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Uitlander

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About Uitlander

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  1. Theoretically yes. There is a potential tax issue here as well - she is gaining 25% of the house, and not paying for it. If and when you come to sell, she gets a say in the deal and also walks away with 25% of the price (plus her portion is presumably taxable as it was not her sole residence). The best solution is to find a way of buying her out before the mortgage comes to an end, otherwise you have a tricky situation to disentangle with the tax man looking for a slice of the pie as well.
  2. I have no idea how much the wage bill has increased over the last decade, but Cambridge makes no secret of it's Salary Scales. As I understand it these grades and ranges are standardised across the HE sector after the national pay and grading exercise a few years ago. You can get a flavour for what types of job fall into each grade by looking at the Current Job Ads,. Essentially a Lecturer is Grade 9, a Senior Lecturer Grade 10, a Reader Grade 11 and a Professor somewhere on Grade 12 (this varies by subject as for example, the hard sciences are likely to command a premium to someone in a humanities subject due to market forces.
  3. Both Universities are a collegiate system. There is the University (Lecturers, support staff, some building and facilities) and the Colleges (Fellows, more support staff and more buildings). The Colleges are separate corporate entities and their money is not pooled with the Universities. The Universities are not great landowners. Some of the Colleges are.
  4. It doesn't. The lectures are the starting point. Add on top tutoring them weekly on a ratio of 1:1 or 1:2. Then add on the costs of the salaries for the staff that do the lecturing, the technicians and support staff that keep their labs & libraries running,the cost of the IT infrastructure that runs silently in the background, the maintenance cost of the buildings (many of them historic monuments), and the cost of heating and powering the same and you might start to get somewhere close to the cost of an Oxbridge education.
  5. Yeah. No kids, no partner and just a cat make life much simpler, and in a lot of ways I have a lot more flexibility than those with partners and kids.
  6. I bought my first house for £65K in 1994, just after I finished a higher degree and was starting my first (low paid) academic job. It was a 3 bed end of terrace in a small market town 10 miles from the university. I borrowed 3x salary (£30K) and another £30K from the bank of Mum & Dad. The extra 5K was money I had scraped together in savings from intermittent jobs whilst a student. I had a lodger (Uni friend) whose rent covered almost all of the Mortgage payments for the first 3 years there. I recall having to budget very carefully with my take home - most months I had between £10 and £50 left in the bank at the end of the month. The lodger moved out to buy his own place just as I had my first promotion, so losing his rent wasn't too bad a hit. My original rationale for buying was that I was fed up of living in low-quality shared houses with landlords who didn't maintain/repair the houses. Being flooded out twice one winter by sewage was the final straw, so despite family's advice to stay in rented until I had a 'permanent' job (I was on a fixed term contract) I was determined to buy as soon as I had a salary and a shot at getting a mortgage. £30K of debt terrified me at the time. I have always been very debt averse. I sold the house for just under £130K 5 years later, when I moved to a different Uni on the other side of the country. The bank of Mum & Dad got their money back with interest, and I bought a detatched house after a short stay in rented with the remains of the house sale and a £45K mortgage. I've followed the pattern of sell house when my job moves between Unis since, and STR'd each time so that I could move quickly when I found the right place. I've always scrutinised mortgage deals carefully and ensured I had ones that could be overpaid/paid off early without penalty. I actively overpaid the mortgage whenever I could over the last 16 years and finally paid off the last mortgage when I sold my last house (I'd been paying effectively 0% interest on an offset-deal for 3 years by that point). I bought the current place last year with cash, am mortgage free, and pretty much determined to only leave this place in a wooden box, so I'm one of the people who have decided that whilst I may feel gut-clenchingly sick for a few years when the inevitable house price crash comes, that's better than the misery of living in grotty rented property in a crappy bit of town waiting for the fall. Hopefully in 10 years time I will not care what the house might be worth, I'll just have somewhere to live that is 100% mine.
  7. Multiple friends recommended Mark Marssucco of Marssucco Buttress. I can only say he was wonderful throughout a 9 month saga of Vendor-from-Hell and didn't take any crap from their halfwit solicitor. He asked me to come in and talk to him at various points in the process, and explained absolutely everything clearly and simply including how to mitigate potential chancel charges, how to sort out a mess of title deeds and how to negotiate very hard with a completely unreasonable vendor who seemed to think I had a personal money tree in my back garden. A few months after it had all finished he sent me, unprompted a £100 refund on his charges as his accounts showed he had unknowingly overcharged me. He operates on a fixed fee, no sale no fee (bar cost of searches) basis. Can't speak highly enough of the guy.
  8. Yup. Phone them up and tell them he's been claiming the address as his permanent residence and tell them where he really lives. That'll screw him over if he tries to sell the place and claim primary residence relief rather than p[ay CGT on an investment. Allow him to return the deposit, and then take him to the small claims court for the return of the overpayment. If he wanted any deductions that should have come out of the deposit.
  9. Use the cleaners you want, get a receipt as proof that you have had it cleaned, don;t take any crap. He has no leg to stand on and cannot specify the contractor. And yes, the price he's quoted is a rip off.
  10. The University *is* part of the public sector, as is Addenbrookes the other big local employer. And as the Uni#'s HR division has been advertising for it's own legal expert in employment law, I doubt very much that they are envisaging preserving every post despite the predicted cuts in HE.
  11. Yup, certainly do. Lots of cheap lager, cheap food in large quantities & Sky Sports. Not my sort of boozer I'm afraid. The Golden Hind is a more pleasant pub with better beers, but its not one of Cambridge's great pubs. The Green Dragon is a far better bet. I have friends on Kings Hedges Road, and despite that area appearing to be rougher have not experienced any of the issues I had near the Milton Arms no matter how late at night I was wandering around. Its by no means the worse area in Cambridge, and there are some advantages to the location but you'd really need to be the other side of Arbury Road to be in the middle class idyll.
  12. I was renting in that area last year and looked at the Miller development when their prices were dropped in 2009 (they have since gone back up by @10%). The internal dimensions of the rooms are small, and glancing through the windows there you will see that the current occupants appear cramped. I'd check that you can actually get your car inside the garage and open the doors to get out. The area itself looks OK superficially, but take a wander through the section of Downhams Lane off Woodhead Drive that connects into Arbury. That comes out by the flats that have quite a few 'social problems' (go there in the early evening and you'll almost certainly see them), and I found that a bit too close for comfort. Admittedly a lot of the noise and disruption in the area GNC came from having builders on site, and hopefully the end of that should be in sight. As for facilities - you have equidistant co-ops at Green End Road and Arbury Road, and a Tesco local through the cut into Arbury. There's a post office on Kings Hedges Road. Coming back from town at night along the Milton Road is not pleasant. The Milton Arms often has groups hanging about, and I've had far too many drunken youths try to pick fights with me as I've been walking home. If you cycle, you'll get used to smashed glass along that stretch of the shared use pavement/cycle path, and there's regular hassle from motorists if you choose to stay on the road rather than use the shared-use cycle path. I called the police after one particularly nasty incident with a bus driver who pulled parallel with me, opened the doors to scream anti-cyclist abuse and then swung his bus in at me (managed to hop onto the pavement to avoid being squashed). You'll also get used to the sound of the police helicopter overhead. Initially I thought I'd be happy enough living in or off Woodhead Drive, but after a year I was keen to move away to a better area. Regular residents complaints are the coaches that park at the northern end of Woodhead Drive, blocking access/visibility onto Milton Road and the Use of Woodhead Drive by local driving schools. You'll usually see 3 or 4 learners practising 3 point turns throughout the day which regularly blocks the road - it does become annoying, but nothing more than that. Overall I'd say the area was preferable to Orchard Park, and yes, it does have parking which in Cambridge is a massive bonus, but you'll not get anything you could call a garden on that development.
  13. You can add me to that list, as someone who was looking to buy last year it was top of my list of places I would not touch. As I was renting in Arbury (a few doors down from the local drug dealer), I have a pretty good idea of what both Orchard Park and Arbury are like to wander around during the day and evening. Arbury is just low quality housing stock with a mix of the bottom end of the Cambridge food chain and a few 'young professionals' kidding themselves that it's "up-and-coming". To me the Orchard Park development was undesirable - properties too small and too overcrowded. Location was poor - too far from any facilities (unless you consider the A14 slip-roads 'facilities'), and the thought of living in a new development cum building site (which I have done in 2 previous properties) with the the hassle that brings is just a 'no'. Proximity to the guided bus route? There are a lot more pleasant and affordable places with far better build quality in the nearby villages also served by the as-yet-unfunctioning busway.
  14. Renting first is a very good suggestion. There are a lot of grotty, rather over-priced houses in Cambridge and many of the places I have viewed needed serious remedial work, despite asking top dollar. Its a good idea to get a feel for the areas you like (and are in your price range) first. Coton is small and houses there don't come up that often. When they do there is usually a bit of a feeding frenzy as quite a few people fancy the 'in the country but close to town' location. Walking round it I can hear the dulcet tones of the M11 outside. Going a bit further Barton is a bit larger, but again houses don't come up that often. Comberton and Hardwick are more substantial villages and houses do come up fairly regularly in both. I work with people who cycle from both into town centre, but I'd reckon they are at the limit of regular cycling/commuting range.
  15. University's usually give overseas students priority for any rented accommodation they have in-house. University accommodation is usually cheaper that market rate, and Universities tend to be reasonable Landlords - so I'd ask them about accommodation first. Also they can be more flexible and don't usually insist on the UK standard AST agreement. If that's not an option, ask the group you are going to visit. There are often people who have rooms and flats for rent who work for the University, and find their tenants through word-of-mouth. It's also worth asking about university 'guest-rooms' which may be available to visiting scholars.
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