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giri

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  1. I agree with spen1 - if you have a bad experience renting your property out it tends to mitigate against keeping it. I didn't have a buy to let, but rented out our flat when we moved abroad five years ago. We had two tenants during that time, both let us down by either not coming up with the rent (easy to do when the landlord's abroad) or said they were looking after the place (got a gardener in, etc), when really they'd trashed it. In the end, we both just wanted to release the capital from it and not have the hassle of voids, stroppy tenants and paying exhorbitant management fees to an agent. Just depends how much work you're prepared to put in to being a landlord. On the other hand, if we'd kept the flat in another few years I'm sure it would've increased in value again, but hanging on to a property just for the possible future gains also means you can end up putting your own life on hold.
  2. "I find it quite shocking these creditors do not seem to be taking my financial plight seriously." Shame she didn't take her financial 'plight' more seriously before getting so far into debt really. What does she expect?
  3. The market here (Canaries) has already come unstuck with the more expensive properties - anything over 300,000 euros doesn't sell quickly (or simply doesn't sell). There are still people (Brits and Spanish) looking to buy but only usually up to 200,000 euros. The low wages over here make it almost completely unaffordable for young people to buy and there are a few companies now offering 110% and 120% mortgages to those desperate enough to take them. We've had properties sitting on our books for over two years - but will the sellers budge on their prices? No. Things could get very messy here indeed (for starters, I'll probably be unemployed! but that's a minor issue really, compared to some).
  4. Or what about the friends who decide to buy a place together and then one of them says "you can only have your girlfriend round on certain nights?", whilst his girlfriend virtually ends up living there? Or the friends who 'borrow' all your clothes, because they can't be bothered to wash theirs? Or the friend who blocks the toilet up with vomit because she's bulimic, but won't admit it to anyone, even though everyone else can hear her puking up? Or the friend who's an emotional minefield and decides to attempt suicide and let you know about it/pick up the pieces?
  5. Can't resist adding a reply, seeing as this could be us - but it isn't. We STR'd in 2004, still have all the money from the sale, living and working in Spain and I can understand how easy it would be to blow the lot because wages are appalling here. And as an expat job security doesn't exist until you've networked your way into the community you're living in. And if you stick to the expat community, you soon find that your wonderful compatriots are looking for ways to rip you off in ways the locals wouldn't dream of. On a separate note, I have to disagree with the idea that money you haven't 'worked' for slips through your hands more easily - you could definitely say we didn't earn the money we've got from our sale but we're hanging on to it for dear life!
  6. Fraid so - just found out our old flat has come onto the market - we sold in 2004, so current owner has spent less than two years and is trying to get 290k for it (which, considering it's a one bedroom shoebox is laughable). But it occurred to me what's happening in W14 is that a lot of houses are already converted into flats, so the local population is pretty itinerant and moves around a lot. Our buyer is only trying to get some profit out of the place he bought from us because otherwise he probably won't make any money out of it at all.
  7. The whole point was that the market was about to tank when 9/11 happened, so George told the good ol' american consumer to get out there and spend the country out of a recession. That's when interest rates really went down, to finance a consumerathon like never before. And guess what? We copied them.
  8. STR'd in 2004 and glad we did so, as we were renting our flat out whilst living abroad. The difficulties of checking if your tenants are actually looking after the place when you are not able to check up can only be imagined.
  9. Sorry, only just logged in after the weekend (47 degrees yesterday, summer's early). No, I wouldn't say that business is affected by our proximity to Africa, although I think Tenerife and Gran Canaria get far more pirogues (the narrow boats they use) washed up on their shores than we do. Having said that, whenever I go into the capital I notice that the cultural mix is a lot more diverse than the Brit enclaves on the island. The whole issue of African immigrants to the islands is fraught, because obviously the original inhabitants were Berbers, or related to Berber tribes, and there are plenty of Morrocans here who think the islands belong to them. So, as Europeans, we're the thieves, including the conejeros (that's what the Spanish inhabitants of Lanzarote are called).
  10. Ojala que si, pero estamos en las islas canarias, muy lejos de Sitges. Seriously though, there are still many people, Brits and Irish in particular, who are taking the Btl mania abroad. I have recently had several conversations with punters who've bought apartments to rent out complaining that they haven't got any tenants because the agents they used (not us, I hasten to add as we prefer to give people a more realistic picture of the market) told them they'd have no problem letting out their apartment/duplex to a professional couple (which makes me laugh because even 'professional couples' struggle on the awful pay over here). I think in the next few months we'll start to see people bailing out of btl here as it tips them over the edge financially.
  11. Speaking as an agency in Spain, our experience is that the top end of the market has cooled down enormously - houses over 350,000 euros are just not shifting. We are trying to get owners to bring their prices down voluntarily, especially those whose properties have been sitting on the market for up to two years. Spanish banks are still more cautious than UK lenders, so it's not as easy to borrow more than you can afford.
  12. Marina, I'm not in disagreement with you about the way that people react to their situations but for a while I've been thinking this is a classic example of how people now feel they do not have the power to affect change. The radicalism of the sixties was squashed and beaten out of people, or incorporated into mainstream politics and the reality now is that it's big business that calls the shots, so whether or not you vote you are still relatively powerless to change the status quo. After all it's big businesses which move jobs round the world forcing the labour market to accept lower wages, it's big business which leans on governments to get sweeteners for deals or to get their own way (look at what Tesco's manages to get away with in terms of planning concessions, etc). The reality is these days that the individual feels powerless to change their situation.
  13. Yeah, very well. We lived there for 12 years, STR'ed in 2004. It's an ok area depending on your tastes - when we bought it was still regarded as a bit run down, seedy - over the next 12 years the place turned into yuppie central (lots of 4x4s which the streets are just too narrow for). Prices are probably still crazy there - they shot up between 2002-2004 and I'd imagine, if it's a good property, are still high now. Good transport links and some good independent shops but all the pubs have gone gastro and there are a lot of self-congratulatory types round there (apologies for my obvious prejudices). Have you got any particular streets in mind?
  14. Zaranna, I can completely understand your rant - my mother's a retired university lecturer and even though I'm forty, manage my life fairly successfully and am happy, I'll never be a success according to her model, because it's all about timing. Her generation were lucky to be born just after the war, growing up into a postwar society that was organised to make people's lives better - and it did until the inevitable difficulties of paying for it all arose and that's when things really started to change dramatically - it wasn't just Thatcher, after all she was heavily influenced by economists like Friedman and those crazy ideas like trickledown. I think you're right though, that this generation is actually really scared to face the fact that maybe they're partly responsible for the problems younger generations are having now.
  15. Smiley, it depends whether you are measuring how your lives will be in a purely economic sense or more generally. Five years ago, OH and I decided to leave London - both in our mid thirties, we had a nice, but small flat, earned around 45,000 between the two of us but always felt like the proverbial hamsters on a wheel, just going round in circles, paying bills, etc. Now live of the coast of Africa - salaries aren't great, but quality of life is and I also think if we were still in London now, we'd be struggling to keep our heads above water financially (and that's without kids). I still have plenty of days when I worry about the future, financial security, all that stuff, but I think I'd be having the same thoughts in London too. The real difference is that I love the place I live, life's far less stressful and I can focus more on the things that are important to me. Wherever I live, there'll always be things to worry about, it's the things that give you pleasure that matter.
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