Sunday, August 27, 2006

House Update #2

We attended a cool BBQ on Saturday night at David's boss's house. They are totally, insanely rich. They have an enormous house in Calgary's Pump Hill, a creepy but sickly affluent neighborhood full of experimental architecture and 15,000ft2 houses.

David's boss's husband is head lawyer for some big Alberta oil company, so their house is insanely beautiful. Like a ski lodge for 50, built for a small family. Their son's bedroom was larger than my condo. And it appears a small forest of walnut trees sacrificed their lives for their foyer and 30ft cathedral ceilings. I always thought "you can buy stuff, but you can't buy good taste". I was wrong. You can buy exquisite taste. They also have art, which they refer to by the artist's name. Is that a Jackson? No, it's a Moss.

I stand corrected.

Anyway, the food and house and his boss and everyone were lovely and fun. We actually had a great time. The wine flowed. David's colleagues are nice, interesting people.

Then, at 8pm we broke rank and went to see Prospective House #3, the one I was so sure was The One. It wasn't.

The house tour started well. The lot was lovely. Huge mountain ash and spruce trees in the front. Brick and wood construction. The brick was in excellent repair. The front roof looked good. The garage was a heated, over-sized double garage, finished with new dry wall. Once inside, the house looked good from the front door. Blonde, old hardwood floors that had been refinished but showed some age. Taupe walls. Two fireplaces. The homeowners followed all the rules by keeping it stylish and neat and with all the lamps glowing in the evening light. They had a Scrabble game on the table. The bedrooms were small but pleasantly decorated. Then the trouble began. The main bath was weirdly renovated with Corian counter-tops and a bathtub that didn't have a shower. Odd. The main bedroom was small and the windows were old, hard to open. They had weird security bars on the bedroom window. Our realtor swears there is no crime in this neighborhood, but it was creepy. The master bath was dismal, scrubbed clean but grimy. Crying for renovation.

The kitchen was small and the cupboards old and run-down. They looked like they needed to be replaced. The sink was old. In general, the kitchen seemed small and sad. The kitchen window was huge and lovely and faced the west back yard. A closer inspection of the walls revealed a lot of wear and tear and dents covered by the fresh paint.

The basement was nice, finished but not fancy. An old furnace that needs replacing. The downstairs shower had mold. The back deck was kind of crummy. And from the back deck, the back roof could be seen. Shingles were a mess, curling up, not visible from the front. Funny. A roof job needed. The back yard was well-treed and large (700m2 lot), but the new 100ft long fence was only 4ft high, not the usual 6ft. You could see into the alley. Not the privacy we want.

But the clincher....the neighbor was out back partying with his friends. They were talking loud, drunken, partying. As we stood on the back deck, an argument broke out. Expletives, yelling, cursing. Our realtor was mortified ("look over here, come back inside...").

After seeing the house and thinking it over, we decided it was too much money at close to $500k with all the work needed. Too bad, because the neighborhood was lovely and there was a park across the front as well, that wasn't mentioned. But we were horrified with the neighbour's behaviour. Pure white trash, the shit we hear enough of in the middle of the night in our own downtown, full-of-renter neighborhoods. They saw us on the deck but continued hollering and cursing, beers in hand.

As we sat in the car to talk, the skinny, shirtless, big-haired loser jerk neighbor comes out of his house, sits his beer in the road and opens the back of his rusty Jeep. Goes in the front, turns on the stereo, loud. Obnoxious music. It's dark on the street but Asshole Neighbour is cranking his tunes. You can tell he rules the street. He keeps looking at us. He knows his neighbour is selling. He shows no respect. I imagine everyone on the street wants to burn his house down, with him in it.

I think we might have considered the house if it wasn't for him. We were happy he was there so we saw how loud and obnoxious a neighbour can be. The neighbour you ask to keep it down and he tells you to "F" yourself, that he can do what he wants in his house. Welcome to the neighborhood.


  1. ohh, that's too bad, I was really hoping this house would turn out better for you!

    The neighbour things is crazy, Jamie and I are SOOOO happy that we moved away from the world's worst (ok, after hearing about this particular neighbour, maybe he's tied for worst) neighbour in PEI. Since then, I have never underestimated the pain a bad neighbour can cause.

    Good luck with the next house!!

  2. ugh. i'm glad you got to see the neighborhood as it really is; wouldn't it be horrible to have bought it and work so hard at renovating it, and then realize what a jerk of a neighbor you had?

    i hope the next few are better!!

  3. Better you wre able to see the neighbors up front and personal right away, than if you had moved in and got to know thiem in a new way. I can only think of the movie, "The Burbs," which is hysterical in comparison, but I guess you gotta feel for the people trying to sell, right. Have no fear, the right place IS out there. It will let you know when you get there. We are very fortunate with our neighbors, it's the traffic I hate! 35mph zone, and you'd think we were butted up to the thruway! No joke.

    good luck to your hunting

  4. In the San Francisco Bay Area where I live, theose same houses would selll for at least twice as much. Frightening but true.