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Published: Friday, 9/15/2006

Homeowner throws in his Corvette to tempt a buyer

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Bob Richard shows off both home and car near Whitehouse.
Bob Richard shows off both home and car near Whitehouse.
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Dropping the price of his 2,960-square-foot house by $50,000 to $439,000 didn't help. Neither did offering a $10,000 bounty for 30 days to the real estate agent who could find a buyer for the gated suburban Toledo house on five wooded acres by the end of today.

So, retiring businessman Bob Richard is giving the buyer his six-speed 1999 Chevrolet Corvette convertible worth $24,000 and throwing an open house party Sunday.

Just three potential buyers have seen the Providence Township house near Whitehouse since it went on the market in June, all within the first 10 days.

"We've got one of the best lots, I think, in northwest Ohio," Mr. Richard told The Blade. "But I can't get anybody to see it."

Cars, appliances, and other perks are more commonly used in large metropolitan areas to lure buyers, especially to new houses, but the local market for homes in Mr. Richard's price range has cooled, said Michael Miller, president of Sulphur Springs Realty Inc. in Toledo. The firm has Mr. Richard's listing.

"He's trying to pull out all the stops," Mr. Miller said. "It's just a hard market."

The tactic is novel for the Toledo area, said Ray Henderson, president elect of the Toledo Board of Realtors.

"That is very unusual," he said. "I've never heard that one before."

Mr. Richard and his wife, Sandy, spent $415,000 in August, 2005, on the two-story house with four bedrooms, a tennis court, two ponds, a swimming pool, indoor hot tub, and other amenities. They put $40,000 worth of windows, doors, and other upgrades into it since, he said.

In April, Mr. Richard decided to sell J.F. Enterprises Inc. of Perrysburg, which owns 10 area Barney's Convenience Stores and 360 Fitness in Maumee. That deal is nearly complete, but he still has the house to sell before the Richards can move to Colorado, he said.

Rocky Colorado roads are no place for a sports car anyhow, he said.

"It's not fair to my poor baby Corvette," he said.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:

jmckinnon@theblade.com

or 419-724-6087.



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