Friday, June 20, 2008

Problems, Problems, Problems

'I didn't think it would be so hard letting go of a house'

Amid talk of the credit crunch and negative equity, and with house prices falling faster than they have since the crash of 1992, it is easy to forget that for each repossession statistic there is a family who have lost their home. Last month, Maxine King joined the estimated 53,000 people who, according to the homeless charity Shelter, will lose their homes this year. I met her days before the repossession date at her three-bedroom semi on an estate in Gravesend, the last large town on the south bank of the Thames before it runs into the Channel. She said she knew there was no chance to save it but, tellingly, she hadn't started packing.

Posted by housebear @ 09:42 AM (3426 views)
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25 thoughts on “Problems, Problems, Problems

  • I do feel sympathy for these people, but……. where is the sympathy for tenants who have to leave their homes when they lose their jobs, or when the landlord randomly decides not to renew the tenancy?

    It’s like football – we feel sympathy for the forward strikers who tried and failed, but we couldn’t care less about the mid-fielders.

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  • whiteknight says:

    Did she get the guy’s name. It’s always worth returning a negative favour at least ten fold. legally of course.

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  • Rental John says:

    Good point brewster…as a tenant myself I worry about people who rent who’s landlords may sell or BTL’ers who sell / go bust / get respo’ed – what happens to the tenant then? Tenant with no protection and no home…..

    Home owmnership….?….Fundamental thing is it is not their house, they are allowed to live in it while they pay the mortgage, if they can’t or stop paying – well it’s out the door. The whole concept of ‘home ownership’ is a fallacy – it is ‘debt ownership’ until that debt is paid off – then and only then the house is yours. Obviously in the good times with rising house prices the equity locked up in the house is yours – but unless you want to sell the roof over your head or take out more debt against that equity – it is definitely a ‘fixed asset’.

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  • This case was featured on local news in the London region last night with the 3 young kids prominently featured. Of course it is meant to pull on the heart strings and support Shelter’s demands for govt intervention to stop repossessions of this or other kinds. In that sense the choice of this young family is pretty cynical and Shelter have certainly moved a long way when they are championing the interests of current property owners..

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  • But for the extortionate redemption penalty she would have got herself out of the mess in an orderly manner.

    Is there a compelling reason why these penalties should not be outlawed completely?

    I can’t think of one..

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  • Only 30k in debt… could have been worse and will be worse for those who lose their homes in the next 3 years

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  • To Drewster

    as a tenant let me tell you that the time for sympathy for owners and BTLs is well & truly over

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  • Unfortunately there are some clues to level of financial planning.

    The ex partner says ” I told you we shouldn’t have bought it”. Sounds like he knew they couldn’t afford but let the wife (who’d stopped working) brow beat him into it.

    Has found out she can’t get a mobile phone. – I know we all seem to have them now and assume we can’t live without them but they do cost a minimum of £180 a year to run. She has no money – hello.

    I’ve heard of several cases recently of women brow beating husbands into what to get next.

    I think one or two men should think about standing up for what they think. In the cases I’ve heard of recently the ‘brow beating’ women aren’t working.

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  • str 2007 – Yep, my friends who have bought houses recently have all done so to keep the peace with the missus. Most of them could see that economic trouble was ahead, but they preferred to deal with that in the future rather than divorce or similar. Which ever path they chose they were going to be fleeced financially.

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  • Rental John says:

    It’s the male bird that generally makes the nest, but the female that takes over and sits on it.

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  • How things change, I believe until the 1980’s a man’s wife under tax law was regarded as his chattel. It would be interesting to know how many women frequent this website or is it just a male thing.

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  • What a disgusting little band of misogynists.

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  • mrmickey,
    Statistics show that blogging in general is a male thing. Women are more sociable and prefer face-to-face gossip. Also HPC is about money and politics, things which (stereotypically) appeal more to the male mind.

    confused76,
    Thanks for the link to the tax evasion reportion website on the other thread. I’ll repeat it here: http://www.taxevasionhotline.co.uk – for all your dodgy landlords who refuse to give their registered address and who only put a mobile phone number on the lease (yes I’ve seen this happen!)

    On the sympathy point, I think we’d advance our cause better if we could find photogenic families who had been turfed out by their landlord and who are willing to appear on tv. A group of (mostly) angry young males just doesn’t garner the same degree of sympathy….

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  • crash bandicoot says:

    How about some sympathy for me? I’ve been squeezing my familly into a small house for five years now while the financially irresponsible have been pricing me out of the market, and stopping me moving to a larger house. Now they suddenly realise that they can’t actually afford the house that they “bought” but want to carry on living there anyway. As the Nationwide will tell you “It doesn’t work like that”.

    BTW my wife was keen to move/extend our house because several of her friends had. I wanted to S2R but I couldn’t get her to understand how it worked. The compromise is that we stayed put and didn’t gain or loose anything. There was quite some pressure because her friends didn’t earn any more than us and they could “afford” to do it. We tend not to discuss housing matters with them these days………..

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  • I can sympathise as I have lost count of the rows had with my wife over her wanting to buy and feel secure. I stayed firm and she has only acknowledged that this was the appropriate thing to do a couple of weeks ago!

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  • Is there more than a bit of misogyny going on here? Women not working (cf above) is most generally because it is cheaper for them to look after their joint children than pay for child care/after school activities etc. Not to mention that parents (male or female) make better carers than paid help…And this poor woman’s partner b******** off just before their 3rd child was born..sounds like a nice bloke. Not.

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  • Actually i was at a social event at the weekend and someone asked me what my plans were (given that i am renting). Its difficult i know their circumstances they have one income, a new kid due next month and 2 other young children. They also have a nice semi but with a pretty huge mortgage. The mentalilty is they have started on the ladder and have always extended themselves and its always paid off. I just said well i am saving up. He shook his head, property always goes up so you should buy now. I felt really uneasy so i just said “yea you’re right. I’ll look for somewhere soon”. It was interesting because my friend was also there and he knows my view, and understood why i was being tactfull. I dont think its right to rub someones face in it (assuming i/we are right) i mean its just ego really.

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  • I know what you’re saying techie

    Do you ever feel your nose is being rubbed in it by the untactful.

    Your friend for example, who thinks house prices are going up and pointed out to you in a round about way that you’re still renting.

    A friend of mine spent the early part of last year subtly letting me know that his 500k house had already gone up another 50k and they’d only been in it 4 months.

    How come it’s ok for him to brag and not me when the tables are turned.

    I try and be subtle and positive about the current situation by pointing out that he’ll be able to afford what is currently a 8-900k house in a couple of years.

    I leave him to calculate most of his 200k equity will have vanishd by then !

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  • The pressure from the missus has been enormous – however after 4 long years of telling her things will come back our way and that we will be in a position of strenght to buy a place we want in an area we want with the deposit we have saved she is back on side.

    However as with 4 years ago I am still not looking forward to discussions about soft furnishing and whole weekends decorating…

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  • wealthyvagrant says:

    I’ve also been thinking for a while that house price boom was partly driven by womens desire to “own a house”, I think it’s down to three things;

    – The security that most women seek. They believe “owning” a home is secure.
    – The nesting instict for women around 30 is strong and that’s also when many with have bought a house.
    – The fact that women rely more on what other people think when making decisions* – They saw friends that have done well over the last few years with their house etc

    As with the comments above all of the people I know that have purchased in the last 18 months have been either single women, or couples where the man would have rather not but got pushed into it.

    Are there any women here to comment?

    * – There was some research a while back where women were shown pictures of the men and asked to rank them on attractiveness etc Some picture included other women smiling at the men in the pictures, in others these had been removed. The men in the pictures with other women smiling at the man were ranked as significantly more attractive. The same was not the same for men.
    The theory is that women make greater use of other peoples opinions to aid their decision making than men. This probably also have something to do with way they enjoy chatting more than men.

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  • str 2007 – i am at ease with my circumstances and i feel sorry for them (assuming as i obviously do that i am right). To answer your question if they are truly friends i dont think money should come into it. Just some things are left better unsaid! I feel sorry for people who have no knowledge or concepts of bubbles because a 10% rise in 4 months shows them to be in a spike (classic bubble) top. What most people forget is its taken 100s of years to get to – per your example – £500k and then what it takes 4 months to get to £550? now this can go on – but not for very long without some HUGE underlying shift in the economy.

    Then again i didnt ask them not to read history and if anyone asks me i always recommend they read about bubbles and manias.

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  • crash bandicoot says:

    s2r 2007, one of her friends bought a new (larger) house in August 2007, talk about buying at the peak. She told my wife that it was a good time to buy because we had historically low interest rates and houses only go up in price. I am sure that she can see the error of her ways now without me shoving it into her face (I did tell her not to buy at the time and she thought that I was a crackpot).

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  • I think our wives our secretly quite proud of the fact we’re ‘in the know’ and the sheets are about to be re-balanced back in our favour.

    Time’s going to tell how pleased they’ll be. Let’s hope we all manage to keep the funds coming in to allow our past prudence to pay off in the next couple of years.

    It’s funny how many of you have similar tales though.

    I wonder if opposites attract as some of my friends that are hopeless with money seem to have more careful wives.

    And what I am surprised about though is the recklessness of women as I’d expect them to be the ones making sure they kept the roof they had rather than risking loosing a bigger one.

    Sign of the times I guess.

    I’ll do my best not to be too smug about renting at the next social gathering.

    Oh I do hope someone asks me if I’m going to get a house soon – just so I can test myself you understand !

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  • letthemfall says:

    I often get the question “Are you looking?” After a few years of being regarded as some kind of unusual overwintering species, people are now beginning to say to me prices have further to fall instead of prices never fall. Now a family I know have decided to sell their house and rent. Probably left it a little late, but should still benefit. Whether it was the man or woman who made the decision I don’t know.

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  • Don’t know how many will read this, as previous comments were posted yesterday…but I’m a girlie who has spent the past year trying to cope with a hubbie who is desperate to build our nest !!!!! Sat here in a rented house with most of our belongings still packed away, and furniture stacked in the spare room cos we haven’t got room to spread all our stuff (that we’ve come to realise we probably don’t really need cos we haven’t used it for a year!!!)

    I don’t have any trouble with comments that the ladies are the ones pushing their partners to buy….there probably is a tendency for women to need to feel more settled, to have stability etc, as it is reassuring. We like to feel nurtured and cared for. For many, renting may feel like an element of their relationship is temporary as well….it reduces the feeling of commitment, maybe even if you are married. And in my experience, my girlfriends aren’t interested in property values, economics etc, and tend to leave this to their men. My conversations around these things tend to be with men friends. (But I do have one girlfriend who experienced nequity in the 90s – had to sell their house to move north from London, and took a big hit, but she’s the only one I have really discussed property with)

    But there are a few relationships, like ours, where the woman does take interest in the finances, reads the papers and sites like this to keep up with current affairs, deals with moving money around accounts to try to get the best rates etc. Hubby says he feels left out, but as soon as I start talking about stuff like that he just tells me to deal with it…as long as I let him know what’s happening he’s happy. Means he can go out and do all his hobbies while I make sure we are not about to make a fundamental error, like paying asking price on a house right now!!!!

    Every time he gets frustrated that we haven’t got our own place, I just explain how much sooner he may be able to retire if we wait for property prices to fall…the way things are, pretty soon we might get the 4 bed detached on a nice plot that we are looking for, without needing any mortgage – and how great will that feel !!!! And he can have as much double garage space as he wants to keep his shiny red Clarke toolbox complete with imperial socket set…fishing rods…bikes…hiking gear…climbing gear…and more time in his life to actually use them instead of working for ever to pay off debt.

    So when your girlies are feeling all insecure about not having their own place, don’t start spouting economics at her, help her to dream about all the great freedoms life will bring without having a whopping great mortgage around your necks 🙂

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