Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Apartment-buying drama

Ma Lei's orphaned cousin, who was raised by their grandfather, recently bought an apartment and got married. This was really something, as he's even younger than Little Brother, and as far as I can tell his job's not as good. Everyone but Ma Lei likes his new wife. I haven't met her, so I haven't got an opinion, other than that Ma Lei is usually right about people.

It's been almost a year since he bought the apartment, and it should be ready for him to pick up the keys and start finishing the interior soon. (Recall that Chinese apartments do not come finished, so one typically spends six months after getting the keys waiting for plumbers, drywall hangers, electricians, etc. — or doing the work oneself.) He's paid a chunk of money to the local government for the property taxes, but now there's some hangup with the loan. The builder came to at least several of the buyers, wanting money that normally would have been paid by the bank. Ma Lei doesn't know what's wrong, but she's worried that the builder is not on the up-and-up.

So her grandfather just gave the kid about $2,300 — a lot of money for him — for the builder. Ma Lei was livid that the kid asked their grandfather for help, and livid that he would give money when he shouldn't have done so. It's possible that he just spent both his own savings and a huge chunk of their grandfather's savings on what will turn out to be a scam.

Apparently, too, the kid's wife comes from a family that's loaded. This makes Ma Lei even more angry. Why on earth is the kid begging money from their grandfather, who didn't even have a decent belt to hold up his pants until we gave him one, rather than asking her parents to help them out.

Life inside a Chinese family: always interesting!

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