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Everything posted by montesquieu

  1. Absolutely, I generally ask quite a lot of questions about them, estate agents are often quite forthcoming. Also I more or less never look at properties where the seller bought in 2005 or later as, for the most part, they want their money back plus a premium.
  2. Be careful mentioning it round here. Most would appear to want local councils abolished altogether on grounds of non-jobbery.
  3. Bastards did that to me once ... was a purely short-term measure and I only had six months in the place with all the costs of moving, though in this case it was to let to their daugther who was starting uni. Barefaced lies that I would have at least a year when they knew her start date. You can tell them viewings once a week - say Saturday lunchtime. You don't have to tidy up and you don't need to leave the house either. Make sure you make curry or boiled cabbage, get your friends round to park in the street. Unless it's very well-priced I wouldn't worry too much about having to move or even having many viewings after the first 2-3 weeks though, the market is dead as a dodo and typically gets worse through july and august as people go on hols, picking up a bit in sept-oct before dying again in run up to Xmas.
  4. Hang on, even now never mind then, £30k gold is more than you can carry ....
  5. Hmm it may seem cheap to you but my experience was that outsiders from London especially THINK it's cheap and are happy to overpay. No mention of area etc though, can you give any more details about the location, size etc ... Somerset is a big place.
  6. Presumably you made your offer to the estate agent. He should be able to get back to you in a few hours with at least an initial response fro the vendor. I would expect a considered response within a few days. Did you make it by phone, email, in person? Presumably you have a name at the estate agent to deal with (whoever organised the viewing), if no response contact them again. I hope you offered good and low!
  7. Have to agree, tore a strip off a Surrey agent yesterday for serving me up overpriced sh*it. Pi*ss of and come back when it's £70 grand cheaper you hair-gelled oink .. don't waste my time with your ridiculous nonsense. They'll get the message eventually.
  8. Here's another shed - with two rooms - for £250k. http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-17284182.html?premiumA=true It's been around for a while. I pass it often on the way down to Henley.
  9. He's no better than David Chator and those other characters who went to jail. 40 grand theft - which is what it is - is still theft. Money by deception. It's just a joke how these people get to look after their own. This pathetic excuse would have cut no ice in a magistrate's court but in Parliament, just because he's one of the very few Liberals with a modicum of functioning brain cells, he gets away with it. Paddy Pantsdown should be ashamed of himself. I guess it's time to dust off the old Jeremy Thorpe jokes - Join the Liberals, Feel a Man - and all that. Bent the bloody lot of them (in more ways than one).
  10. Both landlords I've been forking out to have had greater than £100k price drops since I started renting in 2006 ... the eventually first sold for £380k, well under his iniital asking price of 499k, after two years of being on the market (only £3k more than what he paid new build in 2002). The second took her house off the market after dropping £100k in asking price to £500k over four months (after kicking us out to sell it ) as she is waiting for better times (again - she only rented to us in 2008 after not selling for £600k in 2007-8). In the meantime I reckon paid something like half what a mortgage would have cost me (on 20% deposit) to live in these rather grand places. I thank them most sincerely for subsidising my lifestyle. Having said that I'd probably forked out over £65k in rent over almost five years.... not all of that would have come off the mortgage though (not sure what proportion is repayment vs interest in a standard, say, £400k mortage over 25 years).
  11. India's future was never in call centres replacing Newcastle, Glasgow and Liverpool ... but in more advanced stuff, software engineering, R&D and so on ... but what's happened with currency movements and relative wage inflation is that the premium for western developers has been eroded markedly. Take out the cost of remote management (packaging stuff up for offshore delivery is labour intensive and risky) and the fact a lot of these guys have no real-world experience, and the whole exercise is already borderline. A few more years of real wage falls in the west and India has a much harder time fulfilling its promise than anyone anticipated a few years ago,
  12. Like it or not, the world is ordered according to bounded cultural/geographical/linguistic units that for convenience we call societies. These determine the basic shape of that society's structures of governance, which is a real, practical discipline. Unless and until there is some notion of the world as a single society, the discourse you are trying to provoke is pointless navel gazing.
  13. Cheapest rhetorical trick in the book - set up a straw man with holes in it, and knock it down. The original post is just so much redundant verbiage. Redistributionism reflects a a deep human knowledge that life isn't fair - that those who start with more, on balance (with a small number of exceptions that prove the rule) will end up with considerably more than those who started with less, regardless of hard work or inate talent. It's a human impulse to fairness. Formal policy responses take this impulse into account, and balance it with the other deep knowledge that the risk taking, entrepreneurial spirit that generates growth generally (again, with a small number of exceptions) comes from those who can afford to take some risks, have capital and connections and who received the knowledge and privileges that go with a better education. The balance of these urges underlies all politics - where and how the line is drawn is the key policy dividing marker. It's as simple as that.
  14. Her and her ex bought it new build in the late 80s, I would reckon for £140k-£160k - quite a lot of money back then. Though she probably has a mortgage more than that after they split up in the early noughties and she bought his share.
  15. Anecdotal on the power of greed and what it means for house prices: Landlady kicked us out in January (great timing ). My wife had a row with her in November over her wanting us to put up with six weeks of solid work including rooms out of use, dust, workmen trailing in etc, with no rent reduction, while she prepped it for sale anyway in April-May. So in a fit of pique she gave us notice. Said she wanted a quick sale. (This after us accommodating her extreme slowness in getting anything done .. the place was 'self-managed' from India where she retired to a month after we moved in. Apart from it taking five months to fix the front door properly after a break-in, this worked fine as there was less pain when she was far away, when she was here she was round on a daily basis, nagging about grass cutting etc). Two EAs quoted, one very local - the estate agent branch of the letting agent she had used to advertise it - and one larger chain. First chain valued reasonably honestly as they are the local experts (my guess is sub-£500k). Larger chain valued it at £600k. (No prizes for guessing which one she went with). Rushed it on the market, as she made clear she was 'desperate' to sell. First (and only) two viewers came and were aghast and pi**sed off at having their time wasted. Feedback (I heard it) was that the place was AT LEAST £100k overvalued. Ouch. (Place round the corner, less imposing but same size and with larger garden has been on for a year plus at £499k, then £469k, still no sale). Turns out the nersil of an agent had looked at the only two sales in the postcode since 2006 - of MUCH larger places/plots, one with a double front, two extra rooms and an extra bathroom, the other with a granny flat - and copied the price. Anyway after price cuts to £575k, £550k, and 'POA' which turned out to be £500k, she withdrew from the market. (And seems also to have withdrawn it from rental - presumably because of her 'bad experience' with us). This all in the space of four months. The situation then: little old lady, retired primary teacher just turned 60, dragged back from retirement plans back home in rural India (where our rent went a LONG LONG way to keeping her in style) is now camping in an all but unfurnished house, all because her greed won't let her sell 'for less than it's worth'. Now, being down our rent coming in every month, and paying out gas, electric, water council tax AND MORTGAGE - which she picked up buying out her husband when they split up 8 years ago - from her pension/savings, she must be bloody determined to keep it up. The laugh is we moved into a place two doors up, £100 extra a month on rent but has extra bathroom and granny flat ideal for him and hers offices (became available the day our notice became active). Cost peanuts to move, just a few hundred quid for the big stuff. She was furious when she found this out - thought she had inconvenienced us big time but it wasn't really. So we drive past every day and wonder what on earth she is up to, in that huge empty house. Prior to us moving in she had various deadbeats living in three of the bedrooms as that was the only way she could afford to keep living there. It had been on for sale in 2006-7, don't know for how much but it didn't sell, she rented to us in August 2008 'till things pick up again'. There it is folks, a study in greed, irrationality and bloody mindedness. It could be a long hard wait if there are more like this (and there are, I suspect).
  16. Rubbish. There are plenty of 'knowledge worker' jobs that require a mix of on-site interaction and off-site thinking/analysis/write-up time that can't be done by cheap and cheerful programmers 8,000 miles away. In any case the long-term business model for offshoring is pretty flaky as salaries rise in India, Russia and the like, just as their currency appreciates against western countries' falling ones. Add in the management hassle (and cost) and the difficulty in some fields like programming of packaging up work sufficiently tightly that it stays on the rails without over-run risk (which you have to price for) and my guess is work could be coming the other way in 10 years. The difficulty is in the short to medium term with our young lads and lasses not getting the early experience, the next generation of experienced consultants may need to be imported (or the old ones made to work till 70+) As for the really shitt*y call centre jobs, a few tweaks to the benefit system taking the cash away from young people and the UK will be competitive again in a shot.
  17. Academics generally teach 3-4 days a week and then only in term time. Research (which is the main part of the job that most are assessed on: their publications record is entirely what their reputation and promotion prospects depend on), as well as lecture preparation and marking CAN be done in the office but doesn't need to be (can be done just as well at home), so if necessary the amount of time actually spent in the institution can be quite small. Just about everything is online these days and even for hard sciences, computer modelling can be done remotely rather than on-site. And example: three nights teaching on campus means two nights in a cheap (usually on campus) hotel = £100 a week, in term time only which is 24 weeks of the year. Add a few weeks for exam invigilation, non-teaching term staff meetings, and attending graduations. Still under three grand a year in hotel costs, cheaper than a London season ticket. This works well for some of my wife's colleagues at her University of London college, who prefer to live in Cambridge, Oxford, Bath Barcelona, Venice, and come in to work when they have to, anywhere but sh*itty, chav-ridden, noisy overpriced London. This is, perhaps, an unfortunate thing for campus life (seminars, collaboration and all that) but for many subjects these days, collaboration is with external institutions anyway, in my wife's institution, she is the ONLY one expert in her field. We've been renting through East since she got the job nearly three years ago but are looking at heading back to Somerset at some stage. Get much, much more for our money that way and a decent quality of life away from the noise and the crowds. In my job (private sector IT consultancy) I'm home-based anyway and get expensed whenever I need to go to London or a customer site anywhere in the country.
  18. The b*stards at HMRC haven't increased the 40p limit in about a decade despite obvious substantial increases in the cost of motoring. I have no great truck with local authority employees but I suspect the numbers aren't based on thin air but on some kind of index produced by the AA or RAC or somesuch. Remember these are people who use their own cars and bear their own petrol, insurance, maintenance, road tax, MoT test etc as well as car purchase/depreciation. Personally I think it's a very cheap shot from a minister who is being deliberately disingenuous. As for those sorts of figures, yes they are comparable to rates for those few employees in the large corporate I work for who don't get a car allowance/fuel card. Edit: AA rates. Note that the amount paid goes down as mileage goes up (as it does for my company and I'm sure local authorities as well) http://www.theaa.com/allaboutcars/advice/advice_rcosts_petrol_table.jsp
  19. It's in MAMBA country - miles an' mile a' bugg*er all! 'A nice secluded bungalow 40 miles north of Inverness ...' Most of the very few people living that far away from civilisation don't has a pot to piss in let alone £210,000 ... I'd say it's worth half that at best.
  20. These arrogant wan*kers deserve all they get. While planning laws undoubtedly need reform, the notion that 'the rules don't apply to me' can't be encouraged in a civilised society. This was a cynical, premeditated attempt to use a legal loophole for personal gain. They failed, which is good for all of us if we value the rule of law. If it sparks a debate on the limits of planning law, then fine, but I have no sympathy for the couple in question.
  21. Is this guy seriously advocating pension funds put all their assets on Red (ie, the UK housing market). Still a one-way bet in the minds of these people?
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