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Everything posted by Orbital

  1. I'm permanent but regularly get cold called by people who find my details on LinkedIn looking for contractors. Where are you guys based? There seems to be plenty of work around, perhaps not at the silly money rates that were around "back in the day" but it seems like good money to me (compared to my permanent rates at least lol!). I've never liked the idea of contracting though. I prefer working in one place.
  2. Expenditure going down for me, just got a massive saving on Building+Content insurance, dropped to £30 a month (Halifax)! Rent goes down each month thanks to overpayments of mortgage. Weekly shopping seems constant though. Rail fares about to drop too which is good for me (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8206942.stm). I haven't update my home accounts spreadsheet this month though so will have a better idea once these drops bed in.
  3. Economic Concept of the day: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_destruction
  4. You are very naive if you don't think France has its own problems. Or any where else for that matter. Every country has good and bad points. Just as I can point to some great places to live in the UK I can point to some shocking areas of France. And being a Brit abroad will bring with it a load of new problems that you have probably never experienced. Unless you emigrated to the UK in which case you probably have !
  5. Which is why people prefer to fix. But you forget a couple of things. Yes IRs have been high at points in time but they didn't stay high forever did they. Make sure you can cover such a period. Here's a suggestion, anyone on a variable tracker should "make like Joseph" in the plentiful years and get their mortgage down or set up a rainy day fund. So when rates are high it is not a problem when the famine follows. As time goes by most of us will get pay rises and/or promotions. Personally I don't like to sit still, I'm always looking for the next opportunity. Speaking for myself, when I fixed back in 2005 I had enjoyed a few decent career moves by the time the fix ended ! And finally - you make the classic mistake of thinking percentages some how represent the same amount of money no matter what the earnings are. At the risk of sounding like a primary school teacher, 50% of a small number is smaller than 50% of a big number. If I was taking home 10k a month and 50% of my outgoings went on my mortgage - I wouldn't be too worried! I am still taking home a lot more than the majority of the population! There is definitely an overwhelming belief on HPC that spending a large % of your income on a mortgage is bad. Thankfully I got over that and realised that actually when I was only paying out 20% I ended up saving a thousand or so each month and that money was just doing nothing. So I could either keep putting that money in the bank to maintain this magic ratio and -woohoo- die with 100k in savings or whatever, or I could buy the house I want. Well we each make our own choices. It is possible to have a high disposable income and pay a high percentage of your income towards a mortgage simply by earning a lot of money (say 40k!)! Actually what I would do is overpay my mortgage and ensure my exposure is minimised each year, just as payment go up exponentially when IRs rise, they go down when you overpay. Again, make like Joseph, by making relatively small overpayments I saw my payments drop 100 quids this year. Do this throughout your fix so when the IRs rise you are protected. Sure, one route may or may not turn out to be the best choice but I don't think it is clear cut. Many people on here said I was crazy when I bought in 2005, a crash was round the corner apparently. Well 4 years later I don't regret it for a second, in fact so far it seems to have been the best choice (for me) but of course who knows what the future will hold ! Good luck to OP and everyone else, I hope you all get what you eventually want too .
  6. Great question! I guess this is what I am aiming for, so here are my thoughts. Household income about 80k maybe? 1. 4 bed detached house in the shires. Living in Zone 6 Suburban S London, on the hunt for a family home, have the equity and mortgage arranged - sadly there is nothing for sale where I want to buy! But I know that a nice house, with parking, near schools, parks, tree lined safe neighbourhood is in my reach. 2. 2 cars. Our household has one car atm. This is an interesting one, I'd argue that the modern mid class family would be after smaller more efficient motors. I can see us getting a new one and keeping the old one though. So we'll achieve this sooner or later. 3. 2 parents and 2.4 children. This will be my household. I work in the City, the missus works locally. We actually both earn a similar amount which is a bonus. 4. Children and "good" schools. I live in an area with grammar schools and a solid local comp, so no public school here. I would also encourage my kids to pay their own way where possible - whether I could afford to fund them or not. Remember, we're against nannying here on HPC ! 5. 2 family holidays per year. Ample excursions / hobbies for the brats (music, horses, skiing, etc). Not really a fan of holidays, seem a bit stressful, especially with kids. We'll go camping and I'll sit in the pub ! Ha seriously I guess this will be a new expense to me but I think we can handle it. 6. "Nice" food, good wine, plenty of of entertaining (dinner parties, restaurants, nights out "in town", etc.) The irony is that "Nice" food is often cheaper, I get fresh veg from the market etc, a top steak from the butcher, yum yum. Living in London I get to make use of all the great cultural events, and particularly enjoy the free ones ! Nights out on the South Bank, art galleries, etc. All very middle class! 7. Retirement at 55-60. Final salary pension for the main breadwinner. Final salary! Dream on. I guess this is one thing that has change massively. But I started my private pension at 20 and have put in 10% ever since, and this is the key. If anyone my age wants to retire at 60 they better start saving early! The missus on the other hand is in the state sector so actually will be getting a final salary. 8. Other "typical" middle class trinkets and bling [no idea what, I don't have any]. Doesn't really interest me either. Arguably bling is bought by the rich and the wannabees with something to prove. 9. Limited or very little unsecured credit. Basically just mortgage. Haven't had any credit since paying off student loan. Just mortgage and that will be gone in 25 years - 5 to 10 before retirement ! "My guess is that you'd need to be a millionaire to have this these days" Assuming a 45 year career a million is only 22k a year, and any middle class earner should really get above that figure quite early on in their career...? Disaster aside, and hey we all know sht happens, but fingers and toes crossed, I think all the things above that I want are perfectly achievable. With one exception! One working parent. It would be nice if one of us was at home for say the first 5 years, and I think that could be possible. At the least one of us will go part time. Hey ho, that's what feminism got us ! Actually in all seriousness I might consider staying at home, doing some freelance or contracting in between nappy changes ! But with a net income of 4-5k this is all achievable and then some. The posters quoting struggles with £200k incomes need to get some financial coaching imo. You are doing something wrong! I got most of this whilst living on my own and bringing in a couple of K. Things have moved on since then though . Good discussion I rented a 2 bed terraced house for £850 about 5 years ago. Zone 6, took me 45mins door to door to get to my city job. Had a lovely garden - happy days.
  7. Well where do you want to live? If the far East is attractive to you then it's a no brainer. If you are actually just looking to buy for the sake of investment then I'd strongly suggest diversifying your money in a range of investment opportunities from the comfort of your desk. Investing in overseas property is kinda high risk and not easy to do! I'd personally prefer to invest in number 17 at my local casino ! I always think that those that dislike the UK and would prefer to be somewhere cheap are in a great position. You want the opposite to everyone else so your ability to get it is much easier yet you end up getting exactly what you wanted - go for it! It's a bit like being attracted to ugly women (or men), by going against the flow you get to pick the, erm, "best". Good for you. The rest of us, who enjoy living here or have fought hard to escape other countries, won't understand it but so what. Go for it
  8. I think this illustrates a point though, the first place is obviously rubbish and should drop in price - and most of us predict that it will. But the second one looks nicer and its price is much more likely to hold up. So this is great news for anyone wanting to buy the first place at a knock down price but the reality is no one would really want to. We want to buy the second nice place, but, because it is nice, the value is going to hold much better. So the price of property one will drop, "average" prices go down and everyone goes oh look there's a HPC. But nice places in nice areas are still out of my budget . I think this is why there are a lot of dissappointed people around here who were expecting to buy a Mayfair town house on their junior pen pusher wage. I still believe that only the best off can get the best houses but hey I can't wait to be proved wrong on that !
  9. Need more detail in the options. I think prices will continue to drop/stagnate slowly. That doesn't mean I wouldn't buy though obviously the ideal is to buy at the absolute bottom and sell at the top but it wouldn't be the end of the world if you bought somewhere on the way down and sold somewhere on the way up. I'm not greedy !
  10. It's true that supply is utterly terrible right now. I looked around a few months ago with a serious view to upsize, but it ground to a halt when there was just nothing there. I remember looking in my chosen area a few years ago and there were plenty of viable options. The 3 new properties I have noticed on rightmove were under offer within a week. imo there is no sign of things picking up, but prices where I am looking just aren't moving because there is so little supply. Annoying. But back to OP's point, I recall an agent telling me that they were doing 10 valuations every day and they have a load of new stuff to show me. Not a single new property has come along. The EA's turnover must be desperately low right now! But that said, the properties that come up do seem to be selling quickly which does suggest asking prices are being met?
  11. I liked how during the boom years everyone would point out it's all cyclical and mocked people who said "its different this time" funny thing is those same people now seem to think the economy will plunge to nothing. Oh of course.... It's different this time ! Meanwhile, I'm wondering whether to cash out my FTSE tracker having enjoyed those recent returns - one mustn't get greedy! Houses for living, stock market for investing ! Shoulda bought into sugar though !
  12. At the moment? Give us a shout when you've worked out how to predict markets accurately! But its a fair point, as someone else points out at the top, in Japan it took 15 years for prices to bottom out. Well that's kind of a long time to wait in anyone's life time! In an ideal world we'd buy low and sell high, but no one can actually accurately predict the markets. Just take comfort in avoiding the peak and you've done a lot better than some poor souls! Personally I can't wait 15 years, the whole point of buying for me is to put down roots and provide stability to the kids. What's the point if they have grown up and left home already! Sure at the end of our lives some here are going to die with 50k more in the bank than me. I can't quite convince myself that I care though. But good luck. Buy a house because you want one and can afford one. Not for an investment, not because society says you should. And remember, anyone who bought at the last peak, and sold at this peak probably isn't crying themselves to sleep every night. It's all cyclical. Oh wait - this time its different !
  13. But like Google etc they will claim they are just aggregating and linking or whatever. Google's cache of rightmove has all the same info, do you think they can be reported too? It's shaky ground imo. Says who? The market dictates the price. A market will find its natural level in time .
  14. Pop into your supermarket and use one of those counting machines that will convert your cash to a more wholesome number. It will cost a few % but the time you save can be used to get yourself some more money - thus making a net profit. That does highlight a point Ive made before, some people on this forum spend an awful lot of time posting and you can't help but think if they had used that time to make their own blog or write a book they'd earn more money than they are trying to save by timing the housing market! Maybe. Have a think about whether your persistence is really the best means to your end. But maybe scrabbling around on the floor and arguing with banks is a good option - whatever works for you ! Join us at MSE for more like minded chat and mortgage paying off stories !
  15. Go with the flow, you can't stop evolution.
  16. Of course it could back fire, they are forced to sell and you lose your home ! But maybe that isn't a problem, some people like moving !
  17. Diversify investments, work hard, invest in yourself (human capital). Relax. Have fun (before the sky caves in ) But that was always the plan for most of us anyway !
  18. if it is over, keep the site for the next crash - it's all cyclical
  19. Wouldn't it be that the party funds it? Parties are funded through donations etc? I can't believe they have such a page though. That loses a lot of respect.
  20. Apologies for the bump but I was researching the area, any further news? What is North vs Village vs Sutton all about? How have prices changed since the first post?
  21. Personally I would listen to the EA, I would explain that this is above your budget and welcome him to give you a call if the vendor drops his asking price some time. If this is a fair market price then there will be other properties similarly nice available at the price you are willing to pay - just move on to one of them ! If no such other properties do exist then perhaps this answers your question. My experience of looking around a few months ago saw that prices of nice places were holding up and these places were selling simply because there was nothing else to chose from. Unfortunately a lot of people on this site get so caught up in the theory that they forget the reality. If that place you are after really is a little bit nicer than the others then you should expect to pay a bit more. If the vendor is overvaluing it then this is no problem for you because you buy the one "next door". If the one next door isn't so nice then perhaps you are starting to understand how markets work ! Scarcity can be as much a factor in markets as any of the other factors. Best of luck with the buy, I managed a big reduction myself, like I said, just move on to the next place and try you luck. If there are plenty to chose from, as there were when I bought in 2005 you'll have no probs. I ended up finding a vendor who was really keen for a fast move and I could offer that. Controversial here, but those with common sense know that it makes no sense for an EA to ramp a price at the risk of losing a sale. Especially when sales are probably few and far between right now! So if 250k is realistic and the vendor takes it - EA makes a sale. He gets 1 or 2 % commission, worth a couple of grand to him. Not bad for showing someone round a house and making some calls. Alternatively he is lying to try and ramp up the price from 250 to 270. This would get him an extra couple of hundred if it works out, or absolutely nothing if it doesn't. It just doesn't make sense to risk a few 1000 to earn an extra few 100!
  22. As said above, I always find it bizarre that people are happy to have cash, yet fear these cards. There are various limits on transactions so liability is limited in the event of loss. There will be security algorithms looking out for odd transactions. And any transaction made against your will is going to be traceable. These cards essentially just hold an identification number, that number links to your account. So anyone taking your money will need to be part of the system making it very hard for someone to get your money and launder it. Impossible? Maybe not, but certainly harder than laundering a £10 note!! Even, like in the US, a photo would be a good start.
  23. Maybe but I suspect she has a bigger house than most of us...
  24. Yes, of course. Just like a new car you pay a premium for getting it "new". I rented a new build as a young lad (only a few years back !). It is totally true that you get "sold" on it - they look fantastic, the en suite seems a great luxury, the gf will love the state of the art kitchen. Awesome! Until you move in and realise there is NO SPACE! These places are tiny! So I since moved into a Victorian house and the rooms are all so much bigger. No more hours of rearranging the sofa to maximise space, you can put in large wardrobes and still walk around your bed! Colder? I can see that. I rented a Victorian conversion that was freezing - but it had rotten sash windows that didn't close properly. My new place is fully fitted with double glazing, layered with loft insulation, blah blah - much better. Still not as warm as the new build flat I was in as you could get that place warm in seconds. In the winter I love getting a real fire going. In the fire place ! You can turn the heating off, veg out in your living room on a Sunday for a couple of quid on some coal or the free logs from the nice man down the road. And finally, yes location, location, location! There are plenty of places in the UK where you can buy a nice big house for very little money. But you just don't want to live there do you! I have always had a sneaky suspicion that many people on here don't appreciate that our parents and their parents first home was probably in a less favourable area, probably in a less favourable house. And then when the reality starts to sink in that actually only the most well off will ever be able to afford the best houses in the best location no matter what the market conditions are doing...
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