Thursday, 23 April 2009

Vendor beware

Dear Vendors

Just so you know one of the large estate agents has repeatedly failed to get back to me about a property that has been for sale for around 6 months.

I haven't walked into their offices and demanded details but I have e-mailed them on a number of occasions fully outlining I have a mortgage agreement, am not in a chain and the flat is within my budget and required area. I am not going to beg, there are lots of flats out there!

This flat is now under offer but I would imagine for quite a lot less than the asking price.

I wonder if I am being pig headed by not desperately chasing the agency but surely they are paid to market the property and speak to interested potential buyers. Not just to put a property on a website and then only speak to people who go in and see them and arrange mortgages via them. I wouldn't say that was doing the best by anyone.

Okay so I might not have been able to bid for a one bedroom flat but there about twenty others available in the same area and really I think an agent who don't even call me back when I am telling them I could be in the flat in 6 weeks would be terribly good at speeding up the process at their end.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Update on the one I liked

I decided I was trying much too hard to like the one I liked.

If I was honest it was a in a bad area, quite far from transport, not especially safe and in need of a total cosmetic redo- although the wiring and so on was seemingly fine.

A second eye confirmed that I was trying too hard to love something that was a real project and not a bargain with the ammount that needing doing.

I think flats are like men really, you can try and try to love one but sometimes it's better not to force it- and to be manless and flatless than in over your head.


I wonder if the property market might be feeling a little bouncy?

I suspect it is more the agents that price property that are bouncing as it seems things are moving a little more.

Certainly the list of saved properties I have had is showing some flats and houses that have been there for months suddenly with little 'under offer' tags.

What I would really like to know is how good are the offers? are they twenty per cent below the actual price and are people grabbing bargains.

Estate agents are incredibly bullish with me, always saying the market is much better than reported and people won't take more than five per cent off because they are pricing accordingly etc.

I really wish I had more time to be in and out of their offices because I think then they would realise I am very serious about buying- but not very well off! What I need is a bargain, they tell me they don't exist. So I am going to be on the sold prices with a great deal of interest if these under offer properties become sold properties. Which it's by no means certain they will I suppose.

Friday, 6 March 2009

I liked one...

Well I saw a flat I really like the other evening.

It was covered in scary retro rather than happy retro wallpaper and I am not too sure how I would feel about getting in the bath but it's a really great size and spot and I guess just feel positive.

Of course the following day there was even more financial meltdown news than normal.

I still think estate agents must hum to themselves while the news is on. The one who showed me round my flat crush busily told me that last year had been dire (when I was looking last year I was told it really isn't as bad as people make out). He said that it's been so busy since Christmas that they'e really positive etc.

Anyway I am waiting for some more statistics from them and wondering if I should leap!

And of couse am already obsessing over ebay furniture.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


I keep thinking about things. Stuff. Belongings.

One of the reasons owning my own place, as opposed to renting one, is to feel centred and secure.

Recently speaking to friends it was pointed out to me that really the bank would own most of somewhere I bought and that, although it might sound a bit arty farty, ownership is all an illusion.

I thought to myself that as long as I had a place to stay that really it’s friends and family who ground me and make me feel secure. However I don’t like constantly having things in boxes or feeling I can’t buy this book or that table because I don’t have the room. Why are things important to me? Surely if I were more high minded they wouldn’t be? I have stopped the teenage need to constantly shop for clothes but I do still have quite a lot of clothes and if I’m honest if money were no object I would buy more. The need to buy skirts, scarves and everything in-between has been replaced by a seemingly constant need to buy books and to a lesser extent cds (yes I download but I’m old fashioned I like to own something)- and of course perfume!

It did occur to me that I am partly looking for a very expensive warehouse for my things when I’m looking for a flat and that that is a kind of madness.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

The little things

I have been something of a hopeless house hunter since Christmas. I have sent quite a few e-mail enquiries to agents but things must be looking up because they have not e-mailed me back (they seem to like to call you when you explicitly say you can't speak at work but never to e-mail you).

So I haven't actually seen anything for a little while.

I have become very good at looking for the little home things that you try and keep away from when you don't have your own place. The little matching plate sets and pots for seeds and all the clutter that makes a home look lived in but makes one room you rent look like a bazaar or branch of Oxfam.

In truth I wonder a lot of the time if I don't want my own place just to buy clutter. I could almost certainly fill somewhere quite well with what I already have so in truth what I need is a 5 bedroom house to fill with all many of bags for life (really why do I think I need to buy one from every shop I go in), little trinket boxes and candles.

I must stop going into home ware shops until I have a home.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Considering selling myself to buy a flat

Seriously. Well I guess not seriously. But semi seriously.

I mean I know it’s not really a viable option but I do keep thinking all I really want is a place of my own and that so much of life would be easier if that hurdle were crossed.

Of course I could have a studio flat in the outer limits so perhaps that isn’t totally true. But really I don’t see a studio as a long term home. I would have less room in one of those than I do now.

So in terms of a real space if I could just get enough money to get either a mortgage that wasn’t crippling (with an eye to the fact that interest rates may well end up going quite a long way up in years to come) I would feel more settled.

It shouldn’t be so but I do inevitably feel like I am being left behind by those who have their flats or houses. I can tell myself a thousand times but that parents or relatives buying or giving a substantial amount of money towards a home isn’t the same as buying your own place but in reality it doesn’t matter how it’s achieved. Those people have that feeling of being settled. I appreciate that if they have a mortgage of some kind there are new worries involved of course. I know I should embrace a bohemian attitude to no one really ever owning anything

So I do partly, in my more stressed moments, wonder if it would be so bad to resort to selling myself for the things I want most. I do check myself and say this is a kind of madness, although perhaps it isn’t as crazy as it seems.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Talking homes

I am a Londoner in my twenties. You would think from radio, tv and films that would mean when out and about at the weekend I would be talking about men, bars, fashion... those kind of sexy, rock n roll things. I do talk about those subjects but because this is London and England I'm afraid the conversations still somehow turn to property- as if we were out parents!

There are times when I am happy to talk about flats, houses, buying, renting and so on but there are times when it really can be quite awkward in a social situation. I'm afraid I think the property topic is a little like religion or politics, best kept away from the dinner table or bar stools.

The topic inevitably throws up differences in people but unlike religion or politics they tend to be differences we can't help.

Religion or politics are at least a choice we make. We can't necessarily choose whether we can afford to rent or buy, or indeed whether we can afford a house or a flat, or certain postcodes.

I am very lucky to even be able to look for properties. Most of the people I meet who are fortunate and are able to have houses or flats bought for them are very grateful and know they are lucky. However it doesn't seem to stop them saying things like people are stupid because they rent or to buy in a certain area. While I don't mind for myself so much(although if anyone would like to give me half a million pounds I would be most grateful!) but it can throw up quite an awkward feeling around the dinner table.

Equally it can throw up quite an awkward feeling if these things aren't mentioned, if someone just says oh I am buying a house in x and you can see everyone wondering how but not wanting to ask- and the purchaser being embarrassed to say.

So I think the three topics to possibly avoid at dinner parties are religion, politics and property.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Save or splurge?

So as January has crept on it has become clearer to me that the savings for my deposit are earning less and less while I don't buy a flat.

It seems the government would like the situation to be that we may as well spend...

I am equally increasingly concerned, like everyone else, about the economy. As time goes on I'm worrying more about finding myself tied into paying for a home that is worth far less than I bought it for and having less savings to fall back on if I needed them.

So I suppose I am asking myself if I trust the idea of there being nowhere as safe for my money as houses (or flats in my case).

This trepidation has caused a massive episode of procrastination on my part which I finally broke this morning e-mailing three agents asking for details on new properties.

I feel like I have to press on with looking but I can't deny a certain fear, which is different to the fear I always had of so much debt.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

2009: The first post (in which our heroine resumes her search)

Happy New Year!

For various reasons, including family issues, workload, sloth and the state of the economy the big property search was called off in December.

Having had a little time over Christmas I have decided that I do definitely want to keep looking for my own home. This wasn't a decision I reached all that easily. I know it must always feel like a risk to take the plunge into home ownership but at the moment it feels like jumping into wild waters rather than just the deep end.

Thinking it over though I am still frustrated by the idea of all my belongings and I suppose my like always being in a temporary home. Although I want to have a beautiful space to live in and look over interiors catalogues as much as the next person what I really want is a place to lay my hat that I can paint whatever colour I want and not worry about breaking the shower.

With that though comes worries, you are more dependant than ever on the job market, it will remove stress on the one hand but create stress on the other.

How much longer can I delay though. I guess there is never a good time and the time feels like now.

That said I still both want and need a bargain to be able to make this work and I want estate agents to understand that.