Insurance! Water! Heat! Lights! Action!
November 20, 2006 5:25 PM   Subscribe

After a last minute sale of my condo, the deal on the house I bought closes on Thursday. I need to arrange for utilities, insurance, and some repairs, and have next-to-no time to do research. If you have a satisfactory provider of any of these things and said provider's services are available to a Torontonian, recommend away! And of course I'll think of you all when I'm doing my happy dance on my rooftop terrace;-)

Here's what I need:

- home insurance (most urgent - need it by Wednesday night)
- gas heat
- electricity
- water (though I suppose that's only provided by the city)
- a home security system
- a roofer, as the roof needs to be redone pronto
- an electrician
- telephone and internet has been covered in a previous AskMe

Recommend away. If you don't wish to make the contact info public, my email is in my profile.
posted by orange swan to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My suggestion for home insurance is TD Meloche Monnex, only because they give alumni association members a discount. But yo could probably do equally well shopping around. I've used them for years but I've never had to make a claim.

Gas is Enbridge - no choice there. I'd skip gas marketers, Enbridge's prices are generally just as good and gas prices have gone down as often as they've gone up. Plus you can get one anytime. Just call Enbridge for a hookup. Same with electricity - you can get a retailer contract, but just call Toronto hydro for the hookup. You can worry about other issues later.

And yes, water is through the city.

Having said all that, normally you just send them a change of owner and everything just happens. None of those services should be disconnected unless the seller was behind in his bills. I honestly don't remember having to call anyone to begin electricty, gas and water service. Maybe my lawyer did it. I dunno.

Security - it's really not a rush unless you're in a bad part of town. Certainly doesn't have to be done on closing. And the home insurance discount can be applied anytime once you get one installed. ADT runs ads all over the place, we use API alarm. We have the most basic package and it's fine.

Haven't had to get the roof redone yet, sorry. Better not delay though - roofing season is drawing to a close quickly. And I do my own electrical work, for better or worse.
posted by GuyZero at 6:23 PM on November 20, 2006

Hey wow, congratulations!

Electricity is simple. Just call Hydro and they'll deal with it. They may need to contact the former homeowner.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:54 PM on November 20, 2006

Congratulations. (What neighbourhood?)

Avenue Road Roofing has a good reputation. Not cheap, though.

One good source of recommendations is the list of contractors used by Holmes on Homes

For utilities, you call the utility. Go with the utility themselves for now (i.e. Toronto Hydro for electricity and Enbridge for gas) and shop for an alternative provider later, if you want. We're considering Bullfrog Power for 100% green electricity. For gas, my only criteria is that I want to avoid doing business with any of the companies that do door-to-door sales.

I think water is done as part of the closing -- check with the lawyer.

Internet: TekSavvy is the best ISP I've ever encountered (and I've probably used 30 or so).

For insurance, get an independent broker who can find you the best rate from just about any company. The insurance rate criteria is so detailed (it includes your postal code, for one thing) that the fact that a certain insurance company got somebody else the best rate is not really relevant. (AFAIK, State Farm is the only insurer who isn't available through independent brokers).
posted by winston at 7:15 PM on November 20, 2006 [1 favorite]

BTW, I'm assuming that by redone you mean the roof needs to be replaced or re-shingled. Avenue Road Roofing isn't really geared towards minor repairs.
posted by winston at 7:18 PM on November 20, 2006

do you really need a home-security system? toronto is pretty safe. what neighbourhood are you in?
as for insurance, definitely don't go with co-operators.
my landlord just filed a claim through them, and they SUCKED.
an insurance adjustor i met suggested meloche monnex to me, but i haven;t contacted them yet.
re: utilities, i just use the standards: (i don't know what alternative there is)... the standards seem to be toronto hydro for electricity, and enbridge gas- i don't love either company but where i live (in a rental in the annex), i have no choice.

happy housewarming!
posted by twistofrhyme at 11:01 PM on November 20, 2006

Response by poster: Two sections of the roof need to be reshingled.

I'm in The Junction, a mile from High Park.

My condo was burgled last March, so now security is really important to me. It freaks me out to think of how easily someone could get into my house if he was really determined to do so. With a condo you just need to secure the front door. I want both an alarm system and a dog (of course I want the dog for more reasons than just the security factor).
posted by orange swan at 6:02 AM on November 21, 2006

Avenue Road Roofing just gave me a quote. I almost fell over when I saw it, but their estimator was very honest & helpful. My neighbours have recommended Alpine Roofing, but you didn't hear it from me, I haven't used them.

Talk to your lawyer about what s/he takes care of transferring as far as utilities. If I recall correctly, hydro were the only ones I needed to call.

If you can get any professional/college discounts TD might be good, otherwise find a broker. Make sure your real estate agent is available to have all the paperwork your insurer will need ready to go.

Congrats! I just bought my first house in August, it's fun.
posted by jamesonandwater at 6:18 AM on November 21, 2006

hey, in case you're still checking this thread, and are getting your gas from enbridge, beware their new scam of "budgeted monthly bills". what this means is "vastly inflated bills". they charged us $250 on a $125 meter reading. it was outrageous. it's a hidden default option they sneak in there, and you can, and probably should, choose to opt out.
posted by twistofrhyme at 11:09 PM on December 26, 2006

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