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Home Hopefuls Stage Valley Springs Sit-In

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Several people sat just inside the entrance to Gold Creek Estates Thursday, waiting for the chance to reserve a future home in the new Valley Springs subdivision.

Some had shown up on Monday, to get a good spot on the list of potential buyers for the seven as-yet-unbuilt houses that would be released Saturday.

With any luck, some or all of them would join 13 others who had pre-qualified for financing and put down $5,000 to reserve homes in an earlier release. None has yet seen a completed model of the houses n ranging from 1,430 to 3,056 square feet n they may be buying. Models of four of the development´s six floor plans currently are under construction.

“We hope to have the models completed within two months,” sales associate Patricia Perreira said.

Becky, a young woman from Sacramento who did not wish to give her last name, held the No. 1 spot on the list. She, her husband and two little girls came here to buy a home because they found the community attractive. And her grandmother “lives right up the road,” she said.

Becky´s grandmother, Caroline Luster, stopped by later to visit. “When we moved (to Calaveras County), they weren´t building here or we may have bought here,” Luster said.

The Lusters had a cabin above Sonora and had often visited the area. They decided they wanted to move away from the Bay Area, where “there was too much of everything n people are rude on the roads, rude in the stores,” she said. “We looked all the way from Lincoln to Coulterville. We wanted to be out of the fog, but we didn´t want to shovel snow.”

After retiring, they moved to San Andreas last year. “The best selling point up here is all the lakes,” Luster said. “And, I like to see the stars at night.”

On May 22, Gold Creek took reservations on 13 homes in its first release. Reservations on Gold Creek homes are first-come, first-served. “We had people camping out all night (May 21),” Perreira said. “Everything was gone by 3 p.m.”

A reservation is a non-binding agreement giving the holder an option to buy. Either the potential buyer or the seller may cancel a reservation, for any reason, with the deposit being returned to the depositor. Pre-qualification for financing is done through Donna Mendoza, loan officer for Ambassador Funding in Valley Springs.

When people started showing up Monday of last week, developers of the gated, planned community set up a new way for potential buyers to establish the order in which they would be seen.

Instead of camping out on the premises, the customers were put on a list in the order they showed up. Then, each day n except Tuesday and Wednesday, when the sales office was closed n they, or their representatives, had to be present between noon and 5 p.m. to retain their places on the list. Perreira took a roll call each day when she opened the office at noon and again when she closed at 5. Those who were present when the roll was taken kept their spots. Those not present lost their positions, or fell to the end of the list, behind any newcomers who may have arrived in the interim.

“We are not honoring people who were here Tuesday or Wednesday, because they were not supposed to be on the premises,” Perreira said.

Jim Scribner of Fremont held the third-place position on the list Thursday. “We have a trailer up at Avery,” he said. “We like the area, but don´t want to deal with the snow.” Scribner said he likes to fish. “And, the area is full of it,” he said.

Until two weeks ago, Scribner was a sales manager for a Bay Area dealership. He intends to go to work for a dealership here, once he and his wife get settled in, he said. His wife is selling her beauty salon, and plans to open another here.

“The house isn´t for me, it´s for my mom,” said Renee Ianni of Ione. Ianni´s mother lives in Rail Road Flat. Ianni and her brother, who lives in Elk Grove, are moving her “down the hill.”

“We want her closer to us, Ianni said. “My husband and sister-in-law don´t like driving to Rail Road Flat.”

Terra Fraser was sitting in her mother´s stead. “She´s at work,” Fraser said. “I´m doing the hard work n she just signs the papers.” Fraser will not even see the new house until she comes home from Tennessee, where she soon will be attending college.

Bob and Rita Luther of Discovery Bay joined the others “just in case.”

“We´re on the list, but not sure if we will be moving here. It´s really a tough choice,” Bob Luther said. “We´re just hanging out. If we make it ´til 5, we may be back tomorrow n or move down on the list.”

The Luthers, who said they are not in any hurry to relocate, said they have been looking in other parts of the county, including Angels Camp and San Andreas, as well.

“We had been here before they put the road in,” Bob Luther said. “When they started here, we became interested. The homes here started at $270,000 in the first release. Now, they are going in the 300s.”

Saturday, potential buyers, with those who had waited the longest getting first choices, reserved all seven of the house-and-lot combinations in the second release.

“Four people had to go home without,” Perreira said Monday.

The project currently is in its 25-home “Phase 1.” With Saturday´s release, 20 houses already have been reserved.

“I don´t know when the rest will be released,” Perreira said. “We´re hoping for the end of October, first of September, but in the construction business, you can never be sure.”

At this time, eventual build out of the three-phase project is expected to be 220 homes and a recreation center, she said.

Calaveras Enterprise story by John Hall. For more Calaveras news, click: