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Everything posted by Orbital

  1. I moved from Kingston to Croydon in 2002 and left in 2009. I lived in Purley which was very practical but lacked easy acces to a good park. CR is much cheaper than KT but to be honest I didn't notice much difference in feel. Croydon town center is perhaps a little more "sinister" but it isn't that different to any other London center. I now live between the two and regulary shop in Croydon over Kingston. The transport links and house affordability were the main draws. When I bought in 2005 many on here thought I was mental in the head but I afforded a nice 3 bed house on a starter graduate wage and lived very comfortably. I eventually moved as I was not impressed by the local parks and schools and family was next on the agenda... I moved somewhere that seemed to offer more to a young family. But I maintain the area is great for 20-30 somethings who want easy access to the green space of Surrey, 24 hour trains into London and even the coast. I lived in a safe tree lined street, never saw any trouble, and sold my house in 24hrs, for a profit, when I left. Your experience may vary !
  2. Ex-resident here too, although my old house used to form part of the Victorian red light district that served ther webb estate - according to the old woman next door anyway. Given that the houses on the Webb estate are millionaire mansion like and have swimming pools and tennis courts one suspects that they will never be sold cheaply! I also suspect the average Webb estate resident doesn't go down the Farmers for a pint after work so isn't too bothered about the high street! For anyone who isn't familiar have a look round on google maps.... http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?ll=51.3389,-0.133488&spn=0.001749,0.00375&t=h&z=18 I always liked purley from a practical point of view - 24hr trains, 20mins into Victoria/London Bridge, Tesco sells everything. Statistically one of the safest wards in the country and I always felt safe too. Practicalities aside it's not ideal... traffic around the Purley cross was always bad tempered and jammed, the high street offers almost nothing and local facilities are pretty poor (there's an old swimming pool that may or may not close down at any time), not much green space within walking distance but lots if you drive/bike. State schools are not great and one of the reasons I eventually moved. Property for the "average folk" is very reasonable and seems in demand. I bought a house in 2005 and sold it for a nice profit in 2009 after not spending a penny on it. Sold on day one too! This was on a starter graduate wage too. So personally I'm glad I didn't heed the advice of the all knowing folk on HPC but maybe I'm just lucky (or some kind of genius !). I think the CR post code helps keep prices down, look at what 1.5m gets you in Richmond or Kingston! If a big house was my cup of tea (it's not) I'd go for a Webb mansion in Croydon over a town house in the SW.
  3. I am not sure how helpful this thread will really be, but I'll chip in with my 2c. I bought in 2005 and 2009, both times I was able to negotiate discounts approx 20% off asking. Goes to show that if you are the right kind of buyer and find someone who needs to sell you can get nice discounts even in boom time. In each case the owner had bought the place, done it up and then had to move fast for work reasons. The more recent one I ended up paying a tad over what they bought the place for in 2004 except it now has central heating, double glazing, a double garage and 2 more rooms!! So the point is - if you want a house and have a deposit, just get out there and look. At some point you'll come across a house at a price you are happy to pay and you can get on with your life. I first came to this site in 2003 (under a different name) and was strongly encouraged not to buy but I'm glad I did. I just bought the right house at the right time. Even when looking at you local area not all houses will sell at the "market rate". Like any investment the trick is to buy at < market rate. Unfortunately most people would rather wait and hope ? Best of luck.
  4. I am a sole trader in my spare time, or maybe a soul trader ! Anyway, it is very easy to get started on your own, if and when you need to worry about the things you mention above, hire an accountant. They'll do your books for a fixed fee at this level. But by that point you'll be making money. I manage it, and I have a full time job too! Seriously, you just keep a spreadsheet of what comes in and goes out. You fill out a form once a year. There is loads of help online and via a helpline. I actually used some software to submit my return - it cost £25 (taxcalc). Sure, it could be simpler, but it's only a barrier if you want it to be. But what amazes me is that I earn a few hundred pounds a month in my spare time - and I mean this as a 100% serious question "what is REALLY stopping anyone else from doing this full time?". Especially considering the point that OP makes (which deals with illiteracy etc). If I scaled up my hobby income to a full time working week it would be an OK wage. Once my mortgage is paid off I am very tempted to do just that .
  5. Blimey, next they'll be telling us that women make up 50% of the population! !
  6. Switched jobs earlier in the year for an extra 20%. Job is dull as anything but about as secure as one can hope for these days. I might shift again when I remortgage and fix my rate - at that point I'll a bit more secure as I know what I need to earn. At the moment it's too nice making massive overpayments on a super low svr. Outlook is optimistic, should have paid the mortgage off before I'm 50. I know I'm stupid for buying a house before "the crash" (which was about 5 years ago now) but it looks like the right choice for me. Of course, as I know from my family's experience, things can change in a moment so I'd never take anything for granted. This is a more general statement, but it never ceases to amaze me how much time people invest in HPC (and at one point that went for me too). Some people have 10,000+ posts! Since investing that time in building my own web content that I can monitise I am now pulling in a few extra hundred a month through adsense and the like. Anyways, it's up to all you guys of course, but given that we are talking about trying to save a few tens of thousand ironically not touching this site might just be the answer to your housing needs! The choice, as always, is yours . But heck if I can do it (and Im stupid remember cos I bought a house) then surely anyone can...? Or maybe not.
  7. I bought and sold houses at either side of the peak and at both times negotiated nice discounts. This is always possible.
  8. not really a "black swan" if we see it coming?!
  9. I remember being told that on this site years ago, yet now I am a good chunk through my mortgage and there hasn't been a better time to buy yet. I've already go married and had 1st baby in that time!! If you can afford to buy a house and want one then go for it, I'd argue waiting for the "best time" in your lifetime is the wrong move. If you can't afford it and don't want one then is there ever a "right time"?!!!
  10. I've always noticed people get it very wrong when it comes to thinking in %s. Remember x % of a big number is bigger than x % of a small number. Yet many seem to think x% always = x%?! It seems to be something that is drilled into us from a very young age? My mortgage as a % of my income would make many (most?) people here say I'm mad. Yet I've always had plenty left over to meet my needs. And no, I am a long way off the top of the food chain!
  11. I was interested to learn in a newspaper article recently that the top 1% of earners pay 25% of tax. The next 10% pay 50% of tax collected. It's tempting to feel bitter but we all benefit from these big earners. Ironically we'd actually all be worse off if we got rid of just a small % of them. Be careful for what you wish! Or are some people so bitter they would rather see us worse off than see some people well off? I guess so
  12. Interesting. I love community stuff and in various places I've lived there have been different things going on. Mostly it is spearheaded by a committed individual. I've been to street parties where the organiser has got the council's permission to put up a stage and block off the road. I've been to an event where the organiser got a load of local bands to play in the park. Attendance was normally pretty good, and tends to grow year on year. These things can be done. It just needs someone to organise it. I've also lived in places where nothing seems to happen. We talk about it and wish it were there, but at end of t'day none of us (including me) wants to put it together. I guess I could moan, or I could do something about it...
  13. Blimey, but I would hope stealing IDs is a little bit further than most examples go.
  14. The time limits on these things annoy me. Every time I've had such an account in the past from other people they drop rapidly afterwards and then you have to try and find a provider that will accept ISA transfers and you have to do some paper work blah blah, it's such a cynical attempt to buy in lazy customers - grrrr!
  15. I liked this quote from ML: Doesn't he know that HPC knows the truth! A crash is coming. One day. One day soon.
  16. What's that £1300 a month in repayments? Guess it depends what they earn? I used to pay about £1000 a month when I was earning £2000. Yikes 50% of my wages (and nothing dodgy about my mortgage I will quickly add!). But that's still a lot more to live on than some people who are paying rent out of an income of £1300 a month. That's the prob with looking at multiples and %s. You need to look at the actual numbers to make some sense of it all. I have a friend who is earning almost 5k now (git!) and has a £2500 mortgage. OMG thats 50% of his income!!! How does he live off £2500 a month?? The poor guy Of course if their income is like £1500 a month then it would be hard to understand how they think they will live! But no one could be that stoopid. Surely !
  17. congrats on the job! Out of interest, what area of IT do you work in? Where are you located? There are some areas of IT here in London that are very under resourced. I for one was looking around and went for some interviews - I don't think I interview very well (being an IT geek and all) but still got offered all the jobs I interviewed for! Sounds like a nice position to be in but it left me feeling like by turning down jobs I had some how "lost" something. Still, I am very thankful and doubt the work will be there forever. Good luck in the role. By the way, in my spare time I operate a professional blog all about my area, as well as some more fun ones, even some HPC related info! As an IT worker you should be very comfortable with getting a WP install up, rent a server for almost nothing (I pay £60 a year and currently dishing about 100k hits a month). I am now making up to $1000 a month (a nice hedge against our own currency!). With 6 months "on the bench" you could get something really solid up and running - all it takes is time and you have that! Check out the a4u forum for more information. I have also developed a number of WP plugins that have 1000s of installations. There are plenty of unfulfilled requests for plugins out there and lots of ways to monetise them. People also make a reasonable living out of selling themes (which are easy to make technically - I just don't have the design/photoshop skills). Again, all this has an almost zero barrier to entry. Anyway, I mention it because a colleague of mine set up his own business after redundancy and is now making a full time living from it. He's in control of his own business, makes money from all over the world, and works 0 mins away from home ! Low risk, fun, and uses skills that most IT people will take to naturally. Apologies if the above seems inappropriate, it's just that i've seen it work and running ones own business is great for self esteem. I wish I had the guts to go full time on it. Perhaps a redundancy would give me the push. I think there is at least 10-20 years of work in my sector though, but I have no doubt that by then things will have changed so much that I'll need to retrain or change path totally!
  18. Yes, I have a pension. My first job put in 10%, my second 8%, and my 3rd puts in 11%. As this is employer's contribution it's a no brainer really. Will there be a huge pot of meangingful money at the end - Im not sure. But the house will be paid off in 20 years, and thanks to "being mad" and buying 5 years ago that will be before Im 50. I guess at that point I'll make a call on how much I need to live on and will retire as soon as I can! Hopefully my salary will be a little higher at that point so I can have a good few years of building up some cash in the final push to retirement. I'm quite keen to keep the mortgage overpayments going - I guess that's one "saving" pot that others here don't have. But I love that, as illustrated by Martin Lewis in a recent new letter, just an £80 overpayment on a 100k mortgage can net a saving of 20k on the total cost of ownership of a house. Think I'd rather reduce the payment term though! I also like that, by buying in London, in theory it will be possible to release another chunk of cash by buying a nicer house but in a different location. Of course anything can happen in the next 20, 30, 40 years. Look how quickly our world is changing and I think technology will once again make things very different. Hopefully in a good way (not in a Terminator kind of way !). All we need is a Fission break though or for the continued improvement of solar panels etc. I know this site generally deals in pessimism but just imagine if technology provided cheap energy - now that change the economy fundamentally. Yeah yeah it'll never happen, about as improbable as hand held communication devices, travelling faster than sound, or landing on the moon! But that's for another thread !
  19. I have no real knowledge, but I do recall Dan Snow's "what makes Britain rich" where they went into some detail about our manufacturing output. According to that program we are manufacturing far more than we ever have at any time in history. Manufacturing makes up a smaller % of our wealth because other sectors have grown faster. I expect the recession has shaken things up a little but remember the HPC mantra - everything is cyclical (um... unless it's different this time !). It's unfortunate that stories of closures etc get picked up and discussed on forums like this but few people ever celebrate the opening of a new one. Not that we here are victims of that kind of spin - we know better! But there must be some people who think not a single job has been created since the Victorian times !
  20. It was my understanding that the bailiffs could turn up and kick you out in days, and the link above to shelter.org.uk seem to agree: So when it goes this far, and this might be the first you hear about it, there is little you can do except change the locks (cos LL will just hand over the keys to the bailiffs) and perform some kind of sit in protest but who in reality is going to do this?! Any legal eagles on the board who can advise? This is one of the things that put me off renting, we have so little protection here in the UK. I was happy to spend more on owning my own home because owning my own home seemed better and worth the higher cost. I say this as someone who was evicted at 4 weeks notice - which is still pretty damn short when you work full time. I actually had a holiday booked that I had to cancel. Not to mention the time and stress of finding a new place, updating all your info, then there is the cost of the move itself. Nightmare. I'm not anti renting - I just think our laws suck. If they afforded more protection I'd probably rent myself.
  21. Houses always sold quickly on my old street. It had about 100 terrace/semi houses 10 mins away from a station that took you into Victoria or London Bridge in 20mins. They ranged from 180-250k some hadn't been touched since the 70s and came up when their elderly owners moved on (to retirement homes or...). These were popular with FTB couples as 180k isnt really out of reach to two people working up in town. They did them up and sold them on. There always seemed to be 2 or 3 up for sale and they always went . I bought mine in 2006 and sold last year for a healthy profit despite having done no work to the place. I got full asking from the first viewer (I considered leaving it up but Im not greedy and with the 250 stamp barrier I wasn't going to get much higher. Anyway, whats my point? Britain is big enough to have many different macro and micro economic situations in various neighbourhoods. Often discussions are based around the general UK position and the "average" (whatever that means) house price. There are plenty of houses that sell below the market value (these are the ones I would try to buy !) and many that sell above the market value (sensible people avoid these !). The idea that it is simply impossible to buy a well priced nice house anywhere is simply incorrect. I have done it twice and profited at a time when many people told me I was mad! When I bought I ensured it was a house I actually wanted, that it was within my means and just need to keep doing what Im doing to be mortgage free long before I'm 50. Sure, maybe I could play the game and save myself some cash buy like I said earlier - I'm not greedy and I want to get on with my life, besides low interest rates mean those who have bought can overpay and make nice savings and I think in many cases the jury is still out if the STR route will yield a lower total cost of ownership when all is said and done. We'll see! The whole point of buying a house is to have a stable base for the 20 years it takes to raise a family. Before, and after that I couldn't care less! Good luck in getting what you want/need.
  22. lol because gold prices only ever go up ! Just like house prices of course !
  23. The attraction of fixed rates is knowing how much you are going to pay for the next x years. Of course we understand the bank builds in predictions but they are, after all, predictions. And isn't it generally accepted on HPC that banks are a bit rubbish at seeing the future lol! (or is that just when it suits the argument !) And actually my fix was at 4% a few years back and for a while that was a good deal. Things actually tumbled after that so I stumbled into a super low SVR (which allowed me to over pay by a four figure sum each month knocking years off my repayment term - who says it was a bad time to buy?!). I am looking to fix again, probably for five years. I just don't want to risk my mortgage hitting 6,7 or 8%. Perhaps that is unlikely but that's the difference between having a comfortable life and a struggle - so why would I risk it? Just to save a few quid? Id rather get on with my life and avoid the stress. I do wonder though that the prob with OPs point is based around that rates are just so low at moment, did they ever get that low in the late 80s/early 90s? Banks know that people are happy with 4-5% mortgage rates so why offer anything lower?!
  24. I think the flaw there is that as a buyer I'd have a good idea what the market rates are like. If I look at the £400k house and actually there is a nicer place for £350k then why would I ever buy the first one? If actually all the nice houses Im interested in are £450k then actually £400k would seem good. People tend not to look at just one house! People always buy the nicest house they can. This is surely different to buying consumer goods where, yes, often the amount saved is a big driver. The problem I found when buying is that there were just so few houses around that it was hard for the market to reach any kind of equilibrium. Like most sane people I do recognise that prices are inflated so I found that with viewing a good number of properties I got a feel for what things were worth. This includes all the stuff that doesn't pass through rightmove - remember that the stuff that is priced well tends to go before it hits the internet (which is why I worry for those who have based their views entirely on the Internet - or a half arsd attempt to view 1 or 2 places etc!) and the EA will only show this to his real prospects. Once you get that feel make the offer that you feel is right, regardless of what they are asking. If they reject, no worries, keep looking. The places that are priced realistically will get sold. Some of the over priced tat that I viewed in my area is still on over 6 months later. Doesn't surprise me one bit and I felt sorry for the EAs who showed me round - they had to go through the motions but at the end I would go "so the house next door has 2 more rooms, has been done up and costs £50k less, why would I buy this again?" ! It is the market that dictates the value, sure we are at a peak, but that's where we are. If you are unwilling to buy in at this point then that's cool - come back in a year or two and maybe thing will be better (maybe they won't!). Unfortunately life goes on and I'm glad I didn't wait - especially thanks to the low IRs (reckon I knocked a good 10years off my repayments with over paying!). But I hope it works out well for everyone !
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