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Car Dealer Tactics on the New-Home Lot

Won-Ki Choi holds his son Jungwoo, 2, as his wife Janice wipes tears of joy from her eyes after hearing that their $429,999 bid won in a silent auction for a Fairfax County home normally priced at $536,449.
Won-Ki Choi holds his son Jungwoo, 2, as his wife Janice wipes tears of joy from her eyes after hearing that their $429,999 bid won in a silent auction for a Fairfax County home normally priced at $536,449. (By Susan Biddle -- The Washington Post)

Builders said the auctions and sales have produced generally positive results.

During one weekend last month, K. Hovnanian held a "Deal of the Century" sale with price reductions of up to $100,000. The company sold more than 2,000 homes nationwide, said Dee Minich, group senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Up until Oct. 31, the company is having a "BOGO," or buy one get one free, sale. For every option you pay for, such as hardwood floors, you'll get another one of equal or lesser value free, the company promises in full-page ads.

Ryland's Disler would not disclose how many homes the company sold during the silent auction. But he said the number of contracts was up about 40 percent in the company's Washington area communities from the average during the six to eight weeks before the auction.

"I think it kind of accomplished some of the objectives but wasn't as robust as I wanted it to be," he said.

At East Market at Fair Lakes, the Chois ended up being the only bidders, although there were plenty of potential buyers touring the four available homes.

Even though there wasn't much suspense, Janice Lim Choi cried when told that she and her husband had won the auction. They had looked at dozens of houses over three months. "The price is very reasonable," said Won-Ki Choi, a federal government worker. Then he turned to a Ryland employee. "Don't you think the price is okay?"


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