• Jasmine J. Fischer

"I think white ants make lovely pets" and 14 other ways to carefully select your future neighbours


Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

The house next door to us recently went up for sale, and I don't know about you guys, but this is an anxious time for us.

We live in a lovely neighbourhood and are extraordinarily friendly with most of the neighbours around us. The beautiful couple across the road from us (who used to live in our house) frequently bring us freshly caught fish and delicious baked goods. Our other neighbours are equally generous and thoughtful. We live in the kind of neighbourhood where people yarn over the fence for hours and have each other over for dinner. During the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we all checked in on each other to see how everyone was going.

So when a "For Sale" sign goes up in our street, one gets a little nervous. Will the new owners be as nice as the old ones? Will they be psychopaths who chuck rabid cats over the fence and see our chicken coop as their own personal Steggles farm?

So I got to thinking.

With all the people coming through to inspect the property next door, it's us, the future neighbours, who have the real power. Now, this might sound a bit Parent Trap-y, but I came up with some absolute gems that you, too, can use if you're caught in a similar situation and the future neighbours are just, you know, giving off the bad vibes.

Things potential neighbours can “accidentally” overhear us say to each other while they're inspecting the property:

1) “Sweetheart, I’m on the council website.... what do you think they mean by a “notifiable disease”?”

2) “I just checked out the backyard and the sinkhole seems to be expanding. Is it time to offer another animal sacrifice, do you think?”

3) “Missing Person Hotline? Uh, yeah, it’s me again. I’d like to report another one.”

4) “Darling, the hothouse tripped the power again.”

Photo by KT on Unsplash

Friendly conversation starters for when we "attend" property inspections:

5) “My, my, this house sure is a bargain, considering what happens on the full moon.”

6) “Nice lake view, isn’t it? When it floods, you know, the lake gets even closer.”

7) “You know I hardly recognise this house without the giant tent surrounding it.”

9) “According to the AFP officer I spoke to last week, this is actually one of the quietest streets in the whole suburb.”

10) “Would you look at that? I’m amazed they got all the bloodstains out of the floorboards.”

11) “Did you know that termites eat faster while listening to heavy metal music? How would you like to participate in my research which studies both?”

12) “I don’t know about you, but I think white ants make lovely pets.”

13) “Do you believe in the saying 'it takes a community to raise a child'? How would you feel about babysitting our pet snakes on occasion? We milk them daily so they're not venomous.”

14) "What do you know about milking snakes?"

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