Author Topic: UK Mustachian life basics?  (Read 19424 times)

cerat0n1a

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #104 on: August 12, 2017, 12:50:09 PM »
Sorry, didn't clock you were buying! Duh!

cerat0n1a

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #126 on: Today at 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: Today at 12:05:36 AM by cerat0n1a »

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #127 on: Today at 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

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Re: UK Mustachian life basics?
« Reply #128 on: Today at 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.