Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A warning to all house buyers

The recent case of the Pigg brothers that made headlines across Ireland recently should serve as a salutary warning to all those first-time buyers who launch themselves into the property market without researching fully the implications of their actions. While putting money into real estate and property is generally regarded as a sound long-term investment, the tale of two of the Pigg brothers shows exactly what can happen if a few simple steps are not followed.
The three brothers grew up in the countryside ( a green place the other side of Clonee) and on reaching maturity were promptly handed a puckle of money and kicked out of the family home by their mother, who claimed they kept their rooms like a pigsty. Each of them caught the Expressway into Dublin, alighting in awe as the Q building came into sight on the N3.
On opening their puckles, each brother found they had enough money to invest in the property market and promptly set about securing lodgings in that mythical suburb known as Dublin 15.
The first Pigg brother entered a very dodgy estate agents and decided that a cheap house would be the best bet. That way, he would still have enough money left over to go and have a good time. Accordingly, he purchased an “idyllic rural retreat made from traditional materials – may need some renovating” up near Hollystown. With the money left over, he was able to go to Heaven every night with a Swedish flight attendant on either arm and life was great.
The precise events of the night in question are still sub judice but according to local sources, there was a sudden gust of wind and the whole house simply collapsed. Rumour has it that the traditional material used in the construction was in fact straw and not even good solid Irish straw at that but a substandard variety imported from Taiwan. It is believed that Mr. Pigg then absconded to the Costa del Sol after the house insurance company issued fraudulent proceedings against him, though the presence of a solitary pork chop in amongst the rubble has fuelled macabre speculation amongst local residents.
The second Pigg brother decided to go down the eco-friendly route. Convinced by another shyster estate-agent that chopping down 145 trees to construct a house was the only way to safeguard the planet, he opted for a wooden chalet built alongside the railway track on the far side of Clonsilla Railway Station. He bought the site and then drove up to Ikea in Belfast where he purchased a flat-pack house and garage.
He found that, after all this, he still had time to go to the Vortex in Dunshaughlin every Saturday night and sometimes managed to score with one of the young wans that had travelled up in the minibus from Dunboyne.
However, a similar tragedy befell this brother. One night towards the end of November, locals said they heard a strange huffing and puffing, which might well have been the last train out to Maynooth, but could equally have been something more sinister. When daylight dawned, as it is wont to do in Clonsilla at that time of year, the house lay in ruins and the eager locals took it away for firewood before somebody thought to call the police. With much of the forensic evidence crackling away in neighbouring fireplaces, whispers soon began to circulate about the sturdiness of flat-pack housing until Ikea threatened court action.
Again the second brother appeared to have vanished completely, though sightings of him in a Kibbutz outside Tel Aviv remain unconfirmed.
The third brother bought a lovely two bedroomed semi-detached house in Latchford from a reputable estate agent. Of course, he was fleeced by the bank whose interest rate charges bore no relation to the current economic situation and he was only able to get up to the Hartstown House for a solitary pint every month with his neighbour, Nigel, but he was pleased with his investment and felt very secure in his compact abode.
Latchford of course is built on the site of the Great Scaldwood, a huge forest that once spread from Cabra to the River Tolka and home to hoards of marauding bears, spiders and wolves. Having done his research and not entirely believing the history books that claimed that these wild beasts had all been eliminated, he purchased security chains and an alarm and a cowl for the top of his chimney.
One night, he wrote, in a letter to the Times, he fancied he heard a strange scraping on his roof and a mysterious panting noise. Having just watched a David Attenborough programme about how wolves had learned to remove cowls from the tops of chimneys, he boiled up a big pot of water in the microwave and placed it in the fireplace.
Sure enough, within a few seconds, a big hairy beast landed in the pot with a yelp and disappeared back up as quickly as he had come down. A photo fit description of the intruder closely resembled a wolf, though police still called at the home of Fingers “The Beard” McGee and questioned him closely about his whereabouts on the night in question.
The third Pigg brother naturally wrote a book about his experiences called “Huff and Puff” which topped the bestseller list for non-fiction over Christmas, following his appearance on the Late Late Show. Although the book reads well as an adventure story, Citizen Advice Centres have recommended it as essential reading for all first time house buyers as a guide to the pitfalls inherent in a foray into the property market.

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