In an apparent effort to get prospective buyers off the fence as the spring selling season begins, Meritage Homes Corp. (NYSE:MTH) has announced a 99-day closing guarantee in selected communities.

The guarantee will allow buyers to get in under the June 30 closing deadline imposed by the new federal home-buyer tax credit so long as they make the purchase by late March. All sales must occur before April 30 in order to qualify for the tax credit.

Meritage also appears to be making the move to compete with existing homes after the tax credit expires.

"Many homebuyers prefer a new home personalized to their specifications, but may turn to used homes to avoid a long construction process," said Steven J.Hilton, chairman and CEO of Meritage, in a statement. "With our 99-day guarantee, they can choose to build new and know that they can close on the home in less than a hundred days."

The 99-day promotion will enable buyers to choose the Meritage floor plan they like and select which options or upgrades they desire. Meritage will expedite the process by making design consultants available to help buyers in its design centers.

The company said it has reduced its average time from sale to close by 40% in the last three years, and has proven its ability to condense the construction cycle for its Simply Smart(TM) series and many other home plans.

The guarantee is subject to certain terms and conditions, including buyers completing their selections as scheduled. The sale can be closed within a few days after completion and final inspection.