There is a conspiracy here in Southern California with homebuilders. You see, when you want to buy a newly constructed house, you can't just say, go in to the sales office, plunk down your good faith deposit, sign a few papers, and off you go. No, it's a dance here. A dance of the type that no one really wants to perform. I think secretly there is one person in charge sitting in his 2,000 square foot mahogany desk and slate tiled office laughing because of the 17 or so people that want to buy the five houses he is going to release for sale. I am getting ahead of myself though. For those non-SoCalians (Yes, it's a word!!), let me grant you your Bachelor's in Buying a House in SoCal, with a minor in Pre-Qualification and an emphasis on The Wait.
Here's a quick rundown of the process:
You visit countless, endless communities and finally find a house you are happy with. And when I say 'happy', I mean that is bigger than a breadbox and doesn't need at least $100,000 worth of remodeling. Hence the new construction we went after. And of course, even after we found said house, we still looked at about twelve more communities, just to be sure.
The next step to this mad dance is to get "Pre-Qualified". Now mind you, this is NOT the same as being pre-approved, it is simply a process by which they pull your credit, verify your income, make sure you don't have another mortgage out there somewhere (a trick they use to deter investors), and laugh hysterically at your application while imagining you selling your body parts on EBay to make this ridiculously high payment. Hey, who says bankers are stuffy?
Once you are Pre-Qual'ed, you go on a priority list. Which is basically a score card for who can get the most suckers reeled in for the week. I believe Vegas has a seedy betting room for the over/under on this one. And then you wait. And wait. And. Wait. See, the builder is trying to populate his Pre-Qual list, even though he knows damn well that he only plans on releasing maybe five or six houses, and the list is twenty or thirty deep.
We got Pre-Qual'ed about three weeks ago. And have. Been. Waiting. Can you tell my patience is running thin?
I have the sales office on speed dial. I call at least once a week. The Hub calls at least once a week. And sometimes, we call pretending we are strangers and just want to know if anything is getting released. Have I heard anything yet? Nope. Not a damn thing. Just that they "hope" that they will be released this weekend, and oh gosh, they thought they would release them last weekend. Yeah, that would have been nice.
So imagine this: people clawing and scratching to get a house. Clawing and scratching.
All for the privilege of a $3100 house payment. That of course, is with taxes, interest, HOA, and Mello-Roos.
I feel honored. Now just release my damn house already.