In a effort to contain housing costs for the current economy, to keep his subcontractors working and, most importantly, to get some much-needed free advertising for his business, Pat Neal Homes is selling houses at cost.
In an ominous tone, he warned, "We traditionally raise prices to reward people who buy from us early," he said. It was unclear whether or not the prices had been raised since the morning papers had been delivered and people had read the story.
It was also noted that "realtors, as hungry as builders in this environment, appeared excited by the prospect..." Not exactly a feeding frenzy, perhaps, but the appearance of excitement. And in this town, it's all about appearances.
The homes are something new for the area, although some experts expect to see more and more of this type of structure popping up on the Suncoast. They are perfect for homebuyers who can take their home with them when they are forced to move out of state when they lose their job and can't find another one in Florida.
Construction managers for Neal Homes indicate that the new 3-bedroom, 2-bath homes will all have wood-burning fireplaces, a large picture window, spacious rear deck and low miles. Also included in the price is the rock used to block the front wheel, which is required for hurricane compliance.
Neal admits to taking some heat for using foreign parts in his new home design, but professed that he would be unable to offer such low prices if forced to use only American-made. He emphatically stated that he will not use any Asian manufacturers, however, due to the continuing concerns about Chinese drywall in them.
"Hurry in today; prices this low won't last forever!
State Farm Insurance also plans to circumvent their withdrawal from the home insurance market in Florida by offering auto insurance policies to the owners of this type of dwelling.
Robert Bartolotta, city manager of Sarasota, admitted that he had heard of the new Pat Neal Homes offering and that is what swayed him to push for the downtown parking garage. "If this concept takes off, that parking garage can be turned into a high-rise condo in a matter of weeks."