The bank

I was approved by the fellow on vacation, but it was a fairly tense few weeks waiting. I went in, signed some documents, and everything seemed to be going swimmingly. Then with less than two weeks to go, my banker sprung on me the cedule hypothecaire (which translates roughly to mortgage codicil).

Real estate transactions are recorded in the Registre Foncier, or the land register. All land in Geneva is parcelled and those parcels are numbered. Because I was buying a house that had never been purchased with borrowed funds, there was no existing cedule hypothecaire. Essentially, the bank which was loaning me the money needed to be entered into the Registre Foncier as the first party to be paid when the property was sold.

My bank meetings are held in French. I had no idea what she was talking about. I finally asked her to just call the Notaire directly as I was not going to be able to communicate effectively that which I did not understand.

The Notaire knew exactly what to do and for another seven and a half grand, I could have a cedule hypothecaire created just in time for the property transfer. At this point, my mom had already stepped in to help out with some cash for stuff, and here she was stepping in again. I wasn’t going to fall at the last hurdle and lose everything up to that point. And bless my mom for making sure that didn’t happen. I’ll be paying her back forever.

It all went through. The property transferred just fine and on time.

The bank, bless their little cotton socks, also added some stress and confusion after the transfer went through. I had signed my mortgage documents; we had gone over them together and slowly. But there was an issue of cash. I didn’t have any left; I was beyond tapped out. I had received tax bills for the amount I had withdrawn from my 2eme and 3eme piliers in the thousands, there was a final settling of the account with the Notaire. The company that had done the asbestos inspection had been paid, but now the asbestos needed to be removed.

I had overpaid on my mortgage because I didn’t want to have to amortize anything. This way I was straight into interest only, except I wasn’t. My mortgage amortization was based on the bank’s value of the house, not what I had actually paid for it, which was less, so there was a tiny bit to amortize. Because I had overpaid, I could pull the cash back out of the house and have it available to use. They sent over documents of what the interest and the repayment would be. The documents contained an error putting the trimestrial payment as a monthly payment. And suddenly, I couldn’t afford my own money. The bank manager didn’t understand my freakout, so after going back and forth a bit on the phone and by email, we had a meeting and I showed her in her own bank’s document what I meant that I couldn’t afford to take the money out of the house. She was like, oh crap, that’s a typo. Seriously?! I don’t need help to go around the bend, my anxiety is already sky high, this sort of mistake doesn’t help. But it’s Geneva, and I should know after all these years not get too fussed about stuff. There is always a solution.

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