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Older London Ftb From The Torygraph Offers Words Of Wisdom

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Let the bad times roll: a bon vivant goes in search of a roof

(Filed: 27/05/2006)

Late on to the property ladder? Afraid so, says Julian Barnard

At 35 years old and having earned an average London salary for several years, I admit I deserve no sympathy for my current first-time buyer predicament. Three racehorses, two sports cars, countless cocktails and candlelit dinners in the capital's finest restaurants have not left me ideally placed for the climb to the property summit. I have never paid a gas or electricity bill, only once visited a DIY shop (to buy props for a fancy dress party) and until recently thought ''white goods'' was a street code for something in the pharmaceutical line.

As each such report is usually topped by headlines commiserating with those who have yet to pull off their first purchase, I hoped that by keeping my self-indulgent past under wraps I might benefit from a little first-time buyer sympathy. Wrong. After months of searching, it became clear that the market doesn't discriminate - we are all in the same boat, whether we deserve it or not.

advertisementSo, for all you bachelor hedonists who have nothing to show for your years of fun, take heed of the following.

Your principal weapon is cunning. Only weeks of low or no offers will drag the hard-nosed seller down from overpricing. If that fails, you could try sending some friends round to make rock-bottom offers, putting your slightly higher one in a better light.

Turning to the estate agent and mortgage lender for help, I assumed they would fall over themselves for my business. Another miscalculation. If you are very patient, they will help you to invest in a shoebox; it took me six months to wise up.

Try to remember, estate agents want to sell properties for as much money as they can possibly get, regardless of the house, flat or shoebox's actual worth, as most work on percentages. Vendors, meanwhile, will often choose the highest valuation, forcing up prices further. It is the purest form of capitalism and brings out the worst in all of us. A living space is worth what some poor fool will pay - that's why the market is beyond reasonable affordability. As a first-time buyer, never allow yourself to think that estate agents have your interests at heart.

A few months ago, a nice young man tried to sell me a flat for £280,000; it eventually sold for about £240,000. I could list a dozen more which sold for £20,000 to £50,000 less than their original asking price. One way of avoiding paying too much is to keep an eye on the various property websites.

Some agents may make up offers. I have walked into several different flats to be told as we go through the door that they have just received a close-to-asking-price offer. On one day, it happened twice with two different agents. This is a high-risk tactic, but one which must work for them, forcing buyers to make higher offers than they may have done aleady. Some offers will be genuine, but I have caught them out on a couple of occasions. The best thing is to stick to your planned offer, which, by law, they must put forward, saying that if the higher one falls through, they will get back to you. If it is false, they will be back.

Obviously, the properties you like most, with well-proportioned rooms, appealing features and good outside space, will also be what other people like. Even in a quiet market, they will sell for the asking price or more. You should learn to spot them and discount them from your list as you are unlikely to be able to afford them. These places will only make what you can afford seem more unattractive.

As for mortgage lenders, they are less mercurial than estate agents and vendors. Regulations have curbed most of their misdemeanours, but again they will not be offering any avuncular leg-ups.

In any case, you should use an independent financial adviser, as they will have access to the sort of products that will allow you to borrow the most. If you want to borrow more than three and a half times your salary, which you almost certainly will, you will be offered an interest rate of 1 to 2 per cent above the base rate. The good rates you see advertised will not apply to you.

Your credit rating is key to increasing your income multiples. So you will need to start toning up your score by paying off debts, ensuring you do not miss any payments on loans and credit cards, making sure you are on the electoral register, demonstrating your ability to pay a mortgage by showing similar outgoings on rent and ideally laying your hands on a 10 per cent deposit. Applying for other new credit during this time and changing your address will also lower your rating. If you can achieve all this in less than a year, you will be a few steps closer to home owning than most other first-time buyers.

Use the large property websites, as they give access to almost all the agents at once: www.primelocation.com; www.findaproperty.com; www.ukpropertyshop.co.uk.

Independent financial advisers: Primrose (www.primrose-associates.co.uk; 020 7420 3209). Foster Denovo (www.fosterdenovo.com; 020 7916 8282). John Charcol (www.johncharcol.co.uk. 0800 718191).

Mortgage lenders (those that will offer higher-income multiples should be contacted through your financial adviser): Northern Rock; Alliance and Leicester; First National.

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Let the bad times roll: a bon vivant goes in search of a roof

(Filed: 27/05/2006)

Late on to the property ladder? Afraid so, says Julian Barnard

At 35 years old and having earned an average London salary for several years, I admit I deserve no sympathy for my current first-time buyer predicament. Three racehorses, two sports cars, countless cocktails and candlelit dinners in the capital's finest restaurants have not left me ideally placed for the climb to the property summit. I have never paid a gas or electricity bill, only once visited a DIY shop (to buy props for a fancy dress party) and until recently thought ''white goods'' was a street code for something in the pharmaceutical line.

As each such report is usually topped by headlines commiserating with those who have yet to pull off their first purchase, I hoped that by keeping my self-indulgent past under wraps I might benefit from a little first-time buyer sympathy. Wrong. After months of searching, it became clear that the market doesn't discriminate - we are all in the same boat, whether we deserve it or not.

advertisementSo, for all you bachelor hedonists who have nothing to show for your years of fun, take heed of the following.

Your principal weapon is cunning. Only weeks of low or no offers will drag the hard-nosed seller down from overpricing. If that fails, you could try sending some friends round to make rock-bottom offers, putting your slightly higher one in a better light.

Turning to the estate agent and mortgage lender for help, I assumed they would fall over themselves for my business. Another miscalculation. If you are very patient, they will help you to invest in a shoebox; it took me six months to wise up.

Try to remember, estate agents want to sell properties for as much money as they can possibly get, regardless of the house, flat or shoebox's actual worth, as most work on percentages. Vendors, meanwhile, will often choose the highest valuation, forcing up prices further. It is the purest form of capitalism and brings out the worst in all of us. A living space is worth what some poor fool will pay - that's why the market is beyond reasonable affordability. As a first-time buyer, never allow yourself to think that estate agents have your interests at heart.

A few months ago, a nice young man tried to sell me a flat for £280,000; it eventually sold for about £240,000. I could list a dozen more which sold for £20,000 to £50,000 less than their original asking price. One way of avoiding paying too much is to keep an eye on the various property websites.

Some agents may make up offers. I have walked into several different flats to be told as we go through the door that they have just received a close-to-asking-price offer. On one day, it happened twice with two different agents. This is a high-risk tactic, but one which must work for them, forcing buyers to make higher offers than they may have done aleady. Some offers will be genuine, but I have caught them out on a couple of occasions. The best thing is to stick to your planned offer, which, by law, they must put forward, saying that if the higher one falls through, they will get back to you. If it is false, they will be back.

Obviously, the properties you like most, with well-proportioned rooms, appealing features and good outside space, will also be what other people like. Even in a quiet market, they will sell for the asking price or more. You should learn to spot them and discount them from your list as you are unlikely to be able to afford them. These places will only make what you can afford seem more unattractive.

As for mortgage lenders, they are less mercurial than estate agents and vendors. Regulations have curbed most of their misdemeanours, but again they will not be offering any avuncular leg-ups.

In any case, you should use an independent financial adviser, as they will have access to the sort of products that will allow you to borrow the most. If you want to borrow more than three and a half times your salary, which you almost certainly will, you will be offered an interest rate of 1 to 2 per cent above the base rate. The good rates you see advertised will not apply to you.

Your credit rating is key to increasing your income multiples. So you will need to start toning up your score by paying off debts, ensuring you do not miss any payments on loans and credit cards, making sure you are on the electoral register, demonstrating your ability to pay a mortgage by showing similar outgoings on rent and ideally laying your hands on a 10 per cent deposit. Applying for other new credit during this time and changing your address will also lower your rating. If you can achieve all this in less than a year, you will be a few steps closer to home owning than most other first-time buyers.

Use the large property websites, as they give access to almost all the agents at once: www.primelocation.com; www.findaproperty.com; www.ukpropertyshop.co.uk.

Independent financial advisers: Primrose (www.primrose-associates.co.uk; 020 7420 3209). Foster Denovo (www.fosterdenovo.com; 020 7916 8282). John Charcol (www.johncharcol.co.uk. 0800 718191).

Mortgage lenders (those that will offer higher-income multiples should be contacted through your financial adviser): Northern Rock; Alliance and Leicester; First National.

Something about his commentary annoys me and I am not quite sure what. Maybe it is the casual acceptance that he cannot buy anything very nice for hundreds of thousands and he appears relaxed about EA lies and fake offers.

S.

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Great artcle.

Couple of good bits of advice in there too about how to play the EA's at their own game. :ph34r:

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Great artcle.

Couple of good bits of advice in there too about how to play the EA's at their own game. :ph34r:

Yep, expect lies and deceit! I so hate EAs. It has partly put me off moving for 12 years. Is now the time to encourage anyone to stretch themselves to buy in London or maybe anywhere at absolute peak pricing?

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Great artcle.

Couple of good bits of advice in there too about how to play the EA's at their own game. :ph34r:

apart from the bit which states that you should borrow as much as you can...

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Yep, expect lies and deceit! I so hate EAs. It has partly put me off moving for 12 years. Is now the time to encourage anyone to stretch themselves to buy in London or maybe anywhere at absolute peak pricing?

Go into ANY EA and ask about the state of the property market they will always say its "bouyant" or "picking up" the shameful thing is that unsuspecting Joe public believes the spin. Its simple if they don't sell houses they lose thier jobs so they are bound to lie.

There is someone where I work who was just about to put a quick offer on a totally overpricer shoebox as he said "The estate agents said there is someone else who is offering 140k". The house was up for 145k, I told him its a deceitful lie to get top dollar from you, tell them to stick it.....

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Good to read something from the point of view of those hurt by the current property market, rather than producer interests (ie VIs) and the gainers who've made squillions from BTL shoeboxes.

It's a viewpoint that deserves more airtime, more sympathy, and more political and economic power!

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Good to read something from the point of view of those hurt by the current property market, rather than producer interests (ie VIs) and the gainers who've made squillions from BTL shoeboxes.

It's a viewpoint that deserves more airtime, more sympathy, and more political and economic power!

...but he is still saying "go for it at any cost" whcih may well prove very bad advice.

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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