Package Deal: A House and Free Rolls-Royce

Home seller's unusual incentive is parked in driveway

By Cory Lopez
|  Friday, Jun 5, 2009  |  Updated 10:15 AM PDT
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Package Deal: A House and Free Rolls-Royce

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Benson's Rolls Royce may not be as shiny as this one, but the price is right: free when you purchase his house.

A Florida man is so determined to sell his house in a lousy real estate market that he is offering a free Rolls-Royce to whomever signs on the dotted line.

Real estate investor Jim Benson, 81, put his four-story, downtown Orlando house on the market over a year ago for $699,000. But the response has been so slow that now he's ready to give up his 1967 Silver Shadow as well, as a freebie with the home. Giving up the car won't be easy: He bought it while visiting a friend in England more than 30 years ago.

"I'm trying, at my age, to downsize both in my life and my activities," Benson told ABC News.

Benson's son, Tom, who is helping out with the sale, said that they have to be creative in advertising the house in this competitive market.

And the Bensons aren't the only ones brainstorming over how to sell a house. Even though the real estate market is showing signs of a rebound, sellers are going to other extremes, such as tossing in a free boat or more modest throw-ins like free parking, new furniture or flat-screen televisions.

These free extras have become particularly common among homebuilders. Scott Nagel, the vice president of real estate operations for the online realty company Redfin, said builders lose money every day their property languishes on the market.

Benson's real estate agent, Margaret Barnes, said offering up the Roll-Royce seems to be generating more interest in the house.

"The philosophy is that it's going to bring attention," she said, "and bring some people to take a look who might not have otherwise."
 

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