Just for a Laugh

old_home_loverMay 28, 2013

Had a contractor out to the house with the explicit purpose of quoting a price on restoring my 160+ year old chimneys. Even though there is some severe deterioration it is in a very (relatively) small part of just one of the three. Still he tried repeatedly to convince me to knock them down and replace with some pre-cut, cinder-block malarkey that would look ATROCIOUS in this house.

More than that, he kept pointing out things like the way the beams in the attic were run or sistered or the way the wood was laid and making all these little comments about how he can't believe the way they used to 'slap' these houses together.

Now mind you, this house was built pre 1848, is 3600 sq ft of brick, sits on a raised plot two levels up from the street, and when we checked the door frames there wasn't a single one out by more than an eight of an inch after all this time. The place is solid as a rock, level enough to shoot pool on the floor, and all this in spite of over 50 years uninhabited!

Finally he points to something and says "I would never run a beam like that" with this little smirk of disdain. Well I had enough. I just smiled and said, "Neither would anyone else building a house today. Of course THIS house has been here for almost two centuries and the piece of crap, $300,000, 1 year old townhouse I'm renting in will probably fall apart in ten. I don't think I'll need a quote after all."


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Good for you, OHL! If you hadn't put an end to it, he probably would have complained about the wobbly glass in the windows next.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 9:55PM
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The perfect putdown - says what needs to be said, but not unnecessarily or over the top rude.

I recently allowed to let a realtor look at my house to give me a balllpark estimate what it would be worth if I didnt finish the gazillion little unfinished things I need to do - I was curious and he offered in a way that suggested he would do it as a favor to me. He proceeded to completely insult my house and quizzed me about why I did this, why didn't I do that, rattled off all the gutting and new windows and crap that would just HAVE to be done.... then gave me some lowball number off the top of his head followed by he knew someone who would take it off my hands. Yeah right!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 9:46AM
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Yes, definitely good for you!!!

There must be something about these two-bit contractors who fix chimneys. We had a "reputable" two-bit contractor quote on and then repair a brick chimney on a 60s house...he used a contrasting brick because some of the (now rare) original brick had deteriorated, and did a competent job.

He also carefully stacked up all the OK original brick that he'd removed/replaced, and sent his lad around early (6am) one morning shortly after the job was completed to pick up the brick. Er, NOT - I sent the kid away with a flea in his ear, and those spare bricks came in very handy over the years for minor repairs. Bluidy crooks: that's called THEFT, lol.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 10:42AM
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sent his lad around early (6am) one morning shortly after the job was completed to pick up the brick. ... that's called THEFT

Talk about jumping to a conclusion!

Unless you told him something to the contrary, where I come from that's called CLEANUP


As for the other posters, yes, it's a quirk that a lot of poor salespeople have. They think insulting your home is the way to your heart (and wallet).

On the other hand, when I was a real estate broker, I once gently suggested to a Vendor that the rental property she was selling could use some TLC. "Yeah, it's a pigsty. You could grow potatoes on the floor," she responded.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 1:46PM
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Nice try, worthy, but no, in this case it was theft. Job was completed, site was cleaned up, bill was paid, and the contractor was just chancing his arm, and the kid knew it.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 1:50PM
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Thank you for the laugh OHL!!

*Crickets* back ;)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 8:39PM
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Our last roofing job, the contractor asked us beforehand if he could salvage any decent slate he removed from the roof. I'm assuming he knew it was a good many and he was one of the few local roofers who did slate regularly, and I'm sure the price was adjusted to give us credit for what he salvaged. That's the proper way to address who gets what after a job. Salvaged antique brick/barn siding/slate beams are not 'clean up'. They're valuable commodities.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 6:50PM
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I had a guy out to look at a tree we're thinking about either pruning back or taking down. He proceeded to tell me he'd prune it but you know this tree is going to get HUGE and you'll just have to take it down later. Yeah, dude, I know trees grow and eventually it will be too big for the space. I planted this one 22 years ago, matter of fact. Then he looks around at the rest of the yard and says "What's the deal with these silver maples?! That one is SO close to the house!" It's about 15 ft. away and not a big tree (12" diameter, maybe). "You should take off those lower limbs, those are just going to get HUGE!" They're about 3" diameter - not exactly taking over the neighborhood. "That tree will scrape the shingles off your roof!" You can see light between the tree and the roof line because I just pruned it back so it doesn't touch.

I think this guy just goes around telling homeowners these tall tales about how terribly dangerous their trees are to drum up more work. I told him I'd let him know.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 3:49PM
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Not very long ago a breakwall restoration company did my next door neighbours wall with pre cast concrete shapes. He told me he could do my wall while he was here and give me a deal since he had all the machinery on site.

He offered to take away my granite/ limestone armor rock away at no charge. The stuff people in the city pay for by the pound for landscaping features. Each rock about 4'X8' each, and 100' long 6 layers high. Covered in fossils.

Yes I guess you would take them away!

About $75,000 at a buck a pound, and that was 20 years ago prices. What a scrap deal!

I think I should get into the granite business.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 2:27AM
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@southerncanuck - you're not in the Ottawa Valley, are you, lol? That's a great story - thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 8:12AM
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