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Builders offer price promise to boost sales

By JUDY STARK
Published June 13, 2006


To get buyers to climb down off the fence and sign a contract instead of waiting for prices to fall, Lennar and US Home are offering this promise: Buy now and if prices drop before you close, we'll honor the lower price.

The "Guaranteed Pricing" program also promises that if prices rise, buyers are guaranteed the price they agreed on when they signed the sales contract.

"It's a way to give buyers some assurance," said Mike Southward, Tampa division president for Lennar. The program covers any home closed by Nov. 30 in Lennar and US Home communities from Tampa to Hernando County and from Pinellas County east to Polk County. The two companies sell about 2,800 homes annually in that territory. US Home is a division of Lennar.

Southward said buyers have been holding back, seeing ads in the newspapers that offer a $10,000 incentive one week and a $20,000 incentive the next, reluctant to commit lest a better deal be around the corner. He said he knows of no other builders in this area who offer a similar guarantee.

The program applies to the base price of a house sold to primary owners - not to investors or those who do not intend to occupy it. Southward offered this example: "If you bought a house today for $260,000, and in August we dropped the price on that house to $240,000, you'd get the $240,000," he said.

"We're betting that our prices won't drop by being willing to guarantee them."

Times Homes editor Judy Stark can be reached at stark@sptimes.com.

[Last modified June 13, 2006, 07:02:34]


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