Buyers Camping Out To Buy Reno Area Homes

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Penny Herring camped out three nights for a chance to buy a new house in a Reno-area subdivision. She wasn't alone.

Citing frustration over trying to find a home amid a strong seller's market, Herring arrived Wednesday to find 10 other parties in line to buy one of 14 houses in Northfield's latest phase north of Reno.

The campout ended Saturday for her and at least 15 other parties, some of whom arrived at the site as early as Monday and pitched tents.

"I was determined to get one of the homes," Herring, 38, told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "At first I thought it was crazy to camp here, but you get to know your neighbors before you move in."

As Nevada continues to be the fastest-growing state in the nation, she and others are camping out, entering lotteries and putting names on waiting lists to get a leg up in a hot Reno housing market.

At the upscale Somersett development in Reno, builders of 11 projects get hundreds of calls each month from potential buyers, marketing director Michele Attaway said.

"When we first opened our development a year and a half ago, we had a campout the day before and we had one for the April 2 opening" of another development, Attaway said. "They were camping to reserve a home site and to buy a house."

Gold Dust at Reno's Prospect Village conducts lotteries before putting potential buyers on its list, which numbered 242 families as of Friday.

Herring said she and her family have been on three waiting lists for six months, but became concerned after learning of a $30,000 price increase.

"That's pretty scary," said the first-time buyer from Sun Valley, who postponed surgery to wait in line at Northfield. "That's why I'm here three to four days early."

Eric Rasmussen, 25, and his fiancee, Misty Roath, 31, became fourth in line at Northfield after arriving Tuesday.

"Everything else is a lottery," Rasmussen said. "You're not guaranteed a house."

The 1,656- to 2,290-square-foot homes in Northfield in Cold Springs start at about $170,000.

General contractor David Howe put out portable toilets for campers and let them take tours. The veteran home builder said he's never seen people get in line so early.

"For a house? No. For a Cabbage Patch Kid? Yes," Howe said.