By Christina B. Farnsworth. Bruce E. Sutter has many fans, even among those who have yet to use Builders Auction Co., in Houston. His is the first firm to make a business of auctioning model-home furnishings, most of which are out-of-date and unsuitable for new models.

Lennar Homes, Houston division, was Sutter's first client about seven years ago. "We did not want to store model-home furniture and felt we could get a fair return auctioning it," says division president Don Klein. "We build approximately 3,400 homes in Houston and have 75 to 80 models."

"We really feel he's helped our business grow, allowing us to focus on other things," Klein says. Other clients include the Dallas division of Centex, and David Weekley Homes, Houston.

Sutter shows up with security, sound, and computer systems. He sells everything from sofas to kitchen accessories--and takes credit cards. Accessories usually bring 75 percent or more of retail value and are often sold to buyers living in the community who want something from the model that wooed them to buy.

Happy buyers often simply carry their winning bids home. This auction was of Coventry Homes, Grand Lakes Community in Katy, Texas. The sellers' premium is typically 25 percent (deducted from the sales price and paid to the seller within 10 days). The buyers' premium is typically 12 percent (added to sales price and paid by the buyer). And best of all, it solves a builder business concern--going, going, gone.