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Everything posted by A17

  1. Not BOMAD, but BOGAG. I had saved £45,000, and was ready to buy when an early inheritance of £25,000 (which became an actual inheritance during the buying process ? ) was given to me. Part of the condition was that it was used to lower the mortgage amount, rather than buy a larger property.
  2. I think for all of these personal stories in the Guardian, they choose the most unsympathetic people possible in order to get website clicks. Anything on deportations from the USA to Mexico will without fail concentrate on interviews with people with multiple criminal convictions being deported, rather than the average "keeping their head down" person.
  3. I live in Chicago, having moved here from London. My company had an opening here, so they transferred me at the beginning of the year. The City of Chicago itself has about three million inhabitants, with the urban sprawl and surrounding suburbs ("Chicagoland") taking it up to ten million. I'm going to try and avoid general cliches about the USA. The good Property feels cheaper, although it is by no means cheap. Certainly compared to London. Once you start looking at the outer suburbs family homes are affordable for families. Of course, you then have a hefty commute into the city center. Chicagoland certainly does not give the impression that it is for either the very rich or very poor, like London does. Public transport is generally decent. The city itself has a good subway service, with commuter lines stretching out into the suburbs. You can live in the inner city without a car, but the suburbs need one. The commuter lines only run a train every two hours at the weekend, so if you want to visit the city you need to drive or plan your timings carefully. Chicago is a genuinely interesting city. Beautiful architecture, museums and beaches on the lakefront. Despite what you would think, the city works fairly well. Rubbish is collected weekly with none of the fuss like in the UK (the garbage men will take furniture for instance). Most civic services can be done online. The mixed Chicago is infamous for its gun crime, but it is generally (touch wood) confined to certain areas. There is cheap housing there, but it is cheap for a reason. The majority of the shootings occur in the early hours, and the victims are frequently known to the police. Even so, you would not want to live there. Property taxes are high, ranging from maybe 1.5% to 2.5% of the property value each year depending on the suburb. This helps to mitigate the list property prices. A $10,000 pa property tax per year is nothing unusual for people. Unlike council tax (generally), it is a genuine consideration in deciding how much home you can afford. It certainly forces people to pay their way in taxes - no oligarchs limited to £1500 pa council tax! The bad The city is still extremely racially segregated, which makes me uncomfortable. The urban sprawl is extensive. Chicago is hemmed in by the lake, with downtown at the lakefront, so all the sprawl is one way. You can be over forty miles from downtown, and still in the urban sprawl. The urban infrastructure is bursting at the seams - the highways and the airports. Continuing problems with the city finances. Chicago (and Illinois in general) still has enough "pull" to keep people here, but there is the underlying fear that it will turn into another Detroit. Would I recommend it? Yes. It feels like a big city that is still accessible for regular people.
  4. I've seen a few episodes of the show. The renters being evicted can be very sad. In the majority of cases they have clearly been told by the council to "stay in the house - we can't help you until you've been evicted". The tenants take this as advice to ignore all letters until the day the High Court Enforcement Officers turn up, and are terrified that they have to leave within a few hours. By this time the landlord has probably had close to six months worth of non rent payment, and the tenant thinks that the matter has essentially resolved itself. Some of the evicted tenants are clearly gobby scumbags, but it is the ones who are clearly a few sticks short of a bundle I feel sorry for. People who's lives are so "state-cushioned" they have no idea of reality or consequences.
  5. That might hold as a reason when there was Cameron trying to keep his back benchers in line. But sooner or later, there will be another prime minister who is willing to sign us up for anything and everything.
  6. Mortgage holder of a leasehold flat that I am trying to let. Trying to rent a place in a new city. I ticked mortgage owner, although I suppose I am two thirds renter in a way.
  7. I've just been looking for rentals in Chicago. It seems like $1700 pm can get you a two bedroom place in a "trendy" part of town, although not particularly luxurious. Nice rentals in the smart part of town go for $2000 pm for a one bedroom. Of course, if you go into the bad parts of town you can buy a house for under $100,000. Something for everybody! In terms of purchasing, it seems very different to London in that you can spend as much or as little as you like really. The crapholes here are genuinely cheap unlike London, although the areas are far worse. Regular people can buy a decent place to live though.
  8. Yep. It won't replace benefits. It would simply supplement them. The sums simply don't add up - it would be impossible to survive only on the citizens income if the current welfare spend was simply split between everybody equally.
  9. Eliminate tax credits entirely, and abolish the loopholes, and we can return to more reasonable taxes for the rest of us. It doesn't have to be one or the other!
  10. Eliminate tax credits entirely, and abolish the loopholes, and we can return to more reasonable taxes for the rest of us.
  11. People don't seem to get that. I have heard people admit that property prices are falling, but they are convinced that it will just be contained in the prime market.
  12. I am considering doing that. It's just the concept of having a place to return to, should I ever return!
  13. It's important to realise that Cameron, and the Conservatives, would never be in power forever. Whilst Cameron would never have openly declared about pushing forward to ever closer union, and may have put the brakes on for his time as Prime Minister, at some stage somebody like Owen Smith will become Prime Minister. They would be happy to push forward in every way. So to me, it was not a referendum on the EU as it is now, but how it would be in the next 20 or 40 years. We had (have?) a lot of opt outs, but they could easily become opt ins! Plus, if we had voted remain, we would have lost our bluff. Whenever we would have tried reform in the future our voice would have been weaker still.
  14. Tweaking the numbers, basically meaning that people will be up to +/- £200 a year changed. Hardly worth bothering, what is the point?! It's within the margin of error of most people.
  15. Hi, I'm a long time reader, but I've finally decided to join. I'm not sure if this is the best place to post, but I wanted to get it straight. I purchased a flat in London in early 2013 as a first-time buyer. This was funded by heavy saving, a period working overseas, a period of time staying with family for reduced rent, and an inheritance. This gave me a decent deposit (35%), which kept the mortgage down to a level I was comfortable with, and which I could cope with in the event of a property crash. Since then, Zoopla has suggested that the property has increased in 40% in price, with similar flats on the market at 65% above what I paid (extreme kite flying in my opinion). So far, so good, people tend to think! PM me if you'd like the actual numbers to get an idea of scale. However, the time has come to move on. Once again, I've been saving hard. Well meaning acquaintances go on about what a good investment it has been, but they fail to see that the "second step" homes are even more out of reach in London! When I say that I'd be very happy with a fall in prices to 2013 level, and indeed less than that they look at me as though I'm insane! I can ride out a crash, but I'm not sure how many others can. My solution: I'm joining the brain drain. London has nothing to offer those who are on comparibly good incomes once you get past the fun of youth. Probably not the best place to post this, but just an introduction to how I see London. Thanks for reading :-)
  16. Hi Long time reader of the forum, finally joined! I've purchased an overpriced home a few years ago in London, but am waiting and looking forward to the collapse! Andrew
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