Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hills and Bills

We met with our bank to finalize our mortgage. I had a little freak out when I thought the insurance we were forced to purchase (by the real estate company) was for pest insurance, but it turns out it was what we originally thought it was for. It is still a scam run by Notar, but they were upfront about it in the prospectus. The racket runs like this: the buyer is required to purchase a form of insurance that covers any major problem that occurs in the first five years of ownership. It costs close to $2000US and has a $2000 deductible, so you can see the odds of there ever being a payout are slim to none. It really serves as an additional commission for the agent. Our banker caught this, and phoned our agent, who was very rude to her. In fact, he said they would have never accepted our bid if we questioned the payment. This certainly points to the concept that this is about generating revenue for the real estate company-- not a way to truly protect the buyer or seller. I can understand a bank mandating home owners insurance. I can understand requiring binding arbitration in the event of a dispute. I cannot understand requiring a bad insurance policy.

The trouble was, we asked about this at closing, and were told exactly what I mentioned above. Today, I was convinced our banker said it was some sort of pest insurance- like if the house had termites. I was furious, feeling as though I had been lied to. I plotted stalking the agent, and swiping the sign up list of interested customers at his showings, and handing out leaflets exposing their scam. When we returned home from the bank, I tried to decipher the policy that was in our closing documents, and it mentioned nothing about pests. I was furious. I dug into the guts of the document, which was written in Norwegian legalese-- which is still very foreign to me. Most legal documents are cryptic by design, and this was no exception. My wife's cooler head wanted nothing to do with this.

I picked up my new seatpost- the original post was too short, so I have a Skyscraper post by some brand I have never heard of before. The price was right. They had to special order it due to the odd Bianchi diameter. I then took off on a quick mountain bike ride through the neighborhood. The bike finally felt right- the fit is now excellent. As you can see, there are some serious hills around here. I returned home, and Lise deciphered the insurance document. I don't know how I had the impression it was pest insurance-- it was exactly as we were originally told. It is a buyer-seller insurance. My anger instantly evaporated. It still is a bad deal, but I recall it disclosed in the prospectus and at closing. It was as we originally thought. I would never choose to buy it, but it was part of the package. My anger was at the thought of being lied to. That is one issue that drives me nuts. But as long as there is no deceit, I can regard it as the cost of doing business. I really need to brush up on my Norwegian... but then again, Lise had the same impression as I did when we left the bank, so I guess it isn't just me.

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