Long & Foster Adds Job-Loss Protection
People worried about losing their jobs don't buy houses. That's why rising unemployment always puts an extreme drag on home sales; both the jobless and the employed-but-worried stay away from the market.
Long & Foster Real Estate is trying to coax the employed-but-worried into the market with a new job-loss protection program. Agents throughout the company are just getting training on the new "Buy Confident" program, which will be rolled out shortly through all of the company's offices in the mid-Atlantic. Some new-home builders have started offering such protection on their sales, but it's rare for the coverage to be offered on resales marketed through a giant brokerage such as Long & Foster.
- Sellers who list with L&F can choose to add the coverage to their listing.
- Cost is $550, paid out of the seller's funds at closing.
- If a covered buyer involuntarily loses his or her job during the 24 months of the mortgage, the plan pays up to $1,800 of the mortgage per month for up to six months. That's a maximum payout of $10,800.
- It's available on all types of homes, including condos and vacation or investment properties.
- If you've already listed with L&F, your agent can still add the coverage to your listing.
- Buyers can find out if a home comes with job-loss protection by looking for comments written on the Multiple Listing Service entry, or by keeping an eye out for special placards on "For Sale" signs.
- Buyers should not assume all L&F listings carry job-loss coverage.
I asked Glen Phillips, chief risk officer for Long & Foster, why the brokerage wasn't making the coverage available automatically to all its listings. He said coverage is one of several things sellers can do to enhance the competitiveness of their home in the marketplace, such as buying a home-repair warranty or upgrading the landscaping. "We don't have the opportunity to dictate to our clients what they spend money on," he said.
Sellers -- Do you think it's worth $550 on top of your commission and other expenses?
Buyers -- Is the coverage enough to overcome job-loss jitters?
April 16, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: Buying , Mortgages , Selling , The market | Tags: employment, home buyers, home buying, home sellers, job loss, mortgage, selling
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