:: A long-winded post where first I get mad and then I get money ::
I thought for sure I mentioned it before on this blog, but a quick archive search turned up nothing, so lemme fill you in on something that I've probably already told everyone anyways: When I sold my townhouse last year - 11 months ago now - it sold very quickly (4 days), but there was, as there usually is, a caveat near the end.
You see, my place was 18 years old and - according to some - in need of a new roof. And as anyone who's ever lived in a strata building knows, that ain't cheap. The words "Special Assessment" are enough to make most condo/townhouse owners shit themselves. Because that usually means each owner is on the hook to write a big cheque.
Of course, at the time, this roof situation was relatively new and, I figured, months if not more than year, away. I really didn't think much of it, except to think that I was getting out at the perfect time.
Trouble was, the roof problem - and the announcement of said problem and a possible vote in the future - showed up in the strata meeting minutes. And any prospective buyer who is not mentally handicapped is, of course, gonna notice. But they made the offer, I accepted, and then handed over 2 years worth of minutes at once for them to read.
I knew it was a longshot, but I secretly hoped it would slip by them - I mean, really, one sentence in 24 months worth of meetings could sneak by ya. At first, as a day or two passed, I thought it actually had.
I was wrong, of course. The evening before subjects were to be removed - hours away, literally - they called my realtor with "concerns." They changed their offer and demanded that, though they would still pay the agreed-upon price, some of that money would be held in trust, and would be used to cover the special assessment that was surely on its way.
Now, I certainly don't begrudge them for asking for the holdback - it's common practice, and I would've done the same had I been in their shoes. (Either that, or I'd never buy the place at all, to be honest). So that wasn't what bothered me.
What bothered me were some other things. For starters, the way it was presented by their smarmy little realtor, who came into my home and gave us this "aw-shucks, they're tapped out and this is the absolute limit of their budget, they could never afford an assessment" speech. Total guilt trip.
Needless to say, I was not moved. (I'm sure you're shocked.)
If they couldn't afford it, then somebody else will, so get outta my house. I care not for sob stories.
And then, were their terms.
They wanted $8,000 in this hold-back account, and they wanted the holdback to last until the end of the calendar year, Dec. 31, 2010.
Now, that amount was, to the penny, the exact amount that the special assessment was to be. (They called to chat with our strata prez, and this is what he told them. I called him and he said the same thing.)
So these assholes wanted me to pay every last dime of their brand new 30-year roof that they'd live under for, well, for as long as they damn well pleased.
Upon receiving this news, my realtor - a kindly, sweet, older guy who has probably never said a bad word in his life - turned to me and asked for my counter-offer.
"Tell 'em fuck you' - that's my counter offer," was my reply.
My nice, kindly realtor was taken aback, to say the least.
In the end, I lowballed 'em right back, and said they could have $1,000, and after some not-so-friendly back-and-forth, in the end we agreed on $4,500 because I just wanted it done. The end-of-year deadline also stuck.
And because that deadline was 10 months away, and I knew the roof was in need of repair, I basically kissed the money goodbye. My realtor suggested I do the same. And considering I was already making a good chunk of change on the house, I really wasn't that upset in the end.
I mean, I wasn't thrilled with how it went down - I felt like I got bent over a little bit, and didn't like the other realtor's smarmy ways, as I already mentioned, but still, it was done.
And then I moved to Cloverdale, and then finally into our new house, and had little to no contact with anyone who still lived at the old place, although the rumours trickled in. First, a few months later, my realtor called to say he'd spoken to a fellow realtor whose son lived in my old complex, and the money was gone. Assessment passed.
Then my day ran into the father of another guy who lived there - a guy I used to play ball with as a kid - and he said "Don't worry, you'll get it back. Nothing's happening."
And through it all, I just waited. Sort of hoped, but mostly didn't worry about it. The money's gone, I'd say, so stop thinking about it.
'Cept it wasn't.
First, there was a meeting that allegedly nearly ended in a fist fight, and a vote that got shot down as quick as it could be proposed.
(Funny sidenote: Apparently, the only pro-assessment person at the meeting - the only guy to really get up and give an impassioned "Let's just do it" speech, aside from council members, was the guy who bought my house. He, of course, was on the clock, although nobody else knew. He was, I was told, shouted down fast with cries of "Shutup, new guy!" which is truly fantastic.)
And then along came some more meetings, and after some research, it was decided the assessment would only be $4,500. Conveniently the exact amount they were holding back, which meant I was still out of luck.
Of course, because my old complex was run by a terribly dysfunctional strata council (complete with warring factions, and wasting time and effort on important issues like "where is the community snowshovel?") and there are a number of older, fixed-income seniors who can't afford assessments, that revised plan didn't fly either.
And then Dec. 31 came and went, and I immediately started making calls to get my money. If the other side thought I'd wait, or thought I'd forget, or thought I'd be lenient and sympathetic and making agree to some kind of revised deal, well, they were wrong.
I wanted my money, I wanted it right fucking now, and I told them as much.
Of course - of course - the other side stalled. My notary called their lawyers, they stalled. Called again. Stalled some more. But today, I called for an update.
"Your money is ready, it's at the other side's lawyers. We can courier it over and you'll have it on Friday."
So after all that bullshit, after their douchy realtor and their ridiculous demands, after the 10-month wait, and after meetings full of fistfights and leaky roofs, I get my money.
My only regret is that I can't pick it up from them personally. I would've liked them to see the little jig I would've danced in their courtyard outside their front door.
That'll learn ya, assholes.