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The real cost of closing on a home

I feel like when people talk about “closing costs” they mostly talk about what is due to their notary or lawyer, plus a home inspection. But the truth is, there are so many hidden expenses associated with moving and closing on a place that perhaps we might not take into consideration. And they can add up fast!

Here is what I spent on my closing costs:

Cell phone overage ($52.14) – Epically long phone conversations all month long with my Mortgage Broker and Realtor.

Coffee shop expenses ($43.88) – This was over the course of 6 weeks, which accounts for a couple of weekends of open houses, lots of meetings, and many, many nights spent writing until late.

Dining out expenses ($90.82) – This was over the course of 6 weeks while I was in limbo, packing/moving and staying away from the house as much as possible.

Replacement groceries ($325.42) – Because I was moving out of ex-BF’s house, I had the task of starting with an empty fridge. I brought absolutely no food, condiments, spices, and no pantry items.

Household items ($264.80) – Includes cleaning supplies, a few decorative items, and household miscellaneous.

UHaul rental ($102.43) – 10 ft. van rental for 6 hours, plus the cost of gas.

Internet/cable hook-up ($76.16) – This included hook-up fee and wireless modem purchase.

Home inspection ($562) – I loved my home inspector. He was very thorough and helpful. This cost was for my unit and an inspection of the entire building complex.

Credit union fee ($5) – It cost $5 to join VanCity, which is where my mortgage is being held.

House insurance ($221) – 12 months of coverage with a $500 deductible.

CLOSING COSTS (paid to Notary):
Payment of Insurance Binder ($40)
Payment to building complex management ($22.40)
Pro-rated maintenance fees ($142.18)
Strata plan move-in fee ($100)
Legal fees, disbursements & taxes ($1,025)

GRAND TOTAL: $3,073.23

Please note that these expenses do not include furniture or renovation costs. I had originally budgeted $4,000 for the closing cost expenses noted above, and for furniture. And I think I will be right around that amount once I actually buy my furniture. I went to IKEA over the weekend and picked out most of the pieces that I want. I will peruse Craigslist to see if anyone is selling theirs first. As for renovations, that should be around $4,500 in total. I will document the full cost of my renovations and furniture purchases closer to the end of the month once I know final numbers.

It’s moving day!

Today is moving day! I’ve rented a U-Haul van, but the only things coming with me are my own personal belongings, a couch, TV and mattress. Other than that, I have no furniture, and will not buy anything until I come back from my Toronto/NYC trip at the end of this month. Why? Because my contractor will be coming in and doing renovations on my place. :)

I met with him last night, and we went over exactly what I wanted to have done. I made sure to check out his credentials on the internet (including BBB rating, and a bunch of other contractor review websites). I received an official quote on labour – as well as an estimated cost for materials. I still have to finalize my paint colours (I swear, choosing paint colours is so much harder than choosing a place to live!), and go over flooring samples, but I am very excited. For those that are curious, he is going to be doing the following: installing new laminate floors throughout (tearing up existing laminate, carpet & tile), ripping out a built-in desk, patching drywall, moving cable outlet, and painting the entire unit.

I’m lucky because even though my townhouse shows relatively well, it’s 12 years old and nothing has been renovated inside. Which is awesome. I’d hate to be “stuck” with someone else’s renovation. Or worse, having to pay more for the place because someone decided to upgrade it. So I feel like over the next few years, I can really make it my own. Eventually I will want to redo the kitchen and washroom, but for now, the renovations I’m having done will address the immediate needs that I have.

Oh, and after debating between Shaw and Telus services, I decided to go with Shaw. For $69.90/month for the first 6 months, I will get extreme internet (or whatever it’s called), and the classic cable package. After the 6 month promotion, the price jumps to $113.95. And at that point, I will call them back to negotiate a better rate, or downgrade services. I’ve never had extreme internet before (only high speed), and the classic cable is nice to have, but it’s not really necessary.

Also, my sister is coming to visit me tomorrow! Then, we are headed across the border to do some shopping on Sunday. Well, she will be buying clothing – I’m still on a shopping ban until May 19th. :) I will probably end up picking up some odds and ends for my place though, and am hoping to hit up the outlet mall and Target.

Finally, if you haven’t already, please consider voting for me in Canada’s Best Personal Finance Blog contest, put on by the Globe and Mail. :)

Drawing design inspiration for my place

I need some serious design inspiration.

Ever since I moved to Vancouver, I’ve never had a place that I can truly call home. And because of that, I haven’t spent any time or money designing a unique space, or even buying any furniture. I’ve been saving the whole designing experience for my first home – and now that the time has come … I feel a bit overwhelmed! :) Over the past few days, I’ve been figuring out what kind of furniture I will need, where to put everything in my new space, and of course – paint colour! As a graphic designer, I feel like I have a bit of experience choosing complementary colours, textures and patterns. But nothing to the extent of an entire home.

So GMBMFB Readers, what websites do you use to draw inspiration from when looking to decorate your place?

So far I’m using Apartment Therapy and IKEA Hackers. Maybe also some websites that you can buy cool, funky, unique things from (that ship to Canada)? Because while I love the idea of buying second-hand and refinishing furniture to suit my style, I don’t have the time to do it and my slight OCD tendencies will end up driving me crazy. But also, part of me thinks I should just go the IKEA route, because 1) it’s cheap, 2) I most likely won’t have this furniture forever, and 3) it’s cheap.

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