The Last Word: A tough lesson learned

By Herb Lagois

A tough lesson learned

Rain, rain, and more rain. Talk about a wet summer!

All this rain reminded me of a life-altering lesson I learned many years ago.

The project was managed by the homeowners. We were hired just to do the framing and siding. It was mid-September.

No sooner had we started framing than the rains started. 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, and I could see the homeowners walking up the driveway.

As I looked closer, I noticed the woman was crying. Tears were streaming down her face. And I was thinking– but it’s sunny out!

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

“We’re moving the house,” she said.  I thought she meant they had to move for some reason.

“Oh,” I said, a bit confused. “Where?”

“No, not move US,” she answered. “We have to move THE HOUSE!”

I was thinking: Um, this house is 80 feet long…

“What?” I asked. Now they were both crying. “You can’t be serious!”

The woman turned around and, holding her head and still in tears, 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 befriended each other. My homeowners even rented part of the neighbouring property owner’s home during the course of construction.

The two owners decided to locate the house together. They found the perfect location, on top of a small rise, surrounded by trees, lots of drainage. So far, all good.

Then… my homeowners got a phone call from the surveyor.

“We have some good news and we have some bad news,” the surveyor said.

The good news was that the survey was done.

The bad news?

“Your home is five ft. onto your neighbour’s property.”

Okay, they thought. Simple. We’ll just purchase the five feet from the neighbour. He’s a cool guy.

But there was a catch. Greed kicked in. Turned out 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. (Did I mention it was starting to snow?)

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

Happy Fall, everyone. I hope it’s a dry one!

Herb Lagois is the owner of Lagois Design−Build−Renovate.

Categories Contracting Renovation Planning