In an unusual effort to reassure prospective buyers that land values won't necessarily fall as a result of the current economic downturn, a Baltimore-based development team is offering a "money back guarantee" on land it has for sale in Anne Arundel County.
Daniel Stone and Charles Weinstein of Stone and Associates are making the offer for 17 custom home sites in the second phase of Cranberry Woods, an exclusive residential community off Generals Highway near Annapolis.
"If for any reason whatsoever, at the end of two years, the buyers of a lot want their money back, we will accept the deed back and refund their cost. It's that simple," Mr. Stone said.
To ensure that the funds will be available to repurchase the property, Mr. Stone said, he has agreed to place the entire purchase price in an insured escrow account payable to the buyer at the end of the 24-month period.
"We're confident that the value of these lots is only going up, not down," Mr. Stone said.
"And we'll put our money where our mouth is."
The offer is a sign of the extra measures local developers and builders are beginning to take to head off buyers' fears that property values may fall as a result of the recessionary economy.
Owners of the Colonnade condominiums on University Parkway in North Baltimore See REFUND, 3J, Col. 1REFUND, from 1Jlast year offered to buy back individual units after two years if the purchasers were unhappy with them -- again to overcome hesitancy on the part of buyers.
Mr. Stone said he made his offer "to eliminate the paralysis that arises from fear that property values will go down.
"There's interest," he said. "But many people are postponing making a decision because of uncertainty about the market.
"What we're endeavoring to do is to say to them that there is no reason for [fears about falling real estate values] to inhibit them from making a decision," Mr. Stone said.
The 220-acre Cranberry Woods development is located off Generals Highway between River Road and Crownsville Road, adjacent to the Belvoir Farms development.
Mr. Stone and Mr. Weinstein began marketing the first phase of 32 lots in late 1987 and sold all of them by 1989.
The 23 lots in the second phase range in size from one to four acresand are priced from $149,000 to $249,000.
Champion Realty began marketing them last year, and six of the lots already have been sold.