Buying that home on layaway

It used to be that people only used the layaway plan to buy apparel, gifts, and maybe toys at Christmas. Now, that self-imposed form of every-so-often savings is a new sales tool for selling homes.

One West Coast organization of custom home builders is offering a plan along this line which calls for prospective home buyers to do this: select a style they want built, commit for it in the orthodox way, then put $1,000 into an interest-bearing trust account toward its purchase. During the actual construction of the home, the buyer agrees to add monthly deposits of at least $ 500 to the account.

The ultimate idea is to have the total deposit account serve as a 10 percent down payment at the time the house is completed.

As an added incentive, at the close of escrow if the layaway account amounts to the required down payment figure, the builder will then match the home buyer's deposit funds with a bonus of up to $7,500.

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