Rick Latta "has tried everything" during the past six months to sell his West Locust Street home.
He's held open houses, reduced the price several times, listed it in local papers and on real estate Web sites.
But still, nothing.
Enter a giant lime green banner above his garage that reads: 'Buy This House! No down. No bank qualify. No credit application.'
Latta - who owns a commercial janitorial company - is hoping the sign and some creative financing will finally lead to a sale.
He's partnered with a Manhattan Beach investor to offer a "land trust" sale, one that doesn't turn over the deed to the home for five years, but allows a new buyer to move in and make payments with nothing down.
"It's just another way (to sell the home) - and a lot of people are doing it," Latta explained to a couple touring his 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home Friday afternoon.
"It's another opportunity," added Valerie Smith, Latta's fiancée. "We thought: 'We're going to try it all.'"'
Under the trust agreement, Latta could not seize the equity that might build up over the five years, he said. Instead, the new buyer and the investor would split that equity.
The couple said they're also willing to do a conventional sale.
Latta is asking $367,000 for the home, down from the $435,000 he first listed. The blue-trimmed home has a pool, a 2-car garage and remodeled bathrooms and kitchen.
The two recently moved into a new home in Discovery Bay to be closer to Livermore, where Smith's two daughters attend high school.
Local real estate experts had mixed thoughts on the creative financing deals some sellers are offering in the slow market.
Larry Underhill, a Lodi real estate broker with 23 years experience in the business, said he had not heard of deals like Latta's.
But he said similar "contract of sale" deals - in which a seller makes a direct agreement with a buyer, without going through a lender - were extremely risky.
He estimated that less than one percent of all deals are arranged that way.
"I would warn people off it," he said. "I think it's too exotic for the average person to really grasp."
$371,000: This month's average sales price so far.
$318,000: Last month's average sales price for homes in Lodi and Woodbridge.
514: Total number of homes and condominiums that remain for sale.
47: Number of homes or condominiums that have sold this month.
33: Number of homes or condominiums that sold last month.
3: The average number of months a home has stayed on the market this year.
Source: Paul Mertz, Lodi real estate agent
Reducing your sale price and sprucing up your home are the two keys to a quick sale, he said.
"The trick is you've either got to be the prettiest home on the block or you've got to have the best price … because there are so many homes out there," he added.
Paul Mertz, past president of the Lodi Association of Realtors, concurred with Underhill about pricing.
"If a house is too hard to sell, the price is usually too high," he said. "If you get the right price, it's going to sell."
In Latta's case, he's already lowered the price quite a bit.
He's ready to begin his new life in Discovery Bay, and doesn't want to be paying two mortgages at the same time, he said.
"I'm to the point where I need to get rid of it," he said.
At least one real estate expert said creative deals can and do work.
Jaime Alvayay, professor of real estate finance and investments at California State University, Sacramento, said there are positives to deals like Latta's.
He noted that on the East Coast, residential 'lease backs' are becoming more popular.
In those cases - which are common in the commercial world - companies buy homes from people unable to make their payments and lease them back to the residents, giving them time to stay in their homes and improve their finances.
Without seeing Latta's land trust contract, Alvayay said he couldn't comment specifically on it.
As the market continues to flounder, however, more people are likely to make such deals, experts said.
"I think (Latta's deal) is also one of those creative arrangements that works for people under these circumstances," he said. "It's certainly one way out of the problem."