By John Schaffner

Stating that “the fear psychology that exists in the market today” is keeping would-be buyers from purchasing condominiums, Tom Bell, the CEO of Cousins Properties, has introduced an aggressive plan to allay buyers’ fears and draw them into purchasing units in 10 Terminus in Buckhead, a Cousins project.

“There are buyers in the metro Atlanta area that would like to own condos and would like to buy condominiums today,” Bell told a group of some 50 real estate sales agents gathered on the 32nd-story rooftop patio of the penthouse unit at 10 Terminus, located in the Terminus development at the corner of Peachtree and Piedmont roads.

But “people are afraid to make a purchase,” he said. “So we tried to find a way to eliminate the fear that exists in the condo market today.”

Here is how the Cousins Assurance Program works, as outlined by Bell:

• Because Cousins owns 10 Terminus free and clear, the company will guarantee the equity in a buyer’s condo for the first three years of ownership.

• While banks offer interest rates around 6 percent, Cousins will finance the condo for a 4 percent rate.

• While banks require down payments of more than 20 percent on jumbo loans, Cousins will finance the condo with an initial 5 percent down payment.

• Because many potential condo buyers have homes to sell in a difficult market, Cousins will offer homeowners the opportunity to move in immediately with 20 percent down and no payments for a year while they sell their current homes.

The program applies to any unit at 10 Terminus but for now is limited to the first 25 buyers.

Cousins Properties claims to be the first U.S. developer to guarantee a condo buyer’s equity for three years while providing a financing option with a low down payment and a low interest rate.

“Simply discounting the product doesn’t help,” Bell said. “If you discount 15 percent, the buyer will wait for you to discount 30 percent. We believe in the quality of 10 Terminus and have resisted lowering its market value.”

Condominiums at 10 Terminus start at $300,000 and go to $3.5 million for the top-floor penthouse, which includes the 4,000-square-foot deck. Average unit prices range between $600,000 and $800,000.