Well yesterday was my first official day (non-overtime) back to work after my August holidays - first day back with my platoon - and my first day running into Jones* since I bought the house (omg I love how that sounds). *Not his real name, but the title of this entry should explain why I picked it.
Jones has also just bought a house. In the same development that I have purchased into. In fact it was my referral that sent Mr. and Mrs. Jones over to check out the development. They were so impressed they bought on the spot!
Now the builder has a referral program - $1000 "reward" if you refer someone who purchases. In this case I am the referrer...and Jones is the referr-ee. Jones however moved a little faster than I did, he had his deposit paid and purchase agreement signed first. Theoretically, I no longer qualify for the referral reward - Jones on the other hand now qualifies. Jones however indicated to the builder (who in-turn indicated to me) that he and his wife felt that I deserved the reward, and were happy to sign over the money to yours truly. I was touched by such a sweet gesture and was looking forward to seeing Jones yesterday to thank him personally and to share our exciting news. I had visions of us sharing experiences over the next few months, tips, advice, the excitement of picking out our upgrades etc.
Jones put me on the spot immediately about the referral reward however - before I had even had a chance to thank him. In a room full of people (I tend to be a little more private about things like money - I find it crass to talk about such things openly) Jones informed me (by yelling across the room - I hadn't even put my bags down yet!) that because he purchased first, the builder in fact would be paying the reward directly to him - and he in turn wanted to turn it over to me. (Sweet gesture I thought). Jones then went on to say ... Did I want the full $1000 or should we split it 50/50? What did I think was fair? Conscious of the fact that I was in a room full of people, what could I say? The money is technically his - he is under no obligation to give me any of it, so $500 is certainly better than none at all - although $1000 would have been much nicer. I grit my teeth and agreed that 50/50 certainly seemed fair. It's not the money that bothers me, it's the way he went about it.
As the shift progressed I was suddenly very aware of how competitive Jones was. My mental image of us sharing notes, tips and the excitement of this huge event in our lives (he's a first time buyer too) is now suddenly a competition. He was literally floored when he realized I had purchased a bigger model than his - but then went on to boast that he had put down a larger down payment than I had. He's now concentrating on the upgrades - and he wants it all. The hardwood flooring, the central air - the whole 9 yards. I tried telling him a few of the tips that I had picked up - rookie though I am - which items would be cheaper (and better quality) done by another contractor after the sale, and which were worth having the builder do....and I was basically rebuffed.
I am a little saddened - I don't want to (and wont) let this turn into a "my house is better than yours" scenario - but I can see the man is going to drive me insane if I let him.
To cap it all? He's closing on his house earlier than me too. They move (not counting delays) a whole 2 months earlier than yours truly. Yes, he took great joy in pointing that out to me - I didn't have the heart to tell him I had requested a late closing date to allow me more time to save. I like Jones, don't get me wrong, professionally we have worked on the same platoon for several years and I have never had an issue with him - but this whole house business has opened up a side of him that I had never seen before. Suddenly I am dreading any suggestion that we carpool together once the move is final.
One bright note...we are not neighbours in the "next door" sense. In fact he's purchased a unit close to the main road of the development, whereas my unit is on another street, tucked further back in the subdivision (away from the noise of the heavy traffic - better for sleeping during the day when I am working nights was my thinking at the time). Seems I may have made a good decision there.