We’re a fan of big wins, and refinancing our Mortgage has probably been one of our biggest. It’ll take about 4 years to recoup the costs of refinancing by what we’re saving monthly but overall the savings are huge. We’ll be saving over $60k in interest over the course of the loan.
It was a bumpy ride but we learned a lot along the way. Mostly, that NY sucks and banks are thieves.
- A Refinance is no different than an original mortgage. It’s treated exactly the same. Almost as if your buying the house from yourself and you have to pay all the fees.
- Monroe County charges a totally unreasonable Mortgage Tax
- Title insurance doesn’t make any sense. It’s good for the life of the property but you have to pay it again when you refinance. No refund, no discount.
- Banks charge outrageous fees.
- Loan Origination Fees
- Commitment Fees
- Application Fees
- Bank require you to pay their lawyer fees on top of all the fees they charge you to begin with.
Lots of fun huh? Good thing it’ll be worth it in the end.
Our experience with insurance companies of all kinds is horrible. We’ve had the absolute worst luck although We’ve never really written about it here in detail before. Our car insurance has been canceled several times (for reasons beyond our control) and our house insurance is expensive because of a few punk kids in Fairport and a stupid AllState policy.
We’ve dealt with our high cost house insurance for 2 years because it was the best we could get at the time (thanks to AllState, jerks). We figured after living with it for 2 years things would have settled by now and we’d be able to get a better rate. Through phone calls to at least 15 different companies, we’re not gonna have any luck and it looks like we’ll be stuck with what we’re paying now: about DOUBLE what seems to be the local average.
Three reasons we’re having trouble:
- Our house is a Multi-Family Duplex. Many insurance companies simply don’t offer insurance for these types of houses. Although it reduces the number of quotes we can get, and therefor the possibility of getting a lower rate, I don’t fault them for this. It’s their company and they can choose to cover whatever types of houses they want.
- Our house was built before the turn of the 20th century (approximately 1890). It’s Old. Many companies seem to think this is just too old so they won’t cover it. I don’t get this one. Yes older houses were built using different standards and fit to different codes, but that’s the point of risk pools. Just put the old house into an appropriate risk pool. This was totally shocking to me since there’s TONS of people with houses older than ours. I hope the houses we’re building today last more than 100 years… Will they stop covering houses built in 1990 in 2109? Seems dumb.
- We have 2 Siberian Huskies. They’re awesome family dogs and very friendly. We didn’t really think anything of this, but every company we talked to categorized Huskies as an aggressive breed. What a bunch of bull. I’ve never seen a non friendly Husky and I’ve never heard of one. Their rationale seemed to be that they’re related to Wolfs. Well, hate to break it to ya guys but your Lab & Retriever dogs share the same ancestors as our Huskies… they’re all related and share some Wolf DNA. Huskies just happen to have maintained their appearance more than others due to their natural work environment.
The first 2 issues I can gloss over because not every company had those restrictions and they almost seem reasonable since a company can choose what to cover and what not to cover. The 3rd however; is inexcusable. I simply do not understand where the idea that Huskies are an aggressive breed it’s coming from.
We were just trying to get a big win by getting our yearly insurance cost lowered. It looks like this won’t be happening anytime soon thanks to yet more retarded insurance policies. The whole industry is a giant scam in my opinion. As soon as you want to USE your insurance, they drop you or raise your rates. Why can’t we lower our rates every year (or month) we DON’T use the policy?
Today was bright and sunny too. They sky was so clear we had to go up Littl Blue Mountain(edit: the previous link was wrong and linked to little blue not littl blue) again. We did and there were actually other people at the top! Some guys were fiddling with a broken down 2007 Yamaha and I had to snicker. Give me a Polaris any day. Mine is a 2006 but my parents have a 1979, 1995 and 1997 which are all still running solid and they’ve never had to do much to any of them.
From the top of Littl Blue we could see White Face Mountain crystal clear almost 70 miles away. The picture doesn’t come close to doing it justice but it’s the best I could do. Just the shear vastness of the space you can see up in the mountains like this is always impressive. I created the panorama to demonstrate.
We had our snacks on Littl Blue and then headed down for some scenic riding. Along one of the main trails we hit a snowmobile traffic stop. Yes, on easter sunday the cops have nothing better to do than look for snowmobilers riding without insurance and with expired registrations. We were all valid and were just about to go when the cop noticed my insurance paper had expired a few weeks earlier. Great. I explained to him that it definately is still covered I just had forgotton to grab the new paperwork. “We have no way to tell” he said as he issued me a ticket. Awesome, now I have to deal with getting that dropped when I get home. This crap irritates me for lots of reasons but I’m not going to complain about it here.
After getting delayed by the traffic cops we headed on to horseshoe lake. The trail had been cleaned up since we were there a few days ago and it was a much better ride. It’s a good thing because I was tired of bouncing up and down on moguls.
The sun was a lot warmer today. It was just warm enough to melt some of the snow on the south side of the hills. The air was still cold however; that when the water ran down and started to drip it would freeze instantly creating some very neat ice formations.
So I guess it’s safe to talk about now that I’ve been doing it for a month and a half. I tried riding the bus over a year ago and quickly stopped. This time I did some things different and it has worked out for the best. I’d like to share a few things I did and thought differently this time around that really helped me overcome the dread of using public transportation.
- Live in a big city. For those of you who live here you know that Rochester is by no means a big city. However; it does have regular public transportation and thats a start. In order to be useful, It needs to go close to where you work and where you live. Its best if you can walk from home to a bus stop but driving a short distance is better than driving to work every day.
- Make one change at a time. The biggest two reason I stopped riding last time is I would wake up a bit late and miss it and I felt I had to fit within the bus schedule. It’s true you have to fit the bus schedule, but there are many buses throughout the day. During the normal commuting times they are only 20-30 minutes apart. Missing one is really not that big of a deal. Last time I tried to change my schedule (get to work slightly earlier) and begin riding the bus at the same time. Its best if you can make one change at a time. Stick with it for a while and once you’re satisfied with the results move on to the next item. Determine what time you normally get up and find the morning Bus route that fits with that.
- Set a Goal and evaluate your performance. When I started I said I wanted to ride for 2 weeks and see how it went. At the end of my 2 weeks I evaluated my experience and it had gone so well I immediatly switched my commuter plan at work to the bus pas instead of downtown parking saving a whole bunch of cash.
- Take it With You. I carry my bag with me every day. This means I always have something that can occupy my time with me as well as giving me a place to put things I need to bring to or from work. My bag always includes my: laptop, ipod, book, water bottle, umbrela and camera.
- Utilize your Time. I decided this time around I wanted to maximize my time and get things while riding the bus. It does take me a little more time to get to work, but now that time is spent productively. I could be doing things that would normally take time away from me at home (like posting this blog message) or I could be doing something I wouldn’t normally take the time to do (read a good book, most recently Second Horseman by Kyle Mills). Don’t just sit there like a log.
- Make use of whats there. The buses run with or without you. Whether you’re a tree hugger or not I think you’d agree that its good to reduce your environmental impact. Using public transportation is a big way to do that.
- Save some Money. We all know Gas is expensive, but there are several other ways you can be saving money by riding the bus. You can lower your insurance rates (in my case over $100/6months) simply by telling your insurance company you now drive only 2-3k miles a year. On top of that if you drive and work downtown chances are you have to pay for parking. This is all on top of the general wear and tear on your vehicle.
- Park it and Forget It. Its easy to take little side trips on your way home if you’re driving. Often you’ll buy things you really don’t need. If you ride the bus make it a point that once you get home you don’t leave unless absolutely necessary or if you can, take the bus again.
- Get an Unlimited Ride Pass. It works out almost even for you to buy an unlimited pass. They’re $56 so if you ride them 46 times a month (23 work days) its 1.22/ride. If your employer is like mine, they’ll even contribute a portion to the cost of the pass and you’ll break even long before the end of the month.
- Walk a little. We all need a little bit of excercise. If you can walk to the bus do it. It’ll give you just a few minutes of excercise a day but it’s a few minutes more than you were getting before. If you really want to get some benefit, take the long route and maybe add your bike to the mix once and a while.
Why in the world should you make things difficult for your consumers? Why make them wait, why inconvenience them?
I don’t have an answer, I’d be willing to bet nobody does, but they still do it!
I had two crappy customer service experiences in the past few weeks which iritated me very much. The first has to do with my car insurance. I’m not a very big fan of insurance companies to begin with but when they do something that inconveniences me and makes me do extra legwork for reason it just pisses me off.
What happened with Geico is I recently turned 25. When this happened my insurance is supposed to go down right? wrong! Geico sets up your policy and prices only once a year. When that happens if you’re under 25 (even if its 1 day before your birthday as in my case) you get shafted. You get your ’24 year old price’ until the next time they reevaluate your policy or 364 days in my case.
When I found this out I gave Geico a call and asked to speak to a manager. I explained that if they didn’t reevaluate my policy using my new age that I would simply transfer my account to another insurance company for a day (or less) and then transfer back to Geico because I did some quote checking around and Geico is still the cheapest for me. He thought this sounded silly and had me hold while he checked to see if he could just give me the newer price without me closing and reopening my account. Sadly despite his efforts this was not a possibility and he appologized. Well I hope your happy Geico because of the crap you’ve made me go through I haven’t bothered to spend the time transferring my insurance around.
My second experience was at a local BestBuy. What happened affects me more than most consumers possibly because of my Wegmans background. I took my camera with me to the store to get repaired. Dust was getting behind the screen and was starting reduce the visibility. When I walked up to the Customer Service counter I noticed that the line for the Geek Squad was about 10 people long. There was nobody at the normal counter and 3 workers standing around doing absolutely nothing.
I went to the normal counter, explained my situation, and was told that I needed to see the Geek Squad. I told them to look at the line and all I needed was turn in my camera to get it repaired. They appologized but said I’d have to wait for the Geek Squad. While I waited in line I noticed all 3 workers at the regular counter just standing around gossiping together. I wanted to speak to a manager but I didn’t want to take the time. I wish I had.
Why don’t these companies take customer service more seriously?
Ok so… we’ve tried word press before and never kept it up. This was basically because we tried to be retro-active in posting a bunch of stuff about what we had already done and it was overbearing. We’ve tried blogger but to no avail… Hopefully we can get this site going. We’ll use it as a place for people to know what Rachel and I are up to.
For those of you who don’t know Rachel and I bought a house (duplex) 6 months ago or so. Well… we’ve learned some things since then. Quite a lot in fact.
- It’s true what they say. You never really are done. when we bought the house we only had a few things in mind. Since then the list has grown daily
- No project is really as small or as easy as you think it is.
- You dont really have time anymore.
- Old houses are full of surprises.
- Insurance companies suck.
- Water can cause a lot of trouble.
on to that last one for a second and then i’ll end our first post…
A little less than a month ago we had a pipe break in our ceiling. Wow what a pain. It happened while we were both at work and conveniently enough the only day in months that i’ve forgotten my cell phone. Our tenants came home to about 4″ of water in the basement. They went through some hurdles and finally ended up calling the fire department who promptly came and took care of the problem. This does NOT end our problems however. Since then we’ve pretty much not had a dining room. We’ve got a cracked floor joist, drywall and pipes to replace, flooring to put down electric to run etc etc.
Anyway… that’s all for now. Rachel and I are off for dinner and a movie.