Couple ‘accidentally’ buys a decrepit mansion, couldn’t understand auctioneer’s accent

The couple thought they bought a discounted apartment in Glasgow, before realising they were homeowners of the 120-year-old crumbling mansion.

Cal Hunter and Claire Segeren initially made a big mistake. HUGE.

They innocently tried to buy a two-bedroom flat for £30,000 in Scotland’s infamous Glasgow.

Cal and Claire outside the beginnings of their Dunoon mansion restoration
Image: BBC

Because they struggled to understand the auctioneer’s accent, they mistakenly purchased the mansion that had been abandoned for more than 20 years, therefore needing major repairs. Yikes.

Auction bids are legally binding in Scotland, meaning they had to go through with purchasing a six-bedroom Jameswood Villa in Dunoon, a small town in west Scotland.

Cal and Claire had apparently only visited Scotland once before.

They’ve turned this embarrassing and unfortunate situation into a positive one – they’ve rolled up their sleeves and have transformed the property into their dream home.

Hunter is trained in carpentry, boosting the couple's restoration project.
Image: BBC

Cal, who is from Hull, England, and Claire, who is from Canada, previously lived in a caravan on the grounds during the mansion’s pimp-up.

He had gone to the auction alone when he mistakenly placed the bid. Evidently, you shouldn’t send your boyfriend out to cement big decisions.

The auction included brochures on each seat with information about all the advertised lots accompanied by a screen behind the stage displaying the corresponding numbers.

Apparently, what happened was that when the flat the couple planned to buy appeared on the screen, there was a technical glitch, and Cal raised his hand for the property.

He expected an impending bidding war, but found himself battling against no one.

Claire outside the mansion in its original derelict state.
Image: Cleverst
Original state of the mansion's interior
Image: The Sun

He stated to The Guardian:

“The problem was auctioneers speak fast, and this one had a strong Glaswegian accent: I was really struggling to follow.

“I couldn’t believe it when nobody tried to beat my opening offer. Then a few things happened at once: the gavel fell, the screen switched on, and the bloke next to me asked in my ear, ‘Mate, have you seen that place?'”

To Cal’s credit, many people struggle to decipher a Scottish accent.

I know many people who switched subtitles on for RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.

He then looked up at the screen and was filled with ‘dread’ as he realised the number on the brochure page and the number on the screen didn’t coincide.

The successful yet panicked bidder messaged Claire with the news who was ‘unfazed’ even after she checked on Google Maps that showed only one property angle accompanied by many hedges.

Cal felt worse about the situation after visiting the property, thinking, ‘Oh Jesus’.

He reported that there was even a sign that read:

“Danger, keep out’ amongst the “crumbling, rotting mess.”

In addition to the property being abandoned for more than two decades, there was mouldy furniture, graffiti on the walls, and the ceilings were caving in.

The derelict mansion’s water and electricity supply had been long switched off.

Didn’t think this could get any more complicated? It turns out the couple had only bought just half of the building!

Cal and Claire had no choice but to spend six months buying two more units of the property.

They had been working on their new home full-time since before the pandemic in 2019, and they now say they wouldn’t change a thing.

And luckily for Cal, he was trained in carpentry by his dad and self-described as an ‘apprentice and labourer’.

Claire commented that this project has been empowering for her.

Cal, is trained in carpentry by his dad, and self-described “apprentice and labourer” Claire, had help from friends and the “incredible” local community in the restoration work.

“It’s a special place – if you’re going to accidentally buy a house, you couldn’t do it somewhere better,” Cal said.

Way to turn over a new leaf in this sticky sitch.

Cal and Claire have made massive progress since 2019 with their new home.
Image: BBC