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Ocean-View Homes for Under $200,000 Lure Buyers Into Camping Out in Line

Times Staff Writer

Thirty buyers, some of whom had camped out since Wednesday, lined up Saturday to buy a nearly extinct species: ocean-view homes in south Orange County for under $200,000.

Bill George, who, with his wife, was first in a line of prospective buyers for the San Clemente houses that will not be completed until the fall, said he now rents in Laguna Hills and was “very pleased” to be able to buy a home in the area.

Mark Cummings of Carlsbad, fourth in line, said the opportunity was worth camping out “for what I wanted and what I could afford.”

By Saturday afternoon, 30 of 33 home sites offered by the Gfeller Development Co. of Tustin had been sold, according to Linda Freedland, vice president for sales and marketing.

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“We’re pleasantly surprised,” she said. “We did not anticipate the intense interest.”

Freedland said about 30 people who had started camping out Wednesday later signed a camp-out waiting list that guaranteed their place in line and allowed them to stay or leave until Saturday.

“I would say 99% of those on the camp-out list bought,” Freedland said. “The No.1 reason why people purchased was the ocean view for under $200,000.”

Grumbling About Premium

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There was some grumbling by those who camped out and bought homes. They said that some of the early advertising for the houses said prices would start at under $150,000. On Wednesday, however, they said the company’s advertising literature stated that all houses with total or partial ocean views would be subject to an extra payment of between $10,000 and $30,000.

“That view premium (cost) could be as high as $30,000, and we weren’t going to be told immediately what the added cost would be,” George said.

“So some of us protested, saying we had to know the cost right now,” he said. “We signed a petition.” Because of the fuss, he said, the seller set a maximum premium payment for each lot.

“We’re not happy with the premium,” said Doug Purcey of Fullerton, who was second in line. “I feel I’m going to end up having to pay too much.”

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Questions about the exact amount of the premiums for each home, Freedland said, “didn’t come up until this morning (Saturday).” The problems were ironed out, she said, and, altogether “it’s been a real successful selling day. A lot of patient people, a real nice group of buyers.”


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