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By spaskov

After homebuyer demand took a nosedive, home builders still needed sales to keep their businesses alive. So they got creative: Some businesses offer signing bonuses and discounts while others will now throw in free appliances, according to Even custom builders are running promotions to drum up sales and lure buyers who are on the fence back into the market. Buyers who do make the leap are finding that they can save thousands of dollarsturning a potentially terrible time to buy a home into a financially smart decision.

Mike and Crystal Green couldn’t have picked a worse time to look for a new home. In mid-February, Mike was offered a promotion to be regional sales manager at Chatsworth Products, a computer security company. The catch was the couple would need to relocate from California to the Houston area by April 1.

The Greens accepted an offer on their West Sacramento, CA, home two days after it went on the market in early March. But by then, the Greens didn’t feel safe flying to Texas to check out houses given the coronavirus pandemic. States across the country were urging workers to stay home if possible and practice social distancing when out in public to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

That wound up working in their favor. The Greens went online and took a virtual tour of a home they liked. It was in a new development with more than 300 homes in the Houston suburb of Conroe, TX, called Grand Central Park. They spoke with the sales representative for builder Drees Homes and were able to choose custom details—and got a discount on a home originally listed at $420,000. The 2,800-square-foot, four-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom house is located in one of the nation's hottest markets.

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