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When a home alone won't do

Developers tack on unexpected extras like a commmunity yacht or college fund to get noticed.

Published February 6, 2007


Prospective new home buyers are learning they don't have to settle for low-dough incentives like granite countertops.

Now available in the Tampa Bay area: college tuition with a new home purchase and a condo-cum-yacht deal.

"I've never seen incentives like this," said Carlos A. Fuentes, president of the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors, who has been in the business for 20 years.

BellaSol, a condo development under construction in Apollo Beach, is using a 50-foot Navigator yacht as the lure for its 81-unit project. Buy a condo, ranging from $450,000 to about $1-million, and get a chance to use the community yacht.

Jim Farmer, who is handling marketing for BellaSol, said he thought the yacht offer, now being touted in national magazines like Yachting, would make the project stand out.

"Even if you're not a real boater, who doesn't like to go out on a yacht?" he asked.

Every BellaSol homeowner will be assessed maintenance and insurance costs for the 11-year-old boat, which is being donated by the developers. Price to use the yacht, which comes with a licensed captain, will start at about $150 for a sunset cruise.

Elsewhere, home builder Taylor Woodrow will contribute $11,000 to the Florida Prepaid College Plan on that buyer's behalf for each new home buyer in the company's six Tampa Bay area developments.

Lonnie Herman, vice president of sales and marketing for the company's Central Florida division, said it used to be that having Taylor Woodrow as your builder was enough incentive to buy.

But with inventories bulging - there were more than 17,000 condos, townhomes and single-family homes on the market in Hillsborough County in December, compared with 7,800 a year earlier, things have changed.

"At least this incentive has a long-lasting effect," Herman said.

Kris Hundley can be reached at or (727) 892-2996.


[Last modified February 6, 2007, 09:35:29]

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