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Posts posted by montesquieu

  1. The wife is contemplating a job at Durham Uni which is very good in her field. This would involve a move from the south-east - that would be welcome as neither of us have connections here (she's foreign, did her PhD in Leeds and I'm from Scotland originally).

    Given we are selling up in the South we'd be able to afford something decent in Durham, thinking £500k (which would leave us mortgage free) to £650k sort of bracket.

    Any tips on best areas to live in the city? Is it feasible to be in a nice area and within walking distance (say 20mins) of the campus? Or is it best to be out a bit? (If so, in which direction?)

    The wife doesn't drive and gets a train at the moment to her current campus, commute takes about 45 minutes door to door, it would be great to reduce that. (She'd probably take taxis if it's not walkable or trainable - she calculates for her it's cheaper than owning a car though in reality I drive her around a lot).

    I work from home mainly but will need to be in London or Reading from time to time (I can handle that).

    We are not interested in nightlife, we enjoy culture, nature and peace and quiet, the converted bungalow we are in is about 1/3 of an acre plot with tall trees that screen us from everything - very private, but less than 10 min walk from a railway station.

  2. http://www.channel4.com/programmes/how-rich-are-you

    Should be interesting. Simple online calculator, doesn't take any account of fixed costs other than council tax.

    Our monthly household income is higher than 80% of the UK. You need over £17k+ p/m takehome to be in the 1%.


    Load of nonsense. It measures income, not wealth. The wife and I are supposed to be in the top 13%, but we own very little beyond some fairly precarious home equity and some totally tied up pensions. In 20 years time our income stream may have made us wealthy but right now if that gets taken away we are pretty much beggared in short order.

  3. Of course they should. No brainer, though the 'social mix' policies adopted by local authorities would preclude the large-scale housing schemes seen immediately pre and post war. That would have to change, at the risk of creating large-scale ghettos of the poor/feckless, unless they were pretty clever about how they did it. As it stands the social housing bits developers are required to build at the moment make it hard to sell the private housing round about them.

  4. When I lived in NZ in the early 90s, IIRC it was around NZ$ 3.40 to GBP with the Aussie dollar at about $2.50. That felt about right. NZ doesn't have Australia's mineral wealth but is being treated by international markets as if it has - they have been at parity or close to for a while now.

    The central bank is right - current Kiwi rate is utterly artificial and unjustified by any economic fundamentals.

  5. I would not need to sue the EA - I get the impression the ASA is keen to go for a test case, with the intention of making an example to stamp out this behaviour by EAs. Anyway, the EA is clearly worried about a prosocution, and that's reward enough for me. I now don't actually care if I lose the property, I'd just like ti see a public hanging of an EA err I mean justice.

    Well I'm all for an EA hanging 'pour encourager les autres' ... they may have zero ethics but they do believe in self-preservation.

  6. Buyer's remorse sounds about right. I've been in a similar situation once.

    If you feel you have over-bid then there are two options - reduce the offer as soon as you can to something you feel comfortable, and risk losing the place altogether; or gazunder at a late stage and risk sale falling through/all sorts of other grief.

    We chose the former, sure enough it did fall through but in the end the seller never got a better offer and she took it off the market (2 years on it's never reappeared). Felt pretty vindicated, we had been pushed up £25k from what I thought was the maximum value of the place, not a huge amount but enough to make me feel queasy over the purchase. It was a lovely place but I couldn't stomach the feeling I'd overbid on it.

    Personally I wouldn't get into gazundering unless it was on the basis of some previously unknown or undisclosed information, but it does seem to be a tactic among the unscrupulous.

    If this either of these options are too drastic and you are ultimately OK with what you are paying, but remain suspicious of the buyer/agent, then I would suggest you keep looking, take no action re instructing solicitors, mortgage company etc and if/when the estate agent gets shirty about the lack of progress, say you don't want to incur any cost or hassle until you know the vendor/agent is serious about accepting your offer. Should flush out their position re boards, removing SSTC status on rightmove etc. Take no action AT ALL until this is done.

    Don't get hung up on suing the estate agent, treat them like you would a turd on the bottom of your shoe, that's about the level of most of their ethics. Assume the worst and you won't be disappointed.

    EDIT - I've just realised that they didn't accept your offer, but the 'rival' offer. Just walk away and don't play their games, life's really too short.

  7. I had similar nonsense with a mental landlady who kicked us out after I refused to allow her to do three months of needed work (with no rent reduction) before you guessed it kicking us out to sell up, which she stupidly told us she intended to do in the following Spring. This was in November. We were out (and luckily found a bigger place two doors up on the same money) by early January.

    We then had the pleasure of watching her drop the ridiculously greedy asking price progressively by (eventually) £100k and it not sell till the following October, all the while driving past the empty, rent-not-being-paid old place on the way to our nice new pad. Well it was 2011. Priceless.

    But I digress. She claimed all sorts on nonsense in order to keep the deposit, but eventually caved in when it became clear that bull**shit, bluster, tears, shouting, and her 'poor abandoned wifey' act (I truly sympathise with her ex, and interestingly her daughters wouldn't talk to her either) don't work with the DPS, they need verifiable facts and pictures and she hadn't any.

    Stick to your guns mate and follow the process. You'll win.

  8. If you don;t mind me asking, what kind of jobs in fleet can support a mortgage of £500k? It seems to far away from London to commute unless you have an extra £6k per year for the rail fayre and 600+ waking hours free a year to commute.

    Actually there's a ton of work in the area - Farnborough, Reading, Guildford, Bracknell, Basingrad, plenty of IT jobs, corporate HQs, regional offices as well, even So'ton isn't that far away by the M3 The sort of job with a local office and expenses if you need to go into London a few days a week (like I sometimes have to do). Arguably Fleet is pretty 'central', Farnbrorough Main to Waterloo is 35 minutes.

  9. Not much for your money in Feet (not too far from me)!

    I just went through an interesting process of contemplating relocation (wife got a job offer in NI), putting my house on the market, and the other day taking it off again before it went up on RM.

    All three agents I invited in wanted to put it on at silly money (about 20% higher than we bought a year ago, got keys 1 August in fact - though admittedly we've done a lot to it).

    They seemed to have some evidence of places clearly worse making these sort of prices back in the Spring, but it seemed like madness to me.

  10. Well, neither the wife or I are English though she is from much further away than I am. Both of us have found England extremely welcoming, and one of its great blessings is that it's not 'in your face'. Having lived around the world, I think that the tolerance and fair mindedness of the English is actually remarkable.

    I'm sure there are places like you mention, but the balance is rather different - social housing is on a much smaller scale than in NI (or indeed in Scotland, where I come from), houses in any decent locations having being sold off en masse years ago anyway while what remains is largely tucked out of sight. The bit of Berkshire we live in is leafy and 'nice' for miles around (four branches of Waitrose within 5-15min drive), and the schools rival the local private schools for exam results.

    Extremism here is something I'm really not fussed about. Maybe it's just too easy for me to avoid seeing it (and therefore being forced to think about it), but in fact it's the inability to avoid seeing it that's putting me off Belfast - the problem is, it's everywhere (almost literally), right up to the doorstep of the nice bits. And it's quite unsettling for an outsider.

    What Berkshire doesn't have is much of a sense of community, at least for an incomer - it's very atomised - and the sort of cultural activity we enjoy is something that generally happens an hour away in London, or maybe Oxford (also an hour away). This is the down side of middle class English life, famously eulogised by Margaret Thatcher - there is no sense of society, only people and their families getting on with stuff. There's plenty of money but it's all a bit philistine, inward looking, 'comfortable'. (As well as a bit too hectic and busy on the roads and trains for good mental health!). But I'm not sure I'm quite ready to trade philistine for 'edgy', not when it means paintings of paramilitaries looking down from buildings and 18ft walls between housing estates.

    You might all be used to this, but I was honestly expecting things to have got easier over the years, instead, reading up, I find there are more miles of 'peace' walls than before, band memberships at record levels, more parades than ever, and way more flags than I've ever seen on previous visits. I'm not sure what all this signifies but it doesn't seem to me like a society on the mend.

    We have taken the decision to cancel the move, pending a rethink on our priorities. It may be we wait a few years and go somewhere else entirely. Somewhere more like Belfast, perhaps, but without the down sides. And it's been quite a relief to take that decision.

    However, what's the future hold for England? I'd actually be quite pessimistic about the sizable population even in Berkshire, in places like Slough and Reading, who plainly despise the country which they've chosen to live in. Even High Wycombe close by now has a reputation for producing extremists. All this has happened in the short period of my adult life. Prior to the eighties the population was almost exclusively English - now, a significant minority are resentful and actively against English values.

    i have to say i fear for the future of the country, and it was all so unnecessary.

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