Sell This Mansion, Get a Benz

Virginia homeowner struggling to sell a house sweetens the deal for Realtors with a luxury car bonus.

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Sell a house, get a Benz? That's the proposition one Virginia homeowner hopes will finally get his countryside mega-mansion off his hands.

Recently retired and hoping to downsize, Ken Jenkins and his wife have struggled to sell their $1.9 million mansion, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and have now resorted to hanging a metaphoric carrot in front of the horse's mouth.

The carrot? A brand new 2012 C Class Mercedes-Benz worth about $38,000, which goes to the Realtor who sells the estate, on top of the usual commission. The idea is to entice real estate agents in Virginia and elsewhere to bring more prospective buyers through the property, hopefully resulting in a quicker sale.

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The Jenkinses have tried multiple times to sell their 3,800-square-foot Powhatan County, Va., estate, which features a heated pool, gourmet kitchen, and ceramic tile imported from Italy.

"I talked with him about doing something special," Susan Stynes, the listing agent with Long & Foster, told the Times-Dispatch. "He suggested a Mercedes. It blew me away."

Given the tough housing market landscape over the past few years, it's not uncommon for sellers to "sweeten the deal" when it comes to enticing tentative buyers to take the home purchase plunge. Many times, sellers will cover part or all closing costs, pay for necessary repairs discovered in home inspections, and even offer gift cards or tax subsidies, the New York Times reports.

[Read: Luxury Housing Markets Heat Up.]

And while it's not unusual for sellers to throw in a little something extra for selling agents,too—perhaps a $1,000 or $2,000 bonus or a gift certificate, Stynes said—incentives, especially of this magnitude, are more unique.

"I think it's a brilliant marketing tactic," Jason Saunders, associate broker at Keller Williams realty, told CBS 6 News. "It's not uncommon to be offered a bonus, but I've never heard of a Mercedes-Benz being offered as a bonus."

But for Jenkins, giving away a Mercedes is worth the peace of mind.

"We want to pull the door shut, take Beethoven (a 10-pound shih tzu), and not have to worry about it," he said.

mhandley@usnews.com

Twitter: @mmhandley