbling in Northern Virginia. The market peaked last summer and for the foreseeable future, it is heading in just one direction.

Here is some free advice. First, don't buy any real estate until you are confident that prices won't tumble. In practice, that could be years away. Second, if you do feel the temptation to buy. Keep the transaction as simple as possible. Avoid incentives. If you want a vacation, find something on the web, and pay for it with your credit card. While it is debatable whether Realtors are good for anything, it is fairly obvious that they don't make good travel agents.

I found this one myself while surfing during office hours. Got to get back to work now. If you see any other daft money losing realtor incentives, send them here.

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