When you last heard from us, dear readers, we had just made things official with our offer, and we’re already diving head first into the pile of things that have to get done. Before we get too far into the waist-deep pile of stuff we’re trying to accomplish, let’s celebrate with this Peter Pan happy thought:
This is what gets me through all the garbage with moving and actually buying a house. And now, come with me on a adventure through the long list of things we’re tackling this month.
Dan and I are super organized, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I’m about 7 steps ahead of regular levels of organized. As soon as things were semi-official (once we had the offer accepted), I contacted my insurance broker about getting a quote for home insurance. If you’re really jonesing for a play-by-play on all of our insurance woes, you’re in luck! I’ll be writing a whole post just about insurance, taking you through all the fun we’ve had with home insurance and life insurance.
I had originally contacted my broker when we had an offer on Beech, but that never turned into a thing, and my broker never got back to me. A wee back story for you – my regular broker is on maternity leave for the second time, so I got an automatic email from the gal who is taking over her accounts for the next year. I responded to that automatic email with a request for a quote, so maybe that was my mistake. When I finally got a hold of her, she claims she never received my email, but I didn’t get a bounce back notice. Weird. Whatever. I sent her the listing information for the new house, and patiently waited for her to get back to me. I found out that home insurance is not one of those things you can do through email, so I ended up calling her one night and hashing out all of the details for a quote. As a side note, I feel like a lot of the information I gave her over the phone could have been taken directly from the listing, which would have saved us both some awkward “sitting on the phone while she types everything in” time. First we did a calculation on the full replacement value of the house, if it burned to the ground and needed to be completely rebuilt. While insurance cares about the kind of wiring, plumbing, and constructions materials that were used in your house, they make up an awful lot of information for the application. Her: “What’s the total square footage?” Me: “Oh, um, the listing says 912 sq ft.” Her: “Ok, we’ll call that 1,000 sq ft.” What’s the point in even asking me?! We did the calculator and came up with a replacement value of $216,000, which sounds fine to me, it’s very similar to the 2013 tax assessment value. Then we moved on to the insurance quote, where a lot of the same information was inputted (again, this could have been done without me on the line). I asked her to spell out what EXACTLY was covered by the policy, and I got this list:
- Airplane parts falling from the sky and hitting your house
- Mysterious disappearance (you have a party, your diamond ring is missing the next day)
- Water damage (ex. dishwasher leaks and ruins your floor)
- Wind damage
- Hail damage
- Any named peril on the policy <— this one raised an eyebrow from me, because this was exactly why I was asking her to LIST the things that were covered by the policy, not leave me in limbo with a less than useless phrase.
Not covered by the policy is anything caused by a lack of maintenance on our part, such as water seepage into the basement because we failed to repair and maintain our house. I’ll go into more detail about insurance soon, so you can look forward to reading that post.
The total for all this coverage is $670 per year + tax, for a monthly total of $63.09. Sounds fine to me, it’s about what I was expecting to pay, and Dan’s quote from his insurance company came back at over $70 per month, plus tax.
Once we had the all-clear on buying the house, we also had to confirm our mortgage paperwork with our mortgage broker. We met with him on Monday this week, and it was a quick and painless meeting – we signed a whole bunch of papers, and look over a document outlining our first 5 years of bi-weekly payments, where our first payment is almost a 50/50 split between the principal and the interest. BALLS. Our first mortgage payment will come out of our account 2 weeks after we take possession, and our property taxes will be added to our mortgage payment and all handled by the bank.
We decided to use the lawyer that Dawn recommended, so I gave his office a call last week to get the ball rolling. The very nice receptionist said that they wait to receive all the purchase paperwork from our realtor before doing anything, and she confirmed that even with only 3-ish weeks before our closing date, that was plenty of time to get it all done. I anxiously waited over the weekend, and then called them again on Tuesday to see if there was anything I needed to do. Again, I was told they hadn’t received the paperwork from Dawn yet, so they didn’t have anything to tell me. But by that afternoon, the law office sent over all sorts of information about what we needed to do. There was a handy dandy checklist to keep track of all the major things to do, as well as a document outlining the process from start to finish. Another email came a short while later with a bunch of questions for Dan and I to answer, pretty much just confirming that we don’t own any other properties. Looking at the checklist, we’ve already done most of the items in the last week, so now we wait until a few days before closing to meet with the lawyer and give him all our money.
This morning I arranged for a bank draft for our down payment, to be given to our lawyer the day before closing. We both bank with PC, so getting a bank draft is kind of a pain in the butt, but it’s totally not going to convince us to start banking with a monthly-fees-and-bricks-and-mortar-bank-locations bank. I had called PC about a month ago to confirm the process for getting a bank draft, and here’s the deal: it takes 2-5 business days, costs $27.50, and you have to pick up the bank draft at a CIBC location. Not terrible at all. It was a simple phone call this morning, we had already moved our money from our savings accounts into our joint chequing account, and the gal on the phone confirmed who it was going to, and that Dan had to pick it up in person at the bank, and show photo ID (Dan is picking it up because he is more likely to be free during the day). She said that once the money leaves your account, you can pick up the bank draft about an hour later from CIBC. I’m trying not to think too much about the pile of money I’ve been saving up since I was 12 disappearing in one quick mouse click later today.
With all of the house-buying checklist things complete (mostly), it was on to the bigger task of changing our address. Oh boy. I used Evernote (what? you don’t know Evernote? Get it for all of your devices) to create a checklist with little tick boxes, so I can get greater satisfaction from literally checking them off. The list includes utility services, doctors, dentist, vet, banks, RRSP, insurance, driver’s license, health card, CRA, credit cards, work contact info, magazine subscriptions, and lots of online accounts (Starbucks, for my sweet sweet free birthday drink postcard, Lush for my Lush Time newsletter, KnitPicks for my seasonal catalogue, etc). I spent most of my morning on Monday calling all these places and telling them my new address. Most of the list is done, but I’m sure I’ve missed at least 2 or 3 and the new tenants at our place will get my mail for a while.
The top of the list includes changing over utilities to the new address. This includes Union Gas, Cambridge Hydro, and City of Cambridge Water for us. We already have an existing account with all of them, so we shouldn’t have to pay an obnoxious deposits (looking at you, Union Gas and Cambridge Hydro). Fun fact! All money-grubbing greedy companies with zero competition can charge you whatever they like and you can’t say boo about it. Ever looked at your hydro bill? Debit repayment charge? REALLY? So it won’t surprise you to know that each and every one of these utilities is charging me an “administration fee” for changing my address. The breakdown is as follows:
Union Gas – $35 “set-up” charge
Cambridge Hydro – $30 “set-up” charge
City of Cambridge Water/Sewer – $30 final read fee at our current place AND $25 “Set-up” charge for the new place
My life, readers. My life.
I think that’s all I can take of thinking about this right now. You can rest easy in knowing that we’ve done most of these things already, but it’s still overwhelming for us too. I’m going to drown my sorrows in an afternoon of baking (and eating) brownies now.