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Baltimore Sun: Bridal Registry Item -- New Home

November 29, 2011

Add new homes to the list of gifts you can register for as you're planning a wedding.

Greenbelt-based Bozzuto Homes announced yesterday that it has launched a bridal registry to allow friends and relatives of engaged couples to contribute to their down payment. The company says it will match up to $15,000, with its contribution going to closing costs.

The first couple that signed up is buying a home in Ellicott City.

Homebuilders appear to be moving in this direction across the country. 1-800-Registry says it is partnering with more than 500 builders on its new "home registry" program. And Bozzuto said it decided to pursue its own registry after seeing a demonstration at a builders' show.

"We thought this would be a good idea," said Bruce Rosenblatt, Bozzuto's director of sales.

I'm curious whether guests will see down-payment registries as a request for cash rather than a purchased gift, since appeals for money are typically frowned upon. Cathy Leaning, Bozzuto's senior director of marketing, thinks people will categorize it as a true gift that "demonstrates that the giver has given it some thought and really wants to give the bride and groom something meaningful to them."

"This is almost like a double gift ... because Bozzuto will match it," Rosenblatt added.

Here's how Bozutto's registry works:

Couples have to ask to sign up at the very start of the homebuying process, so it's important to disclose your intentions immediately. You must be engaged before signing a contract to buy and either married at the time of settlement or able to provide proof that you've applied for a marriage certificate.

What about civil unions between same-sex couples? "We would honor that, absolutely," Rosenblatt said.

Bozzuto, which builds in Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia, has four developments underway in the Baltimore region -- Ellicott City, Fulton, Towson and Baltimore (the Uplands on Edmondson Avenue). The company will be starting a project in Annapolis early next year.

What do you think of a registry aimed at the home rather than items to put in it? This piece about the 1-800-Registry service suggests that couples with relatives willing to pay for a pricey reception would be better off foregoing and putting that money toward the down payment.