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Posts Tagged ‘house not buying’

  1. Getting fed up with looking for flats now

    February 8, 2011 by superlative

    We’ve seen a few more flats since I posted about it last, and all it really does is depress us and make us snappy with each other. Considering the whole point is for us to buy our first home together (well, not first home, but first one we’ve owned) and it should be all couply and lovely, I’d say that makes it a complete failure so far.

    The one on Brunswick Square that I mentioned wasn’t very nice. It had damp patches on the walls and cracks in other walls, and the bathroom looked horrible. I know you cold do it up and make it look nicer, but it was just so shabby that it put me off. And that seems to happen a lot, because loads of places have previously been rented out and apparently no tenants in Brighton actually take care of their home. Half of them look like squats.

    And then we saw one yesterday which was lovely, absolutely lovely. The decor is immaculate, it’s a penthouse apartment with a beautiful roof terrace, and you get an allocated parking space under the building. So it sounds great and we fell in love with the pictures over the weekend and Chris started shopping for hot tubs for his new roof terrace.

    But then we saw it last night, and it’s too small. It’s just too small, there are no two ways about it. The people who live there at the moment apparently own NOTHING, or at the very least have shoved most of it into storage to help sell the flat, and while the flat is indeed beautiful there just isn’t room to put anything. The only storage is the shed on the terrace, and unless that’s some sort of Tardis I don’t think it can compensate for the rest of it. The bedrooms were OK in size I suppose, but the living room is open plan with the kitchen and there really isn’t room to put a dining table anywhere. They’ve got a clever coffee table in there at the moment that converts into a dining table, and so we had a look at furniture like that online when we got home, but then I thought: if I’m looking for space-saving furniture before we even move into a new place, surely there’s something wrong and it’s just too small?

    And so I think it’s not right for us. The communal areas were fine, probably better than a lot of places, but I really don’t like communal areas at the best of times, and that put me off as well.

    I know Chris is disappointed, and we were both quite sad about it last night after our initial excitement. We haven’t said no we won’t go for it yet, but I’ve intimated that that’s the way I’m leaning at the moment to him, and I think deep down he knows it’s too small. It would mean spending our entire budget, and yes there is the terrace and the parking to be factored into the asking price, but I really don’t think we can justify spending everything we have on a flat that’s too small from day one. Not if we’re going to live there for 10 years, which is my present intention.

    So we’re fed up, AGAIN, and Chris thinks we’ll never find anywhere that’s perfect and that we (I in particular) will always find something not to like about every place we see. And I don’t know, I hope that’s not true, but so far I’m yet to find any evidence to the contrary.

    We’ve got another viewing tomorrow, and on paper I actually like it more and more each time I look at it. Plus it’s about twice the size of yesterday’s place. It has no outdoor space, but it has two lofts, and it’s close to the sea.

    So there. Yet again we haven’t found anywhere, yet again we really want to move, and yet again it’s put a strain on our relationship for no noticeable benefit.

    On to viewing number 20 million tomorrow I suppose.

  2. Well that entire post was a waste of time…

    July 3, 2009 by superlative

    Cancel that entire previous post, as I did not go and see the nice seafront flat because the viewing got cancelled about four hours after I wrote all that. Some bastard has got in there first and taken it. So annoying!

    I was quite disappointed, because I’d managed to get myself looking forward to seeing it and excited that it might be nice. It seems however that if you want to get a nice place to rent, you have to move very fast. That flat came on the market on Monday I think, and because I only saw it on Tuesday and we were having a dinner party on Wednesday I couldn’t book the viewing until Thursday night. And that has proven to be far too long an interval – someone must have seen it on Wednesday and taken it on Thursday I think.

    So never mind. I have convinced myself that it was too far from town and that there would probably have been loads of stairs to get up to a third floor flat in a Regency building (because of the high ceilings and all that).

    We are seeing a different flat tonight instead now. It’s still on the seafront but closer to town. It’s ground and lower ground floor though, and the bit of road it is on seems quite a bit busier to me, so I think it’ll possibly be too noisy with traffic and passers by. We may as well go and see it though, and I guess we’ll just carry on looking at adverts over the weekend!

    In other news, my sometimes noisy and possibly drug dealing student neighbours are apparently NOT moving out in June as we had been informed. I was suspicious that this might be the case given that it is now July and they are still there.

    I got home to a letter from our landlord (who lives in the same building) yesterday, saying that he’d rung the students’ managing agent to ask why they hadn’t gone as he’d been told. And apparently he was told wrong because they were just given a warning and in fact have been allowed to extend the tenancy for another year. So he was quite cross actually, because they fobbed us off with “we won’t be offering them a tenancy renewal because of your complaints, so they’ll be out in 2 months”, when in actuality they’ve done the opposite.

    Saying that though, they HAVE been significantly quieter since we complained to their landlord, their managing agent, and the environmental health people. And the blatant drug dealing has not been so obvious, so maybe they’ve been doing it off the premises instead. So it could be worse, and we could have got much worse new neighbours to replace these ones who are now trying to behave themselves. So we’ll just have to live with it.

    I am surprised though that you can report someone to the police with suspicions that they’re selling drugs, the police can say “oh yes, what you’ve described sounds very suspicious and is a classic description of people who are dealing”, and then NOTHING happens. Nothing at all! What was the point?? I suppose you’d have to complain more than once or something, but still, it seems a bit rubbish to me.

  3. If you can’t afford to buy it, rent it

    July 2, 2009 by superlative

    I think that we’re leaning a bit more towards renting a new flat rather than buying now. After a few weeks of looking, we’ve found that we aren’t even seeing any places advertised that we want to go and view, let alone would consider buying. There just aren’t enough things coming on the market at the moment, as all the sellers are waiting for prices to pick up again. So all the things that do come on the market are there because the seller has to sell for some reason, and there’s not a lot to choose from.

    So anyway, I had kind of gone off the idea of moving at all, as it’s summer now and our location in town is quite useful in the summer, and I’ve done some work on making our flat a bit nicer. But Chris is still fairly keen on moving, and having had a look at some adverts there are some really lovely places around that we could afford. We could never afford to buy them of course, but we could rent them and still stay happily within our means.

    We’re off to see one tonight that I think only came on the market on Monday. It looks really nice in the pictures: it’s a Regency flat right on the seafront with a gorgeous big lounge and views of the sea. Look how nice this is:

    Of course we wouldn’t have that furniture in it, we’d have our own stuff and make the inside look a bit more modern, but the rooms are nice and big and the view is great. I suppose it’s at the top end of our rental budget, but we can afford it alright, and we should still have a bit of money left over to put into savings each month.

    Saying all that though, I can still feel my nerves setting in a little bit. I can’t remember when I turned into an anxious person, I’m normally too rational for it, but the fact is I am anxious about a fair few things now. And with things like flats it’s the commitment that makes me nervous.

    What if we end up not liking it? What if the neighbours are horrible? What if the landlord whacks the rent up after a year? What if the landlord decides to sell it? What if it’s the wrong decision??

    All those things go round and round in my head until I think “gaahhh let’s just not move! At least we know what we’re getting with the flat we’re in now!”

    BUT, in lots of ways we do quite want to move. It’s too noisy on the road we live on, the student neighbours next door can be a pain, and we’d like to have a proper guestroom instead of a sofabed in the living room.

    And if you look at my nervous questions above, you can pick them apart and they don’t sound so serious.

    What if we end up not liking it?
    We can move out after a year, or probably sooner if we want. The only real issue with that is that you lose all the fees you’ve spent in taking out the tenancy and you have all the hassle of moving again. It’s not dire though.

    What if the neighbours are horrible?
    Same as above. And our neighbours aren’t great at the moment.

    What if the landlord whacks the rent up after a year? What if the landlord decides to sell it?
    What if it’s the wrong decision??
    Again, you can just move out. At least we wouldn’t have bought the place and be stuck with it until we could sell it.

    So really I shouldn’t get myself too over-wrought about it. I shall try to go and see this flat with an open mind and non-anxious eyes, and then I’ll write if we liked it tomorrow!

  4. Flat hunting. Or not.

    June 18, 2009 by superlative

    I’ve just realised that I haven’t blogged for nine whole days! Very poor of me, I apologise. It’s not because of been working or anything, don’t be silly, but I’ve been away from a proper computer for a while so haven’t had the chance. We’ve been up at Chris’ Mum’s house for a couple of days because she’s just had a hip replacement, and so like dutiful sons (I’m sort of her son now) we went to help look after her.

    Anyway, in a shocking departure from our usual lethargy and inaction, we’ve actually started flat hunting properly and have been to see a couple of places. The first one was on Saturday and was in Hanover, which is a nice part of Brighton about 10 minutes from where we are now. It was a very nice flat, really nicely decorated inside and with a nice modern kitchen and bathroom. You wouldn’t need to change anything inside really. But you could unfortunately only live there if you didn’t own any belongings at all. The living room wasn’t that small, but due to the location of the fireplace and the window and the door to the kitchen, we couldn’t even work out where we’d put our telly. The master bedroom was nice but had no room for a wardrobe, and the second bedroom could just about take a double bed but nothing else. So it would never have worked. It was more of a flat for a single person, who could then put all their stuff in the spare bedroom.

    We were meant to see two more flats last night, but due to the ineptitude of the estate agent he’d booked it in wrong and so could only show us one of them. This one was in Kemptown, on a nice road near the sea, but it was HORRIBLE. Really really horrible and shabby. Chris said he wouldn’t rule it out for the right price, but honestly I could never see myself living there. Only the kitchen was nice, and the bathroom was just about bearable if a bit small, but even that didn’t have a window. All the other rooms would need complete redecorating, there was a banister hanging out of the wall, the plug sockets were cracked, and the hot water tank was in a cupboard in the main bedroom. And the bedrooms were too small. And it only had a 75 year lease. And it was just nasty. And they wanted £185,000 for it! So no, I’m not going near it. I don’t think Chris liked me saying a flat “no I don’t like it”, because he probably suspects I’ll never like anything, but in this case I don’t think I could even bear to live there, let alone like it.

    So it’s not been going great so far. We’re seeing another one on Friday night which looks much nicer but is a bit more expensive so we’d have to make a low-ish offer for it.

    And still I’m thinking should we buy or should we rent or should we not move at all. I could just clear out all our clutter and we’d have a lot more room in the flat, and we could consider buying a nicer sofa bed for guests. I even looked up ways of reducing the noise through our front windows, because that would solve another of the problems with our current flat. It would be nice to have a second bedroom though.

    Most people that I ask say “oh you should buy, it’s the best time to buy, prices haven’t been lower in years”. But I get the impression that they don’t actually know what the market is like for first-time buyers with a 10% deposit.

    Prices have come down a bit yes, but there’s a shortage of supply as people aren’t putting their houses on the market until prices pick up. So the only ones selling are those who really need to sell. This reduces the choices available, and keeps prices artificially higher than they otherwise would be.

    And the mortgage market for 90% mortgages is NOT favourable in my opinion, I’ve looked loads. The base rate is 0.5%, but all the 90% mortgages are offered at 6% or higher, which makes them really quite expensive per month (more than £950, sometimes more than £1,000). We could just about afford that, but if the roof fell in we’d have no spare cash. I’ve been waiting for the mortage market to loosen up a bit as lenders get more confident, but if anything it seems to have got worse this month rather than better. I heard there might be a few better deals around in June, but they didn’t materialise and rates have actually got higher.

    So I don’t know. I’m still conflicted, as you can see. And it’s thoroughly boring to be thinking about it all the time, and to be talking about it all the time. I wish we had a nice fat 40% deposit, or even 25%, then it certainly would be a good time to buy. Maybe I’ll buy a lottery ticket on the way home…

  5. To buy or not to buy

    June 1, 2009 by superlative

    No not the BBC1 property show featuring the house-buying fitty Kristian Digby, I’m referring to an actual dilemma here.

    I’ve been wondering lately about whether we should actually buy a flat like we’ve been talking about for the last few months, or whether we should just move to a nicer rented place. Having looked at some rental adverts over the weekend, I’ve realised that we could afford to rent a really really nice flat now for the same monthly cost (or in fact a bit less) than a mortgage would be. I’m talking swish kitchen, decked sun terrace, and in some cases even allocated parking. This is compared to buying a flat that would potentially be quite a bit smaller, quite a bit further out of town, and probably not as nice.

    So now I am conflicted. On the one hand I have that very British notion that it’s good to own your own place, where you can decorate it and change it how you like, and where your money is going into a long-term investment that you actually get to keep (supposedly, assuming you don’t lose money and get trapped in negative equity). But on the other hand I think that on the continent, like in Germany, loads more people rent than buy, and it doesn’t seem to do them any harm. And I would have more cash left over each month for holidays and toys and things, and I could get a really nice flat straight away.

    Hmm, I don’t know now. I might type “should I rent or buy” into Google and let it tell me what to do, that usually works.