Dear Urban Diplomat,
My neighbour is selling her townhouse (yup, in the winter) and, to prep, she gave it an extensive facelift. The slightly shabby look of my place was, in her words, “ruining her curb appeal,” so she offered to cover half the cost of any exterior primping. I went ahead and replaced the front door and garage door, but when I presented her with a receipt for $2,000, she refused to pay; she says she’d just meant a fresh coat of paint. Any tricks to get my cash?
—Half the Battle, Riverdale
Your neighbour should have provided a max price point, but you must have known you were stretching the limits of wilful ignorance well before you drifted into four-figure territory. Apologize for not discussing the details beforehand, ask for her idea of a fair dollar figure, and then use whatever lowball she throws you as the starting point for a tough but friendly negotiation. You aren’t likely to get—and, since no terms were set, aren’t legally entitled to—the 50-50 split to which she alluded, but if you finalize the figure after she sells her place, you may find the spoils of Toronto’s crazed housing market have put her in a more generous mood.
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