Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Utility Bills

So, this is going to be a work in progress, I'll update this post as time goes on.

One of the hardest things for me to budget for when buying a house, was Utilities. My folks had a bigger house than me, with a pool. My other friends are in Condos. Nobody has a house, my size, with my utilities.

So, I left enough of a buffer to cover what I THOUGHT would be the costs. Thankfully, I was largely spot on with my estimates, although I made those estimates with room to spare (so I thought)

So, here are my current regular costs on utilities, after 3 full months.

But First, I should warn you... the thing that annoys me the most is the frequency.

As it stands, I have to worry about 5 pay schedules
I'll order them into best to Worst in terms of convenience. (because bills just suck)

Source Cable - 1st of every month - 58 bucks
RRSP repayment - 2nd of every Month - 150 bucks  (from downpayment via First Time Home Buyer Plan)
House Insurance - 2nd of every month - 78 bucks

Every Other Month:
Horizion Power, water - 130-150 bucks, 18th of every OTHER month

Whenever they feel like it: (apparently every 2 months, but sometimes 3...?)
Reliance Hot water tank rental.  This bill is all over the place, and they seem to have a multitude of reasons why. Supposed to be 18 bucks a month. I'll be buying my own hot water tank ASAP as currently its having issues with water pressure that they refuse to fix.


A special note about Taxes:

If your mortgage stipulates that they will pay the taxes for you, and they withdraw a monthly amount from your bank (aka your mortgage payment is higher)  Make sure they start paying your taxes RIGHT AWAY.

My Mortgage Company (First National) Burned me. I am SO unhappy with them its not even funny.

I got a notice from Hamilton  saying that I was overdue on my taxes. i told them this was impossible, as my Mortgage company has been collecting taxes from me for the past few months.

I call First National, and they start bullshitting around the entire thing.

Bottom line, They won't pay taxes until they've collected enough money from you to pay the taxes. Even though on my contract with them, it says: "Taxes Paid by Lender"

So, I got shafted with an 800 dollar tax bill for the last quarter of 2012.

I've since got it, in WRITING, that they will pay my next tax payment in February,  for Q1 Taxes of 2013.

So, if you know me, and are expecting a Christmas present this year... Blame it on First National. Not only am I paying them 230 bucks a month to them for my taxes, but I had to come up with 800 dollars on the spot to pay taxes... which they told me verbally that they were paying when I took out the mortgage.

On page 23 of some stupid agreement, it says that it is up to their discretion as to if they pay taxes on a partial years taxes. But when the mortgage broker, Lawyer and Realtor explained it to me, they said that they WOULD pay the taxes, because the mortgage company sleeps easy knowing that the taxes are paid and there isn't a lien against "their" house.

Bottom line, is First National (as well as most people who "sell" money) is a bunch of effing bullshitters, but there's really nothing I can do about it, except Learn from it and spread the word.

So, When you're looking at your mortgage terms... Just Budget your own taxes and tell the mortgage company that you'll do it yourself.  Or, Tack a $500-1000 bucks onto your closing costs - Just in case they pull some bullshit with you too.

Oh... and when I called First National on it, they told me that they could pay it for me, but would charge me a large (Can't remember, was enraged... around 150? dollars) fee to do so, and then would increase my monthly payments accordingly. I gave the phone the finger, Weighed my options and decided to bite the bullet.

I'll be asking First National for the interest on the tax money they're currently holding.

Huge Rant/Warning aside, 

Taxes are done a few different ways, Call your City before you buy/budget to find out. Some do monthly, Quarterly, or do an up front payment, then an adjustment based on new rates, then a final payment. its confusing. But, you can budget a monthly rate for yourself and set it aside, (or have the bloodsucking mortgage company do it for you.

(I think its obvious where I stand on this front now)

Other than that, A quick breakdown on my monthly budget for utilities:

$18 Water Tank
$40 Water+ Sewage
$70 Gas
$70 Electricity
$80 House Insurance
$230 Taxes

Just over 500 bucks a month, for utilities.
There is a variance in all of these. In the summer, I used 20-30 bucks in Natural Gas. In the winter, I expect to use 100-120 bucks in gas. So I signed up for Equal Payment Plan, where I pay 68 bucks a month every month, regardless of usage. if it looks like I'm going to blow past that, I'll up the monthly payment to compensate. If I stay well under that average, I'll get a credit toward my next year.

That basically covers utilities!

I'll try and write soon!  Any Requests? leave a comment!

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