Moving house challenge
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  1. #1
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    Default Moving house challenge

    We are currently negotiating a house.

    That sentence does not quite convey the excitement and stress that come with the process of looking for and finding a house you like, meeting with the Owners, negotiating the price, negotiating the details, informing the notaries, and getting the paperwork ready.

    The reason why we are moving is that we are currently living in a very drafty 2br apartment in central Brussels. Lots of traffic, no safe outside area (it's a small terrace with 22 floors of apartments above it; people throw stuff down: cigarette butts, hot oil, rice, cereal, plastic steps, towels, carpets....), firestation on other side of the road. The Landlady wants to sell the apartment and is kind enough to wait for us moving out, but will not do any repairs anymore. We don't want to insulate the apartment either, because we are moving out.

    Rent in and around Brussels for a 2br apartment/house with a garden in a quiet neighbourhood runs to €1,200/month on a obligatory 9-year contract. A mortgage for a €200,000 4br house with a decent garden is around €950/month for 30 years. We still have to shop for the proper mortgage, but this is the amount the bank came up with when we went there just to see how much mortgage they would give us. The mortgage is based on my income only.

    We don't have much money in savings, but all our major expenses have been paid: marriage, car, dh's education, move from the Netherlands to Brussels (Belgium), birth of dd, new furniture for the apartment (+fridge, stove, washing machine, tv), visit to my in-laws in Africa. We are debtfree. My parents are willing to give us an interest-free loan for the associated costs. I have been finding out how much everything would cost and would like to keep track of our progress on this forum.

    House:
    8,250 / 8,250 Registration fee
    2,163.66 / 2050 Notary
    1,100 / 0 additional documents/seals/etc

    Mortgage:
    2,200 / 0 Registration fee
    899.72 / 0 National Mortgages' Office
    952.32 / 0 Notary
    1,000 / 0 additional documents/seals/etc

    Take-over and Renovations:
    500 / 0 Van rental
    1,500 / 0 Taxes for the rest of the year
    1,000 / 0 paint and wallpaper for downstairs' rooms
    3,000 / 0 Re-wiring electricity whole house


    Total
    needed: 22,565.70 / saved: 10,300

    This week we will sign the preliminary contract, which gives us 4 weeks to find a mortgage. Within 4 months of signing the preliminary, we will have to sign the proper handover agreement (supposing we have found the mortgage, otherwise the sale won't happen - it's in the preliminary). The 'house', 'mortgage' and 'taxes' costs are due on the date we sign the proper agreement.

    Where to get the money from:
    - the mortgage will be 100%
    - interest free loan from parents upto €16,000
    - I have €2,400/month coming in; we currently save about €1,000/month
    - dh to get a job
    - dd to be pottytrained, so she can go to kindergarten in January, which is free. Creche costs us €2/day (no typo! It's €13.50 with €11.50 taxback)
    - re-submit my income over 2007 to Belgian tax authorities; I forgot to add 1 week of interim work and can claim tax refund of about €150.
    - write letter to British tax authorities to claim tax refund; I worked in England for 4 days in 2007, but was not there long enough to actually have a Social Security/Tax number. This should be another €150.
    - The Belgian tax authorities have written me a letter saying that they will refund €3,500 over 2008. The check is due to arrive late September.
    - 13th month in December. It's taxed at 60%, but still better than nothing

  2. #2
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    We went to the house again last night to talk to the Owners about the gas heaters and the furniture they are leaving behind. We have agreed that they will leave the kitchen table, 6 kitchen chairs, 5 gas heaters (3 nice ones, 2 'functional'), the stove (with a proper gas oven!), a cabinet in the garage and the garden tools. All at no cost to us. Good! I'm happy with that result.

    They told us that the taxes for the year are 150, so our part for the rest of this year will be 40 max.

    Also, the electricity report stated that the electricity meter in the garage should be enclosed. That means building a little wooden box around it from scratch wood. This also mean we won't have to rewire the electricity in the whole house! Byebye 3,000 budgeted amount! We will budget you elsewhere!

    We hope to sign the preliminary agreement on Monday and then have 4 weeks to find a mortgage.

    New budget:

    House:
    8,250 / 8,250 Registration fee
    2,163.66 / 2050 Notary
    1,100 / 0 additional documents/seals/etc

    Mortgage:
    2,200 / 0 Registration fee
    899.72 / 0 National Mortgages' Office
    952.32 / 0 Notary
    1,000 / 0 additional documents/seals/etc

    Take-over and Renovations:
    500 / 0 Van rental
    40 / 0 Taxes for the rest of the year
    1,000 / 0 paint and wallpaper for downstairs' rooms

    Total
    needed: 18,105.70 / saved: 10,300

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    We went to a mortgage broker this morning, just to make sure (again) that we would be eligible for a mortgage. He calculated that there are 2 banks/financial institutions that will work with us, and gave us all the printouts. It's looking good.

    Tonight we will sign the preliminary agreement, which has a condition that we have 4 weeks to find a proper mortgage, otherwise the agreement is null and void. In that case, we have to pay the Owner €500 indemnity for keeping the house of the market for 4 weeks. Now that we know that we will get a mortgage somewhere, we can safely sign the prelim.

    Additional costs:
    5,000 / 0 life insurance

    The life insurance can also be paid €360/year (total for both of us) for the duration of the mortgage.

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    I fell ill on Wednesday, and did not recover until yesterday, Sunday. Sick days are 100% paid, luckily, unless you are sick for more than 3 months.

    We found out on Thursday that I am pregnant! No idea about the due date, though.
    Expected costs (the basics are covered by insurance):
    - prenatal care: €50 (total)
    - natal care/hospital stay: € 200 (total, might be less if I don't opt for tv and phone)
    - antenatal care: € 50

    We still have clothes, furniture, creams, etc. from dd#1.

    Tomorrow morning we will talk with ING about a possible mortgage.

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    ING is offering us the best deal by far. We will run the numbers carefully tonight, but I think we're set.

    Once we make a formal application, they will send an appraiser to the house for €180. If s/he okays the value, we will have to wait 2 weeks for a firm mortgage offer, that will be valid until the signing of the official sale papers.

  6. #6
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    WOW - thanks for sharing all this! It is interesting to see the details of moving in another area of the world.... things that I wouldn't have thought of.....
    and now pregnant....how exciting..... AND STRESSFUL.
    please look after yourself, and keep us posted!

    (and I am right there with you, as my house is currently for sale and we have a cross country move in the near future)

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    Our car is making odd noises, so we decided to schedule the regular maintenance 2 months earlier than normal.

    We had 2 options: go to our regular guy for €120, but buy all oil, filters, spare parts, etc ourselves (and have no idea of the final price), OR go to the dealer for €300 all inclusive. We have decided to go to the dealer. This car will have to last us a few more years, so it needs to be running as perfect as possible. It's a Seat Ibiza 5-door, 11 years old, has run 80,000 miles (15,000 by us).

    When dh learned to drive he had 2 accidents, so the outside is a bit damaged. We will never get a good resale value for it, so we intend to run it as long as possible ourselves. We will have to squeeze baby#2 into it as well, pfew, let's see.....

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    We have a mortgage! Hurray!

    This time, the bankmanager handled the paperwork, and apparently, there is no need for the appraiser to come, as the mortgage is for less than €300,000. He also waived the administration costs of €240, because I am a 'Privilegio' client with ING. Savings in total: €420.

    We have decided to each have a life insurance for 60% of the property value, which will cost around €360 per year for both of us. The fire and contents insurance will also be €360 per year.

  9. #9
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    From my monthly paycheck we have added €1,000 to savings. (That's 45%.)

    We had someone give a quotation for a new roof: €17,000 !!! No way is that going to happen. Close reading of the quotation showed that he wanted to remove the old roof completely, including the beams, and was going to build a completely different shape roof with new tiles. (1) the neighbours won't be happy with that, as our roofs are attached, (2) the city council won't be happy with that, because a change of the 'look' of a house requires a permit, (3) the insulation was only 5'', whereas 6'' is more common now.

    New totals list:
    House:
    8,250 / 8,250 Registration fee
    2,163.66 / 2,163.66 Notary
    1,100 / 1,100 additional documents/seals/etc

    Mortgage:
    2,200 / 186.34 Registration fee
    899.72 / 0 National Mortgages' Office
    952.32 / 0 Notary
    1,000 / 0 additional documents/seals/etc

    Take-over and Renovations:
    500 / 0 Van rental
    40 / 0 Taxes for the rest of the year
    1,000 / 0 paint and wallpaper for downstairs' rooms

    Total
    needed: 18,105.70 / saved: 11,700

    It's different from my siggy, because in my siggy it's more spread evenly over all items, so that it looks more.......

  10. #10
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    My parents were here for the weekend, and of course we showed them the house. They are in dubio; they like the village and the size of the house, but they also think it's rather dark inside and a lot of work to fix it up.

    The darkness we can do something about by replacing the greentinted single windows at the front by double or triple glazed bright windows. And next year we would like to remove the kitchen wall and put in a glass veranda/sliding doors. For the rest: Belgian houses are dark, they all have small windows at the front of the house. Younger people are putting bigger windows or glass walls at the back of the house, but in general Belgians like their hidey-holes. If we want to sell the house, we cannot change that too much.

    Other than that, currently the inside is painted grey and has dark brown panelling. We intend on painting everything white.

    Furthermore, I had a letter from the tax authorities that I would receive a check for €3,650 tax-back by the end of September. October 5 I still had not received anything, and with a check for that amount being sent by normal mail, I got worried. I had to call them for 7 days, before I finally had someone pick up the phone (no kidding, it was just ringing all those 7 days). She said there was a problem with our address and the check was cancelled! There is no problem with our address, we still live where we lived back then! She then asked for my bank account number, to transfer the money directly. That was the day before yesterday and I'm checking my account every 4 hours, nothing yet.

  11. #11
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    I'm still chasing the tax authorities for my refund! Grrrrr!

    And chasing the bank to send the mortgage papers to the notary. Grrr!

    Oh, I nearly forgot: the baby's due date is 30 April.

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    WAHOOO!!

    Dh has had a job offer! Pay is slightly under the market, but he has no experience whatsoever, so we don't care. Benefits: meal vouchers, company car and gas card, company mobile phone, company laptop, company internet connection, health insurance, hospitalization insurance (those are 2 different insurances here), pension plan, OT pay.

    It's Network Engineer at a global IT company with a good internal training programme. 1 Saturday per month, one week morning/afternoon shift, one week afternoon/evening shift. Start date: 3 November.

    Hurray!! Hurray!! Hurray!!

  13. #13
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    Wow so much change at once! Congrats on the baby and DH's new job!

  14. #14
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    My salary came in and we have added another 1,000 to our savings:

    House:
    8,250 / 8,250 Registration fee
    2,163.66 / 2,163.66 Notary
    1,100 / 1,100 additional documents/seals/etc

    Mortgage:
    2,200 / 1,186.34 Registration fee
    899.72 / 0 National Mortgages' Office
    952.32 / 0 Notary
    1,000 / 0 additional documents/seals/etc

    Take-over and Renovations:
    500 / 0 Van rental
    40 / 0 Taxes for the rest of the year
    1,000 / 0 paint and wallpaper for downstairs' rooms

    Total
    needed: 18,105.70 / saved: 12,700


    We went to the 'energy fair' (I had coupons for free entrance) and took part in a free 'home energy audit'. It seems that we need to dig up the floor of our new-to-us house and add proper insulation, add an extra wall to the outside of our current wall for proper insulation, lift off the roof and renew completely for proper insulation.... Hmmm, the guy doing this audit said this was only a summary and he could give a full audit for around 800 ($1,125). Is this a good deal? I wonder....

    We also picked up many leaflets and information brochures, had talks with many standholders AND with the Belgian organisation that helps you with refunds, premiums, subsidies, and tax rebates . That one made me happy! They told us that you are entitled to many subsidies, etc. and that each project counts individually. So you can have the same money back for new windows, new roof, insulation of roof, etc. There is also a difference between renovation (bringing up to date) and insulation, so you can claim twice if you do it at the same time.

    I hope the new government is a long time in the making, because I fear they will change or cut these premiums right away to save on the national budget! (Being thoroughly selfish here.)

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    Hurray! The 3,657 ($5,001) from the tax authorities came in!

    New overview:
    House:
    8,250 / 8,250 Registration fee
    2,163.66 / 2,163.66 Notary
    1,100 / 1,100 additional documents/seals/etc

    Mortgage:
    2,200 / 2,200 Registration fee
    899.72 / 899.720 National Mortgages' Office
    952.32 / 952.32791.3 Notary
    1,000 / 791.30 additional documents/seals/etc

    Take-over and Renovations:
    500 / 0 Van rental
    40 / 0 Taxes for the rest of the year
    1,000 / 0 paint and wallpaper for downstairs' rooms

    Total
    needed: 18,105.70 / saved: 16,357


    Dh has signed his work contract this morning and will start 3 November. The new employer has been kind enough to change his work hours so that dh can pick up dd from daycare before it closes.

    The bank has called that the official mortgage papers have arrived, and when can we come and sign them.

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