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About Hippogriff

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  • Birthday May 11

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  1. Hippogriff

    Buying my first house

    I was responding about experiences with new builds... and once or twice off-plot. I would never buy off-plot again, myself. I have promised myself I will only buy something I can see and feel... not something that is yet to be born from plans (I'm talking about an entire development). Too much risk of things changing and they always leave movement for that to happen. With new builds you can go see the showhome, at least, and see and feel that... remember, the show home will be full of delightful upgrades - this is where you can haggle extras in if the Developer is minded to do so... whether they're minded to do so will depend on their performance that quarter, that half-year, that year... all driven by how the market as a whole is doing, not necessarily their product's desirability. Bids higher than asking price exist, absolutely. It's supply-and-demand basics only... and driven by people making emotional decisions, of course. It isn't always the rule at all... and, as I say, I have never paid the asking price, never mind more than. I'd not say it's typical of cookie-cutter estate offerings... more your property that's ultra-special, a one-off, or in a great location, something that doesn't come up often - what new builds have going for them is warranties, the first-time feel, the way you can influence the design and things like energy efficiency and parking etc..
  2. Hippogriff

    Buying my first house

    I have bought plenty of properties and I've never once paid the list price. My first ever buy had a discount of £1,000 on a £60,000 purchase, my biggest discount was £76,000 on a property listed at £278,000. My most amusing was a price paid of £77,777 (because I liked the number) on a house listed at £85,000 (reduced twice to that level). So... don't be taken-in, don't be fooled by "last few remaining", don't give way... if you are dealing with a Developer looking at new builds then try to assess when their end of financial year is... they'll be chasing you if they've not made their numbers. However, among all that positive news is the reality of the times... between 20098 and 2014 things were quite bad in the housing market, and there was great discounts to be had (in the right place) but things a more buoyant now. The trick to buying a house (and this is easier said that done when it's your first one and it's your home and it represents your hopes and dreams) is not to fall in love with a property and then decide to pay anything to get it! With new builds at the early stages... consider things like floor tile upgades, metal sockets and switches, appliance packs, burglar alarms, fencing etc. as upgrades that are "thrown-in" at no extra charge... especially if they're things you'd want anyway... planning and foresight are very useful to you. Whatever you do, do not tell a Developer's salesperson you have that £100,000 as a deposit. They need to think you're a good prospect but pretty near your limit.
  3. Hippogriff

    Property/Rental Legal advice

    I've been doing this for a quite a while. I have never had to follow-through a Section 21 all the way. I don't necessarily like the imbalance that is arising between Landlord and Tenant sides, between Landlord and Government (taxation)... but I'm going to look at this upcoming change objectively... I had always believed the law was fair to both sides equally (others will have their own view, likely coloured by experience). The article uses emotive language like "profiteering" and "at a moment's notice"... the Section 21 has never been "at a moment's notice" and there's nothing wrong with a business aiming to make a profit. Most good Landlords want their Tenants to stay on... this legislation is a broad brush approach to net bad Landlords as well (who'll probably just use other tactics to get what they want and take advantage of the ill-informed)... the beauty of a no fault / no reason eviction (for they are one and the same thing nicely encompassed within the Section 21) was that it allowed some people to obtain Council properties... whereas a Section 8 (for, say, rent arrears) was a thing that the Council would consider as a Tenant making themselves intentionally homeless, therefore they'd be due no help... so that needs fixing as part of this. I don't think it would deter me... the approach of the Landlord wanting to sell or move back in would still be available it seems (and that would be applicable to the OP here). While it can go wrong, of course, it's actually quite close to a pretty good passive income. The need for taking some legal advice, though, is dubious indeed.
  4. Hippogriff

    Property/Rental Legal advice

    What "legal advice" are you thinking of? Doing things legally and legal advice are very different things in my mind... finding a Landlord Checklist will make you aware of the obligations a Landlord has... you don't need to employ a Solicitor for any of the things you need to do... where's your mind at, exactly? EPC, GSC, electrical safety (no certificate required), Landlord Insurance, smoke alarms, CO alarm, advertising, viewings, referencing, Right to Rent checks, How To Rent booklet, Deposit protection, tenancy agreement, Check-In, Inventory, maintenance, taxation (self-assessment).
  5. Hippogriff

    Property/Rental Legal advice

    Bash Street is correct in that it's wise to take precautions... although possibly a little pessimistic about it not being worth the hassle. The effort involved in letting a single property can be much the same as letting numerous, so the real benefits do come with scale, that's true. There is a lot of pre-work to do and I've just taken a friend through it all, much the same situation. What I wrote for them ended up at 10 pages (with some screenshots). Start out by looking on Google for something like "landlord checklist", it'll give you an appreciation of it all. One of the first decisions to take is whether to self-manage or go via an Agent (both have benefits and pitfalls).
  6. For ease of access you couldn't do much better than the St. Paul's Development - The View or The Tower. The apartments are well specified and have good sound-proofing. The Service Charge is extortionate and continues to rise but the service received for that money does appear to be improving (it was quite bad at one point). Ground Rent is on an RPI escalator too, so you'll need to be careful / aware of these costs... likely to be kinda the same in any apartment block.
  7. Hippogriff

    First time buyer

    Not wanting to dissuade anyone from Help to Buy (it is the only way some people can get on the ladder) but people should research it properly before jumping-in, as I feel it is a bit of a trap. I have a friend who got a Help to Buy loan but didn't fully realise how the payback to the Government works... when I explained it all, and showed worked examples, her response was "surely the Government would not do that to its own people?"... welcome to the 21st century.
  8. Hippogriff

    Section 8 and Section 21 Notices

    There is no defence to a properly-served Section 21... as long as all your paperwork and admin. is in order - it will succeed. If your paperwork and admin. is not in order then the Section 21 will never be valid, until you correct things... by paperwork and admin. I mean things like Deposit protection, GSC, smoke alarms, Right to Rent check, How To Rent Booklet served etc. etc. etc..
  9. I let properties out without using an Agent, per se. I use uPad merely as a vehicle to getting the property on Rightmove etc.. I do the advert, the photos, the viewings, the check-in etc. all myself - hence "without using an agent". My point being - Rightmove etc. is still your best bet, rather than something you see in a shop window or Facebook page or something else that's kinda on the edges.
  10. If you are sharing the income then you'll both need to register for Self Assessment as it's used to record extra income and tax against it. Having an Accountant manage your tax affairs is not mandatory if you are letting out property. Self Assessment (as they say) doesn't need to be taxing. The hardest thing I find it logging onto their blinking crappy website... once you're in it kinda just leads you by the nose to the end, gives you a calculation and instructions on how to pay. That said, I am sure using an Accountant will not only ease your mind, it will probably also save you money, despite their fees. They will know tricks (mechanisms? approaches?) we, as humble taxpayers (or "customers" as HMRC like to refer to us all now), do not.
  11. Hippogriff

    long term housing rentals

    Most Landlords want long-term Tenants. However, when handing over an asset worth that much, it's always wisest to start out with what's termed a "short-term let", i.e. a fixed term of 6 months, that then either gets renewed or, preferably, moves to SPT (rolling month-by-month). If the Landlord is running their property as a business this should usually mean long-term because no-one wants Tenant changeover. The risk can often come when Landlords start to let out their previous home because they have moved for work, or moved in with a new partner to try it out... then they might be back... or they might decide to sell up. There are legal limits (or restrictions) on the length of time an AST can run for... if it's over 3 years it needs to be drawn-up differently, so you're unlikely to find those for residential. What you can't really expect a Landlord to do is jump in with both feet with a person they know little about... too risky.
  12. Hippogriff

    Lewis Wadsworth - Any opinions?

    You are entitled to your opinion. Your opinion, in itself, is definitely not a fact. Your opinion, or the facts, may definitely be useful to someone else. But you seem to think your opinion is fact, which is isn't... it's an opinion, as you rightfully say... opinions can be based on facts. What I think was questioned by someone else was whether your opinion was expressly intended to mislead others. I am sure it was not... however, now everything is out there it almost feels like your opinion is worth just that little bit less. Everyone should remember, as a Tenant, an Agent is not their Agent... they're not on your side. Yes, you are paying them... in fees (soon to change) and your rent often will go to them (not the actual Landlord) but that never means they're your Agent, they work for the Landlord - the Landlord is their client and the Tenant is not. The Agent will (or should) look after the interests of the Landlord only. There are bad Agents who are only interested in getting as much money from both sides as possible. In future this should only be transparently from the Landlord's side... however, it's likely that will be recouped. I am firmly of the opinion that Tenants should size-up their Landlord at viewings if at all possible - look for properties advertised by Agents like UPad (which will be Landlord-managed)... there are bad Landlords obviously, but Tenants shouldn't fall into the trap of thinking that because an Agent is in the mix the whole thing is going to be run more professionally, more smoothly.
  13. Their email replies used to commit them to a [proper, non-automated] response within a certain timeframe - I think it was 7 working days? - but they never ever met that target. Not once. I pointed it out to them, brutally, and I think I might have been responsible for them removing that from their automated emails. They now make no claims as to when they'll get back to you - their automated response just constantly says they're experiencing a very high volume of emails - what a surprise. What I did notice in there is this... which might make you elect to send an email, get the acknowledgement, and sit back... "We will aim to put a hold on any recovery action whilst we deal with your enquiry, although there will be occasions when this is not always possible."
  14. They are bumbling and tardy fools. I always send everything via email - council.tax@sheffield.gov.uk - you get an immediate automated reply... acknowledgement of email, which I keep as proof. It can take, like, 6 weeks for them to do anything, it's ineptness of the highest order. They are fond of sending me entirely speculative Council Tax bills for a property I let out to students - they just keep sending the bills whenever, it seems, they feel like it's worth a try. I keep records of all changes in occupancy I send them. I got another letter today asking me if I wanted 'help' with my empty property... it's not empty... the Council Tax team has told the Private Housing team that it's empty, in error... the Private Housing team has then jumped on it, confounding the error even further. If you do get through on the phone - be prepared for them to ask you to send them an email with all the details. It's rare I have had to deal with a department so bad as SCC Council Tax.
  15. That's just their legal costs. It's not including the price of the freehold (freehold reversion) itself. The total cost to you would also include your own costs plus the cost of the thing you actually want to acquire. Where is the sense in it? Well, the sense is that you own it, then, not some other party. However, if you are talking hundreds of years then you can see the sense in sticking to what you have today. In shorter timeframes it can be imperative you do something about it, or if you want to make alterations that are expressly forbidden, or require the approval of the freeholder... then it might start to make sense too. Doing it for the sake of doing it doesn't often make that much sense.

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