Everything was fine, until it wasn’t

By Herb Lagois

It was a tough lesson for a couple of homeowners. I’ll never forget it.

It was September and we were building them a home. They were managing the project. We had been hired just to do the framing and siding. 

No sooner had we started framing than it started raining. It kept on raining – and raining.

At last, as we were nearing completion, the weather started to get better. I recall being on the roof; it was finally sunny. I looked down to see the homeowners walking up the driveway. 

It should have been such a happy moment. The rain had stopped. The sun was shining. 

But when I looked closer, I realized the woman was crying. Tears were streaming down her face.

I climbed down from the roof and met them at the front of the house. I asked what was wrong. 

“We have to move,” I thought I heard the woman say.

“Oh,” I said, now thoroughly confused. “Where are you going?”

 “Not US,” she answered. “We have to move THE HOUSE!” 

The house was 80 feet long. 

Still in tears, the woman walked back down the driveway.

I asked the man what was going on.

He told me they had purchased the property from the neighbouring property owner. Through the negotiations, they had become friends.

They decided to locate the house together. They found the perfect place, on top of a small rise, surrounded by trees, with lots of drainage. Everything seemed fine.

Until that is, the couple received a phone call from their surveyor.

The surveyor said there was good news and bad news. The good news was that the survey was done. 

But the bad news?  The house was five feet onto their neighbour’s property.  

Okay, they thought. Simple. We’ll just purchase the five feet from our neighbour, our new friend. 

But there was a catch. Greed kicked in. It was going to be really, REALLY expensive.

It was cheaper to excavate a new hole (which was in a swamp), pour a new foundation (did I mention the house was huge?), cut the trees to move the new house over, then demolish the first foundation. And by now it was starting to snow. 

I never did find out what happened to the friendship, but I could guess.

The moral of the story? There’s nothing wrong with doing things yourself. But only if it makes sense. Imagine how much money and stress that couple could have saved if they had hired professionals to help plan and execute their project. 

Solid expertise and reputation matter sometimes more than you might think.