I’ve progressed through the grieving phase and have moved from devastated to angry! I’ve been waiting for almost a year to build my home. This week the builder sent back my deposit—he’s had for almost a year—and informed me his homes and my “expectations of timing and level of customization are not compatible.”
The only thing not compatible is I didn’t fall for his song and dance about “getting me in by Christmas,” and I didn’t write him another check.
Every month, since last August, his representative told me they’d be ready to build “next month.” Next month turned into another month until last month—May—the woman I’d been communicating with said it was time to “choose my flooring.” Flooring? I don’t even have a floor plan, just a $1,000 deposit to get in line to be able to choose a lot on an unbuildable pile of dirt.
A month ago, the builder asked me to meet him onsite. He apologized for the “woman” who no longer represented his homes. As we sat in his truck he said, “As one cancer survivor to another,” he wanted me to trust him; that he knew I’d put up with a lot of BS since last August, and he wanted nothing more than to start over and make things right for me. But first, I needed to choose my lot and write him another check.
I wanted to say, “Do you think I’m stupid?”
Instead I told him in preparation for our meeting, I’d called the head of the City Planning office to check on the approval process for his homes. The City said before he could even sell a lot—much less build—he needed to have a real street, curbs, and a completed infrastructure, then have it tested and approved by the City, and he wasn’t even close to having that done. Woah! He was not happy! He claimed he’d never heard of that person from the City. Yesterday, I paid the City Planning office a visit. BTW, it’s slightly bigger than my bedroom and is comprised of four people.
A few weeks later, another man from his office asked to meet me there, again. This time, they’d had a surveyor mark the lot they wanted me to buy with orange spray paint. I will say they’d made progress since the last time I was there. A giant, concrete drainage culvert had been poured… across the street from what would have been my front door. So that’s why he was going to give me $4,000 off the lot price!
Here’s part of my email to the builder:
“I trusted you. Any “expectations of timing and level of customization” came from you and people who represented you. You were well aware the only reason I sold my home was for the sole purpose of being financially able to build one of your homes. You knew I couldn’t afford to stay in my home–AND build one of yours at the same time–so I had no choice but to sell my precious home… the same home I shared with my husband who died there, on Christmas, five years ago.
Home means everything to me. Online, I write, often, about “home.” My readers are women around the world who are cheering me on as I look for a new life after James’s death. It’s not just me they’re cheering on, or will be devastated and angry for, but themselves as well. They see themselves, or what may be themselves, in me. Baby Boomer women are a sisterhood: You hurt one of us, you hurt us all. Everyday, women like me, are downsizing and doing our best to protect what retirement money we have. Many widowed and/or single women have no one, but ourselves, to advocate for us, and every one of us fears being homeless, or having someone take advantage of us like this.“
Be cautious, girlfriends. We’re far from being our mother’s generation or having their naiveté. Even so… Beware.