We weren’t planning on buying our present home – it took us by surprise. One day about six years ago I drove past a house with a for sale sign outside it. I looked up at the house – it’s on a bit of a rise – and caught my breath.
It was singing to me.
I want to live there, I thought, with a sudden longing that took me by surprise.
So I drove home and told my husband, “I drove past this house today and it sang to me.”
“Uh oh,” was his succinct response. Sometimes he has a sixth sense about these things. Anyway, it was on show the next day and we went to see it.
It was one half of a semi-detached with a view over the West Melville Koppie in Johannesburg. It had wooden floors, pressed ceilings, a stoep that has to be called a balcony because it’s too nice to be called a stoep . . . there was lots and lots to love. And it had a view!
We discovered that about ten years previously, the existing house had been subdivided and both sides renovated, and now we were interested in number 12A.
So we thought about it and two days later we put in a provisional offer, subject of course to being able to sell our existing house.
All went well and four months later we were moving into the house that sang to me. It sang to my husband also.
We were quite happy and singing back when the owner of the other side decided to put his place on the market. And then we discovered that we had inadvertently bought the house next door.
When the original renovations were done, there was a mix-up at the deeds office and the erf numbers were swapped. And because a person’s property is legally assigned according to an erf number, we had bought the house next door, which had just been sold.
In essence, our neighbour had just sold our house and we were now squatting in his.
A year later – not to mention lots of heartache, paperwork, yet more lawyers’ fees and worst of all nobody to sue, we finally retoasted our new house.
The house that sang to us. Now officially ours.