Thoughts on buying a house in Greater London

North-West Greater London properties

  • Watch out for BISF houses, they're worth less.
  • Shared ownership is a lie. It only complicates things.
  • A reasonable house will set you back at least 300k, a good house 400k.
  • A reasonable apartment will set you back at least 250k, a good apartment 300k.
  • Watford station will close down soon, don't buy around there.
  • Check the deprivation index before you view.
  • Bloody hell, Chesham, that is one massive hill you got there. Check altitudes and routes to nearest public transport on Google Earth or street view.
  • Anything close to public transport may not have good parking spots, so check for residents parking. You'll still piss off people who are driving over to visit, though.

Estate agents

  • I have called at least 6 different ones so far and have been unable to arrange a single viewing in the past two weeks. Either the place is already gone or they don't call you back.
  • There are no deals to be found from oversight; you won't find a place that's cheaper than market price. Everything is appropriately priced. If something's cheaper than you'd expect, there's something wrong with it: close to a railway line, very old building, massive hill in the way to the nearest tube station etc.
  • The only 'deal' you might be able to take advantage of is getting there first. Monitor the real estate sites for new ads, but also go to estate agents in person and get them to notify you. Oftentimes they'll recommend you crap that you don't want but you can do the filtering. What's important is that you know about properties before they are advertised on the internet.
  • Do not trust them.

Mortgage

  • Holy shit.
  • There is a fuckton of things to research about mortgages. The more you know, the better.
  • Do the calculations yourself. It's the only way to be aware of what's going to happen to your money in the long term.
  • Check for yourself what's the difference between variable rate and fixed rate for various years.
  • Do the math yourself to see what a huge difference it makes if you can pay off more in the first few years.
  • Make sure that compound interest will not hurt you more than you can take.
  • Take into account that interest rates will rise, and assume a worst-case scenario.
  • Compared to renting and saving, getting a mortgage seems to almost always make more financial sense.
  • Getting a massive loan to get a really nice place is fucking stupid, don't do it. Get a more reasonable place first and then upgrade later. It'll be way cheaper. But don't trust me, do the math yourself.
  • Mortgage advisors (and  some estate agents) are very eager for you to leave everything to them, no questions asked. Do not trust them. Ask questions. There are many lenders out there, you can always choose another.
  • I still cannot find any concrete info about when it is okay to renegotiate your mortgage.

WIP.

Posted in Daily Life , UK