Selling like hotcakes

Published 10:47 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The ABT Custom Homes Get Pink with Sentara Breast Cancer Awareness House in Homearama, above, already has a buyer. The buyer, a breast cancer survivor, inspired the theme for the house.

There’s still a month before the Homearama houses make their official debut to the public, but some of the homes already have buyers.

Three of the nine homes that will be featured during Homearama, which takes place Oct. 15-30, already have owners who will move in after thousands parade through the homes during the showcase.

The homes that have sold are the ABT Custom Homes’ Get Pink with Sentara Breast Cancer Awareness house, Sasser Construction’s Craftsman Cottage and Stephen Alexander Homes’s Tranquil Living house.

Email newsletter signup

“The reason people buy Homearama houses is because it is a crazy-good deal,” said Stephen B. Quick IV, with Stephen Alexander Homes. “There’s always a great value out there.”

The nine Homearama houses range in size from 2,800 to 4,000-plus square feet and are priced at $550,000 and up.

Quick said the Tranquil Living home sold about two months ago, just as they were framing the house, to a family who found out about the Homearama houses from their real estate agent.

“We walked them out there and showed them the house and tried to paint them a picture as best as we could,” he said.

Quick said the family was looking for a lot of bells and whistles in their new home, and the real estate agent thought they would get what they wanted for a good value by buying a Homearama house.

Rick and Michelle Buonfigli purchased their Homearama house even earlier in the process, before the ground had been displaced.

The Buonfiglis lived in the Riverfront previously, and after living in Chesapeake for a year, they decided they wanted to go back.

In April, the couple got in touch with ABT president John W. “Chip” Iuliano about building them a home.

“We’ve owned one of his homes before, and he’s just amazing,” Rick Buonfigli said. “He builds great homes.”

When Iuliano heard from them, Buonfigli said, he asked them if they would be interested in buying the house he was planning for Homearama.

Rick Buonfigli said he and his wife were a little concerned about thousands of people trampling through their home before they even get to sleep in it, but they decided it was worth it.

“A lot of amenities we’ve gotten, we wouldn’t have gotten if it weren’t for Homearama,” he said. “You get upgrades you wouldn’t usually get, and it makes (the home) more affordable.”

For example, he said, the family wouldn’t have had the time or the money for an outdoor kitchen or swimming pool if it weren’t for the discounts offered for Homearama homes.

“They understood the extra value that you get with a Homearama house,” Iuliano said.

Iuliano said buyers get more for their money in Homearama houses than in other houses.

“I think with the value and extra amenities, you’re going to get a whole lot more house for your dollar in the Homearama sale,” he said. “If someone is in the market looking, these houses are going to show better than whatever competition might be out there.”

Because they purchased the home before the event, Rick and Michelle have been able to make decisions about their house, including ones about paint colors, appliances and the type of blinds.

The couple even influenced the breast cancer awareness theme.

“They were looking for a theme for the home and since (Michelle) is a breast cancer survivor and October is breast cancer awareness month, it seemed like a good theme,” Rick Buonfigli said.

After selling his home to the Buonfiglis, Iuliano said, he signed on to build another home because he is confident the homes in the Riverfront will sell.

He said he thinks the area in which the Homearama homes are built greatly affects the way they sell.

“Location has a lot to do with it,” he said. “I’m one of the builders because I’m sold on the Riverfront. I’m more confident about selling a home in the Riverfront than in other areas.”

He added he thinks the 2011 Homearama at the Riverfront will be just as successful it was when the area hosted the event in 2001.
“I think this will be one of the more successful years,” he said.