Neighbour Lottery

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.

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6 Responses to Neighbour Lottery

  1. Mr. Spit says:


    And yes, it is such a trial when this happens.

  2. a says:

    We were so hopeful on our last neighbor lottery. Our previous neighbors had been the absolute best. They sold to a family with kids of my daughter’s age, so we were hopeful. But when our old neighbor was leaving she said she hoped we would like them but that the wife was “weird.” Unfortunately, she was being polite. Fortunately, they have since moved, and we are up for the neighbor lottery again. Unfortunately, they have priced their house way too high for the market, so it will be a long time before we have new neighbors.

    I hope you have won the neighbor lottery, and that this one is one who stays a long time and is always as nice as his first impression led you to believe.

  3. loribeth says:

    We’ve had good neighbours & bad neighbours. For awhile I was starting to worry about our street, so many houses & yards that just weren’t being well cared for. Our house is by NO means a showplace, but we try to keep the lawn mowed and the weeds at bay, which is more than I can say for a few people hereabouts. :p Lately, though, I’ve been encouraged. I guess these things go in cycles…

  4. anonymous says:

    Wow…can I move there? ‘Coz for 7 years, several moves, nothing but SHITTY neighbors. (Pardon the language, I know this is a family show, but there’s no other way to describe it.) And when I say move there, I mean just for the 3 months of the year that you are able to reclaim from the tundra and the permafrost – July, Aug, & Sept. I have been to Edmonton in June and January and it snowed both times!!!!!!

  5. Mali says:

    Great news. I don’t live on a street as such – well, I do, but it is on the side of a hill, so we rarely see our neighbours, as our houses are all on different levels of the hill. So it doesn’t bother us too much. I can understand though why you would be so concerned about what type of people might move in next door if your house is right next to theirs.

  6. Neeroc says:

    I’m currently waiting for the lottery ball to drop on our back yard neighbours (last ones were awful, new ones are fixing the place up, but can’t tell if they’re flipping or staying) and the house immediately beside us. I’ve got my fingers crossed to the point of cramping. We lost the lottery at our last house (bunch of Jersey Shore wannabes moved in – it was a horrid half year and certainly lit a fire under our moving plans.)
    Also, loved the baked good we received when we moved in, I’ll be sure to pay it forward.

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