11/10/08 10:41am

Map of Royce Homes Neighborhoods

What’s a failed homebuilder to do when it hurriedly goes belly-up . . . but still has a huge chunk of inventory on hand?

Welcome to the Royce Builders Already-Gone-Out-of-Business Home Sale!

How’s it work? Well, if you’re a lucky real-estate agent, you receive a mysterious message with a couple of attachments listing the more than 300 homes in the Greater Houston area the . . . uh, former company still has available! In 49 different neighborhoods around town! And all at discount prices!

Included with the list: a map of the neighborhoods Royce graced (shown above), demonstrating the company’s vast exurban spread.

Of course, the email message doesn’t come from Royce Builders, because Royce is . . . no longer with us. (And, to judge from the comments coming into Swamplot from recent Royce buyers, employees, and vendors, it is sorely missed!) The list comes instead from an email address on the h-smith.com domain. That hyphen, of course, stands for “ammer.” Didn’t Hammersmith Financial, Royce’s sister mortgage company, also go out of business?

But the property list is so much more fun than a collection of random way-far-out addresses: