Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Road to Verrado - Part 2

So ... we weren't going to be building our dream home in Verrado. We just left it at that.

We didn't make any plans for a new house, and decided to just renew our lease when it expires in early 2010.

Then, in May we got an e-mail announcing a new builder in Verrado - Monterey Homes. We were intrigued, as all but one builder in Verrado had pulled out. And we didn't like any of the homes the other builder offered.

We visited Monterey's new model home that weekend, and really liked it. But still had no plans to build any time soon.

In the meantime, I had signed up to receive e-mail notifications of homes that went up for sale in Verrado. So that went on for a few weeks ... and I typically ignored the e-mails.

But one day ... it happened. The gorgeous, highly-upgraded, across from a park in the "main street" area of Verrado model home for the house we originally wanted to build was FOR SALE! I knew this home well ... I'd been to it countless times. And it was available!

I contacted the realtor who had been sending me the listings ... I contacted a mortgage broker and got us pre-qualified ... and within a couple of days, we made an offer. The house was drawing a lot of attention, and so there were multiple bids. Within a couple of days, we were told to make our "highest and best offer." So we upped our offer as much as we could ... and waited.

We knew it was a long shot ... and Jonathan proclaimed that when the deal didn't work out, we were NOT house hunting. I agreed, and we waited.

Long-story-short: we were outbid and the dream to own that gorgeous house ended. As did our house search ... or so we thought.

From that point on, we paid closer attention to those e-mails coming in that announced new listings in Verrado. They were all "short sales" and foreclosures at amazingly low prices. So low, in fact, that as soon as they came on the market, people were submitting bids - sight unseen! A home very similar to the model home we wanted came on the market ... but there were immediate bids on it, so we didn't bother.

Twice, we braved 100+ degree temps to look at a few houses. Nothing really made us want to submit an offer, and besides ... we just couldn't keep up with the rush of offers.

An example of what kind of deals are in Verrado right now: We visited on small home, about 1,900 square feet. Nothing at all special about this home - even the back yard was minuscule. Back in 2004 when it was built, the house sold for $414,000. When it went on the market as a short sale a few weeks ago, it was listed at just $161,000 (and the previous homeowners took out ALL the doorknobs, the thermostat, the stove, microwave and the garbage disposal). We didn't really care for the house, and didn't even consider bidding on it. But ... wow ... that is a $253,000 price difference in a matter of just a few years!

So, after seeing a few homes in our price range in Verrado, we decided our best option all the way around was to just build a new house. And the builder was offering some amazing incentives:

1. 6% cash back at closing if we used their preferred lender (which covers nearly all of our closing costs, and lots of upgrades!)

2. A free washer and dryer (wooohooooo! That's what I'm talkin' about!)

3. 1/2 off the lot premium (and we picked a fabulous corner lot across from a park, and with mountain views!).

4. A $50 gas card (which came in very handy today!)

And let's not forget that interest rates are still very low!

Honestly, the only downside is that we don't qualify for that $8,000 tax credit that is currently being offered to "first time home buyers." To qualify, you can't have owned a house in the past three years. And we have.

So we signed the contract on 7/11 and construction will likely start in the next couple of weeks! Currently, we expect the house to be finished in November some time (the longer the process takes, the better, as our lease in the house we're in runs through January 31).

Stay tuned! :)

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