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About Leyliner

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  1. Just to give you an idea. We're 35 and 37 respectively. Renting a very lovely National Trust cottage in Hertfordshire with some money in the bank cause my Mum died leaving me a property in the North which we sold and banked the money but prices don't compare so we've ended up feeling like we'll never own our own house looking at the prices here.
  2. You tried to change from Vodafone to 3 and were refused? I'd call that a lucky escape mate! I was once onto 3 customer 'service' in India complaining that I had no reception at all on my mobile (I was calling on a landline). I was told I must be in a 'rural' area and I should look around and see if I saw any masts. So I looked out of the window and saw the BT tower two blocks away! They're cheap but it's taken them years to even start to get their act together! Mind you, I had a refreshingly funny experience with them today. You know how Indian call centre people are usually trained to pretend they're not actually in India and have script names like 'John' based in 'Huddersfield'? Well, I had to call them about something this afternoon and halfway through the call I heard loads of cheering in the background. When I asked if they were having a party in the office the guy said 'Oh, no, not a party. We're playing Pakistan and guess what? We're winning!'
  3. ...and the meek* shall inherit the earth...! Que monster guitar solo! * For argument's sake let's define that as everybody priced out at the moment. Apologies for anyone not familiar with the god-like concept album that is Rush's 2112 (I wish there was a way of getting that backwards '2' in there)
  4. Just a word to the wise, and apologies if this has been mentioned previously, but for virtually the whole day (mon 2nd July) we couldn't access one of our self select isa accounts, and customer services told me that this was a 'minor problem' that affected most people - and that it'd be fixed 'in minutes'. It took all day. 'Problem'? Hell, I wanted to watch and sell out of a few things today! Most of our money in this account is in commodities and ETFs, not funds. Luckily it turned out to be fairly steady, but if could have been different. Either way, we were locked out of one of our trading accounts entirely. Now I'm willing to give them then benefit of the doubt but having worked in the internet business for years (in online classified advertising) I find it astonishing they couldn't just roll back onto other servers PDQ if they had a hardware failure. I'm not considering switching yet, but beware. Customer service seemed to be pretty casual about the whole thing until I reminded them that I may actually be losing money and would be unable to do anything about it. 'Oh, yeah...' seemed to be the considered response. Out of interest (and hoping it's a one off) did anyone else have problems with Selftrade yesterday?
  5. Well, I was born and bred Bradford and every now and then I go back. And when I do I think, what the hell happened? It's all gone! Even the good pubs! Then I drive five minutes out (ok, I put my foot down) and I'm up in the hills and I think it's as beautiful as ever. Just like when I was a kid. It's a strange town. Look at it from above on Google Earth - I can't imagine many major cities have that much green space so near to the centre. Parts of it are ruined, parts of it are still great. It's problems are that the race lines have formed - you can almost draw lines on maps. I don't remember that much tension 15 years ago. I'm sure people used to mix more. I still think maybe one day I'll go back to stay. I'm not giving up on it entirely.
  6. I agree completely. My situation is mutually beneficial since we get a lovely place to live with no on going maintenance costs and the NT gets to a regular rental on a property it was gifted several generations back that goes towards the upkeep of the surrounding area. But how's this for mutual... I'm told our place was completely derelict about 25 years ago. One day a couple came along and offered the NT a deal - they'd pay to restore it in return for living there at a very low rent. I understand this arrangement lasted for a decade or more until the people in question moved on to other things. They got the place they wanted for that time, the NT got a derelict building (and presumably a bit of an eyesore) transformed into a valuable asset. Last time I was up North I saw a hell of a lot of places that'd benefit from an arrangement like that. Everyone's a winner.
  7. Yes. It's interesting because prior to us moving in many people told us the NT were terrible landlords, and I've heard a few odd tales since - but we've been here for two years now and I can't fault them at all. In fact they've been rather forgiving on at least one occasion I won't go into! Far, far better than some amateur BTL greedhead who just looks distainfully at you like you're a walking failure for not owning your own place and are nothing more than a cash cow to milk in order to pay for his retirement. But you're right about it being good fortune. I've had many landlords over the years, and to be honest I've been lucky but this whole set up feels much more secure than any previous experience I've had. It's probably the way it should be - a long term fair commitment and not just a desperate pension replacement on the part of the LL. I mentioned I feel fortunate that my other half shares my opinion about renting this place rather than buying. However the one point on which we disagree (and perhaps I'm being selfish here) is that I'd love to be able to buy the house from them! I'm told that a few years back they offered several other local tenants the opportunity to buy at vastly reduced prices provided they didn't sell on/rent out for a number of years. Needless to say, once that period was up they all sold and made huge profits, which put the NT's nose out of joint a little and now they refuse to consider selling even at current market value. I don't know how true this is, and I can't entirely understand why they'd offer them for sale cheaply. My GF thinks basically it would be wrong of the NT to sell and that these places should remain owned by the nation and everyone should get the chance to rent one when they're available. If you reach a point where you need more space (as we may in a few years) you should just move on and be grateful of the time you spent there. And to be fair I can see her point. My problem is that I just love the place too much. Mind you, getting back to what I think was in part the topic of the thread, we probably couldn't afford it anyway! Out of interest numpty, did you actually buy from the NT? If so, how did you go about it?
  8. Yeah, all fair points. However, I don't think the NT have any interest in asking us to leave as long as we don't abuse the property. They've refused many offers from tenants wanting to buy the place over the years so it seems they have no incentive to sell and I can't see why they'd want to invite a prolonged void period for no good reason. It's pretty isolated and I know that fact put off many previous potential tenants - it's easy to get spooked at two in the morning when owls are screeching and the deer start rutting! I do sometimes worry a little about the insecurity, but then again I'd worry about negative equity even more if I bought right now (and we can afford to do so - just!'). Actually, I did lose my job last year in fact. Now life's even better. I get to stay at home and do freelance work whilst saving a grand a month on child care for my four month old. So all told I'm probably even better off. With no traveling expenses or traffic nightmare. And getting to spend much more time with my baby daughter, which to me is priceless right now. But regardless of my fortunate situation at the moment, I still believe it makes more sense to rent. I've never owned and I admit we're taking something of a chance banking on prices going down over the coming years and then buying later with more equity. If I'm honest, I have kicked myself that I didn't buy in London years ago when I had the chance, but I'm past that now. I was in my twenties and invested what money I had in ten years of fun! The rest I frittered away, as George Best once said. But I just think, well, if prices continue to go up forever (which I don't believe is possible), we'll continue to rent and just make our lump sum grow as much as we can. I'll be one of the few people I know who actually has money invested in anything other than their home. I just count myself lucky to have a partner who shares my opinion.
  9. We live in a cottage in beautiful woodland that we rent from the National Trust. Based on recent sales around here it's current value is probably something nuts like £500,000 (a similar sized cottage in a nearby village recently sold for £625k, so I may be being conservative here). We get everything fixed immediately when anything goes wrong, we have a gardener who comes once a week, as much firewood as we can use, commoners rights (ok, I haven't got any sheep - yet!) and now I understand we can get free membership of the NT too. Our kids get to live in a place with a wonderful primary school, clean air, wildlife all over the place - what could be better? And for this we pay under a grand a month. Sometimes I feel so lucky I pinch myself. Then I think of my nearest neighbour about half a mile away who's on a fair rent agreement that dates from 1969 and is embarrassed to tell me what he pays. But I believe it's about £300! Bless 'im! And to think we nearly bought somewhere a few years back but didn't have our offer accepted. So glad I didn't get into that bidding war. I know we're particularly lucky but outside London I can't think what sense it makes to buy right now at all.
  10. I have a good friend who's been earning a living renovating old properties in Spain (specifically Barcelona and other parts of Catalonia) over the last few years. He's now started to look further afield and has just returned very excited from a visit to Lisbon. He feels it's a similar opportunity to Barcelona four years ago. He's already found a few possibilities and has asked if I'd like to invest with him. I've done this in the past with a Spanish project and it's done quite well, but we're both under no illusions that Spain will continue in the same vein over the next few years. I was wondering if anyone else had any opinions regarding Lisbon? I'm just starting to do my own research on this and am particularly interested in what knock on effect there may be in Portugal if the Spanish market (and indeed it's whole economy) continues to deteriorate.
  11. I couldn't agree more. I've been thinking for a while now that when sentiment truly begins to turn bearish the EAs may ironically turn out to be a driving force for the crash. Like most people here I cannot stand EA's (a mix of bad experience and a natural aversion to flash wide-boy wkners) but I reckon that at the end of the day these guys are just self interested realists. They've know in recent years it's been realistic to ramp prices up and increase their commissions 'cause they could play on people's fear and greed, but during a slump they're going to be desperately trying to convince people to accept lower prices in order for to keep things turning over and just stay in business at all. It's gonna be the property market equivalent of sticking the defectors on the front line!
  12. Well, I was made redundant back in November with about a years take-home pay-off just before my daughter was born. Could have been scary but we've taken a similar approach. I'll take a year or so out, not spend much money and enjoy being at home and not missing a thing! I've taken on a few freelance jobs and will probably earn less than I did (probably a lot less) but since I'm not working in London anymore, plus I'm saving on the childcare (about a grand a month) and commuting PLUS we've reached this realisation that we don't NEED to buy anything - it's an absolute revelation! It's really occurred to us that we don't really need any more stuff. And half the stuff we have was only ever been accumulated because well, you kind of end up adhering to that old adage that you spend what you earn. Man, when I think of some of the things I've bought that I really never needed, it's ridiculous. I mean once you've got the basics, what do you need? Got a car that's paid for and will last years, got my computer to work on, got my hifi, got my guitar, got my mountain bike... Got enough jeans to last a decade! We'll be fine. I totally agree - prices for things in this country are getting insane - but it's kind of distorted by the fact that we're fooled into thinking we actually need so many things we really don't.
  13. One other point to note - if demand outstrips supply so drastically, how come rents have remained pretty static for so long? I've rented for years and have NEVER had a rent increase (why do I get the feeling I may come to regret typing that last sentence?) This is the argument ABN AMRO were putting forward when they recently claimed UK house prices are up to 50% over valued.
  14. Yes, I think he and his girlfriend and a bunch of mates were squeezing into a tiny rented place and just about coping. But the point was that this lad had grown up there and it was literally burned into him that he would never, never be able to buy where he was raised. No promotion, hard work, shared deposit etc was ever going to get him there - he literally saw us visitors as part of the nightmare that had landed on his home area that had ruined his future. And he was 25 (or so), not a 16 year old school leaver. Sorry, I didn't mean to imply the lad was homeless.
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