Gift registry wedded to Web

A San Francisco Bay Area real estate firm sets up a service for soon-to-be-newlyweds to register for housing, wedding gifts, and cash on the Web.

2 min read
Watch out, Macy's. The newest place for high-tech couples to register for their gifts may not even be in your ballpark if they're looking for housing in Silicon Valley.

Cornish & Carey, a residential real estate firm serving the San Francisco Bay Area, has set up a service for soon-to-be-newlyweds to register for housing, wedding gifts, and cash on the Web.

Launched in April, the service enables couples to register with the real estate firm for housing needs and have Aunt Jane go online to find out what they'd like to receive as a wedding present--as long as it's at least $100 (cash or gift).

If you're puzzled as to why a real estate firm would offer a gift registry online, consider that the Bay Area has earned the title of having the priciest housing market in the United States, with the average house cashing in just over $310,000. People are scrambling to buy homes in a tight market, where final sales are almost always above the asking price.

So when a gift-giver goes to the Cornish & Carey site, he not only finds out what the couple wants in its home, but, more importantly, the actual house that will surround those gifts. Cornish & Carey has made it easy for cash advances to be made to the couple to help with a down payment by offering online credit card services.

Cornish & Carey president Dennis Moreno said he wasn't thinking of the expensive housing market when the bridal registry idea came to him. "I was shopping at Macy's, and that's where it came out."

But, Moreno added, "There are people who give substantial amounts of money to newlyweds for specifically buying a house. So it's not out of the question."

So far, the registry has about a dozen clients who have received dummy gifts but no actual presents, Moreno said, though he believes the couples have probably received cash as a result of the site.

Although working in high-tech Silicon Valley may prove lucrative for young couples, they have a hard time dishing out what it takes for the housing market, said Larry Klapow, a real estate broker who leads Silicon Valley Real Estate, an online guide for Bay Area housing shoppers.

"The sellers are looking for the safest offers they can take, and the highest, of course," Klapow said, which can knock newlyweds out of the competition.

Even if housing prices drop dramatically and couples are able to easily buy homes, Moreno is hoping the site will one day compete with the likes of Macy's bridal registry.

"I hope that it's a place where people will register their wedding information or home desires," Moreno said.