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IsThisRealLife

My House Hunting Experience

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So my girlfriend and I thought we'd do a little look around to see if we could buy anything that we'd be willing to pay for. With the cut to the base rate, it looks like the BoE are going to stop at nothing to keep the bubble going, so we thought we would do some shopping - mainly out or curiousity.

We went into a bank on Friday to speak to a mortgage adviser. We're both 24, my salary is £50k and hers is £25k, so we were both very shocked to have been offered a £375k agreement in principle! The young girl was very happy for us (great time to buy, prices will only go up etc)

Next stop was an estate agent. We asked them what was available around the £200k range (Preferably central, Bristol). She showed us a couple of studio apartments, and then asked whether we had financing - we mentioned our AIP and she told us that we should be looking higher up in the market, because we can afford a lot more than 200k. In fact she explained that they had a new build 2 bed flat for just under £500k that we could buy, with only a £25k deposit and a HTB loan from the government. We humoured her and booked a viewing for the same day.

When we got to the marketing suite, we were quizzed on our financial situation (pretty much just asking us "what is the most debt you can take on?), and shown a few apartments. All I can say is wow. People are paying upwards of half a million pounds for a small 2 bed apartment (well a double bedroom and a study in my opinion). Despite the sales agent's canned monologue, I could tell from her expression that she felt uneasy telling me how great they were and how good value they were. This one viewing was enough to remind me that I am right in not buying. I just don't know how much longer this can go on!

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every time I have looked at property with an estate agent across 4 countries, one of the first questions is "how much can you afford'.

Not - what sort of property are you looking for.

Shows how the financialisation is the driver. Nothing else.

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Great anecdotal! So mortgage borrowing is now measured at around 5x combined income?!! :wacko:

I knew Bristol was desirable but not so desirable that newbuild Studio flats cost £200k, Jesus!

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Great anecdotal! So mortgage borrowing is now measured at around 5x combined income?!! :wacko:

I knew Bristol was desirable but not so desirable that newbuild Studio flats cost £200k, Jesus!

Not quite, The calculation also included the 15% bonus I got at the start of the year - it works out around 4.5x the total salary + bonus figure.

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every time I have looked at property with an estate agent across 4 countries, one of the first questions is "how much can you afford'.

Not - what sort of property are you looking for.

Shows how the financialisation is the driver. Nothing else.

This is exactly how I felt. All of the questions were based around how much I can afford. Nobody wanted to know what type of property I was looking for.

From what I can tell, the average buyer finds out how much they can afford and then searches for the most expensive property within their budget. The right way to do it should be to decide what you need, and then decide whether or not you can afford it.

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Price has always been a main driver, as most people are looking for best location and space and the limits tend to be closely defined by price. It's commerce, straight and simple. First flat I bought in London was a two bed 90k, and the agent said it was another ten thou for another bedroom, ten more on top of that for a small house - but we didn't have the extra. But in your 20s - in my case anyway - you're not that fussed about an additional room/garden, that stuff seeps in as you age. Though of course, you have a point, the agent should at least pretend they have an interest in the nuances and your own special case/housing needs.

Regards the price, can't you get a decent Victorian terrace 3 bed for under 400k in Bristol? Given that you'll probably get the lowest fixed rate in UK history, and the taxpayers might even underwrite it for you at little moral hazard, you can see how they're trying to snare/seduce you. Or you could wait six months and hope the market tanks 50%...

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Price has always been a main driver, as most people are looking for best location and space and the limits tend to be closely defined by price. It's commerce, straight and simple. First flat I bought in London was a two bed 90k, and the agent said it was another ten thou for another bedroom, ten more on top of that for a small house - but we didn't have the extra. But in your 20s - in my case anyway - you're not that fussed about an additional room/garden, that stuff seeps in as you age. Though of course, you have a point, the agent should at least pretend they have an interest in the nuances and your own special case/housing needs.

Regards the price, can't you get a decent Victorian terrace 3 bed for under 400k in Bristol? Given that you'll probably get the lowest fixed rate in UK history, and the taxpayers might even underwrite it for you at little moral hazard, you can see how they're trying to snare/seduce you. Or you could wait six months and hope the market tanks 50%...

Yes, you could get a 3 bed terrace for less than 400k, but you could also get a 3 bed semi detached for less than Half of that up north. I think renting is the better option for me in the short term, maybe in 10 years or so If I really want to own I'll pick up a cheap semi in the north west (my homeland) for cash.

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I've read of pseudo-experiments where someone advertises free money in the highstreet, and very few passers-by come forward because most think it is a con.

It is strange that the wisdom is reversed by many people when it comes to mortgages! Maybe 'almost free money' is the new normal and we are the stupid ones...it isn't real after all.

With sincere good wishes, you are very jammy earning 50k at 24. If your career is on a rapid upward trajectory, then maybe the lenders take that it to account? I seem to recall only a proportion of new mortgages have to follow the fiscal continence lending:income rules.

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This is exactly how I felt. All of the questions were based around how much I can afford. Nobody wanted to know what type of property I was looking for.

From what I can tell, the average buyer finds out how much they can afford and then searches for the most expensive property within their budget. The right way to do it should be to decide what you need, and then decide whether or not you can afford it.

Haha, stop it you are killing me. You are talking in the same way I did at 24! :P So, if you don't want to end up as a grumpy old 40yo paying rent, you should take that EA's advice and buy the biggest damn house they will let you get! Then MEW for a BTL, you is spending someone else's money innit! :P

Seriously though, welcome to the forum, with sensible opinions like that, you should fit right in. Unfortunately, for at least the last ten years the world hasn't worked like that. You are still young enough to buy at what seems like a stupid amount of money, lose a sh*t load (of paper wealth) in a crash, and still be fine in the end. Also with your high 24yo's wage, you really have options on what you can do. BTW, what is the job you do?

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I've read of pseudo-experiments where someone advertises free money in the highstreet, and very few passers-by come forward because most think it is a con.

It is strange that the wisdom is reversed by many people when it comes to mortgages! Maybe 'almost free money' is the new normal and we are the stupid ones...it isn't real after all.

With sincere good wishes, you are very jammy earning 50k at 24. If your career is on a rapid upward trajectory, then maybe the lenders take that it to account? I seem to recall only a proportion of new mortgages have to follow the fiscal continence lending:income rules.

I suppose everyone knows someone know leveraged up to their eyeballs and made a mint BTL'ing! They can see that almost free money isn't a con and the true road to riches! :P Fingers crossed that they get a rude awakening! :)

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Haha, stop it you are killing me. You are talking in the same way I did at 24! :P So, if you don't want to end up as a grumpy old 40yo paying rent, you should take that EA's advice and buy the biggest damn house they will let you get! Then MEW for a BTL, you is spending someone else's money innit! :P

Seriously though, welcome to the forum, with sensible opinions like that, you should fit right in. Unfortunately, for at least the last ten years the world hasn't worked like that. You are still young enough to buy at what seems like a stupid amount of money, lose a sh*t load (of paper wealth) in a crash, and still be fine in the end. Also with your high 24yo's wage, you really have options on what you can do. BTW, what is the job you do?

I'm fortunately in a good position and could buy if I wanted to, but the majority of people aren't and I find it hard to believe how crazy the situation is!

I'm a newly qualified actuary, planning to move jobs soon for a big pay rise!

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Haha, stop it you are killing me. You are talking in the same way I did at 24! :P So, if you don't want to end up as a grumpy old 40yo paying rent, you should take that EA's advice and buy the biggest damn house they will let you get! Then MEW for a BTL, you is spending someone else's money innit! :P

Seriously though, welcome to the forum, with sensible opinions like that, you should fit right in. Unfortunately, for at least the last ten years the world hasn't worked like that. You are still young enough to buy at what seems like a stupid amount of money, lose a sh*t load (of paper wealth) in a crash, and still be fine in the end. Also with your high 24yo's wage, you really have options on what you can do. BTW, what is the job you do?

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I'm fortunately in a good position and could buy if I wanted to, but the majority of people aren't and I find it hard to believe how crazy the situation is!

I'm a newly qualified actuary, planning to move jobs soon for a big pay rise!

Yeah, with that kind of mathematical training, putting you in a room with a mortgage broker or an estate agent is basically going to be a festival of quiet astonishment for you, forever and always.

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Interested to hear your experiences of flat hunting in Bristol as we are planning on looking in the depths of winter this year (if prices become a little more sensible). I was born here and have been lucky enough to live in several areas of the city and each has its own flavour - Clifton, Clifton Village, Harbourside (City Centre), Brislington, Bedminster, Gloucester Road and now Redland. I can honestly say city centre living and Clifton were not for me as they had little or no communty sprirt or hardly any Bristolians living there! Very unfriendly compared to other areas as it is much more transient living. The harbourside is good in the summer but a little dead in the winter but some great apartments and will always be popular. But it's amazing how things change so quickly as I remember not that long ago Crest Nicholson were really struggling to sell flats in the Harbourside and a lot of them had to be flogged off below orignal asking price, some to the council! I know of someone who got a good discount at Whapping Wharf recently and I have registered for the new builds at Paintworks just out of interest and they text me every now and again offering to pay legal fees and costs associated with buying an overpirced flat at risk to flooding (yes the Paintworks has flooded in the recent past). I think they will struggle to sell in this climate and I dont believe all the hype about Bristol as wages are not that of London - £500k would get you a 5 bed house with huge garden about 20mins from the city centre so anyone paying that for a new build flat in the most congested city in the UK is a very 'special' person indeed in my humble opinion.

Not advice but at 24 have you considered renting your way around the city for a bit before committing to somewhere? You might find somehwere you love that you would not of considered before.....

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every time I have looked at property with an estate agent across 4 countries, one of the first questions is "how much can you afford'.

Not - what sort of property are you looking for.

Shows how the financialisation is the driver. Nothing else.

My answer to that is always "A lot more than I'm prepared to spend".

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