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FreeFall

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Everything posted by FreeFall

  1. Interesting. I've been on the receiving end of a Google assisted telephone interview several times. In one interview you could even hear the candidate whispering with colleagues who were obviously trying to guide him. To be honest, asking anything that can be found on Google is just pointless in tech interviews these days. Far better to look at overall knowledge (strengths / weaknesses of different approaches) and problem solving with broad questions - in my domain at least.
  2. This is absolutely true. We lived in essentially a 2 up 2 down with 2 kids under 3 and it wasn't especially cramped at the time. Through luck (and a small degree of judgement) we're now in a bigger place but I miss the character of the place we started our family in. Although we "own" (have a mortgage) now, 15+ years of renting showed that the landlords valued reliable tenants and ours were very happy for us to stay as long as we wanted to rent from them (contracts needed renewing periodically but that was about it). The only times we moved it was our decision, nothing triggered by the
  3. From experience, most people in commercial organisations wouldn't survive outside of that specific organisation...that's the nature of corporates / large entities - hire -> hide -> retire
  4. Sentiment, sentiment, sentiment (whatever the root causes)
  5. Yep - I put in an offer of just over 80% with a list of issues with the property (former structural engineer) and the ea said that it's understandable and he'll pass the offer on but doesn't think it will be accepted - perfectly polite with it. I had a couple of goes with small increments up, but the vendor wanted more than it was worth. Walked away in the end, and eventually a builder bought the property at ~ 10% below asking (to live in). Probably financially viable for him as he could do the majority of the work himself or at mates rates.
  6. Wasn't my experience of HSBC (I've had 2 mortgages with them in the last 6 years) - turning mortgage in principle into full mortgage was just a bit of paperwork and a couple of hours on the phone or in the bank. For them to drop their max mortgage there must have been something significantly different between the assumptions at point of MIP and the full application. Maybe the difference for me was that my MIP was for substantially more than I actually borrowed in the end?
  7. I can't talk for most companies, but I work in IT for a global multi-billion enterprise, and I can safely state that we develop very little bespoke software - in the area I work it's only considered as a last resort. COTS is the primary route, commodity is great if you can use it. The core principle is that there's very little competitive advantage to be had from a specific software - and where it exists it's temporal, generally pretty fleeting, and significantly outweighed by other factors like business process, strategy, analytical insight, or just sheer luck. I suspect that unless you're
  8. Although the house prices are insane, your analysis suggests that a dentist on 90k+ would be a first time buyer and not have built any equity over the years. Also assumes that they are the sole income in the household. 4 bed detached houses aren't typically ftb properties though...and recognition of multiples of joint incomes show why these prices are sticking (at least for now).
  9. I had to vote yes as I've just bought late last year. Second house I've bought in my life, and only really possible because of the ridiculous growth in my last house (worse area, but close to cross rail so prices went through the roof - 70k increase in 2014 alone on a 2 bed semi). Don't think I'll need to buy again any time soon - this one is plenty big enough for the family for next 20 years, great schools catchment, and mortgage is less than the rent on something much smaller in the same area. All luck rather than judgement though. If I had seen all this coming I'd have been mortgaged u
  10. It's part of the system, but not the sole driver. I fear it's far too simplistic to point the finger and exclaim "it's the banks what dunnit". My gut tells me there's a larger socio-economic mechanism at play, but for the life of me it's too complex for me to understand.
  11. For me it was part economics, part need, but mostly belief structure - I sank a fair amount of savings into our first house, and that made the mortgage on a 2 bed character cottage with decent garden 20% lower than the crappy 1 bed shoe box that we were renting before - it made sense to us. We recently moved again, sinking the proceeds (we owned outright) into a bigger property so the mortgage on a 5 bed detached (in fantastic location & great schools), with great space for the kids, is much lower than I could rent a 3 bed semi for in the same area. I have pension investment, stocks, b
  12. Must be a s/w update - mobile banking still working fine. Edit: Apparently this was down yesterday as well, but now restored. Small comfort that I'm a net debtor with them....
  13. For those interested: average life expectancy has risen ~ 6-8 years since the 70's, so this would definitely skew the figures - no idea to what extent though
  14. Don't you also need to bake life expectancy into these numbers - it doesn't say anything about home buyers, just owners. So, if people are living longer then it stands to reason that ownership will increase in the older population and reduce in the younger (inheritor) population.
  15. I can't tell if yo're being serious or not! Take that same "poor" native and put him in a house with central heating, furniture & comfy bed, electricity & gas, food in the fridge, running water, access to healthcare & transport, protection of the police and legal system etc etc and ask him how rich he felt living in a cold mud hut, having to hunt for food or go hungry, and probably dying from basic & treatable diseases. Simple truth is that if you want to go live off the land in a mud hut then there's probably very little to stop you doing it in many countries across the glob
  16. 2.39% currently available on 5 year fix, so 0.5% increase in next 5 years also?
  17. Yep - open days in SE and London are v common - especially in hot markets. Sold my house recently on first day on market via an open day. Nothing underhand about it (at least in our case), it was just that with a young family and full house it was far more convenient for us to do viewings on a single day rather than spreading them over a few weeks.
  18. What a depressing place to live. I'd rather live in a tent and keep my 12 grand.
  19. Have you tried playing with the pension calculators? Seem pretty easy to use and allow you to put in part time arrangements. https://www.teacherspensions.co.uk/members/calculators.aspx
  20. Surely the challenge will be identifying who picks up the cost? Assuming annual heating bills of £1.5k for an inefficient house, and a £60k rebuild cost (which is probably a massive underestimation) it would take 30 years minimum to recoup the cost, and probably much much longer. Where is the incentive for someone to rebuild? When I looked into it even EWI is cost prohibitive (15+ years payback). However, if you forced rebuild or suffer enormous council tax bills it would certainly crash a very large portion of the market....
  21. Slight confession - I bought end 2010 - best thing I ever did. I'll run for cover now....
  22. Does anyone else think of the Monty Python "just one more waffer thin mint" / Mr Creosote sketch when they see these calls for even more QE? Just me then....
  23. Unfortunately much worse than that. Current national debt closer to £1.5 trillion. Pension liabilities - FIVE times that (7.1 trillion from latest ONS figures - much of this currently unfunded). Who knows what other future liabilities aren't accounted for in those figures.
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