Residential builders are offering tens of thousands of dollars in cash incentives and upgrades — such as free appliances, blinds, premium flooring, or garage-door openers — to help offset the sticker shock of newly built homes. Financial carrots also include paying buyers’ closing costs, covering some of the down payment, or paying to reduce the mortgage rate for a year or two. Home builders in some markets are experience a slowdown in buyer traffic due to rising prices and higher mortgage rates. Incentives “were a huge factor in my decision,” according to Lori March, who bought a $295,000 house in Wake Forest, N.C., in August after the builder agreed to cover $4,000 in closing costs and throw in ceramic tile and hardwood floors in place of standard carpet and vinyl flooring. | Read More