San Diego Housing Market News and Analysis
So I pulled the trigger: My buying experience in Temecula (long story)
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Submitted by newguy on May 31, 2007 - 7:23pm
So I pulled the trigger on buying a house. I know the market is going down and everything, but I wanted a secure place to live (sure, I could have rented). I just wanted to share my experience with you guys.
First of all, I was primarily looking in the Harveston area of Temecula. It's community, new-ness (is that a word?), and location were perfect for me. French Valley was too far, and Murrieta (the northern parts) were even further. Also, old homes were still way too inflated, especially after hearing the new home prices.
The first community I looked at was Charleston in Harveston back in middle of April. They asked us 420K for their 1900 sf home plus 25K in incentives (either for upgrades or buying down interest...395K/1900sf = $208/sf). At the time, I thought it was a good deal as I just went with a real estate agent around Temecula, and the only homes you can get for under 400K were about 1500-1800 sf with no granite table tops, no appliances, no new flooring etc etc. I thought about it, and was about to go with them until I visited the community right across the street the next week: Aberdeen. They offered us 428K plus 10K closing costs for their 2334 sf home. That's $179/sf.
Interesting. To me at this point, it seems like prices were pretty flexible. I went across the street the next week (end of April) to look at the Lennar homes (the Barrington community). Low and behold, they offered us 399K + 10K incentives for their 2434 sf home which closes in August. Since I didn't have a broker, I was able to have them pass on the broker fee saving to me. So the total became 392K+ 10K incentives. That's $157/sf. Going back to Aberdeen, they were very reluctant to budge on the price of 428K + 10K closing. However, after running my credit score (815) and seeing how I was putting 20% down, they offered us 390K (no incentives) for the house ($167/sf). This in my mind basically came down to which floorplan would be better.
I decided to go with Lennar's as the floorplan was fine for me and the price was cheaper (and you get a lot more included with the home than with Meritage's Aberdeen). So I signed the PA, put down my deposit and called it a day. The 72 hours to cancel the deposit came and went and I still felt somewhat good about it. Homes were still selling for $200-220/sf in Harveston, so I felt like I had a decent safetey cushion. The next weekend, I went to visit Barrington again to find out that one of their homes fell out of escrow (the house was already done being built). It was their 3063 sf house with "$27,000" in flooring upgrades. They told us it would be a firm 465K + 10K incentives. They also had two homes that haven't been sold in that phase with a closing date of June/July(same 3063 sf house minus the upgrades). Those homes were at a firm 455K + 10K incentives. To me, the extra 600 sf wasn't worth the 55-65K extra. The higher monthly costs of a 30-year loan wasn't worth it.
Being nosy, I asked Lennar about the empty lots behind my future home (as it would suck to have construction noises behind me in a year or two). Finding out they were Prescott homes (Lennar's biggest community in Harveston), I went to the Prescott office to see when those lots were going to be built.
Here's the kicker: they told us that there's a home for a July close date that they couldn't sell. For their 3668 sf home (their largest), their offer was 450K + 20K incentives. I asked them to pass on the broker fee savings to me and use 10K of the 20K incentives to lower the purchase price. The final cost: 432K + 10K incentives. That's $115/sf. At this point, I cancelled my PA with the Barrington home and have the deposit transfer to the Prescott home.
Before I did so, Barrington gave us a final offer of 409K + 10K incentives on their 3063 sf home. This was a LOT lower than what they told us last week of "455K + 10K firm". However, for the price, I stayed with Prescott.
So here I am, just purchased a new home in Harveston. 3668 sf, 6300 sf lot, new stainless steel appliances, new flooring, jacuzzi tub, etc etc for 432K + 10K incentives. I plan to stay in this house for at least 5-7 years. I know this goes against what you guys were all saying, but for me, I can afford it, the price was good, and I'll be here for awhile.
Hope I didn't bore you =)
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