Tonight we went to the burger factory with Troy. We ate some good food once again, Troy gives it a rating of 8.75 out of ten.
I got a kill a watt energy meter today, I bought it on ebay for cheap. It measures how much electricity an appliance is using both instantly and over a period of time. You would use the instant function for something like a TV or a light, but for things like a fridge that goes on and off you need to use the timer and kilowatt hour function. If you’ve ever herd that old freezers use a lot of energy, we’ll find out soon enough. I’m going to test our freezer one and then the new one, then compare them. I’ll also include a picture of the old freezer, it’s a classic, it has a K-Mart brand emblem on it do it has to be at least twenty five years old.
We talked to a mortgage specialist today, and we have yet more hoops to jump through to get our house built. First of all the land that we own is zoned Agricultural, this is viewed as a risk to banks. The second problem that we have is that we are not building a basement in this house. I know it doesn’t seem like a problem but it is it all has to do with how you get paid from the bank; I’ll explain below.
When you get a building mortgage you don’t get any money, that is until you build. The way things are done is you get all your quotes into the bank, and they will get your mortgage approved. Then you have to build to a certain point before you can draw money from the mortgage. The money is given to you in four lump sums (draws). First you are to get the basement foundation poured, and backfilled (draw #1). Next the walls, roof, windows and doors (draw #2). Then all electrical, plumbing, and I think insulation and drywall (draw #3), then completion (draw #4).
As the story goes, we can’t get draw number one because we don’t have a basement. We are put on a payment plan much like a ready to move style home where draw 1 and 2 are combined. It wouldn’t matter too much to me except that the concrete is about one third of the total project cost, and as you may guess the walls, roof, windows, and doors add up to quite a bit as well. Well once all of this is done the money problems will be over (we’ll owe lots but we’ll have cash flow to build with).
I think we may use the first home buyers plan. This is where you can cash in $20,000 of RRSP’s to use as payment for your house, then you have 15 years to reinvest them without penalty.
The Canadian dollar is now worth 1.002 US dollars, I’m not sure why but something has gone wrong with the US economy lately. It is good and bad for us. It is good if we want to purchase goods and services from the US, But this is going to hurt our exports to the US. I can personally see how the dollar is affecting my investments, I have stocks and mutual funds in the US markets and although the price per share of the stocks and funds have gone up, the amount that I would get for them in Canadian funds if I were to sell is less. It seems that we are in a transitional period of the US economy, they lowered their prime interest rate (to encourage spending and to boost their economy / which also further devalues their dollar) and I think they are going into a depression. I think it is going to last three to five years before their economy will come back. As for investments in American companies I say sell now then rebuy when their dollar is lower, as for what I’m going to do; I’m going to ignore my own advice and hold on to what I have and maybe buy more when the price drops further. Although if I can gain a quick fifteen percent gain out of any of my stocks where I think they are over priced I’d sell to help fund the house building then reinvest later this year, but I doubt it’s going to happen.
As for the house building, we’ve gotten quoted on the framing, windows, electrical, plumbing, roofing, drywall, and siding, we just need to get quotes for paint, moldings, septic, well, foundation and pad and it seems that they are on the way. If I’m lucky I’ll get them before we go to the bank on Monday. This paperwork is horrible, I almost think building the thing is easier than pricing it out, but if I had to do it again knowing what I know now it would be a lot easier.
I bought Wanda a new hard drive and a cheap version of Vista for her computer. Computers have gotten a lot easier to work on in the past few years, you just buy the parts then plug them in, everything is pretty much compatible. The hard drive install went well, she now has 2 hard drives, and vista installed easily. I haven’t reinstalled all her stuff yet, but it is on her slave hard drive so she can access it rite away if she needs to. I think she likes it.
We had a quick look at our lot last night with the septic/well guy. As we already know the soil is heavy clay, and we are in a low spot. If we want a septic field it would cost over $16,000 We may just go with a holding tank.
Now that’s a fine looking driveway, lots of clay and well packed, we just need some gravel on top.
Just a quick note to anyone buying vacant land to build on. If you are considering buying land outside the city to live on check how high the land is compared to the bottom of your neighbors basement windows. The municipality will make you build to a certain final grade. Your final grade of your house is measured at the top of your cement pad, or if you have a basement it’s measured to the bottom of your basement window. You will be required to haul in fill to build your driveway if things are too low, and you will need to get gravel to build up your foundation for a cement pad. Our land is three to four feet under final grade, before we build a 1720 sq ft concrete pad, we will have to build it up with gravel to support the weight of the concrete and house. Before you apply the gravel you strip the topsoil, hopefully only one foot if were lucky. If we have to build it up 4.5 feet X 1720 Sq feet we need 7740 Cubic feet or 287 cubic yards of gravel. We already hauled 600 cubic yards of free fill that cost $5000 to haul from 12 miles away, I expect that gravel will cost more to buy and the same to haul. If you do buy something that is in a low spot, you can easily work around it, but you can save yourself a lot by buying something that is already built up or not as low.