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Buying a property in London (rant)

(27 Posts)
Grannyknot Fri 25-Apr-14 17:19:10

And I know I am not being unreasonable!!

The London property market at the moment is nuts. My daughter and her fiance saved their socks off and got enough together for a deposit - just when the market went absolutely mad, due I think in part to the Help to Buy scheme. She has been downright bullied by estate agents e.g. made an appointment this week to view a place in an "open house" situation next Saturday. Phone call earlier today "Can you come today?" "No, I work, and besides it would be nice if my fiance could come and see it with me". "What about Tuesday?" "No, I work and ..." "Well, we're getting offers at the asking price and we can't keep it for you".

Another estate agent told her not to waste her time with a "nonsense offer" unless they could go "up to £25,000 over the asking price"!!!

It's completely crazy and it is having a knock on effect further and further out of London.

A colleague at work bought a house, the seller pulled out of the sale citing "heart problems". The colleague lost money. Less than six months later, same house is back on the market for £50,000 more, leading my colleague to suspect that the seller had simply got greedy.


granjura Fri 25-Apr-14 17:26:30

Happened to DD1 and sil even 10 years ago. They had an offer accepted on a house just outside London, in Surrey. Then the owners begged them to wait for a few months, as they didn't want to move the kids mid-term- and DD1 and sil agreed to help them out as they understood re kids changing schools mid-term and had to continue renting until Christmas. Sellers then got in touch and said they were still agreed to seel, but wanted 20% more as the market had gone up significantly in the 3 months they had had to wait to help them out.

They told them to ?!?!? if you get my gist. My they then missed out on lots of houses for exactly the reasons you state- as they both worked and Estate Agents expected them to be available to view houses at the drop of a hat... which neither of them could do.

granjura Fri 25-Apr-14 18:14:04

Much tighter rules coming in about mortgages- requiring a higher % of cash upfront, and much more probing questions about regular spending, including other loans, regualr outgoings, even things like gym membership and gambling, etc- not just salary- and also to assess the ability and flexibility to cope with a mortgage rate rise. Not it is certainly not getting easier, and it looks like many of our kids have 'missed'the boat and will have to continue renting- as is the case in most European countries where ownership is only for the very well off.

Grannyknot Fri 25-Apr-14 18:58:42

Don't get me started on unscrupulous and exploitative London landlords either. DD and fiance are currently renting a maisonette at an exorbitant rental and have to beg the landlord to make even the most minor repairs.

I remember so well how thrilling it was to own our first home and feel so powerless for my daughter.

mcem Fri 25-Apr-14 19:10:31

Given that the liberal granting of mortgages a few years back led to problems involving negative equity and repossessions, I have to say that such tightening up seems to be a necessary evil. Who'd choose go go back to the days of 110% mortgages? Current housing policy is fuelling a boom - remember the aftermath of the last boom? Some sort of brake is needed and if doing this saves the misery that was experienced by so many then, sadly for first-time buyers in the queue it's part of the experience. I do feel sorry for them but I'd be even sorrier to see a return to those bad old days. There is no obvious solution that will ensure that everyone will achieve what they want.

Grannyknot Fri 25-Apr-14 19:18:23

Any "brake" does smack a bit at the moment of horse and gate.

Riverwalk Fri 25-Apr-14 19:31:23

London prices are fueled by foreign multi-millionaire/billionaires, and overseas investors. The ripple effect as you go further down the status chain is quite remarkable.

Modest Victorian and Edwardian family homes in pleasant inner suburbs, which at one time would have been the purchase of say young professionals/families are now selling for 2 million pounds.

Much of the billionaires money is 'dirty money' and this is what enrages me. Seems it's no questions asked when it comes to investing in London.

Deedaa Fri 25-Apr-14 23:12:17

DD and her husband bought a one bedroom maisonette in Bracknell 8 years ago. They now have two children and are hoping to build an extension as there is no hope of them being able to afford to buy somewhere larger. DS and his girlfriend are renting a flat in Bracknell which they can just about afford, but it leaves them no hope of saving to buy somewhere. Eventually they will be able to inherit our house and share the proceeds, but I'm not expecting that to happen soon so they are all stuck for the foreseeable future.

Eloethan Sat 26-Apr-14 01:03:29

There have been reports in the newspapers that some London estate agents are charging purchasers an "introductory fee" that can amount to thousands of pounds, and people are so desperate to secure their purchase that they are paying. In a Loughton estate agency yesterday I noticed that many of the houses were being offered "for sale by tender" so, again, buyers will look at the guide price and offer much more in order to secure a purchase.

"Help to Buy" seems, at least in the south-east, to have resulted in help to buy at a very inflated price or help to completely price some people out of the market all together.

Grannyknot Sat 26-Apr-14 07:54:19

Is there a regulatory body for estate agents? Do they actually do anything?

janeainsworth Sat 26-Apr-14 08:04:18 is the professional organisation, but the problem is that anyone can set themselves up as an estate agent without any qualifications and they don't have to be a member.

janeainsworth Sat 26-Apr-14 08:04:44

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

rosesarered Sat 26-Apr-14 10:22:41

I agree with mcem the new tighter rules are needed, even though it makes life harder initially for mortgage seekers.Just a pity they didn't do this years ago, which would have saved a lot of the sad repossessions.
London prices are crazy it's true, I suppose couple have to look further out of town and travel in each day.

annsixty Sat 26-Apr-14 10:59:22

My DH is a retired FRICS and would not want to be even thought of in the same breath as an Estate agent.

janeainsworth Sat 26-Apr-14 11:51:41

But some of them do have chartered status, don't they Annsixty, and if I put my house on the market I would look for an agent with a professional qualification.
My DH has a similar problem - he is a chartered engineer, but anyone can call him or herself an engineer.

annsixty Sat 26-Apr-14 12:08:14

Yes janea they do and I should have said that but so many ,as we all know,just open an office and start advertising.Like you we would,and have ,looked for a professional firm. Also some firms are headed by professionals but the branch offices are basically run by salesmen who want as much commision as they can make.

annsixty Sat 26-Apr-14 12:09:02

Sorry sp off today.

glammanana Sat 26-Apr-14 12:21:38

Has anyone been watching "Under Offer" on a Wednesday evening on BBC2 for the past 4 weeks very enlightening and worth viewing.

HollyDaze Sat 26-Apr-14 12:33:09

Maybe the alternative is to look at timber frame construction and purchasing a piece of land to have it built on; it is recognised by building societies, banks and insurance companies for lending purposes. Some lenders offer stage payment schemes specially designed for self-builders.

Self-building is also zero rated meaning that VAT on self-build projects is reclaimable.

For a one and half storey house of 1483sq ft, the cost would be approximately £177,960 built for you to your specs (land obviously extra).

It may not be in the exact location that you want to live but at least you would, hopefully, be able to afford it. There are websites showing available land for self-builds in London: or

nigglynellie Mon 28-Apr-14 17:34:18

The major trouble with self build is 'Planning'! OH and I built a log cabin and it is absolutely brilliant, so easy to keep, heating kept down to a minimum, environmentally friendly in every respect. We were lucky to be able to buy a piece of land that already had a mobile home on it and that had had planning for permanent residency since 1964(!!) but to get planning these days is, depending on your L.A. harder than finding hens teeth. OH and I were only saying yesterday that if we were young and starting out now, buying a house would be well nigh impossible. Log Cabin's are a lot cheaper to construct, but on the other hand land with planning is wickedly expensive, and without it - who knows if planning would ever be granted. I think L.A's are going to HAVE to change their attitude to self builds as people, young and old, must have somewhere to live, and that seems to be getting a serious problem - mind you if planning became easier then these dwellings would also become expensive - supply and demand being the driver! it would seem you can't win!

durhamjen Mon 28-Apr-14 18:03:59

I saw an interesting article in the Guardian last week. It was about a company called Dot Dot Dot which places people in empty homes as guardians before they are pulled down for redevelopment or whatever. No good for families but okay for couples or singles who want to save money. No good for families as you can be moved on regularly.
The woman interviewed was paying £300 per month rent and had to volunteer to do something in the community.
One of the charities involved is Citizens UK.

papaoscar Mon 28-Apr-14 18:23:46

London property prices are crucifying young people and those in authority couldn't care less. It's about time that the jovial blond buffoon who claims to be Mayor of London got a grip and used statutory powers to take over unused property and brown-field sites for the construction of special properties for young workers. This won't happen because the Mayor is so busy preparing to jump ship back into Westminster politics.

durhamjen Mon 28-Apr-14 18:30:19

At least this charity is trying to help. The website is worth looking at for anyone who has working children still living at home. It's better than living with your parents when you're still 30, and better than sleeping on the streets. They only take people in work, I think.

GillT57 Mon 28-Apr-14 19:37:12

One of the biggest problems with the London Property market is foreign, primarily Russian money at the moment. Maybe if they had to pay capital gains tax on the profits they make from buying and selling it would slow things down, but as I understand it, non resident owners do not pay it as the rest of us do if we sell anything other than our main residence. Over to you Boris.....

Grannyknot Mon 28-Apr-14 20:01:43

Thanks everyone. It really helps to vent on here.

I was much encouraged when my daughter told me that this weekend her and fiancee refused to go over the asking price for a property (£250K) despite being "nudged" by the estate agent, only to be told by another agent that first time buyers who want to stay below that amount (for stamp duty reasons) are all beginning to resist. I mean if a place is on the market for asking price £250K, why would you for an extra £500 or £1000 because of the mad market, put yourself in a position where you have to now pay stamp duty as well confused. I'm glad people are beginning to see the light.