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Everything posted by rex

  1. STR in March 2008. Not deliberate. Gave up job in London and moved from SE London to Devon for new job / life. Was very nervous of buying in 2008 and early 2009. Only reason why we haven't bought since then is that there has been so little coming onto the market in 2009. Things changing now. Lots coming onto the market. But lots of people like us around by the looks of things - anything decent comes on, there is a dog fight between numerous cash buyers to get it - we've bid for and "lost" about 3 houses in the last 2 months. I'm not interesting in buying at the low point; I just want a long term home that I can knock about and do what I want to. I'm concerned also that if the market starts dropping again after the election, that people with nice homes will continue to sit on them, and there will continue to be a stand off between sellers and buyers. We are covering rent with interest from money in bank, but probably in a worse financial position overall since the 2009 market movements [well, maybe, maybe not - I'm not too sure what is difference between what we got when we sold our house in March 2008 and what we would have got today ...]
  2. East Devon / West Dorset. All hell breaking loose from Honiton across to Charmouth, certainly at price levels of between 600 - 995. We've stepped out of our bidding war now and left two others to it (apparently both cash buyers). To illustrate my point, see the following prime location search result - My link
  3. I don't believe that I said in my post above that I was planning on taking out a mortgage for any house I am bidding on. I said that I asked a bank how much of a mortgage they would offer me. You're sort of right. i didn't tell them how expensive a house I was planning on buying, just asked them how big a mortgage they would offer me. But they knew that I had several hundred thousand in cash to spend. I still think their mortgage offer was far too high, because it is "affordability" based on today's interest rates. However, the point is, they are offering them: and I know of a number of young "first time buyer professionals" who are being offered at those multiples too. In fact, I'm rather hoping to avoid taking out a mortgage at all. I used to have a £600k mortgage until 2 years ago - I'd rather not go there again now in the current economy.
  4. The days of 6x salary multiples are not over. I was offered one only 6 weeks ago by one of the main high street banks. I had simply asked them how much of a mortgage they would offer me today. it was over x6. They said they based their criteria on affordability, not salary multiples. And the property market is mad around me. I've just posted in the anecdotals thread about currently being in a price war with five separate bidders for a house, all of whom are said to be "proceedable". Two other houses I was interested in viewing went under full cash offers in last month, both of them asking prices of 800k.
  5. Not my experience in the South West. We've been bidding on a house we want to buy since last Monday. There are so far 5 separate bidders, all of whom the agents say are "proceedable" with their offers. We are 100% cash; not sure what "proceedable" means nowadays. Pretty fed up because I think it means that we won't get it - I'm not prepared to bid way over price in a price war. I've come across two separate houses in the last month down these parts (both of which we went to view) which shortly afterwards went under full cash offers from buyers (price range from 600k up to 800k).
  6. PFI's, 99% of them, don't involve leases. The private sector contractor simply has a licence to enter the relevant ste, build the asset and thereafter maintain it. Its essentially a long term build and service contract. The Govt always owns the land (unless you are talking about some LIFT deals and a few MOD deals). Rothschilds don't advise on PFI deals. Wrong market. G Brown, for all his sins, did not introduce PFI to the UK. The Conservatives did, in 1992. PFI has been around since the 1960's, albeit known by its purer label "project finance". A future Govt cannot declare the contracts null and void - there is already legislation in place to protect the private sector against that - the Local Government Contracts Act. PFI is not just about getting a long term loan; its about bringing in private sector efficiencies to assist in achieving public sector renewal of infrastructure. "Exponential interest" on PFI payments - its just a long term bank loan.
  7. We just went for second viewing on a house on Sat. Was considering putting in an offer today of about 12% off asking price. It came onto the market 10 days ago. We are cash buyers, in rented accom. Agent told me that they have already received a full asking price offer, in cash, from another buyer this morning. Asked me if I wanted to offer a higher amount. I said no. Asking price was £800,000. So much for the return of the buyer's market.
  8. rex

    Gas Bills

    Wow - that's alot. Part of the problem for me in understanding the gas costs is that we were also on oil at the last house we rented, so we haven't been using gas for a while. The tank was huge, full when we arrived at the property; the house, although cavernous and huge (7 bedrooms), was brand new and super insulated with a fab boiler; and we never needed to refill the tank until we left the property nearly a year later. Toasty warm house all year through. I think the tank refill cost us about £350-£400 ish back in Feb 2009. Unfortunately the rent was £2400 a month so we decided to vacate for somewhere slightly cheaper when the interest rate on our STR fund fell from over 6% to somewhere near nothing. So perhaps we've been lucky with the oil costs. Not so with gas. I'll have to pay out combined gas and electricity bills this month of £600 .....
  9. rex

    Gas Bills

    Thanks. Last thing to check then. We've done the "switch off the boiler all day and come home and see what the reading looks like" thing - no change. So no gas leak, no accidental wire up to the old people's house next door (which owns our rental house), no estimated meter readings, all actual readings. Christ. This house is half the size of our last house and I cannot believe how expensive the heating is - when I say 4 bed detached, its a small 4 bed detached; half our stuff has had to be sent off to storage. Time to get the LL to call in a gas engineer and check out the boiler too I suppose. It does "cycle" alot, but I didn't think that would have such a cost impact. I'm not staying here another winter - its casts quite a different light on the rental price.
  10. rex

    Gas Bills

    Thanks for all the above. All the readings are actual. I take the readings myself every 3 months and then call and update the gas company with the readings. So absolutely no question about mistakes or errors in taking readings. The bill is not a "spread across 12 months" average. The gas company tried to start charging me £200 a month direct debit about 4 months ago. I said that was a ridiculous amount of money for gas/electricity direct debit (we have owned large houses for a very long time before we dived into the rental market back in 2008 so I know what gas certainly used to cost in a large house); that I no longer wanted to be on their direct debit plan as a result; and I would track for myself what is our actual usage from bill to bill. In fact, because of all that I decided to move gas suppliers and that's why I've just received a bill spanning only 2 months. I cannot start lagging attics, upgrading boilers or getting south facing windows for house that we rent where the lease can be terminated by either party on 2 months' notice. We are trying the "switch everything off" test today - switched boiler off entirely this morning and took reading, will see what, if anything, has happened when we get home tonight....
  11. We've just received our gas bill for the house we are renting - £400 for the last 2 months (30 Nov to 2 Feb). I am staggered. We both work full time. Heating on a timer - 1.5 hours in the morning, say 5 hours in the evening, and on at weekends. Of course on over the Xmas break. Customer reading (ie me) both times. 4 bed detached. I do chase good energy deals from different suppliers. We've been renting for two years now and bouncing around different houses - the last one was great, brand new, highly insulated but it was oil (and after interest rates dropped we decided it was too expensive a place to rent). So I can't remember what gas bills were like from say early 2008. I know this house we are in is incredibly energy inefficient (even though it was built in 2000, it is v drafty and the boiler keeps cycling), but still ...... !? It almost seems cheaper to just move to another rental house. Any thoughts? What are other people's Xmas period gas bills like? Has it all gone sky high because of gas prices ?
  12. Its happening in the South West. People I know have had house on market for a few years now, suddenly came under offer last month from two rival buyers, both in rented accommodation, went to sealed bids - they both bid 50k over the asking price (so around 750 in total). House now proceeding to exchange. There's a madness spreading out there.
  13. Same in the South West, but I am seeing a large number of houses at at all price levels going SSTC over the last 2 weeks as well.
  14. Referring to my post above, the house went on the market last Friday, we viewed last Saturday, the house was "Sold" by Monday, presumably at or near asking price. This is probably one of the most depressing experiences I have had for several months, given how awful and overpriced we thought the house was. It probably means that as soon as anything comes onto the market that we do like, we can forget about about making "offers" for it, because it will be a case of trying to extract ourselves from the bottom of the rugby scrum that will have piled up ontop of the house within 24 hours of it going onto the market. I thought buyers would be scant at our level of the market, but it seems I couldn't be more wrong. I even found out yesterday about other people we know who were trying to go view it too but were turned away because they weren't cash buyers in rented, and everyone else going to view last Sat it was ....
  15. Same experience in the South West. We're looking in the roughly 750k price category - those sellers have been completely on strike round these parts for the last year at least. In the last 2 weeks I'm suddenly seeing these properties creeping onto the market. Having said that though, we went to view one yesterday - I believe it was overpriced by at least 100-150k. The seller was saying that they've been waiting to put the house on the market for a while, and now seems like a good time - owned the house for over 30 yrs.
  16. I WOULD have given up waiting (sold March 2008) altogether if something had come onto the market in the last 6 months that I actually wanted to buy. I have become a reluctant renter simply because the people I want to buy from won't put their houses on the market - they're too afraid that the recovery is round the corner and they will lose out (ie retiring down-sizers). I don't even want a crash any more - I just want everyone to think that the market is flat so that people start putting their houses on the market. Threats of 10% rises per year, starting from next year, don't help that aspiration. Nor does the reverse.
  17. We are in a similar situation to you, apart from the depression. Made our money on doing up houses at the weekend (aka "property speculation") funded by my six-figure City income and his rudimentary DIY skills. Got a bit more than you stashed in the banks to play with. My point is that we are also looking for a home by the sea, and we could also buy a fairly large house mortgage free, and we are also under 40 with a hopefully long life ahead. My advice is go for it, subject only to the flooding issue. Looking for a home by the sea down here brings in coastal erosion issues - I would not buy a beautiful house on the clifftops here without an expert survey assessing likelihood of cliff collapse in the relevant location within the next 100 years. I think the same point should apply to you in your own context. You don't want to find that no lender would offer a mortgage on your house when you come to sell in 30 years' time. We (and you) have the money to buy with a small or non-existent mortgage, in which case the argument as to whether or not there will be another 10 or 20 % drop in prices over the next 2 years is far less relevant. If the right house came on the market tomorrow, I would buy it. (My problem is that not alot has been coming onto the market for an awfully long time - our "potential sellers" are people with no mortgages, no debts, and who can afford to sit back and wait out what they believe is a temporary dip in property prices.) I think you should do the same, and rely more on the "house is your home" argument than the "HPC" reasons, because of your particular circumstances. I am, however, a woman !!
  18. I agree that reductions seem to be kicking off again. There is one house in particular, that we went to view a year ago, where the owners were totally adamant that they were in no rush to sell and would wait until the right offer came along. They were teamed up with one of the "top two snotty" EAs in the South West - ie the ones where you just know they have marked up the price substantially, create really silly arty brochures (e.g. a close up of a wellington boot in the entrance porch), and never agree that houses are over-priced. Well those people have just dropped their price by 100k overnight (about 12% I suppose; they put it on the market almost exactly a year ago). Given the personality of the sellers and the nature of the EAs, that really speaks volumes to me. Unfortunately although the house "would do" for us, its not a love affair, so we'll keep waiting in hope (or in vain) that the market adjust to a new price level and starts moving ....
  19. I can beat that. Started off at £1.5 mill 6 months ago; now asking price dropped to 800k ...... repo. Personally, I wouldn't live in Torquay, but many clearly do ..... There was another repo in Torquay last year - £2.2m down to 750k.... http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sa...3Ftype%3DBUYING
  20. Still waiting, and getting seriously fed up with it all. We've been living in rental for 18 months now. Many house sellers in my area have been waiting it out - either not putting their houses on the market at all, or not dropping their asking prices at all and simply waiting. My dream house did come and go - it came onto the market in early 2008 and sold this Spring when the market kicked off. I thought it was 20% overpriced. The buyer who came along and bought it clearly didn't. We're eying up repossessions now - a few coming onto the market in the last month. One that looks great but is about 40 miles down coast and would be a total hassle to live in from a "commute to work" perspective, but it is undoubtedly a total bargain, could make a decent profit after say 5 yrs, and at least we would have a place that would be home (if only for the weekends ...).
  21. As the "renter" I would say you are stuck with the agent if they happen to be the ones who have the property you want to rent on their books ..... The ones I mentioned above (covering West Dorset) were not great, in the sense that they had alot of extra charges hidden in the detail of their standard tenancy agreement, but they had the house I wanted to rent so ...... not sure how you can steer clear of the bad ones. There really is not a great deal on the rental market over this side of Dorset.
  22. nothing wrong with moving out of cornwall trplatt. I was just asking why. And actually, property isn't priced too badly in cornwall when you compare it with lyme regis in dorset .... give the choice, i'd rather have the cornish prices than the west dorset ones ....
  23. You're presumably Cornish. Why are you moving to Dorset. Rural in Dorset is like a chocolate box picture of niceness compared to the wilds of Cornwall. Lyme Regis very nice and v nice community but near impossible to get rentals around here. Try the Letting Factory .com
  24. I don't agree with this argument in the present day. I accept that 20 years ago it may have held true, but not any longer. I went to state school, and I was one of the ones recruited to a good job mid way through Uni (non Oxbridge) many years ago. In my experience, the "wealthy private school brigade", although certainly present, are not the overwhelming majority in the City any longer (although I accept that the over 50 gang still are). Things have changed. Many of my contemporaries and clients were state school educated. Yes, many were also private school educated. But they did not achieve their position based on privilege; it was based on a blend of academics, personality and robustness. Recruitment part way through Uni is not "pseudo whatever" - it is based on an assessment of actual grades achieved at O/GCSE and A level, combined with a University tutor projected assessment of likely degree level and actual end of year exam results. This is different from the Oxbridge assessment route. I agree with other posts on this thread discussing how you get from entry level pay to 100k - you don't reach it by a simple formula of a payrise of 10k per year. Your input to the business is assessed - if you are regularly bringing in over 500k pa in income to the business (for example, based on an hourly rate billed to clients (which would themselves be large corporates or foreign governments) of around £500 per hour multiplied up over the course of a year) then you could expect to be paid a quarter of that amount. Your annual payrises would rise exponentially to achieve the six figure salary (before levelling off at a certain level, because you hit a glass ceiling and cannot then increase your salary any further unless and until you break through that ceiling to the real corridors of power). Yes, you have no life other than through work. I couldn't say how many people fall into this category - I would have thought well over 10,000, once you factor in accountants, lawyers, bankers, corporate specialists. I've left London now, but I'm still finding many in this category scattered across the country.
  25. You are missing out a very large number of people who are permanent employees on more than 100k who do not fit into the above - a large number of professionals who work in the City of London. They got there based on high academic grades, and they are prepared to work very hard in their chosen professional area (be it law, accountancy or banking for example) such that they can be on 100k before they hit 30. They often get recruited half way through university.
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