The house next to ours went up for sale in late July. It was listed – for reasons that we don’t fully understand – as a handy man’s special.
We have watched a string of potential buyers come by the house. Some were patently landlords, and that’s a struggle. There are lots of tenants that are great tenants and would make great neighbours. Getting good tenants seems to be predicated on being a good landlord, and some of these people didn’t have a whiff of good landlord tendencies about them.
Those were the ones that we glared at. No, really. The neighbour on the other side and I strategized about this. If we were outside – and in late summer we often are – we would introduce ourselves to people looking at the house. We would ask them if they had questions, we would ask if they planned to live there or rent.
When they told us they planned to rent it out, we would tell them that this was a block with no rentals and that as a neighbourhood we had gotten very good at working with the police and the safe housing association at getting rid of slum landlords. We told them that we hoped we didn’t have to continue putting those skills to use. We weren’t even subtle about it.
I’m sure the realtors loved us.
It’s funny, you buy a house and you do it to get away from landlords and sharing common walls with your neighbours. At least, if you are Mr. Spit and I, this is why you bought a house. And then then house next to you goes up for sale and you realize that this really is a lottery after all.
We have a great block. We take turns mowing the front lawns and shoveling the walks. We watch out for each other, let each other know when we are going away. We share tools and food and we visit with the dogs on the sidewalks. We bring Christmas baking. We say hello.
I like it. I like my neighbourhood, but the neighbourhood will only be as good as the neighbours. Which mean that this lottery had me nervous.
We met one particular potential buyer and we liked him a lot. He’s a plumber, which is super handy in the neighbourhood, and he was a nice guy. He asked if it was a dog friendly neighbourhood, and we just smiled as Missy tried to lick him to death.
Then there was the time period when the sign changed to sold, but we didn’t see a person and we had no idea who bought it.
That guy, the nice one, turned up with his dad. He’s the new owner.
I think I’ll bake him some brownies this weekend.
A small offering to the good of neighbourly-ness because I think I won the lottery again.