The quest for the American dream too often brings a rude awakening for home shoppers in Southern California, where housing costs wreak havoc with most families' budgets.
But the romance of the home is powerful, even in the expensive Southland, and the dream of homeownership remains strong for hundreds of thousands of Southern Californians.
The Times would like to help you realize your dream--whether it's a starter home, a roomier moveup or a retirement place.
The newspaper is sponsoring the "Time to Buy" sweepstakes during May, with a prize of $50,000 to be used for a down payment on any new home offered by the 12 participating homebuilders and financed by Coast Federal Bank.
"Homeownership is a special and vital part of the Southern California lifestyle," said Larry Kline, the newspaper's director of classified advertising. "The Times is delighted to help make the dream of homeownership come true for our contest winner."
The "Time to Buy" contest is easy to enter:
Pick up an entry form in the sales offices of the participating homebuilders, at any branch of Coast Federal Bank or you can clip it out of the Real Estate section of The Times, where it will be published each Sunday in May.
Fill out the coupon and mail it to us. Enter as many times as you want; just put each entry in a separate envelope. If your name is drawn, you have three months to qualify for a mortgage and open escrow on your new home.
The "Time to Buy" winner can pick his or her dream home from among dozens of new communities in every Southland county and in five Northern California counties. And the price range is just as wide as the geographic spread--$75,950 to $1.25 million.
Here are the builders participating in the "Time to Buy" sweepstakes:
Inco Homes: Seven projects--four in San Bernardino County, two in Riverside County and one in Los Angeles County. Price range: $79,900 to $163,990.
Kaufman and Broad Home Corp.: Thirty projects--five in Riverside County, four in Los Angeles County, two in Orange County, one each in San Bernardino, Ventura and San Diego counties, 16 in Northern California. Price range: $77,990 to $270,950.
Lewis Homes of California: Twenty-seven projects--11 in Riverside County, nine in San Bernardino County and seven in Los Angeles County. Price range: $75,950 to $413,990.
William Lyon Co.: Twenty-nine projects--20 in Orange County, five in San Diego County and four in San Bernardino County. Price range: $139,000 to $500,000.
Presley of Southern California: Eighteen projects--eight in Riverside County, five in Orange County, three in Los Angeles County and two in Ventura County. Price range: $108,990 to $750,000.
Russell Packard Development: Two projects in San Bernardino County. Price range: $136,990 to $164,990.
S&S Construction Co.: Eighteen projects--nine in Orange County, eight in Los Angeles County and one in San Diego County. Price range: $119,900 to $1,245,000.
Shea Homes: Five projects--three in Orange County, one each in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Price range: $179,500 to $845,300.
Standard Pacific: Twelve projects--10 in Orange County and two in San Bernardino County. Price range: $150,000 to $550,00.
Taylor Woodrow Homes: Six projects--four in Orange County and two in Riverside County. Price range: $140,000 to $379,000.
UDC Homes: Ten projects--six in Riverside County, two in San Diego County and one each in Orange and San Bernardino counties. Price range: $131,900 to $387,900.
Urban West Communities: Five projects--two in Orange County, two in Ventura County and one in Los Angeles County. Price range: $409,000 to $960,000.
Coast Federal Bank, which will handle the financing of the winner's new home, offers a wide range of mortgages, including fixed-rate loans starting at 9 1/8% and adjustables starting at 7 1/2%
And during the monthlong "Time to Buy" sweepstakes, Coast is offering free pre-qualification certificates for home shoppers good for $200 credit toward loan fees. The certificates are valid for 120 days.
For more details, please see K11.