A good article by Ed Cumming in the newspapers today. He writes, ‘It may not have the same profile as the tube but the London Overground is quietly opening up unloved areas of the capital. As the capital’s property market continues to defy the pessimists, prime London is expanding. Money is spreading out of Zone 1 like an ink blot to less familiar places. They are the areas marked out by the revamped London Overground line.’
Where exactly will we see growth? Ed Mead at Douglas & Gordon takes up the story, ‘The new route will have a huge impact on people’s lives. In particular, the new line has opened up a stretch of south London from Clapham to the City. Previously that whole swathe across to Canary Wharf was a bit of a no-man’s land. It’s refreshing that the Government has shown some joined-up thinking on this. It’s a spectacular advance on the travel network that was there before.’ More to come.
Survey – Just Get One!
I’m always amazed at the number of buyers and investors who buy property without getting a survey or who rely on the mortgage lender’s less than adequate survey (less than adequate from the buyer’s and investor’s viewpoint as it’s simply to make sure the property’s resale will cover the mortgage in a worst-case scenario).
A new survey by RICS suggests some 20 per cent of buyers don’t bother with a survey. Surveyors Dacre, Son & Hartley comment, ‘When mortgage lenders require deposits of up to 20 per cent of the property’s value, which can put home buyers under a huge amount of financial pressure, it is inevitable that some will seek to save money by not having a survey. It is both very unwise and a false economy not to commission a survey, after working hard to save for a deposit. The last thing buyers need are unexpected bills for unforeseen repairs which are not a good introduction to home-ownership.’
Susan Armstrong bought a property on the basis of a mortgage lender’s drive-by valuation. ‘I realised pretty soon after moving in that there was something wrong. The walls ?were wet and there was an awful smell. When I peeled the paper off, the plaster was crumbling and there was black mould. I didn’t discover the remaining chimney breast until I decided to have the attic room properly converted. The builder was horrified when he saw it. He said that if the wood had given way the stone would’ve crashed through the ceiling onto my bed, which is directly below.’ Personally, I have always used a survey to negotiate a better deal so it often pays for itself that way.
Help To Buy Warning
As part of our revamp, we are about to put our property introductions on Rightmove so we were concerned by the latest story doing the rounds that ‘developers selling shared-equity homes under the Government’s Help to Buy scheme are advertising them on Rightmove at four-fifths of their real price.’
What these developers are doing is to remove the 20 per cent, taxpayer-funded share so that a house at £200,000 is priced as £160,000. Rightmove states, ‘We are aware that some developers are making use of Rightmove to advertise an ‘indicative price’ that takes into account the equity loan offered under Help to Buy. We know from previous research that awareness of government schemes among home movers is low and this approach can help raise awareness.’ A spokesperson from Taylor Wimpey adds helpfully, ‘We are trying to help customers understand the scheme and the options available.’ Food for thought.