Tuesday, October 23, 2012

three times, still no charm

The owners of that first mobile home were eager to be rid of it.

They'd installed a rough but large sign on the fence that marked the line between the end of their property and the busy highway. They'd also advertised, as I mentioned, on Infomall.

The mobile sat, abandoned and ugly, next to a charming and brand-spanking-new home. Several stories high and even more respectable in contrast, it was probably the raison-d'ĂȘtre for the trailer in the first place: many families in this area have parked a trailer on their acreage while they built the house of their dreams. Now that this family had moved in, they seemingly wanted to negate the past. They wanted the mobile home gone by winter.

We visited it a second time before the South African Hottie felt right about making his bid. After factoring in the probable cost - $3,000 - of moving the trailer five-or-so kilometres to its new base, he was determined to get the trailer for $2,000 or less. In fact, based on how flexible the home-owner sounded when we called for permission to have that second viewing, we suspected we could get the trailer for nothing at all.

When we got back to the house we shared with the fighting newlyweds, the SAH made the call. He began the negotiations by asking again how much the owner wanted. But this time, instead of talking about how keen she was to have it gone, she told the SAH she had spoken to someone else who promised to come by with $7,000. He said goodbye and hung up, knowing she wanted a higher price now, not a lower one.

Even the SAH agreed the trailer wasn't worth $7,000 (and I was very grateful for that), and so we weren't surprised to note that the trailer still sat in their unfinished yard in the days, weeks, and even months that followed. In fact, at the end of the summer we visited it a third time, despite having moved into the home we have now, because the South African Hottie has always intended to join two trailers into one huge living area. Maybe, he thought, the owners would be more willing to come down in price now that fall approached and their prospects looked grimmer. But no, the owner still seemed to want that $7,000. Either she got it or she surrendered, because the trailer was gone a few weeks after that last visit.

For us, however, before we found the trailer we ultimately brought home, we considered the firetrap and the gutless wonder.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

bleak house

The 1970s was a great decade for mobile homes.

How do I know? I know because there were so many of them advertised for sale this summer on Infomall, this region's preferred alternative to kijiji.

We looked at four before settling on the one we're living in now.

The first, which we visited three times, discouraged and frightened me. The roof clearly leaked, there was rot beneath some of the windows where water had made an entrance, and it was filthy. That the South African Hottie saw potential in it just worried me more. I couldn't believe he could imagine living there, or that he'd expect me to accept such conditions.

The kitchen was beyond small. There was a short counter, a stove, a fridge, and a few cupboards, but there could never be more than two people in the room at one time.

The front room wasn't so bad. The windows allowed the bright sunshine to come in, nearly tricking me into wanting to spend time there. The rear of the trailer, where the bedrooms were, had the opposite effect, however. Each of the two rooms were small, horribly carpeted, and dingy.

I wanted so much better than that. It probably didn't help that at the time we were living in a house needing only very slight changes.

That place had shiny hardwood floors throughout. It had two bathrooms, one with a giant whirlpool bath (true, the jets didn't work, but its depth made up for the loss), the other with a shower so small I usually bumped an elbow or a knee while washing, but it had a massive cupboard that I adored. Even better, this bathroom was an en suite, making nighttime pee breaks a breeze.

The kitchen had more space than I could fill. I've never met another human being who could say that.

The living room was perfectly sized for our bulky, three-piece furniture set and a 50-inch LED TV. The two spare bedrooms were in use as a computer room and an exercise room, respectively.

The house was clean, well-lit, had a decent deck and backyard.... I could have stayed, if it weren't for the noise from everywhere around us, including downstairs, where our landlord and his new bride lived and held daily yelling sessions.

And so we looked at dirty, run-down, mobile fixer-uppers.

The first was for sale for $7,000 or 'best offer'. After seeing it, the SAH thought we could get it for $2,000.

Yep. Two thousand dollars.

If that doesn't tell you what it looked like, nothing can. After all, I didn't take pictures of it, despite the repeated visits. Taking photos would have implied I could imagine living there.

I was discouraged, but I didn't have to be. The owners saved me from this particular fate by sabotaging their own sale.