Tuesday, 19 January 2016

If tax doesn't kill the market, red tape will.

As the rather derisory offer for our house stutters somewhat lifelessly towards a still very unpredictable conclusion, it's no longer Osborne's rip-off tax-take that's likely to kill it. It's the unbelievable volume of red tape.

Like most things, property has become mired in a bog of meaningless paperwork designed, apparently, to protect a feckless population from its own common sense.

Obtaining a mortgage is now a Kafkaesque farce (or should that be nightmare). Even successful city types with bonus-pots to die for face a wall of inane enquiries utterly irrelevant to their ability to maintain the monthly repayments. These are people who on a daily basis probably invest multiple millions, but are not trusted to know their own position well enough to borrow even a relatively small percentage of a property's value.

Things may have been in need of a slight tightening after the 'crash', but this is murderous strangulation.

When it comes to the property itself, the level of paperwork sought by ever more zealous lawyers is bordering on the insane.

I would not be in the least surprised to be asked to guarantee my buyer's happiness in the house.

Asked for a warranty on the whole heating system (bear in mind that this is a small, two bed house) I simply replied - yes, I guarantee that it has one.

I've heard of insulating a property, but now it seems the buyer must be insulated too - from every known risk, every known potential problem, every known unknowable.

We have supplied planning permissions, building regs certification, electrical safety certification, gas safety certification....and still the requirements keep coming in.

"Did you have Conservation Area permission to replace the roof?". Well, you pointless box-ticking robot, I've given you a 10 year roof guarantee and, if we hadn't replaced it, the thing would probably have collapsed on your buyer's head. So, what would you prefer? I bit of A4 paper, or a rather beautiful new roof?

In truth, our transaction is not remotely complex or fraught with too many problems. There is absolutely nothing that a conversation face-to-face between myself and the buyer could not iron out.

But no, that's simply not the 'done thing'. So we'll keep bouncing bits of digital paperwork around the global servers of Google until some sort of conclusion is finally reached.

What that will be I have absolutely no idea. And it certainly doesn't come with a guarantee.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Here's one I made earlier......

Complete with the same furnishings and decor as we sold with it, our first Doer Upper comes back to market as a resale and the UK's most expensive studio flat. (According to The Daily Telegraph.)

The UK's most expensive studio flat could be yours... for £1.175m

The apartment in London's Knightsbridge comes complete with a loft bed and is smaller than a Tube carriage

The petite apartment in London's Knightsbridge costs £2,300 per square foot, and at 510 square feet is smaller than a Tube carriage.

And with nearly £2,000 of service charges and ground rent to pay per year, those precious square feet do not come cheap.
Described by estate agents as being "an ideal pied-a-terre in one of London's finest addresses", the bedsit has access to the neighbouring communal gardens. The lease has just 85 years remaining.
When ready for bed, go upstairs to the bedroom - which is actually a loft bed on a mezzanine above the kitchen.
The ground floor flat has an open plan kitchen and living room, with a shower room nearby.
The exterior of the studio flat in Egerton Gardens  Photo: JLL
Simon Godson, director at W.A.Ellis, part of the JLL Group, said: "The position of a property can really add to its value.
"The position of this Egerton Gardens property, south facing over the stunning crescent, really adds to its appeal and there are people who would rather be in a grand studio than a one-bed flat that doesn't have such an exceptional outlook."