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Everything posted by Longinthetooth

  1. After a five year investigation by North Wales Police: http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/2013/01/09/jury-sworn-in-for-1m-mortgage-fraud-trial-55578-32574460/ I recall reading recently that the Force didn't have the resources to handle four alleged ongoing murder investigations in North Wales. Sounds like a place where it's OK to kill somebody but woe betide you if you exaggerate your income on a mortgage application!
  2. I used to take the kids to Manchester regularly on a Sunday. Go to a museum, meal in Chinatown, maybe a bit of shopping. Last time I went I found it strange that there were so many empty parking spaces. You now had to pay the same rate as for a Monday morning. Haven't been back since and probably won't!
  3. This sort of thing really scares me. The public image of these recruiting campaigns potrays them in the glamorous James Bond vein but one has to ask the question of whether it more like the start of a pre-war German style 'Gestapo' or Cold War Russian 'Stasi' organisation.
  4. I was in France last summer and saw a number of families living in Tranist type vans. I remember one in particular, in a hypermarket car park near Falaise, which has seven people living on matresses in the van. Couldn't tell if they were migrants or poor locals.
  5. As my avatar suggests, I've been around a while. The OP is absolutely right, I've several kids and frankly, would not like to be in their financial shoes. In 1974 I was earning £1340 a year and was offered a terraced house for £300, cheap bearing in mind they normally sold for about £600 in that location. In 2001 I was earning around £35,000; it simpy was not possible to buy a terrace house in some of the villages where I live for more than £25,000 (and I'm talking about the more pleasant parts of North Wales). My older kids are in their twenties and earn an average of around £21,000, none of them own a house or can even envisage a time when they possibly could. I went to a Polytechnic in 1977 - the fees were paid for by the County Council and I was given £1350 a year grant to live on (accommodation was also paid by the education authority). My kids will probably be paying off their student loans until they retire. I would agree that anybody born in the 50's and 60's who tries to say that 'times were hard' is talking through his/her backside. I'm sure that then, as always, life was tough for some but at least jobs were plentyful. I'm not suprised there is a resentment of baby boomers. If it's any mitigation I never bought any property other than for living in and anything I accrued over the years my ex-wife took; I now share a rented flat with one of my daughters. It's hard to gauge one's own contribution towards the change in culture from the 'communal good' to 'self preservation', which took place from around the late eighties but accept we all must have played a part. I watched, however, with deep distain the voracious property grabbing of a relatively small number of people over the last 15 years, as well as the transformation of the essentials of life (food and fuel in particular) into speculative trading vehicles. I recognize that we do, indeed, have a serious problem which is going to get worse. There are ways forward but we are miles away from any government that has the strength of will to undertake the 'major surgery' that is clearly necessary.
  6. I note with interest that there is an inherent perception that wealth is consistent with land ownership. You may all be right, I don't own any land. I hear all the time that 'they don't make land any more'. I live in 'the sticks'. I would challenge any reader living in London, Oxford, Bristol or wherever to jump on a train to anywhere. Look through the windows - there's loads of the stuff. I would argue that value is proportional to ability to control perception (of value) rather than the reality of supply and demand.
  7. Would I be right in saying that 'wealth', then, is part of a 'belief system'? Take your average Russian oligarch. He may have two or three Picassos', a room full of Chippendales in his estate in Buckinghampshire (surrounded by 200 acres of grass/wood land that nobody can do anything with because it's private) and a controlling share in Accrington Stanley FC. What happens if nobody believes it anymore?
  8. Thanks for the replies. Given that money is fluid and migrates, and the limitation of constant redistribution, what causes (if it exists) wealth creation? Not to the individual but to Society as a whole. It sounds like $10,000 per head is what we are all worth, on average.. Would I be right in saying that this figure would only fluctuate with the perceived value of money (ie inflation'/deflation)? I hope I don't sound patronising but I'm tryhing to get my head around a few basic concepts where the things I have read recently appear to me to judge their worth by counting the least number who understand a word they are talking about!
  9. Has any research been carried out to attempt to establish what the stardard of living would be for the average family or individual, if all the tangeable wealth in the world was shared equally between the earth's population? I know it's a very, very hypothetical question but wonder if anybody knows of any studies that have been undertaken.
  10. Quite right. During the 'heady days' (2004 to 2008) firms were instructing their surveyors not to down value (in some cases it would require authority from a line manager). Ergo the recriminiations we are now seeing. Now it's more a question of balance but no doubt the monopsony of valuation suppliers will be a factor.
  11. The way in which fees are paid to surveyors, in most cases, doesn't result in any pressure to value highly. The fee is paid on a scale based upon what the applicant tells the lender he thinks it is worth. A typical example is somebody buying a house for £175,000. The scale fee may be, say, £190. This is taken off the applicant and is paid to the surveyor no matter at what he values the property. If anything, it is an incentive to down value as the fee is the same and the risk is lessened. This isn't true in every case but serves as a general rule. It's probably been mentioned on this site before but in reality the lender will ask the applicant more like £400 under the guise of a valuation fee but what actually happens is that the surveyor is still only paid £190 whilst the lender pockets the rest as an 'administration fee'. Business volume for most practices has remained reasonably constant in recent years although the type of business undertaken has shifted towards re-mortgages and re-possession work.
  12. Now here's the rub. Twenty years ago I was writing, challenging the system. Back then, even for a £125,000 house the valuation fee could be anything from £126 to £400. I advocated a system where the money went, rather to a valuer, into a 'pot'. This would be used to indemnify any losses to a lender through anything other than fraud. No complicated Court proceedings, just an insurance policy. Do the maths - twenty yerars of property transactions versus twenty years of challenging surveyors in Court (the £19 million set aside by e.surv, for four years claims, for example) would more than cover losses to lenders/borrowers.
  13. Is the provision of mortgage valuations sustainable? In the early 1990's the mortgage valuation market changed radically. Many small independant surveying practices were put out of business by the widespread introduction of 'Panel Managers' - large concerns offering 'UK coverage' and lower fees. Lending institutions were more than happy to stand back and watch these Leviathans hack at each other with fee cuts and service promises. The result of this was that there has been a steady migration of experienced surveyors away from the industry; when statistics were last published a few years ago the average age of a qualified residential surveyor was 59. A national surveying concern has been advertising in my locality for a residential surveyor (salary circa £50,000 pa) for the past eighteen months and, as far as I know, still haven't found anybody. The announcement of a number of conglomerates that massive provision has had to made for professional negligence claims comes as no surprise. With the introduction of conditional fee arrangements, ('no win - no fee' to you and me), to sue a surveyor the position can only get worse. The RICS have recenly conducted a study of the future provision of Professional Indemnity Insurance and it makes grim reading; there is a possibility of it not being available at all. All in all, the future looks bleak for the industry (music to the ears for many on this site, I suppose!).
  14. Rightmove are part of the Connells Group who own a considerable proportion of UK's estate agents anyway.
  15. Can't say thatI I'm overly interested in the details but I have to ask what has been the cost to the taxpayer of this shambles. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-18827915 Presumably this has been quite a junket for a priveledged few but who will pick up the tabs?
  16. This sort of thing happens all too often. Whilst it's not for me to comment on the merits of this particular case it is my experience that there is a significant gap between a client's expectations and what a surveyor can reasonably be expected to deliver. He doesn't have X Ray eyes but he should be trained well enough to 'follow the trail' to assist in identifying problems which are not readily visible. Sometimes, it is just not possible and that is why many legal actions fail. I have always advocated the introduction of Latent Defects Insurance within the survey fee. The intent of this would be to cover cases like this where it may have not been possible to pick up the problem on the survey. I would have thought that a standard levy of £10 or so on a RICS produced report would soon build up a pot . This would certainly help the consumer and hopefully go some way in restoring public confidence in surveyors.
  17. It's just hitting home that I get very little change from a ten pound note for buying a measly gallon of petrol. I went into town (Wrexham) yesterday afternoon and passed the Shell garage opposite the football ground. Went to the library and did a bit of shopping thinking I'd put some fuel in on the way home. Blow me, it had gone up 2 pence a litre (10 pence a gallon) in a couple of hours! It's getting a bit scary.
  18. The cost of a typical worker home (terraced) in 1850 was around £75 to build. Rents were around 1/6d a week (about 7.5p in new money). This represented about 10% of average weekly household income and was the basis of what was considered to be '6% Philanthropy'. The social group who would occupy this type of property were known as the 'labouring poor'; they were invariably built close to factories as work was of a casual nature where men were employed on a 'first through the gate' basis. They were never owner/occupied and rarely came on the market as their main economic function was to provide an income for local businessmen (bear in mind banks were far less safe than now and other investment vehicles such as railways went bust routinely) or provide worker accommodation. There were no estate agents as we now know them. On the rare occasions that they were sold it was by auction and the results were not published. Hope this helps.
  19. If you are looking for a job in the modern world you will have to be aware of what is know as 'competenecy' based assessments. You will come across them in most interviews these days and they are now being used to sift people at the application stage. Drivel it may be but don't bother trying to fight it as it's now a fact of life. I would suggest that you google for help and advice as to how to answer such questions.
  20. OK, about this for a compromise. Many Local Authorities forego undertaking some of the activities that would go a long way to raising the environmental standard of their area due to high (mostly labour) costs. It wouldn't be difficult for the Department of Communities and Local Government to request all Authorities to submit an environmental improvement feasability study which compared existing capabliities as opposed to a scheme whereby they could enlarge their workforce for a set period (say 30 weeks) by paying new recruits, taken from local long term unemployed, minimum wage with the cost of their benefit taken away (for example a 30 year old on a 30 hour week would be paid about £180 a week with the cost to the Authority being £180 less around £65 or £101). You would need a system where other benefits were not affected (such as housing benefit) to 'sell it' to the jobseeker, or take the cost of all benefits away making it even more attractive to the employing Authority. I know it is reminiscent of the old Jobs Creation scheme but this should be a win-win system. It shouldn't cost the state anything; it would give a much needed boost to local environments limiting ratepayers objections to an inevitable slight increase in Council Tax; whilst jobseekers will have to ' get off their backside' as many posters have put it, they will see some extra dosh in their pockets; finally, it addresses many of the problems that long term unemployment brings - lack of routine, motivation, self respect, camaradery etc. The feasability study should identify only the components which would not have been practical without the scheme so there can be no arguement that it would take away the jobs of the existing workforce.
  21. And what about the cost to somebody having to do voluntary work? Ask yourself much how does it cost you to work - bus/train fares, work clothing etc. Add to this the cost of supervising a workforce who are untrained and don't want to be there (you're going to need one supervisor for every five, if not three workers). Also, you have to prove to the Jobcentre that you are looking for paid work; how are you going to do this if you are working a full week, a contradiction in terms? I'm sure there's merit in a properly thought out scheme and most job seekers would welcome it. Unfortunately, this government hasn't got the necessary skills to clean its own backside let alone possess the acumen to organise and run such a scheme successfully.
  22. The statistics are even bleaker if you look at 'housing costs' in its traditional form (ie adding the cost of heating, electricity and rates). Without government intervention it's scary to think where all this is going. I have relatives where both partners are working (one even are a pair of solicitors) but don't seem to have two halfpennies to rub together.
  23. Light blue touch paper and walk away quickly - I know, but.... Setting rents at a reasonable proportion of local income levels would release 'disposable income'. This will stimulate spending (surely not a bad thing). Landlords who refuse to go along with it will sell, increasing available housing supply which should bring down prices so properties become more affordable. Yes, I know we have been there before and it would take a government with b*lls. Be interested to hear views given the current news on unaffordabilty of rents.
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