Waiting to exhale. Haven’t been able to breathe since September. September 2017! That is when everything went to shit and we had to scramble, put our lives completely on hold, and start over from square one! I had thought I had done all of my due diligence. I researched the contractor we chose. I researched everything that entailed with putting a house on our dream property. What we couldn’t be prepared for was having our contractor go behind our back and try to steal that dream from us. Now I’ve thought about blogging about this for, well, over a year. And even though I was never going to use names because the HD is such a small community and they have children, and I have a conscience, but also because our dream can seem extravagant and even greedy to some. And even though I don’t feel I need to explain or defend what our plan is and what our goals have been all along I want you to know that our intentions are not rooted in excess, but rather, investment and security, thru these turbulent times.
I will never forget August 31, 2017. It was the day our contractor announced they have betrayed us. We had a plan from the very start. We were always buying three separate lots. However, because of my research and frugality I pushed to hold off on buying the third until escrow closed on the home and build. We expressed this every single time we met with the contractor, so imagine our delight when his wife, who just so happened to be sitting in the office one of the times we were excitedly talking about our dream plan, said that she was the realtor for that lot. What kismet, how serendipitous. I truly felt as though the universe was affirming our decision. Well, after our contractor going quiet on us for over 30 days as we were waiting for critical information that was needed from them in order to open escrow, he finally called me back, but it wasn’t about anything to do with our home, that we were paying him for, no it was to say we had a new neighbor. And guess what it was him and his family! Now mind you, I have text messages with his wife stating for her to please let me know what we need to do to secure the property from her client. We will pay a down payment or anything to lock it in while we were going thru the escrow. But she decided to forego her oath as a Realtor and sell it behind our back to themselves. I mean shady as fuck, right?! This is when we were called greedy, by the way. We were called greedy by the very people we entrusted our dream to who ended up stealing it from us behind our back. When he called to tell us they bought it, it had already closed. They owned the lot. It started to make sense why they stalled our project and went quiet on us for the normal cash escrow time of 30 days. I expressed to him that what they did, especially his wife, was inappropriate, if not illegal. He freaked and must’ve consulted lawyers or something because he quickly decided to sell it to us for what he paid for it. I verified this thru public information. However, we were not prepared, nor did we really want to pay for this property at this time, it was going to change the parameters of the loan we were trying to acquire. But we wanted to take care of this right away. There was no way in hell I was going to be neighbors with people who stole from us. And yes I consider it theft. So after scrambling and a lot of sleepless and stressful nights, we bought the third lot solidifying our plan. It took the entire month of September before we knew we were rid of those shady people. But we couldn’t breathe yet. We still had no home. We are now back to square one.
So I went back to what I do best, researching. But this time we went about it a little more carefully. We took our time. We went to the manufacturing plants of the manufactured homes we were interested in. And we settled on a really great one! And we found a great dealer who introduced us to JJB contractor who would be doing all of the site work. Well now we are getting into the holiday months of Oct-Dec. We needed the SCE plans to add to the contract in order to open escrow. Well try getting a hold of those people during the holiday months. And in January when we finally did receive the plans, it was all based on the third lot from our previous contractor. Nothing of what WE actually discussed with him, or what WE wanted. It was another blow. But after working with our new contractor and SCE we were able to finalize the plans that will work for us.
So finally by June, yes JUNE, we were ready to move forward. Between January and June it was a blur of dealing with my mother in law’s estate, working on new financing, and finalizing the home we wanted to order. We open escrow and order the appraisal. Everything was going good and then CRASH, again. We weren’t going to appraise. Having a manufactured home is great if you have cash, but financing one, even the most beautiful where you would have to convince someone it wasn’t a stick built, is one of the hardest things to do. And the area we were putting it at, even though its ruralness is exactly what makes it priceless for us, is also whats makes it extremely difficult to plop a house on.
Now at this point, June 1st marked our one year anniversary of living in the motorhome. And for everything to come crashing down, again, at this time was devastating. As the most hopeful one of my honey and I, I was finding it hard to maintain hope and remain positive. Just a little crazy we started becoming. Do we give up? Do we cut our losses and sell off the lots and…….. I can’t even finish that statement because every single time we feel like giving up, we head up to our lots and instantly reminded of why we are doing what are trying so desperately to do. These properties are just mind boggling gorgeous. With all the wildlife we crave. And just waiting for us to start our farm life there.
Now by this time, our new contractor that we were working with on the second manufactured home had kept telling me that they can build us a real stick built home. I just kept brushing it off thinking there was no way in hell we could afford a stick built when a manufactured home was pushing our financial limit. But as soon as I was forced to hear I was blown away. Not only could JJB build us a real home, it would include a garage, fireplace, central heat and air, the shower we wanted, the floor plan we desired, all within budget. I wanted to cry, I did cry. I still cry thinking about how rad Eliana and JJB are. Their work is beautiful but its their demeanor, work ethic, and just plain compassion that I absolutely love about them. So we did the quickest pivot we have done in the process so far. Picked a floor plan and went to work on funding. After working with a couple of lenders we settled on US Bank. We went thru the escrow process once again. Starting July 20th we were expecting a 60 day escrow due to construction loan constraints but did not close until November 8th! Almost 4 months. But we finally closed. FINALLY!
I’m a firm believer in timing and everything happening for reason or even some help from beyond. We don’t always see what is good for us but if it keeps getting cosmically slapped out of our hands I gotta think it was for a good reason! And now we have the opportunity to have our dream home on our dream land. A real home. And we have made such good friends with our contractor who is willing to go above and beyond for a couple of dreamers!! And we have learned some tough lessons on what we are truly made of and knowing we will fight for everything we deserve. And we do deserve this, OUR American dream. It may be too much or even too little for some, but for us its perfect!
And now we can actually move forward and there will be more stress, more delays, more setbacks, I am sure of it. We are dreamers but not delusional. We even bet on the bank and submitted plans to planning before securing funding, just so we didn’t have to wait 12 weeks after escrow closes in order to start the process of building. We have already had corrections and should be approved within a week or so, hopefully. Again, coming into the holiday months I am not expecting too much. I am just happy to be able to breathe again! Stay tuned……