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Entire State Puts Homes on ‘Clearance’ Sale

"This week the cost of buying a home is coming down, way down," begins the radio ad.

The big home builders do it all the time; holiday sales, weekend sales, special end-of-the-year clearance. Now the state of Maine is doing it.

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Paul Souders | Photodisc | Getty Images

With the Spring season kicking off with a whimper, the Maine Association of Realtors is taking a cue from the builders and launching their own one-week "Clearance Event." That's right, at least $10,000 off of participating existing homes. They started the week with 115 sellers signing on, and within a few days that grew to over 900. Some discounts are even larger.

"We've been on the market for a couple of months, so by joining the clearance even, it puts us back out in front of some of those people that maybe weren't thinking about it a few months ago, but are now," says seller Lisa Lee, who dropped her five bedroom, Cumberland home's price $10,000 from $507,000. "You've got to be competitive, again, it's a high price point in this market, so it was worth taking the loss."

The median price of a Maine home is $159,450 according to the MAR, so $10,000 is a big chunk, especially for first-time buyers who are fighting a very tough credit market.

Realtors in Maine, and pretty much everywhere else in the country, will tell you today's market is all about price.

"It's a price more than a beauty contest," Mike LePage, President of the MAR, told me. Location and condition are distant second and thirds.

CNBC Investor Guide to Spring Real Estate 2011 - See Complete Coverage
CNBC Investor Guide to Spring Real Estate 2011 - See Complete Coverage

Is it a gimmick?

Sure.

But these types of gimmicks work, and in today's market, with so many headwinds against buyers, namely tight credit and zero confidence, a little tailwind is probably worth it.

Note: I want to add a big shout out to Maine reporter Marnie MacLean New England Cable News who originally reported this story yesterday and provided me with much of the material.

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.comAnd follow me on Twitter @Diana_Olick