In late 2013, we decided after 43 years in our first home it was time to down size our home. We were given booklets designed to tell you how to sell and buy a home. This article is about all the unexpected things we had to do or unexpected events that occurred to make the process more complicated than we expected. Many of these unforeseen hiccups “along the way” came from our being first time sellers/buyers of a home. They were:
• Email Access. When we left our old home, I cancelled our internet account. What I didn’t know this meant that I could no longer send emails using the email address attached to that provider. At the time we were living with my daughter using her Wi-Fi to gain internet access. I could receive emails initially but I could not send emails. We thought that there was a problem with the modem. I learnt, only by accident, the real situation when I spoke to a Telstra official about the process to reconnect when we bought our new home. So I used a Gmail account.
• Insurance of our home, contents and cars. These became a complicated issue. We were advised to keep the insurance on the house and contents going until the day of settlement. That was to be expected. Once the house was sold, contents only needed to be insured. However, during the settlement period, we divested ourselves of furniture, tools and other items that we felt we would not need in our new home. This meant we had to reassess the value of our contents. That we did.
• Insuring our contents in storage. We found that the insurance company charged the same fee for our contents as if the contents were still in your own home for the first month in storage. After that, the fee almost doubled. As well, there were many questions the insurance company asked about the storage facility before they would agree to continue the insurance of our contents once they were in storage.
• Car insurance. This had its foibles, too. When we moved to our daughter’s home temporarily, in a different suburb, the insurance costs dropped. So we got a refund. It would have been greater refund if the cars were garaged and not parked on the street. When we moved into our new home, the insurance costs rose again.
• Personal mail. I wrote to every organisation and person who sent us mail regarding our new postal address, prior to settlement. It was a Post Box. Luckily, very few letters went to our old address. They were for our younger son. We had arranged a mail redirection for six months as part of the post box arrangement. (That cost of the redirection was zero with a post box which you had to rent for a minimum of one year). We forgot that mail might arrive for him. So you need to list all possible recipients of mail at your old home for redirection to your post box as a precaution. Since we did not know how long it would take us to find a home, I arranged early in the settlement period to rent a post box. This gave organisations time to adjust to our new mailing address. Some companies organise their mail out weeks in advance. So, what this also means is that there is a need to keep the post box for some months after you move into your new home. As soon as you have a binding contract on your new home you should send your new contact details to all those who need to know. Make sure they realise your mail and home address are one and the same (if that’s the case).