Author Topic: UK Mustachian life basics?  (Read 26744 times)

cerat0n1a

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 816
  • Location: Cambridge, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #100 on: August 10, 2017, 12:32:25 AM »
I'm curious - what are the differences? And why is the US inefficient?

In the US, it varies considerably state by state. In general, there is nothing like the land registry and transferring property title often involves significant amounts of paperwork (and fees...)

In most states, you need a realtor to act on your behalf when buying a house, and you sign a contract with them (and I know of people who actually interviewed agents before selecting one.) Sellers pay their realtor typically something like 6% (it's more like 1-2% here) and that fee will get split with the buyer's realtor. Until Zillow came along, there was no really easy way of browsing available properties.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #101 on: August 12, 2017, 04:03:36 AM »
I'm curious - what are the differences? And why is the US inefficient?

In the US, it varies considerably state by state. In general, there is nothing like the land registry and transferring property title often involves significant amounts of paperwork (and fees...)

In most states, you need a realtor to act on your behalf when buying a house, and you sign a contract with them (and I know of people who actually interviewed agents before selecting one.) Sellers pay their realtor typically something like 6% (it's more like 1-2% here) and that fee will get split with the buyer's realtor. Until Zillow came along, there was no really easy way of browsing available properties.

What do you do in the UK? Do you not need a realtor? I contacted a couple companies about properties that were listed on RightMove. One person called me and said that the property online was already gone but that he could tell me about places before they went online. He tried to talk up a place that was a mile or two further away and 10% more expensive, and he also wanted me to make an appointment immediately with his preferred mortgage provider. I was really taken aback and tried to get off the phone as soon as I could. I told him I would think about it if he emailed me details, but he hasn't. The next person who responded to my question about a different property contacted me about via email but seemed apathetic about giving details or showing the property. She told me about a different property that was almost twice as expensive. I guess it is just not very exciting if someone wants to see the cheapest available flats.

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2500
  • Location: London, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #102 on: August 12, 2017, 06:53:31 AM »
Have you not looked here? https://www.accommodation.cam.ac.uk/

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #103 on: August 12, 2017, 09:42:48 AM »
Have you not looked here? https://www.accommodation.cam.ac.uk/

Thank you, yes. That's how I have my current place, but I'm limited in how long I can stay. It's designed for people who are new to the area. I would like to buy a home at this point, rather than continuing to rent, and if I do so while I'm still fairly new, the university has a scheme to make easier. Even with that, it'll be tricky for me to find the right place since I'm a first time buyer in a very high cost of living area, and I want to stay close to things if I can.

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2500
  • Location: London, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #104 on: August 12, 2017, 12:50:09 PM »
Sorry, didn't clock you were buying! Duh!

cerat0n1a

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 816
  • Location: Cambridge, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #105 on: August 13, 2017, 08:08:26 AM »

What do you do in the UK? Do you not need a realtor? I contacted a couple companies about properties that were listed on RightMove. One person called me and said that the property online was already gone but that he could tell me about places before they went online. He tried to talk up a place that was a mile or two further away and 10% more expensive, and he also wanted me to make an appointment immediately with his preferred mortgage provider. I was really taken aback and tried to get off the phone as soon as I could. I told him I would think about it if he emailed me details, but he hasn't. The next person who responded to my question about a different property contacted me about via email but seemed apathetic about giving details or showing the property. She told me about a different property that was almost twice as expensive. I guess it is just not very exciting if someone wants to see the cheapest available flats.

Estate agents act on behalf of the seller (in theory, anyway) and get a commission (typically 1-2%) when the house is sold. They are generally viewed as being somewhat less trustworthy than second hand car salespeople or tabloid journalists. They can also make money by commissions from introducing you to mortgage companies. When you come to actually make a purchase, you'll also need a solicitor or conveyancer (lawyer who acts on your behalf to do the legal aspects of the sale) and usually a surveyor or valuer (who checks the property out for you, but also verifies to the mortgage company that the house is worth roughly what you are paying for it.) Some estate agents will partner up with those other professionals, either to make a bit more money, or to smoothe the buying process for you.

Central Cambridge is a fairly "hot" market where properties tend to move pretty quickly. The agents are only interested in people who are actually going to buy - they don't get paid to show "tyre kickers" round a property. If you phone up and say "I'm looking to buy a place in 2018", don't expect to get shown much. In some cases, they will want to see proof of who you are, and possibly also that you have the means to buy before showing you round (this tends to be more common for expensive places though.)

Apart from Rightmove and Zoopla (which are almost a duopoly now), onthemarket.com is used by some estate agents, it's worth checking all of them.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #106 on: August 13, 2017, 10:42:10 AM »

Estate agents act on behalf of the seller (in theory, anyway) and get a commission (typically 1-2%) when the house is sold. They are generally viewed as being somewhat less trustworthy than second hand car salespeople or tabloid journalists. They can also make money by commissions from introducing you to mortgage companies. When you come to actually make a purchase, you'll also need a solicitor or conveyancer (lawyer who acts on your behalf to do the legal aspects of the sale) and usually a surveyor or valuer (who checks the property out for you, but also verifies to the mortgage company that the house is worth roughly what you are paying for it.) Some estate agents will partner up with those other professionals, either to make a bit more money, or to smoothe the buying process for you.

Central Cambridge is a fairly "hot" market where properties tend to move pretty quickly. The agents are only interested in people who are actually going to buy - they don't get paid to show "tyre kickers" round a property. If you phone up and say "I'm looking to buy a place in 2018", don't expect to get shown much. In some cases, they will want to see proof of who you are, and possibly also that you have the means to buy before showing you round (this tends to be more common for expensive places though.)

Apart from Rightmove and Zoopla (which are almost a duopoly now), onthemarket.com is used by some estate agents, it's worth checking all of them.

Thank you, Cerat0n1a. This is so helpful, as always.

May I also ask about timing? It seems like it's too soon to ask to see things now, but how far in advance should I start looking if I want to move at a particular time? How far in advance would I need to put in an offer?

What if I wanted to have gone through the entire process and have finalised everything with the mortgage and evaluations and whatever lawyers need to do by mid-January such that I could actually move into a place in late January and have my current flat clean and ready for a new tenant on 1 February? Or the same with July and 1 August, etc? Is two months enough, or should I allow more like five months?

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #107 on: August 13, 2017, 03:30:53 PM »
May I also ask about timing? It seems like it's too soon to ask to see things now, but how far in advance should I start looking if I want to move at a particular time? How far in advance would I need to put in an offer?

What if I wanted to have gone through the entire process and have finalised everything with the mortgage and evaluations and whatever lawyers need to do by mid-January such that I could actually move into a place in late January and have my current flat clean and ready for a new tenant on 1 February? Or the same with July and 1 August, etc? Is two months enough, or should I allow more like five months?

Answering my own question here, it seems the collective wisdom of the Internet says 12 weeks to 6 months, with some people taking considerably more time or as little as 5 weeks. Leaseholds take more time than freeholds. Absence or presence of chains make a difference. Depends on the situation. Luck. How on top of things the solicitors and others involved are. Whether or not problems turn up in the survey of the property. Also how many properties the buyer needs to view to make a decision.

http://thepersonalagent.co.uk/how-long-does-it-take-to-buy-a-house-uk/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/consumer/23623491

I already know how much I will be able to borrow and put together for a deposit. I don't need to wait on a house sale of my own. So maybe if I get going in earnest with this after Christmas, that will give me plenty of time to sort things out before my current rental ends. If something pops up that is just perfect before that, I could move sooner and take the risk of not being able to get out of my rental.

Playing with Fire UK

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2054
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #108 on: August 13, 2017, 10:56:47 PM »
Also be aware that when estate agents talk about a '12 week service' or '6 week service', this doesn't mean anything. I had seemingly a super simple transaction (previous owner deceased, house empty, no mortgage, we could give notice on our rental any time), the estate agents were talking about four weeks to complete, and it went over four months. Nothing particularly went wrong, but nothing really went right. I was chasing progress regularly.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #109 on: August 14, 2017, 11:30:10 AM »
Also be aware that when estate agents talk about a '12 week service' or '6 week service', this doesn't mean anything. I had seemingly a super simple transaction (previous owner deceased, house empty, no mortgage, we could give notice on our rental any time), the estate agents were talking about four weeks to complete, and it went over four months. Nothing particularly went wrong, but nothing really went right. I was chasing progress regularly.

Hmm... maybe it's not so terribly early to start looking if I wanted to move in January or February. How much time was involved before that point looking for a place, deciding on a place, putting in an offer and having it accepted? Or are you including some of that?

dreams_and_discoveries

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 795
  • Location: London, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #110 on: August 16, 2017, 02:08:33 PM »
It's not too early to start looking, my experience is things never go smoothly.

My current house took ages, all mainly conveyancing issues; the previous owners had all sorts of secured loans, and the first stage of selling a house is filling the solicitors inquiries form, answering loads of questions on titles, charges against property etc. They answered there were no charges. My solicitor wrote to the land registry, it came back with tons of second charges. My solicitor wrote to their solicitor asking what's up. Their solicitor wrote back saying they were paid off. My solicitor asked them to prove it. The vendors then had to contact loads of finance companies to get proof they had paid them off and charge was no longer valid. This took months. My solicitor sent me all the details, hence I now know more than I wanted to about their finances, basically they were skint and continually took equity out of the house. And there was also a few building regs issues to sort out, planning permission from the 70's to get copies of, indemnity insurance needed and some never paid annual covenant to sort out.

And only after all that could we start getting dates sorted, after of course all the other people in the chain had got their similar issues sorted out.

In general, older properties = more issues to sort out, no chain = sometimes harder to get issues sorted, but they want to complete quickly and no chance of a chain falling apart etc.

As for how long to spend looking, it all depends how much you know what you want, how well you've researched the market and your personal decision making style.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #111 on: August 17, 2017, 01:35:11 AM »
It's not too early to start looking, my experience is things never go smoothly.

My current house took ages, all mainly conveyancing issues; the previous owners had all sorts of secured loans, and the first stage of selling a house is filling the solicitors inquiries form, answering loads of questions on titles, charges against property etc. They answered there were no charges. My solicitor wrote to the land registry, it came back with tons of second charges. My solicitor wrote to their solicitor asking what's up. Their solicitor wrote back saying they were paid off. My solicitor asked them to prove it. The vendors then had to contact loads of finance companies to get proof they had paid them off and charge was no longer valid. This took months. My solicitor sent me all the details, hence I now know more than I wanted to about their finances, basically they were skint and continually took equity out of the house. And there was also a few building regs issues to sort out, planning permission from the 70's to get copies of, indemnity insurance needed and some never paid annual covenant to sort out.

And only after all that could we start getting dates sorted, after of course all the other people in the chain had got their similar issues sorted out.

In general, older properties = more issues to sort out, no chain = sometimes harder to get issues sorted, but they want to complete quickly and no chance of a chain falling apart etc.

As for how long to spend looking, it all depends how much you know what you want, how well you've researched the market and your personal decision making style.

Oh, wow. This chain situation is different than in the US. Since coming here, I've heard about it and read about it a little, but it still seems so complicated. In the US, I've heard of offers being conditional on the buyer being able to sell his or her own house, but I get the sense it is less expected. Maybe in the States people end up stuck with two mortgages for a few months or something like that; the basic issues involved must be similar. I think maybe people can get optional insurance to cover issues that would come up and invalidate the sale, like unpaid loans against the equity.

Also I learned a new word, 'skint'. That seems appropriate to learn from this forum.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #112 on: August 17, 2017, 01:44:16 AM »
About looking at properties, knowing the area and the market, etc. Would it be OK (culturally) to ask local friends or coworkers for input on this? I don't necessarily want to go into detail on my financial situation, but I can't very well ask for help without sharing a price range or showing them ads with the prices on them. I've shared ads and so forth with my parents back in the States, but they've only had brief tourist experiences of the area.

My instinct would be to go to church friends who are locals rather than to ask my manager or the group I have coffee with at work, who are mostly more senior than I am. Does that seem about right?

cerat0n1a

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 816
  • Location: Cambridge, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #113 on: August 17, 2017, 06:34:24 AM »
About looking at properties, knowing the area and the market, etc. Would it be OK (culturally) to ask local friends or coworkers for input on this? I don't necessarily want to go into detail on my financial situation, but I can't very well ask for help without sharing a price range or showing them ads with the prices on them. I've shared ads and so forth with my parents back in the States, but they've only had brief tourist experiences of the area.

My instinct would be to go to church friends who are locals rather than to ask my manager or the group I have coffee with at work, who are mostly more senior than I am. Does that seem about right?

I would say it's very normal to do this. And the housing market is an obsession for a large number of middle class people, particularly in the south of England, so you may find church friends are delighted to be asked, too.

dreams_and_discoveries

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 795
  • Location: London, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #114 on: August 17, 2017, 06:40:21 AM »
In my opinion it's fine to share with peers and above you in work, less appropriate with those you manage.


shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2500
  • Location: London, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #115 on: August 17, 2017, 07:26:53 AM »
Also, you can have a conversation about property without sharing numbers.

"I'm looking for somewhere that's good value within half an hour's ride of the centre of town."
"Is there anywhere that's really up and coming/being redeveloped?"
"I just love historic properties, I'd hate to live in some soulless new build."
"I hate historic properties, I just want to live in a nice modern new build."
"Where do all the postgrads tend to live?"
"Where do you live? What do you think of it?"
"The local housing market seems pretty crazy. Do you rent?"
"I saw such a great house but it cost X, which is a little out of my price range."

Plus one that people will love to be asked! I'm sure after a prompt you won't be able to stop them! I would ask my peers at work, maybe senior people if I had a good friendly relationship (which it seems like you do).

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #116 on: August 17, 2017, 12:41:37 PM »
Thank you all. This is very helpful.

After reading your advice, I sent a note to a church friend who lives 0.3 miles from a flat I'm hoping to view next week, mentioning that I'd hopefully be looking at a place on the particular street and asking if she had any thoughts about the area. I guess I can share more depending on what she says.

At work, I've mentioned that I'm starting to think about buying a place, but I haven't gone into too much detail except with one co-worker who is at about the same level in a different department and is also looking at places now. I don't really want to spend my manager's time on this, but maybe I could talk to the people I have coffee with. My workplace has very clearly defined coffee times and coffee groups, which has been hard for me to fully grasp as an American. It's also been very useful, especially when I was brand new and full of questions. There's a lot of good people.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #117 on: August 21, 2017, 01:29:55 AM »
After reading your advice, I sent a note to a church friend who lives 0.3 miles from a flat I'm hoping to view next week, mentioning that I'd hopefully be looking at a place on the particular street and asking if she had any thoughts about the area.

I heard back that her husband says the area is one to avoid. I don't have a good sense of what would make an area bad here, but I am willing to trust them on this. They've been here 30+ years and are generally very sensible about things. They suggested a  couple other areas to consider. The trouble is that there are not a lot of flats to choose from if I want to stay near the centre. But it got me thinking about the search a little differently, and I have now written to ask about a few places I had not considered before. So that's something.

cerat0n1a

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 816
  • Location: Cambridge, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #118 on: August 21, 2017, 01:57:22 AM »
I heard back that her husband says the area is one to avoid. I don't have a good sense of what would make an area bad here, but I am willing to trust them on this.

LOL - you have to apply a Cambridge filter - probably some of the residents don't shop at Waitrose or something. People in Cambridge often refer to Arbury or Kings Hedges as being a bit rough; you can probably still find houses there for under half a million. The only part of Cambridge that I would consider "bad" would be Ditton Fields (one street) and the area where travellers live at the north end of Fen Road. Cambridge locals are also a bit sniffy about nearby towns like Ely & Haverhill, which have lots of new build homes and tend to attract families on more normal incomes. Both have crime levels well below national average and would be considered pleasant small towns anywhere else.

That said, there are certainly places which might be noisy at night, or have other problems, and if your friends live 0.3 of a mile away, I'm sure they're right.

Playing with Fire UK

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2054
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #119 on: August 21, 2017, 02:32:49 AM »
My workplace has very clearly defined coffee times and coffee groups, which has been hard for me to fully grasp as an American. It's also been very useful, especially when I was brand new and full of questions. There's a lot of good people.

I think this is a workplace thing rather than a UK thing. I've only been aware of scheduled coffee breaks in manufacturing or when we needed to stagger breaks to keep the phones covered, but nearly all of my workplaces it is far more flexible.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #120 on: August 21, 2017, 11:50:57 AM »
I heard back that her husband says the area is one to avoid. I don't have a good sense of what would make an area bad here, but I am willing to trust them on this.

LOL - you have to apply a Cambridge filter - probably some of the residents don't shop at Waitrose or something. People in Cambridge often refer to Arbury or Kings Hedges as being a bit rough; you can probably still find houses there for under half a million. The only part of Cambridge that I would consider "bad" would be Ditton Fields (one street) and the area where travellers live at the north end of Fen Road. Cambridge locals are also a bit sniffy about nearby towns like Ely & Haverhill, which have lots of new build homes and tend to attract families on more normal incomes. Both have crime levels well below national average and would be considered pleasant small towns anywhere else.

That said, there are certainly places which might be noisy at night, or have other problems, and if your friends live 0.3 of a mile away, I'm sure they're right.

I'll have to ask what it was next time I see them. They are Cambridge people, but I don't think they're the kind who would look down on someone who shopped at the wrong supermarket. The ad mentions that the city council is the freeholder for that particular flat. I didn't think too much of it before, but if the council owns most of the flats on the street, maybe that is a factor in how the street seems overall. We don't have the same sort of city councils in the States.

I'm setting up appointments to view three places. One is on a street the Cambridge friends recommended. I hesitate to ask what they think of the other two streets, but I guess it's better to have more information rather than less and sooner rather than later.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #121 on: August 21, 2017, 11:54:49 AM »
I've only been aware of scheduled coffee breaks in manufacturing or when we needed to stagger breaks to keep the phones covered, but nearly all of my workplaces it is far more flexible.

That's probably what it is. I am somewhat behind the scenes in an office, but many people are at desks that face the public and need to be manned at a certain level whenever we're open. Also many people who are behind the scenes most of the day have some responsibility for covering desks during lunch or breaks.

cerat0n1a

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 816
  • Location: Cambridge, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #122 on: August 21, 2017, 12:56:42 PM »
The ad mentions that the city council is the freeholder for that particular flat. I didn't think too much of it before, but if the council owns most of the flats on the street, maybe that is a factor in how the street seems overall.

Local councils have an obligation to be the housing provider of last resort; in practice these days this means they provide shelter for homeless people and put families/parents with children in bed and breakfast type places. The 'social housing' aspect is now mostly taken care of by Housing Associations - charities which typically get some amount of public funding. In the past, though, local councils would own, build & maintain large stocks of housing and this would be rented out. Under the Conservative government in the 1980s, these houses were mostly sold to tenants at substantial discounts and councils were forbidden to use that money to build more homes. So the city council being a freeholder would normally mean that this is an ex-council flat and these are typically in poorer/less desirable areas. In some cases, whole streets will be former council homes now in the hands of private owners.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #123 on: August 21, 2017, 01:19:26 PM »
In the past, though, local councils would own, build & maintain large stocks of housing and this would be rented out. Under the Conservative government in the 1980s, these houses were mostly sold to tenants at substantial discounts and councils were forbidden to use that money to build more homes. So the city council being a freeholder would normally mean that this is an ex-council flat and these are typically in poorer/less desirable areas. In some cases, whole streets will be former council homes now in the hands of private owners.

That's helpful to know. I had gathered some of that, but it's such a different type of organisation than we would call a city council in the States that it's helpful to have it explained. I have a vague sense that in the States a city council might be a room full of older citizens who meet monthly to have long arguments over possibly raising the rates of parking meters. They would be more making rules than taking any sort of substantive action or owning or building anything of their own. But maybe it's more the terms used than anything else. There are public housing projects run by cities or states, but I feel like if we said anything about things run by the city we'd just refer to them as municipal.

cerat0n1a

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 816
  • Location: Cambridge, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #124 on: August 21, 2017, 03:04:47 PM »
There are public housing projects run by cities or states

And, to be clear, I don't think council houses (or former council properties) in Cambridge & surrounds would have the same negative connotations that a "housing project" might in the US.

If you're looking at properties at the lower end of the price bracket in central Cambridge, you may see some advertised as "shared ownership." This is where you only own a percentage of the property and the rest is owned by a housing association - and you pay rent on the part you don't own. It's a way for lower paid people to own the place they live, with the advantage of security of tenure often not available through private renting.

You may also see "key worker" only properties e.g. on the Universities newly built Eddington suburb. These are reserved for those in specific occupations and may have been originally sold at below market prices (crazy idea in my opinion, would be better to solve the problem of too high house prices by simply building more houses.)

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #125 on: August 22, 2017, 04:51:46 PM »
There are public housing projects run by cities or states

And, to be clear, I don't think council houses (or former council properties) in Cambridge & surrounds would have the same negative connotations that a "housing project" might in the US.

If you're looking at properties at the lower end of the price bracket in central Cambridge, you may see some advertised as "shared ownership." This is where you only own a percentage of the property and the rest is owned by a housing association - and you pay rent on the part you don't own. It's a way for lower paid people to own the place they live, with the advantage of security of tenure often not available through private renting.

You may also see "key worker" only properties e.g. on the Universities newly built Eddington suburb. These are reserved for those in specific occupations and may have been originally sold at below market prices (crazy idea in my opinion, would be better to solve the problem of too high house prices by simply building more houses.)

I had to look up 'Eddington' -- I've only heard it called North West Cambridge. As I understand it the key worker properties are rentals that will be subsidised on a case by case basis to keep the monthly rent within 1/3 of income. I think they're limited to a total tenancy of 3 years. The houses they'll build to sell will be at market prices and probably fairly high ones, so that gets to your point of building more houses.

At least in the States, it seems like cities don't particularly see high house prices as a problem to solve because the people who already own houses want to keep the value going higher and higher. So they want to find a way to let new people in without affecting house prices in general. The whole thing seems problematic to me, but then I don't own any property yet.

I'll be viewing three flats this week, one each lunchtime Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wish me luck!

If one of the places this week seems like a good fit for me, what would I do next? In a supermarket, if I want something, I just bring it to the till and so forth, but how does one make an offer? Can you make it conditional on some issue being fixed and an inspection / survey being OK? Does the buyer do that alone, or is this when an agent or solicitor gets involved?

cerat0n1a

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 816
  • Location: Cambridge, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #126 on: August 23, 2017, 12:02:23 AM »
If one of the places this week seems like a good fit for me, what would I do next? In a supermarket, if I want something, I just bring it to the till and so forth, but how does one make an offer? Can you make it conditional on some issue being fixed and an inspection / survey being OK? Does the buyer do that alone, or is this when an agent or solicitor gets involved?

You go home, think about it, then talk to the estate agent and make an offer. The estate agent will relay that offer to the buyer (and may advise that it is too low, or hint that there has already been a higher offer, or that he or she doesn't think the buyer will accept it, or whatever.) There is no contract formed until the solicitor and survey etc. have completed the work and you actually sign something, both you or the seller can pull out of the deal right up the point where contracts are signed and exchanged by the two sets of solicitors. So there is no real need to specify any conditions, although equally, it doesn't do any harm.

If the seller verbally accepts your offer, that's the point where you need a solicitor and to talk to your mortgage company about what happens next. The solicitor, estate agent and mortgage provider will be able to assist with the next steps (e.g. the estate agent will know all the local solicitors who handle property sales and will suggest one or two names.) If you start on this process, there will be various fees, which you have to pay even if the seller later pulls out of the deal.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 12:05:36 AM by cerat0n1a »

Playing with Fire UK

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2054
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #127 on: August 23, 2017, 02:43:17 AM »
When you are speaking with your friends and colleagues you may also want to ask about recommendations for mortgage brokers and conveyancers. Avoid the one that the estate agent recommends, they are almost certainly over-priced cowboys.

SpreadsheetMan

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #128 on: August 23, 2017, 03:28:28 AM »
When you are speaking with your friends and colleagues you may also want to ask about recommendations for mortgage brokers and conveyancers. Avoid the one that the estate agent recommends, they are almost certainly over-priced cowboys.

+1 to that. I don't know anyone that has been really happy with a domestic conveyencing solicitor, everyone complains about delays and continual random requests for more information.

Surveyors are equally bad - they seldom find the real faults in a property unless they are glaringly obvious.

cerat0n1a

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 816
  • Location: Cambridge, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #129 on: August 23, 2017, 06:15:34 AM »
they are almost certainly over-priced cowboys.

Off-topic - we did some work for a Texas based company about 20 years ago and things went very well and a lot of money was made by both sides. They presented us with a ceremonial set of bull horns and speeches were made lauding us as a great bunch of guys, and the word "cowboys" was used. They were rather taken aback to discover that in the UK, it's a term applied to people who do shoddy work.

I'd second the suggestion for taking friends' recommendations on solicitors; not just a company but an actual named solicitor.

Playing with Fire UK

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2054
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #130 on: August 23, 2017, 06:21:13 AM »
they are almost certainly over-priced cowboys.

Off-topic - we did some work for a Texas based company about 20 years ago and things went very well and a lot of money was made by both sides. They presented us with a ceremonial set of bull horns and speeches were made lauding us as a great bunch of guys, and the word "cowboys" was used. They were rather taken aback to discover that in the UK, it's a term applied to people who do shoddy work.

Huh, I never thought of that before. I took it to mean that while I would want a cowboy for horse riding or cow-minding; I wouldn't want someone trained only as a cowboy doing conveyancing work (or plumbing, plastering etc). No intention to offend the cowboys, apologies.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #131 on: August 23, 2017, 04:05:28 PM »
Thank you all for the tips and the language lesson.

Today I saw flat 1. I don't think it's the one. But on the way to it, I stopped and had my lunch by the Cam, which was a nice change.

Two more to go this week. If neither of those work out, I might wait a month to try again.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #132 on: August 24, 2017, 05:06:49 PM »
Flat 2 today. So so much nicer than flat 1. Flat 3 tomorrow.

I didn't want to share this if there was any chance of me actually taking the place, but this was flat 1:
http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/property/cheapest-property-sale-cambridge-160k-13476431

I don't think the reporter actually saw the property. The bathroom was a perfectly normal size if a bit out of date, but the kitchen was very tiny and fitted into a hall. There's a breakfast bar that swings up and hangs from hooks, and you can swing it down again to bring something wide through the hall. The flat was even smaller than it seemed in the ad, but the location and view were great. The service charge was unusually high, which changes the financial picture.

cerat0n1a

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 816
  • Location: Cambridge, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #133 on: August 25, 2017, 03:50:16 AM »
Certainly a nice location by Jesus Green. It's just that Cambridge is very expensive and you don't get very much, even for a lot of money - I expect that place will sell quickly.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #134 on: August 29, 2017, 11:35:07 AM »
Today I had an offer accepted on Flat 2. Thirty minutes later I got a call saying that another offer had come in for 2000 more but that the seller was still willing to sell to me if I would match that. I called back later to decline. So seller went with buyer 2. I'm annoyed, but I still have nearly a year left on my current lease and no reason to rush.

dreams_and_discoveries

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 795
  • Location: London, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #135 on: August 29, 2017, 01:48:09 PM »
Today I had an offer accepted on Flat 2. Thirty minutes later I got a call saying that another offer had come in for 2000 more but that the seller was still willing to sell to me if I would match that. I called back later to decline. So seller went with buyer 2. I'm annoyed, but I still have nearly a year left on my current lease and no reason to rush.

Ouch, that sucks Kwill....if it's any saving grace, at least they did it quickly before you had paid out for surveys and solicitors.

Playing with Fire UK

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2054
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #136 on: August 29, 2017, 02:26:33 PM »
That is one of the more annoying things about our home-buying system.

You'll find the one.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #137 on: August 29, 2017, 04:15:55 PM »
....if it's any saving grace, at least they did it quickly before you had paid out for surveys and solicitors.

Goodness! What is the point of them even saying they accept an offer if then they just change their minds? Is this a cultural thing somehow? Or is it like this in other places, too? I've never purchased in the States, so I don't know.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #138 on: August 29, 2017, 04:30:20 PM »
That is one of the more annoying things about our home-buying system.

You'll find the one.

Thank you.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #139 on: August 29, 2017, 04:48:14 PM »
A question for the Cantabrigians here . . .

How is Arbury? Would it be unsafe? Or is it mostly just less fashionable and/or affluent?

Some of the flats that would be feasible for me and also within an easy bike of work are in Arbury, and I know some co-workers and friends live more or less in the area. But the street my friends told me to avoid is right in the area where the more affordable flats are. With the new Cambridge North station and all the development in North West Cambridge and so forth, is the area likely to become more desirable over time?

Playing with Fire UK

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2054
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #140 on: August 30, 2017, 12:05:03 AM »
....if it's any saving grace, at least they did it quickly before you had paid out for surveys and solicitors.

Goodness! What is the point of them even saying they accept an offer if then they just change their minds? Is this a cultural thing somehow? Or is it like this in other places, too? I've never purchased in the States, so I don't know.

It isn't nice. It is perfectly legal but you are going back on your word. You are right to complain bitterly that they accepted the offer and then went back on it (the second buyers Gazumped you), the sellers probably aren't bragging about it, but they wanted the 2k more than they wanted to keep their word.

It is different as close as Scotland - there is a different system there and offers are much closer to binding (not a lawyer).

I don't know the area, but I found https://www.crime-statistics.co.uk/postcode useful when trying to cut through what people mean when they say an area is unsafe. [When I was buying, people urged me away from the area I eventually bought in because of 'safety', when I checked the stats and asked them more, it was mostly based on the tendency for young adults to wear hoodies and sit in parks in the evenings.]

cerat0n1a

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 816
  • Location: Cambridge, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #141 on: August 30, 2017, 12:11:55 AM »
It is less affluent and some people in Cambridge consider it on a par with central Detroit or something. Anywhere else, it would be just an average suburb, certainly the crime rate is considerably lower than in the centre of Cambridge, and there are many properties which sell for more than half a million. The housing is a bit 1960s and/or bland, it's not visually attractive in the way that some parts of Cambridge are. You might hear similar opinions about Kings Hedges and Orchard Park (new estate to the north of Arbury too.)

There are probably a few specific places that I'd avoid - the flats on Kingsway, perhaps, but the area itself is fine. It would be very obvious from a daytime walk around which places are less salubrious. I would not expect the area to become more desirable - prices are already sky high compared to elsewhere. Bear in mind that a "rough" area probably means there are a few teenagers drinking or smoking dope outside in the evening and you may occasionally see some graffiti or overhear people swearing.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #142 on: August 30, 2017, 01:30:24 AM »
It isn't nice. It is perfectly legal but you are going back on your word. You are right to complain bitterly that they accepted the offer and then went back on it (the second buyers Gazumped you), the sellers probably aren't bragging about it, but they wanted the 2k more than they wanted to keep their word.

It is different as close as Scotland - there is a different system there and offers are much closer to binding (not a lawyer).

I don't know the area, but I found https://www.crime-statistics.co.uk/postcode useful when trying to cut through what people mean when they say an area is unsafe. [When I was buying, people urged me away from the area I eventually bought in because of 'safety', when I checked the stats and asked them more, it was mostly based on the tendency for young adults to wear hoodies and sit in parks in the evenings.]

Thank you for the helpful link.

I found a guide to US home buying for British expats that is clarifying some of the differences for me: http://britishexpats.com/articles/usa/home-buying-process-usa/

When I made the offer I was expecting to need to come in to the real estate agent's office and do paperwork and pay something. Then when it was so informal I was confused and confused and annoyed again when the situation changed so quickly. It seems like in the US the offer is itself a written contract with money involved whereas in the UK, the accepted offer is just a verbal agreement with nothing much to it. In the same situation in the States, the seller would have had to give me back money to accept a different offer.

SpreadsheetMan

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #143 on: August 30, 2017, 01:34:43 AM »
It is less affluent and some people in Cambridge consider it on a par with central Detroit or something. Anywhere else, it would be just an average suburb, certainly the crime rate is considerably lower than in the centre of Cambridge, and there are many properties which sell for more than half a million. The housing is a bit 1960s and/or bland, it's not visually attractive in the way that some parts of Cambridge are. You might hear similar opinions about Kings Hedges and Orchard Park (new estate to the north of Arbury too.)

There are probably a few specific places that I'd avoid - the flats on Kingsway, perhaps, but the area itself is fine. It would be very obvious from a daytime walk around which places are less salubrious. I would not expect the area to become more desirable - prices are already sky high compared to elsewhere. Bear in mind that a "rough" area probably means there are a few teenagers drinking or smoking dope outside in the evening and you may occasionally see some graffiti or overhear people swearing.

LOL!

This is interesting: https://philrodgers.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/is-arbury-really-a-den-of-iniquity/


Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #144 on: August 30, 2017, 01:35:35 AM »
It is less affluent and some people in Cambridge consider it on a par with central Detroit or something. Anywhere else, it would be just an average suburb, certainly the crime rate is considerably lower than in the centre of Cambridge, and there are many properties which sell for more than half a million. The housing is a bit 1960s and/or bland, it's not visually attractive in the way that some parts of Cambridge are. You might hear similar opinions about Kings Hedges and Orchard Park (new estate to the north of Arbury too.)

There are probably a few specific places that I'd avoid - the flats on Kingsway, perhaps, but the area itself is fine. It would be very obvious from a daytime walk around which places are less salubrious. I would not expect the area to become more desirable - prices are already sky high compared to elsewhere. Bear in mind that a "rough" area probably means there are a few teenagers drinking or smoking dope outside in the evening and you may occasionally see some graffiti or overhear people swearing.

This is helpful. I'll try viewing some of the flats there. From the listings, it seems like the same size flat the same distance from the centre can be about 69% cheaper in Arbury than in the more popular or prettier areas. So I might be able to look at something bigger or just save a little more.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #145 on: August 30, 2017, 01:39:35 AM »
It is less affluent and some people in Cambridge consider it on a par with central Detroit or something. Anywhere else, it would be just an average suburb, certainly the crime rate is considerably lower than in the centre of Cambridge, and there are many properties which sell for more than half a million. . . .

LOL!

This is interesting: https://philrodgers.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/is-arbury-really-a-den-of-iniquity/

Thank you for sharing this. Very encouraging.

dreams_and_discoveries

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 795
  • Location: London, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #146 on: August 30, 2017, 01:12:58 PM »
It isn't nice. It is perfectly legal but you are going back on your word. You are right to complain bitterly that they accepted the offer and then went back on it (the second buyers Gazumped you), the sellers probably aren't bragging about it, but they wanted the 2k more than they wanted to keep their word.

It is different as close as Scotland - there is a different system there and offers are much closer to binding (not a lawyer).

I don't know the area, but I found https://www.crime-statistics.co.uk/postcode useful when trying to cut through what people mean when they say an area is unsafe. [When I was buying, people urged me away from the area I eventually bought in because of 'safety', when I checked the stats and asked them more, it was mostly based on the tendency for young adults to wear hoodies and sit in parks in the evenings.]

Thank you for the helpful link.

I found a guide to US home buying for British expats that is clarifying some of the differences for me: http://britishexpats.com/articles/usa/home-buying-process-usa/

When I made the offer I was expecting to need to come in to the real estate agent's office and do paperwork and pay something. Then when it was so informal I was confused and confused and annoyed again when the situation changed so quickly. It seems like in the US the offer is itself a written contract with money involved whereas in the UK, the accepted offer is just a verbal agreement with nothing much to it. In the same situation in the States, the seller would have had to give me back money to accept a different offer.

Yeah gazumping sucks - you also need to start making offers with conditions that they take it off the market immediately, and do not show it. Watching some Phil and Kirstie shows might give you more background to the mad house buying process here.

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #147 on: September 25, 2017, 01:35:08 AM »
The search for a flat has been on hold for a few weeks. Just a couple days after I learned the new word 'gazump', another UK university posted an ad for a job almost exactly like mine but with a much higher salary. I worried about whether or not to apply, talked to my mother, etc. Then the next day, before I'd figured out what I was going to do, my manager saw the ad and got in touch to ask whether or not I was going to apply. Now he's talked to his boss and HR, etc., and I still don't know whether I want to apply. It's a big difference in salary, but various factors make me want to stay here rather than go there. Also, this is coming up too soon after I moved to the UK. I'd need visa sponsorship still, so the other university would have to prioritise other candidates in any case. It's a very small speciality, but I know of at least one UK citizen who would be a viable candidate and who might apply, though she's living overseas. There are some other people who are either European or permanent residents. Much anxious soul-searching this month whether or not even to apply, let alone what to do if I were offered the job. And if I apply, who to ask to be the second reference. Meanwhile I'm busy getting ready for a two-week business trip with a one-week vacation sandwiched in the middle. None of these are bad problems, but they've given me a lot to think about.

Meanwhile I have an English-language question. What do children call adults? Not relatives but friends of the family or adults from church or neighbourhood groups. When I was little, I would call adults 'Miss/Mrs/Ms Surname' or 'Mr Surname' or sometimes 'Miss/Ms/Mr FirstName'. These days American children seem to call adults by their first names without any title most of the time, but it sounds a bit too familiar to me.

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2500
  • Location: London, UK
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #148 on: September 25, 2017, 01:55:35 AM »
Apply! Apply! Apply! You can always graciously turn it down.

I think the UK has had a similar trajectory of Mr/Mrs/Miss Surname to Firstname. When I was young it would be whatever the person introduced themselves as/however my parents introduced me to them. So generally a mixture. There was Graham the neighbour but Mr Burns the family friend. My husband has commented in the past that he always called adults Mr/Mrs/Miss Surname, but I think he's exaggerating and probably had a mixture like me. I think the change has been wrought by the adults, though, not the children, because the adults are introducing themselves as Firstname. So if you want to be called Miss Kwill, you just go right ahead and say, "It's nice to meet you, Timmy, I'm Miss Kwill."

Kwill

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 548
Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #149 on: September 25, 2017, 05:32:17 PM »
Apply! Apply! Apply! You can always graciously turn it down.

I think the UK has had a similar trajectory of Mr/Mrs/Miss Surname to Firstname. When I was young it would be whatever the person introduced themselves as/however my parents introduced me to them. So generally a mixture. There was Graham the neighbour but Mr Burns the family friend. My husband has commented in the past that he always called adults Mr/Mrs/Miss Surname, but I think he's exaggerating and probably had a mixture like me. I think the change has been wrought by the adults, though, not the children, because the adults are introducing themselves as Firstname. So if you want to be called Miss Kwill, you just go right ahead and say, "It's nice to meet you, Timmy, I'm Miss Kwill."

Ha ha. You're probably right. At least applying will let me put off any decision for at least a few more weeks.

Interesting to hear about those interactions. I asked someone at work today about this, and she said she'd only ever seen children refer to adults as Miss FirstName in American storybooks. I could start it here. Dr Kwill, Medicine Woman. Except not medicine, and that sounds silly anyway.