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julia urquhart

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Posts posted by julia urquhart

  1. It all depends on your attitude to risk and your own personal circumstances.

    Early on in your property career you are likely to be more leveraged and hopefully as you move towards retirement this becomes less.

    A property crash would not necessarily force you to sell your properties - they are more likely to remain income producing - and its not a loss unless you cash out!

  2. My son is in a similar position - although not in London so the figures are lower.

    The problems I believe are:

    1. When the ground rent is above £1000 in London £250 elsewhere it becomes an Assured Tenancy and if you fail to pay it the freeholder can reclaim the property - this means that lenders may not want to lend on it.

    2. The ground rent as a % of the value of the property - lenders don't like above 0.1%

    Your conveyancer should have advice but you need to consider if it may be a problem when you come to sell. I believe an RPI link is quite common but a quick look at the ONS tables shows the 2.5% minimum is higher than RPI at any time over the last 3 years!

    The Govt is planning to reform this area but I'm not sure you can really rely on a change coming (or what it will be) so be sure you are not buying a problem.

    The solutions are:

    1. Indemnity policy for your lender (to cover their loss if you fail to pay the ground rent - but not yours)

    2. The vendor renegotiates the lease - can't imagine this would be quick

    3. Hope to extend the lease undertake Govts new plans.

    Bottom line - don't buy a problem!

    Good luck :) 

  3. Students are what I can 'naive renters' - they don't really understand they are signing a legal contract & don't really expect to abide by it!

    Many are living away from home for the first time and they may have very little common sense when it comes to looking after a house, paying bills etc. They can also be very hard wearing - I had a group of boys who only seemed able to go upstairs by putting their hands on the walls on both sides!  They can leave little problems until they are big problems; fail to clean; cause condensation issues etc. On the other hand it is good rent.

    My advice if you go down this route is to be very hands on - make yourself known to them and inspect regularly. Expect to do maintenance every holiday and a repaint each summer.

    In a nutshell - hard work but financially rewarding (usually!).


  4. 14 hours ago, Stuart Phillips said:

    The reason its a problem for lenders is that once a ground rent passes a certain threshold (£250 in the UK, £1000 in Greater London) its considered part of the AST rules. That means that if you dont to pay the ground rent for 2 consecutive periods the freeholder can evict you like a tenant. That means the lender loses their security. Whilst its very unlikley someone would lose a home over a £500 bill, lenders are in the business of risk management and thats too high to consider. It will happen at some point.

    Is a ground rent increasing by RPI every 15 years also likely to be a problem? (just gone up from £220 - £325)

  5. Stuart is the expert on the money side but here are my thoughts:

    1. Be as up front as you can with the estate agent - tell them you love the place and you really want to buy it, but it is right at the top of your budget.

    2. Can you borrow anything to push up your deposit?

    3. Be philosophical - if its meant to be you will get it, if not its because there is something else round the corner.

    To be honest, stretching every financial sinew in your body to buy a house is not always wise and if something unexpected happens you should be in trouble. If you don't get this house then I would recommend getting your credit card & car loan paid off asap, keep saving hard and look for something a little cheaper! 

    My son recently got into a 'best and final' bidding war for the house of his dreams and after offering £12,500 got the house, only to pull out 3 months down then line because of problems with the house. He has now found a different house, £25k cheaper. Things generally work out for the best.

    Good luck :) 

  6. If you think the communal areas are grotty so will a prospective tenant so I would be inclined to give it a miss. If the freeholder isn't maintaining these areas now they will only deteriorate and may deter any potential tenant or reduce the achievable rent or future sales value.

  7. Combi boiler should be ok - check with your plumber. You don't say if it is a family home and what showers / baths there are which are clearly a factor. My family home is a 4 bed with 2 toilets but only 1 shower / bath combo and I love my combiner's boiler. If yours is an HMO you need to be sure it is up to the job.

    Gas boilers are supposed to be being phased out but I can't really see it happening in that time frame as there is no viable alternative so I would be happy putting in a new gas boiler.

    I always put in what my plumber recommends - he is the expert and will be looking after it! Just make sure you put in one big enough for the job - a smaller one which can't quite keep up with demand is a false economy.

    You might want to consider a Magnaclean filter (protects your boiler from debris from the system) about £100 extra; a decent programmable thermostat (will earn you points on your EPC) and if your radiators are old, covered in layers of paint or full of debris you might consider replacing them. The extra cost of a few hundred pounds (Type 22s from Screwfix) will prolong the life. of your boiler and heat the house more efficiently.

  8. Survey should be done straight away - then if there are issues you can negotiate the price to cover remedial costs.

    Structural issues show up as significant cracks in walls &/or ceilings; sloping floors; door frames that aren't level; cracks in floor tiles.

    Damp may result in discoloured paint work, mould (especially in corners) etc. Its of fresh paint can be a sign or trying to hide a problem.

    These things are easily spotted by someone who knows what they are doing but may be harder for a novice - hence the need for a surveyor.

    Good luck :) 

  9. Any commercial broker should be able to offer you 'Unoccupied Insurance'. Generally two levels, FLEA (basic perils - fire, lightning, explosion & aircraft!) and usually one tat will cover you for theft & vandalism (more expensive).

    You pays your money & takes your choice!

  10. 1. I would suggest that is quite a high fee, but that may be because it is an expensive flat. Definitely get another quote or two.

    2. It can be helpful to have direct contact wit the vendor but not necessary. Some people pref everything to go through the agent and this is fine after all they with be earning a fat fee.

    3. I would suggest a Homebuyer Survey - unless you think there are structural issues. Cost about £400-600 I would guess - maybe more in London.

    4. Probably will be offered an Indemnity Policy to cover the absent Freeholder. Shouldn't be a problem but so you know why? Are they uncontactable or a company that has gone bust? Your conveyancer should be able to comment.

    5. You always pay more on a conveyance that is leasehold because there is extra work for the conveyancer - they have to go through the lease as well as the title. It has nothing to do with the leaseholder being absent.

    Good luck :)

  11. Three things come to mind:

    1. Is this drain solely from your property or is it from several? Unless is is only from your property then you cannot possibly be held fully responsible.

    2. Do you flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilet - eg wipes? If you do - STOP IMMEDIATELY - then you may be at least partly to blame, if you do not then the drain should cope with normal usage.

    3. Does the drain also contain the kitchen waste? If so, do you put fat and grease down the drain? If you do - as above!

    If you don't put anything down the drains that you shouldn't then stand you ground and say Not Guilty - difficult for them to prove whose fault it is. If you do flush stuff that you shouldn't maybe offer to pay some of the charge - and then change your behaviour!

    You really need to understand which house(s) the drain serves and then whether you could have caused it in order to decide whether it is your fault or not.

  12. I think rental demand in Nottingham is pretty good at the moment.

    The areas you have picked are good areas but spending more will allow you to buy a nicer or bigger house - your choice may be limited (particularly in Carlton & Gedling) with a budget of £150k. I have just bought a small 3 bed in Mapperley for £130k but it needs a complete refurbish (£12-15k). Other properties I looked at were around £150 - 175k.

    I rent unfurnished - I don't really know what the demand is for fully furnished, but I think most people renting a family home want to bring their own stuff.

  13. The option you are describing is the normal route for this kind of project. The developer buys an option for a small sum which basically stops you selling to anyone else whilst they apply for planning permission. Once planning has been agreed / refused  they either proceed at the agreed price or don't proceed at all. It is the only way you will get the maximum value as no-one will pay the £500k without knowing what they can do with the site.

    I am going through a similar situation now and it has been going on for a couple of years but hopefully in the end will result in a sale.

    Be aware that you may need a commercial solicitor for the conveyance and it may be pretty expensive. This is a much more complicated conveyance that usual and your fees may be £10k or more.

    Your only other option is auction, where you will get much less than a development option as above.

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