Saturday, September 16, 2006

Builders get creative

From the Wall Street Journal:

New Home-Buying Tricks

Home builders have a new trick to try to sell you a new home: They will help you get rid of your old one.

Faced with falling sales, some builders are helping would-be buyers spruce up their current home by bringing in professionals who advise them on what furniture to get rid of and tell them whether they should rip off the wallpaper. Others are offering to make payments on the buyer's old mortgage (or the new one) in an effort to close the deal.

There is also renewed interest in so-called buyback programs: The builder, or a broker, agrees to buy your current home, for a preset price, if it turns out that you can't sell it.

The offers are coming both from local builders and national firms. For instance, Pulte Homes Inc. recently started pairing its customers with professional "stagers" who sweep in and do things like remove window coverings and touch up the paint, and covering up to $2,000 of the cost of the service. The program is available in about a dozen markets, including Detroit, Indianapolis, Sacramento, Calif., Tampa, Fla., and Washington, D.C.

In Phoenix, Lennar Corp.'s U.S. Home division is offering a program in which customers who sell their homes through Coldwell Banker pay 3% instead of 6% commission on the sale of their current home. (To make up for that, Coldwell Banker is paid a 3% commission for the sale of the new home.) In Detroit, Toll Brothers Inc. will make principal and interest payments of up to $2,500 a month on a buyer's new mortgage for the first six months, or give the buyer a credit equal to that amount at closing.

"Everyone is trying to be creative," says Larry August of Pacific Pride Communities, a central California builder. With so many homes on the market, selling an existing home is a "huge obstacle for anyone looking to purchase a new home." In some cases, Pacific Pride is making mortgage payments on customers' old homes for as long as six months.
In the Northeast, K. Hovnanian Homes, a unit of Hovnanian Enterprises Inc., often pays to have a customer's existing home appraised (a move also designed to ensure that the property goes on the market at a realistic price). In some cases, the company will also arrange for the customer to get a lower mortgage rate, pay brokerage commissions on the sale of the existing property or pick up several months of mortgage payments.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

More and more gimmicks

Just drop your prices thugs!

9/16/2006 08:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just like whores

9/16/2006 10:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do You Have a Flood Insurance in OCEAN COUNTY, NJ ???


Downpour floods much of Ocean County
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 09/16/06

Friday morning's heavy rain may have exceeded 8 inches in some parts of eastern Ocean County, flooding high schools in Berkeley and Stafford and closing major intersections. One police official said it was the worst downpour he had seen in more than 30 years.

Road conditions were so bad that police could not allow immediate dismissals from Central Regional and Southern Regional high schools.

Emergency workers scrambled in response to reports of stranded drivers and lightning strikes.

Monmouth County seemed to escape the brunt of the storm, even in communities that often face flooding problems. No problems were reported by police in Atlantic Highlands, Belmar, Brielle, Deal, Highlands, Monmouth Beach, Ocean Township, Sea Bright, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, Spring Lake Heights, and Union Beach.

In Ocean County, two Lavallette police officers were treated for smoke inhalation after lightning sparked a house fire.

No serious injuries were reported in the storm, which National Weather Service meteorologists said erupted when an upper level low pressure center moved slowly over Ocean County, turning it into the epicenter of Friday's rainy weather.

The average rainfall in the county today, "is probably 2 to 3 inches . . . Dover Township down into Lacey and Stafford was hit with the heaviest rain, with about 6 to 8 inches," said Lee Robertson of the weather service office in Mount Holly.

"In 32 years, it was the heaviest, fastest downpour I've ever seen," said Seaside Park Police Chief William Beining. "Thank goodness the bay was low, because it allowed the town to drain."

Ocean County officials said Friday evening that they were dealing with undermined roads in Berkeley and Stafford, and crews were expected to be making repairs into the night. County Roads Supervisor Stephen Childers said Mill Creek Road in Berkeley and Nautilus Drive in Stafford could be closed today while crews assess damage to the roads and make repairs.

Childers said on Mill Creek Road the combination of water rushing over the road and pressure eroded 4 to 5 feet of earth under the blacktop.

Childers said crews from the road and bridge departments were assessing damage so temporary repairs could be made.

"They will most likely install some sort of sheathing on the side of the road and fill it in with dirt so it holds until a permanent fix can be made," Childers said.

On Nautilus Drive, the roadway was compromised near Southern Ocean County Hospital.

"The drainage in the area was done by a contractor and we are not sure if the pipe gave way or the soil was just washed out from the massive amount of rain we had," Childers said.

Childers said street sweepers were out late Friday cleaning up debris and said additional sweepers were hired and will be on duty today.

Overall, "The area from Lacey north to Pine Beach and Beachwood seems to have been hit the hardest," Childers said.

Drivers on the northbound Garden State Parkway couldn't exit in Berkeley because flooding inundated Forest Hills Parkway at Exit 77, Mayor Jason J. Varano said.

"It's like there is a black cloud over the Bayville section of the town," said Bayville Fire Company Chief John Anderson, whose 25 volunteer firefighters responded to 35 calls starting at 8:30 a.m. — including a possible lightning strike that set off a fire alarm at Central Regional High School, forcing 1,500 students to file out into the rain.

In Lavallette, a Washington Avenue home was struck by lightning, igniting the fire that sent two borough police officers to the hospital with smoke inhalation, Police Chief Colin Grant said.

Grant said a female resident of the home called police at 9:30 a.m. and said the house had been struck by lightning. Grant said the woman escaped the house safely.

The two officers, Frank White and Ryan Greenhalgh, entered the house and rescued a pet cat. White and Greenhalgh were later taken to Community Medical Center, Dover Township, where they were treated and released.

Grant said firefighters from Lavallette, Seaside Heights and the Ocean Beach section of Dover Township responded and extinguished the fire. Grant said he was unsure about the amount of damage the home sustained.

Berkeley police and emergency workers rescued eight people from stalled vehicles, including the driver of an empty school bus on Cranmer Road, Anderson said.

Firefighters pumped 5 to 6 feet of water from the basement of the Crystal Lake Healthcare facility, after water from the lake in front of the facility backed up into the basement, he said.

Stafford police said Route 72 remained open, but emergency officials were posting signs warning drivers of high water.

Jan Scavo, a Barnegat resident, said her car stopped working after she tried to take it through that area.

"I came through a number of puddles," Scavo said. "Every puddle was deeper."

Donna Meizinger, 54, of Barnegat said she mistook a culvert at Route 72 and Nautilus for a parking lot entrance.

"I was trying to come to the pharmacy here, and I pulled in over here, which I thought was a road, and it wasn't. The water pulled me in," Meizinger said.

She said nurses from a nearby doctor's office pulled her out of her vehicle, which was roughly three-quarters underwater. A group of people passing by in a pickup truck stopped and towed her vehicle from the culvert.

As of about 4 p.m., Stafford police Capt. Charles Schweigart said his department had received 22 reports of stranded drivers but said that no one appeared to have any serious injuries related to the storm.

Southern Ocean County Hospital in Stafford remained open all day, but facility officials temporarily requested emergency responders to divert to other hospitals because of the poor conditions of nearby roads, spokeswoman Lisa Weinstein said.

In Barnegat, police Capt. Arthur Drexler said the worst flooding occurred west of the Garden State Parkway, and that roads in some communities off of West Bay Avenue were impassable.

On Long Beach Island, Long Beach Township Commissioner Robert Palmer said it was impossible to get on or off the island for a time Friday because of high water.

He said Long Beach Boulevard was flooded, as was Ocean Boulevard in the township. "I've never seen that," said Palmer, noting Ocean Boulevard is on high ground.

At least two sections of Route 37 West resembled low-lying streams Friday morning, as heavy rains made driving challenging if not downright dangerous.

While most drivers were able to plow through a small pond that formed off the Barnegat Bay bridge, one sedan got stranded before receiving a push from several concerned passers-by who were willing to stand in shin-deep water to make the rescue.

Flooding seemed to be less serious farther south. Police in Little Egg Harbor and Tuckerton said water was high in some places but that no routes had to be closed.

Staff writers Jean Mikle, Joe Zedalis, Nicholas Clunn and Michelle Sahn contributed to this story.

9/16/2006 11:08:00 AM  

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