<p>Viral stories about spending habits often hide the real structural problems faced by young people</p><p>“I earn 40k and live at home, but I still need my parents to bail me out each month,” reads the <a href="https://bit.ly/2qCqQlu" title="">viral Grazia article</a> you may have seen furiously shared on social media. Money diaries are the media phenomenon for the millennial age, raising the collective blood pressure of thirtysomethings like me at a time of squeezed wages and a housing crisis. Grazia is only the latest in a long line of publications that offer us the dual temptation to nosy through the bank statements of complete strangers and then judge them for it.</p><p>The problem, of course, is not actually how the people featured spend their money, but that their habits are often distorted as a means to beat Generation Rent with.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/nov/14/why-millennials-money-diaries-are-a-media-phenomenon">Continue reading...</a>

Why millennials' money diaries are a media phenomenon

Nov 14, 2018 6:00

Viral stories about spending habits often hide the real structural problems faced by young people

“I earn 40k and live at home, but I still need my parents to bail me out each month,” reads the viral Grazia article you may have seen furiously shared on social media. Money diaries are the media phenomenon for the millennial age, raising the collective blood pressure of thirtysomethings like me at a time of squeezed wages and a housing crisis. Grazia is only the latest in a long line of publications that offer us the dual temptation to nosy through the bank statements of complete strangers and then judge them for it.

The problem, of course, is not actually how the people featured spend their money, but that their habits are often distorted as a means to beat Generation Rent with.

Continue reading...

<p>Estate agent hit by slowing sales in capital amid high prices and Brexit uncertainty</p><p>Foxtons has closed six of its London branches as it struggles to sell homes in a “challenging” property market in the capital.</p><p>The estate agency said it had recently closed its offices on Park Lane in central London, Barnes, Beckenham, Enfield, Loughton and Ruislip.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/nov/13/foxtons-closes-london-branches-estate-agent-sales-brexit">Continue reading...</a>

Foxtons closes six London branches in 'challenging' market

Nov 13, 2018 12:05

Estate agent hit by slowing sales in capital amid high prices and Brexit uncertainty

Foxtons has closed six of its London branches as it struggles to sell homes in a “challenging” property market in the capital.

The estate agency said it had recently closed its offices on Park Lane in central London, Barnes, Beckenham, Enfield, Loughton and Ruislip.

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<p>London borough’s 150 sq metre limit aims to inspire building of more affordable properties</p><p>Westminster city council is to ban new supersize properties built for oligarchs and other members of the global elite in order to free up space for more affordable homes for “real people”.</p><p>The council, which includes the areas of Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Belgravia, said it would restrict new homes larger than 150 sq metres (1,615 sq ft). Westminster said banning “Monopoly board-style” homes would help free up more space for affordable homes for Londoners. The ban is part of Westminster’s <a href="https://www.westminster.gov.uk/sites/default/files/city_plan_online.pdf">2019-</a><a href="https://www.westminster.gov.uk/sites/default/files/city_plan_online.pdf">40 development plan</a> released on Monday night, which also included a commitment to build more than 10,000 affordable units by 2040.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/nov/13/westminster-council-to-ban-super-size-new-homes">Continue reading...</a>

Westminster council to ban supersize new homes

Nov 13, 2018 9:21

London borough’s 150 sq metre limit aims to inspire building of more affordable properties

Westminster city council is to ban new supersize properties built for oligarchs and other members of the global elite in order to free up space for more affordable homes for “real people”.

The council, which includes the areas of Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Belgravia, said it would restrict new homes larger than 150 sq metres (1,615 sq ft). Westminster said banning “Monopoly board-style” homes would help free up more space for affordable homes for Londoners. The ban is part of Westminster’s 2019-40 development plan released on Monday night, which also included a commitment to build more than 10,000 affordable units by 2040.

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<p>I won’t need the rental income once I start getting my state pension in six months’ time<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> I am 64 years old and a homeowner, but I also own a second property worth around £180,000, which I bought with an inheritance. I rent this house for a modest sum to my daughter. She is a mature student who is finishing university this year and hopefully will soon move into full-time employment.</p><p>I pay no tax at present, but when I reach 65 in six months’ time I will receive my state pension, which, taken together with the rental income, will push me over the personal tax allowance.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/nov/12/should-i-give-my-daughter-a-loan-to-buy-the-home-she-rents-from-me">Continue reading...</a>

Should I give my daughter a loan to buy the home she rents from me?

Nov 12, 2018 7:00

I won’t need the rental income once I start getting my state pension in six months’ time

Q I am 64 years old and a homeowner, but I also own a second property worth around £180,000, which I bought with an inheritance. I rent this house for a modest sum to my daughter. She is a mature student who is finishing university this year and hopefully will soon move into full-time employment.

I pay no tax at present, but when I reach 65 in six months’ time I will receive my state pension, which, taken together with the rental income, will push me over the personal tax allowance.

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Readers respond to news that the number of UK shops, pubs and restaurants lying empty has soared by more than 4,400 in the first six months of this year<p>The plight of retailers dominates debate about the high street (<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/nov/09/embattled-high-street-retailers-call-for-help-as-closures-soar" title="">Decline of the high street gathers pace as thousands of stores close</a>, 9 November), although I can’t imagine what “decisive action … to support the battered high street” the government is expected to provide. Certainly there’s no reverse gear to address the commercial affects of a transformation in shopping habits, and high streets will inevitably have to shrink back to a core of retail activity.</p><p>We need to look at this another way. Reviving high streets and town centres must be approached strategically and this begins with reinventing their role. We need high streets more than ever, but as places for people to meet and mingle throughout the day, not just to shop. Other uses must be mixed in: homes and live/work units, small offices and workshops, GP surgeries and dentists, barbers and hairdressers, youth clubs and day care centres, nurseries and primary schools, cinemas and music venues, cafes and pubs, street markets and pop-ups, independent and convenience shops. But not multiples of each. They need to have good transport links, free parking nearby, and become people-, bike- and buggy-friendly. In practice a degree of compulsory purchase might well be necessary to overcome the fragmented property ownership that inhibits any unified strategy.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/nov/11/what-future-for-britains-high-streets">Continue reading...</a>

What future for Britain’s high streets? | Letters

Nov 11, 2018 17:50

Readers respond to news that the number of UK shops, pubs and restaurants lying empty has soared by more than 4,400 in the first six months of this year

The plight of retailers dominates debate about the high street (Decline of the high street gathers pace as thousands of stores close, 9 November), although I can’t imagine what “decisive action … to support the battered high street” the government is expected to provide. Certainly there’s no reverse gear to address the commercial affects of a transformation in shopping habits, and high streets will inevitably have to shrink back to a core of retail activity.

We need to look at this another way. Reviving high streets and town centres must be approached strategically and this begins with reinventing their role. We need high streets more than ever, but as places for people to meet and mingle throughout the day, not just to shop. Other uses must be mixed in: homes and live/work units, small offices and workshops, GP surgeries and dentists, barbers and hairdressers, youth clubs and day care centres, nurseries and primary schools, cinemas and music venues, cafes and pubs, street markets and pop-ups, independent and convenience shops. But not multiples of each. They need to have good transport links, free parking nearby, and become people-, bike- and buggy-friendly. In practice a degree of compulsory purchase might well be necessary to overcome the fragmented property ownership that inhibits any unified strategy.

Continue reading...

<p>This is a city worthy of an epic, like Troy</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> Been around a while, Colchester. Seen it all before. This is, after all, reputedly the oldest continually inhabited town in the land. It’s seen Romans (they went wild for its oysters), and more ancient tribes before them. Cymbeline. Yes, <em>the</em> Cymbeline. Old King Cole. Yes, <em>the</em> Old King Cole. Pliny writes about Colchester. Pliny never wrote about Nuneaton. So respect to Colchester; it’ll outlive you or me. It keeps up with the times, don’t get me wrong, with its (literally) dazzling <a href="https://www.firstsite.uk/" title="">Firstsite art gallery</a>, the <a href="https://www.colchesterartscentre.com/" title="">Colchester Arts Centre</a> and its new Curzon cinema. But this is a place with old bones. Look past the Nando’s, to the old stones of the castle, the curly wurly curlicued town hall, the heroic politics of its postwar university, the ghosts of Flemish weavers in the Dutch Quarter. Colchester is a city worthy of an epic, like Troy. It’s got tales to tell. Maybe when Boudicca burnt it to the ground. Or when the Normans built the largest castle in Europe. Or maybe when the parliamentarians laid siege to it in the civil war and the citizens were forced to eat rats. There are plenty of juicy plots here. So, who’s going to write it? </p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Too many executive estates of toy town tat built in the noughties. The Golden Banana: love it or hate it?</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/nov/09/lets-move-to-colchester-essex">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Colchester, Essex: it’s historic, but keeps up with the times

Nov 9, 2018 16:30

This is a city worthy of an epic, like Troy

What’s going for it? Been around a while, Colchester. Seen it all before. This is, after all, reputedly the oldest continually inhabited town in the land. It’s seen Romans (they went wild for its oysters), and more ancient tribes before them. Cymbeline. Yes, the Cymbeline. Old King Cole. Yes, the Old King Cole. Pliny writes about Colchester. Pliny never wrote about Nuneaton. So respect to Colchester; it’ll outlive you or me. It keeps up with the times, don’t get me wrong, with its (literally) dazzling Firstsite art gallery, the Colchester Arts Centre and its new Curzon cinema. But this is a place with old bones. Look past the Nando’s, to the old stones of the castle, the curly wurly curlicued town hall, the heroic politics of its postwar university, the ghosts of Flemish weavers in the Dutch Quarter. Colchester is a city worthy of an epic, like Troy. It’s got tales to tell. Maybe when Boudicca burnt it to the ground. Or when the Normans built the largest castle in Europe. Or maybe when the parliamentarians laid siege to it in the civil war and the citizens were forced to eat rats. There are plenty of juicy plots here. So, who’s going to write it?

The case against Too many executive estates of toy town tat built in the noughties. The Golden Banana: love it or hate it?

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<p>It hasn’t changed <em>that</em> much since 1951</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> There are two Wimborne Minsters, one fitting neatly inside the other like a matryoshka doll. Wimborne Model Town, recreating the “real” one outside, was built in the 1950s and its Eastmans family butcher, H Langer &amp; Sons leather goods and Thomas The Tank Engine trainline are consequently straight out of Call The Midwife. You shrink to normal size, though, in the “real” doppelganger, not that you’d notice. Give or take the Vibe Lounge, wheelie bins and Costa Coffee, the town outside hasn’t changed <em>that</em> much since 1951. Old streets of porticoes and bay windows; white-haired ladies rocking the Queen’s hairdo; panama hats not beanies in the windows at Bartletts Menswear Specialists. It’s an ancient place, been around since the Saxons, so Wimborne takes the comings and goings of fashion in its stride. Which is probably why it’s so popular with retirees. And me. Sucker for a panama hat, me.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Perhaps a little dull. It’s all about the quiet life and nice sourdough from Number 9 On The Green. Ravers, though, can large it in Bournemouth down the road.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/nov/02/lets-move-to-wimborne-minster-dorset">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Wimborne Minster, Dorset: ‘Where white-haired ladies rock the Queen’s hairdo’

Nov 2, 2018 16:30

It hasn’t changed that much since 1951

What’s going for it? There are two Wimborne Minsters, one fitting neatly inside the other like a matryoshka doll. Wimborne Model Town, recreating the “real” one outside, was built in the 1950s and its Eastmans family butcher, H Langer & Sons leather goods and Thomas The Tank Engine trainline are consequently straight out of Call The Midwife. You shrink to normal size, though, in the “real” doppelganger, not that you’d notice. Give or take the Vibe Lounge, wheelie bins and Costa Coffee, the town outside hasn’t changed that much since 1951. Old streets of porticoes and bay windows; white-haired ladies rocking the Queen’s hairdo; panama hats not beanies in the windows at Bartletts Menswear Specialists. It’s an ancient place, been around since the Saxons, so Wimborne takes the comings and goings of fashion in its stride. Which is probably why it’s so popular with retirees. And me. Sucker for a panama hat, me.

The case against Perhaps a little dull. It’s all about the quiet life and nice sourdough from Number 9 On The Green. Ravers, though, can large it in Bournemouth down the road.

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<p>Among its other claims to fame are the loveliest cricket ground in the land, the cathedral and the oldest newspaper in the world</p><p><strong>What’s going for it? </strong>Worcester has many claims to fame. The sauce, of course. It’s full of sauce. The factory where they make it is still here, unshipped out yet to China or Ulaanbaatar. The porcelain factory has gone, alas, and the glovemakers: Dents no longer stitches its hides here. It’s also lost its famous oak tree, in which Charles II hid from parliamentary forces after the last battle in the civil war, though there’s a nice old pub up town named after the event. The River Severn, languidly sliding south. Cricket! You can’t escape cricket in this city. The loveliest ground in the land is here, photobombed by the cathedral. Yes, the cathedral and its fabulous tower, where ’Orrible King John is buried. The sixth-oldest school in the world. (“Reputedly”, bet-hedges <a href="https://www.rgsw.org.uk/worcester/about/history/" title="">Royal Grammar School’s website</a>.) The oldest newspaper in the world – Berrow’s Worcester Journal – in continuous circulation (for 328 years). Makes <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/gnm-archive/2002/jun/06/1" title="">the Guardian (197 years)</a> look young in comparison.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Routine flooding, often cutting the city in two, though I’m told new defences have made life better.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/oct/26/lets-move-to-worcester-full-of-sauce">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Worcester: ‘It’s full of sauce’

Oct 26, 2018 16:30

Among its other claims to fame are the loveliest cricket ground in the land, the cathedral and the oldest newspaper in the world

What’s going for it? Worcester has many claims to fame. The sauce, of course. It’s full of sauce. The factory where they make it is still here, unshipped out yet to China or Ulaanbaatar. The porcelain factory has gone, alas, and the glovemakers: Dents no longer stitches its hides here. It’s also lost its famous oak tree, in which Charles II hid from parliamentary forces after the last battle in the civil war, though there’s a nice old pub up town named after the event. The River Severn, languidly sliding south. Cricket! You can’t escape cricket in this city. The loveliest ground in the land is here, photobombed by the cathedral. Yes, the cathedral and its fabulous tower, where ’Orrible King John is buried. The sixth-oldest school in the world. (“Reputedly”, bet-hedges Royal Grammar School’s website.) The oldest newspaper in the world – Berrow’s Worcester Journal – in continuous circulation (for 328 years). Makes the Guardian (197 years) look young in comparison.

The case against Routine flooding, often cutting the city in two, though I’m told new defences have made life better.

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<p>Some will say it’s turning into a foodie destination, but there’s enough unpretension to burst any inflated egos</p><p><strong>What’s going for it? </strong>Just back from the <a href="https://www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com/" title="">Abergavenny Food Festival</a>, where I fell in love with a tomato. As you do. It’s that kind of place. Food festivals are 10 a penny these days, but this one benefits from a distinct scarcity of anyone who once appeared on <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/masterchef" title="">Master</a><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/masterchef" title="">Chef</a>. It’s more like an overgrown village fete, full of people plying their prize marrows or my tomato woman, people who love things and just want to spread the love. I tell you, it was the tomato-ey-est tomato I’ve ever tasted north of Marseille. Abergavenny is a neat and tidy town, seemingly doing quite all right for itself, shopping streets quietly bustling with wool shops and opticians, its cottages and houses freshly whitewashed or grey with stone against a backdrop of green from the three hills that loom over the streets. Some will say Abergavenny is turning into a f***ie destination (I refuse to use the F-word) on account of the festival, and the local cultures of cheesemakers and mountain-lamb suppliers, bakers and yoghurt. Not quite. They are not yet selling yuzu at the Spar (you have to go to Waitrose), and the town has more than enough unpretension to burst any inflated egos.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Precious little. I’m thinking hard and scratching my head. Nope. Nothing.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/oct/12/lets-move-to-abergavenny-food-glorious-food">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Abergavenny: home of food, glorious food

Oct 12, 2018 16:30

Some will say it’s turning into a foodie destination, but there’s enough unpretension to burst any inflated egos

What’s going for it? Just back from the Abergavenny Food Festival, where I fell in love with a tomato. As you do. It’s that kind of place. Food festivals are 10 a penny these days, but this one benefits from a distinct scarcity of anyone who once appeared on MasterChef. It’s more like an overgrown village fete, full of people plying their prize marrows or my tomato woman, people who love things and just want to spread the love. I tell you, it was the tomato-ey-est tomato I’ve ever tasted north of Marseille. Abergavenny is a neat and tidy town, seemingly doing quite all right for itself, shopping streets quietly bustling with wool shops and opticians, its cottages and houses freshly whitewashed or grey with stone against a backdrop of green from the three hills that loom over the streets. Some will say Abergavenny is turning into a f***ie destination (I refuse to use the F-word) on account of the festival, and the local cultures of cheesemakers and mountain-lamb suppliers, bakers and yoghurt. Not quite. They are not yet selling yuzu at the Spar (you have to go to Waitrose), and the town has more than enough unpretension to burst any inflated egos.

The case against Precious little. I’m thinking hard and scratching my head. Nope. Nothing.

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<p>It’s as racy, posh, cultured and seedy as Brighton at its best</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> In his fierce part-memoir of Kentish oddballs,<a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/All-Devils-Here-David-Seabrook/dp/186207559X" title=""> All The Devils Are Here</a>, David Seabrook describes <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Hawtrey_(actor,_born_1914)" title="">Charles Hawtrey</a> in his dissolute dotage – during the long years after Carry On – living on Middle Street in old-town Deal, but “banned from nearly every pub... Reeling round town like an old wasted weasel turfed out of Toad Hall.” Deal is that kind of place, as racy, posh, cultured and seedy as Brighton at its best, only stuck out on the fat belly of Kent as far as possible from anywhere but Calais, without the hordes. “A villainous place... full of filthy people,” said professional Grinch <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Cobbett" title="">William Cobbett</a>. What better recommendation? Recent years have brought the inevitable artists and gentrifiers, with their Scandi-chic, fussiness about coffee and disdain for Harvesters. Perhaps they see in Deal the charm of times passed, without all the rickets and miseries that Seabrook still spied down its alleyways. But Deal can absorb such newcomers. It’s seen it all before. It has history. Three Tudor castles, Royal Marine barracks, Julius Caesar, sailors, coalminers, IRA bombs, Charles Hawtrey. Oh, yes, these streets have tales to tell.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> I see nothing. It’s a touch out on its own, and the local jobs scene is limited. Not everyone will like its bawdiness, raffishness and occasional tawdriness.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/oct/05/lets-move-to-deal-kent-these-streets-have-tales-to-tell">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Deal, Kent: these streets have tales to tell

Oct 5, 2018 16:30

It’s as racy, posh, cultured and seedy as Brighton at its best

What’s going for it? In his fierce part-memoir of Kentish oddballs, All The Devils Are Here, David Seabrook describes Charles Hawtrey in his dissolute dotage – during the long years after Carry On – living on Middle Street in old-town Deal, but “banned from nearly every pub... Reeling round town like an old wasted weasel turfed out of Toad Hall.” Deal is that kind of place, as racy, posh, cultured and seedy as Brighton at its best, only stuck out on the fat belly of Kent as far as possible from anywhere but Calais, without the hordes. “A villainous place... full of filthy people,” said professional Grinch William Cobbett. What better recommendation? Recent years have brought the inevitable artists and gentrifiers, with their Scandi-chic, fussiness about coffee and disdain for Harvesters. Perhaps they see in Deal the charm of times passed, without all the rickets and miseries that Seabrook still spied down its alleyways. But Deal can absorb such newcomers. It’s seen it all before. It has history. Three Tudor castles, Royal Marine barracks, Julius Caesar, sailors, coalminers, IRA bombs, Charles Hawtrey. Oh, yes, these streets have tales to tell.

The case against I see nothing. It’s a touch out on its own, and the local jobs scene is limited. Not everyone will like its bawdiness, raffishness and occasional tawdriness.

Continue reading...

<p>I bought a flat with my daughter and I’m worried I’ll have to pay the higher rate</p><p><strong>Q</strong> My husband and I sold our main home in August 2017 and are using the money from the sale to buy a new home for us to live in which will cost £445,000. </p><p>However, about four years ago I bought a flat with my daughter which she lives in and which I also used when working away from home. We are planning to sell the flat next year. But until we do, I am worried that I will have to pay a higher rate of stamp duty land tax on our new home.<br><strong>AA</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/nov/05/stamp-duty-home-flat">Continue reading...</a>

Do I need to pay more stamp duty on a home because I also own a flat?

Nov 5, 2018 7:18

I bought a flat with my daughter and I’m worried I’ll have to pay the higher rate

Q My husband and I sold our main home in August 2017 and are using the money from the sale to buy a new home for us to live in which will cost £445,000.

However, about four years ago I bought a flat with my daughter which she lives in and which I also used when working away from home. We are planning to sell the flat next year. But until we do, I am worried that I will have to pay a higher rate of stamp duty land tax on our new home.
AA

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<p>I will have about £35,000 from the sale of a property and want to make the best of it</p><p><strong>Q</strong> After a recent separation, my two young children and I have moved back in with my parents whilst I have been selling the property I jointly owned with my ex-partner. We have been living in my parents’ home for about a year and it has been working really well. They are able to help with childcare and they enjoy having me and the children around. The house is large enough for us all and still offers personal space when needed.</p><p>My former home is now sold, and as a single mum I think I will struggle to buy a property in the same area as my parents as it is quite affluent and prices are rising rapidly. I will end up with about £35,000 from the sale of my property and I want to make the best of it. My parents and I have come up with a (potentially crazy) idea of me staying long term and mortgaging a small amount to buy a&nbsp;share of their property at market value.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/oct/30/can-i-buy-a-share-in-my-parents-home-and-a-flat-to-rent-out">Continue reading...</a>

Can I buy a share in my parents' home – and a flat to rent out?

Oct 30, 2018 11:51

I will have about £35,000 from the sale of a property and want to make the best of it

Q After a recent separation, my two young children and I have moved back in with my parents whilst I have been selling the property I jointly owned with my ex-partner. We have been living in my parents’ home for about a year and it has been working really well. They are able to help with childcare and they enjoy having me and the children around. The house is large enough for us all and still offers personal space when needed.

My former home is now sold, and as a single mum I think I will struggle to buy a property in the same area as my parents as it is quite affluent and prices are rising rapidly. I will end up with about £35,000 from the sale of my property and I want to make the best of it. My parents and I have come up with a (potentially crazy) idea of me staying long term and mortgaging a small amount to buy a share of their property at market value.

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<p>It has been on the market for some time, but I’m worried about insulting the seller </p><p><strong>Q</strong> My partner and I are considering offering less than the advertised fixed price on a property in Glasgow. A month ago, the property was reduced to a fixed price of £20,000 below the&nbsp;value given in the home report after 12 weeks with no sale. Even with this reduction in price the property is still a bit more expensive than similar properties in the immediate area, so we would be worried about not getting our money back when we come to sell. The property has never been sold before (it was built by the current owners) so it’s difficult to determine the real price. To offset our concerns about the resale value, we are considering offering less than the fixed price, but are concerned this will insult the seller and they will refuse any further offers from us.<br><strong>AN</strong></p><p><strong>A</strong> Making an offer on property in Scotland is different from in the rest of the UK in that it’s not just a question of a quick phone call to the seller’s estate agent. Instead, you get a solicitor first to “notify your interest” in the property and then to prepare a formal offer&nbsp;– which he or she&nbsp;signs on your behalf&nbsp;– before submitting it to the seller’s agents.&nbsp;</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/oct/15/offer-less-than-asking-price-property-scotland">Continue reading...</a>

Can I offer less than asking price for a property in Scotland?

Oct 15, 2018 7:00

It has been on the market for some time, but I’m worried about insulting the seller

Q My partner and I are considering offering less than the advertised fixed price on a property in Glasgow. A month ago, the property was reduced to a fixed price of £20,000 below the value given in the home report after 12 weeks with no sale. Even with this reduction in price the property is still a bit more expensive than similar properties in the immediate area, so we would be worried about not getting our money back when we come to sell. The property has never been sold before (it was built by the current owners) so it’s difficult to determine the real price. To offset our concerns about the resale value, we are considering offering less than the fixed price, but are concerned this will insult the seller and they will refuse any further offers from us.
AN

A Making an offer on property in Scotland is different from in the rest of the UK in that it’s not just a question of a quick phone call to the seller’s estate agent. Instead, you get a solicitor first to “notify your interest” in the property and then to prepare a formal offer – which he or she signs on your behalf – before submitting it to the seller’s agents. 

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<p>We’ve been looking at places around the south-east, but they seem dull and boring</p><p><strong>Q</strong> I rent a two-bed flat in Brixton with my husband and two daughters who are eight months old and two. Rather reluctantly we have been thinking about moving out of London to buy a house somewhere in south-east England that is commutable to London for work. It makes sense for us to move south as we both grew up in East Sussex and both sets of parents still live there. We have been visiting places down south to see if we would want to live there but everywhere seems really dull and boring. We have been to Tonbridge, Horsham, Haywards Heath and Hastings. The only place we liked was Hastings but have ruled it out as it would be a two-and-a-half-hour commute door to door to work in Islington. Also, we love living in Brixton. It’s diverse, vibrant and busy so we’re very worried wherever we move to we’re going to be miserable. Our budget is £375,000 and ideally we’d like a house but would consider a big flat if it’s somewhere cool.<br><strong>BD</strong></p><p><strong>A</strong> I wonder whether your views of Tonbridge, Horsham (ranked last year the 19th best place to live in the UK in the Halifax quality of life survey) and Haywards Heath – have got anything to do with your discovering – as so often happens on the BBC’s Escape to the Country – that you don’t get as much property for your money outside London as you thought you would. Or maybe it’s the feeling that you don’t actually want to move away from Brixton that is colouring your judgement so that anywhere that isn’t Brixton is going to make you miserable. It’s probably also pretty depressing feeling that, to be able to buy somewhere big enough for you all, moving out of London is your only option. Except that it’s not if your annual household income is less than £90,000 and you are prepared to consider shared ownership rather than buying on the open market which, with your budget, you can’t afford to do. You can find out where there are shared ownership properties by going to <a href="http://www.sharedownershipweek.co.uk/">www.sharedownewrshipweek.co.uk</a> which points to two developments in Brixton at <a href="http://www.sw9apartments.co.uk/">www.sw9apartments.co.uk</a> – eight minutes’ walk from Brixton underground – and <a href="http://www.electricquarter.london/">www.electricquarter.london</a> which is a 12-minute walk. Both developments are flats rather than houses but if you are prepared to compromise on the type of property, you could buy a 25% share in a three-bedroom apartment for £156,250 plus monthly rent of £1,075. At £312,500, a 50% share would still be well within your budget. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/oct/08/we-rent-in-brixton-should-we-move-out-of-london-to-buy">Continue reading...</a>

We rent in Brixton – should we move out of London to buy?

Oct 8, 2018 7:24

We’ve been looking at places around the south-east, but they seem dull and boring

Q I rent a two-bed flat in Brixton with my husband and two daughters who are eight months old and two. Rather reluctantly we have been thinking about moving out of London to buy a house somewhere in south-east England that is commutable to London for work. It makes sense for us to move south as we both grew up in East Sussex and both sets of parents still live there. We have been visiting places down south to see if we would want to live there but everywhere seems really dull and boring. We have been to Tonbridge, Horsham, Haywards Heath and Hastings. The only place we liked was Hastings but have ruled it out as it would be a two-and-a-half-hour commute door to door to work in Islington. Also, we love living in Brixton. It’s diverse, vibrant and busy so we’re very worried wherever we move to we’re going to be miserable. Our budget is £375,000 and ideally we’d like a house but would consider a big flat if it’s somewhere cool.
BD

A I wonder whether your views of Tonbridge, Horsham (ranked last year the 19th best place to live in the UK in the Halifax quality of life survey) and Haywards Heath – have got anything to do with your discovering – as so often happens on the BBC’s Escape to the Country – that you don’t get as much property for your money outside London as you thought you would. Or maybe it’s the feeling that you don’t actually want to move away from Brixton that is colouring your judgement so that anywhere that isn’t Brixton is going to make you miserable. It’s probably also pretty depressing feeling that, to be able to buy somewhere big enough for you all, moving out of London is your only option. Except that it’s not if your annual household income is less than £90,000 and you are prepared to consider shared ownership rather than buying on the open market which, with your budget, you can’t afford to do. You can find out where there are shared ownership properties by going to www.sharedownewrshipweek.co.uk which points to two developments in Brixton at www.sw9apartments.co.uk – eight minutes’ walk from Brixton underground – and www.electricquarter.london which is a 12-minute walk. Both developments are flats rather than houses but if you are prepared to compromise on the type of property, you could buy a 25% share in a three-bedroom apartment for £156,250 plus monthly rent of £1,075. At £312,500, a 50% share would still be well within your budget.

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<p>I’m trying to buy a property in Oxfordshire but some friends say I should hold off on the deal</p><p><strong>Q</strong> I am trying to buy a property in Oxfordshire but some of my friends have advised me to postpone any purchase because of the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. Some people believe property prices will go up while others believe that prices will fall. So I can’t decide whether it’s the right time to buy or whether I should wait. Can you tell me what to do?<br><strong>RG</strong></p><p> <span>Related: </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/oct/02/london-house-prices-stamp-duty-brexit">London house prices fall again as stamp duty and Brexit fears bite</a> </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/oct/01/wait-buy-brexit-house-prices-property">Continue reading...</a>

Should I wait to buy because Brexit might make house prices fall?

Oct 1, 2018 7:00

I’m trying to buy a property in Oxfordshire but some friends say I should hold off on the deal

Q I am trying to buy a property in Oxfordshire but some of my friends have advised me to postpone any purchase because of the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. Some people believe property prices will go up while others believe that prices will fall. So I can’t decide whether it’s the right time to buy or whether I should wait. Can you tell me what to do?
RG

Related: London house prices fall again as stamp duty and Brexit fears bite

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You can navigate your way through what can be a long and complex process by following these steps<p>Buying a home can be a long and complex process, but typically it involves going through these steps:</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/nov/24/factsheet-buying-home-property">Continue reading...</a>

Factsheet: Buying a home

Nov 24, 2014 14:10

You can navigate your way through what can be a long and complex process by following these steps

Buying a home can be a long and complex process, but typically it involves going through these steps:

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'How to' guides for a wide variety of personal finance issues including: claiming benefits, taking out a loan, interest rates, buying a house, insurance, pensions, savings and tax<p><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/money/2007/oct/25/state.pensions">State pensions</a><br><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/money/2008/sep/11/taxcredits.familyfinance">Tax credits</a></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/nov/20/money-factsheets-benefits-loans-interest-rates-buying-house-insurance-pensions-savings">Continue reading...</a>

Money factsheets: How to organise your finances

Nov 20, 2013 12:35

'How to' guides for a wide variety of personal finance issues including: claiming benefits, taking out a loan, interest rates, buying a house, insurance, pensions, savings and tax

State pensions
Tax credits

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<p>From clock towers to castles, see five properties packed with character features</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2018/nov/09/gothic-style-homes-for-sale-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Gothic-style homes for sale – in pictures

Nov 9, 2018 7:00

From clock towers to castles, see five properties packed with character features

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<p>Kick back at these properties near grounds including Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2018/nov/02/homes-for-football-fans-arsenal-chelsea-man-utd">Continue reading...</a>

Homes for football fans – in pictures

Nov 2, 2018 14:46

Kick back at these properties near grounds including Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd

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<p>Make yourself at home in these fantasy barn conversions, from Abergavenny to Swansea</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2018/oct/26/fantasy-barns-for-sale-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Fantasy barns for sale – in pictures

Oct 26, 2018 19:00

Make yourself at home in these fantasy barn conversions, from Abergavenny to Swansea

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<p>Plans for a simple timber building grew into this Swedish-inspired Hackney hideaway</p><p>The exterior of writer and editor Alex Bagner’s new-build timber and glass family house, tucked behind a discreet gate at the end of a London Fields cul-de-sac, offers plenty of clues about the owner’s Swedish heritage: clean, simple lines, charcoal grey painted window frames, open plan, laid-back living. What you don’t expect, as you head to the back of the house, is the sight of a one-bedroom cabin at the corner of a triangular-shaped garden.</p><p>“We were living in Primrose Hill, but then decided we needed a change, so bought this place in Hackney three years ago,” explains Bagner who, alongside her husband Chris, owns and runs the recently opened <a href="https://therosedeal.com/" title="">Rose</a> Hotel in Deal, Kent. What was an unoccupied, somewhat bland, property that had sat on the market for more than a year became, with Alex and her husband’s keen eye and taste, a characterful family home. However, missing from the house where they now live with their three young children was an extra room for family or friends to stay.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/nov/11/cabin-fever-the-garden-shed-that-became-a-stylish-guesthouse-hackney">Continue reading...</a>

Cabin fever: the garden shed that became a stylish guesthouse

Nov 11, 2018 16:00

Plans for a simple timber building grew into this Swedish-inspired Hackney hideaway

The exterior of writer and editor Alex Bagner’s new-build timber and glass family house, tucked behind a discreet gate at the end of a London Fields cul-de-sac, offers plenty of clues about the owner’s Swedish heritage: clean, simple lines, charcoal grey painted window frames, open plan, laid-back living. What you don’t expect, as you head to the back of the house, is the sight of a one-bedroom cabin at the corner of a triangular-shaped garden.

“We were living in Primrose Hill, but then decided we needed a change, so bought this place in Hackney three years ago,” explains Bagner who, alongside her husband Chris, owns and runs the recently opened Rose Hotel in Deal, Kent. What was an unoccupied, somewhat bland, property that had sat on the market for more than a year became, with Alex and her husband’s keen eye and taste, a characterful family home. However, missing from the house where they now live with their three young children was an extra room for family or friends to stay.

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<p>Plants that survive freezing conditions do so by making their own antifreeze out of sugary starch</p><p>Frost is often the vegetable grower’s nemesis. It’s a constant cause of nervousness for me as I plant out tomatoes and peppers each spring, not to mention being the meteorological end-of-the-party for pretty much all tender crops come the autumn. And, in London, the first really hard frost tends to strike right about now.</p><p>There are some crops for which frost is not the enemy, but positively a bonus, dramatically improving their flavour. Here’s my guide to the crops that frost can benefit, the science of how it works and the ways gardeners can use it to their advantage.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/nov/11/how-frost-can-make-your-veg-even-tastier">Continue reading...</a>

How frost can make your veg even tastier | James Wong

Nov 11, 2018 11:00

Plants that survive freezing conditions do so by making their own antifreeze out of sugary starch

Frost is often the vegetable grower’s nemesis. It’s a constant cause of nervousness for me as I plant out tomatoes and peppers each spring, not to mention being the meteorological end-of-the-party for pretty much all tender crops come the autumn. And, in London, the first really hard frost tends to strike right about now.

There are some crops for which frost is not the enemy, but positively a bonus, dramatically improving their flavour. Here’s my guide to the crops that frost can benefit, the science of how it works and the ways gardeners can use it to their advantage.

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<p>On Plot 29 plants are allowed a longer life – and there is much to appreciate as they succumb to winter</p><p>Planning for winter planting is an awkward thing for me. I am mostly not good at it, mostly for good reasons. It is to do with space, primarily. Plot 29, or my part of it at least, is about 20-odd square metres. Rotation is tough. And I tend to let plants live a longer life. To leave, say, a few kales and Japanese mustards to bloom. It is a thing I learned from Jane Scotter at Fern Verrow farm: a respect for things you grow.</p><p>There are chicories we sowed last winter that have been blooming throughout the year and now we have a few newer plants that are fast spiralling upwards, soon to be throwing perfect blue-flowered spikes.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/nov/11/finding-beauty-in-fading-plants">Continue reading...</a>

Finding beauty in fading plants | Allan Jenkins

Nov 11, 2018 6:00

On Plot 29 plants are allowed a longer life – and there is much to appreciate as they succumb to winter

Planning for winter planting is an awkward thing for me. I am mostly not good at it, mostly for good reasons. It is to do with space, primarily. Plot 29, or my part of it at least, is about 20-odd square metres. Rotation is tough. And I tend to let plants live a longer life. To leave, say, a few kales and Japanese mustards to bloom. It is a thing I learned from Jane Scotter at Fern Verrow farm: a respect for things you grow.

There are chicories we sowed last winter that have been blooming throughout the year and now we have a few newer plants that are fast spiralling upwards, soon to be throwing perfect blue-flowered spikes.

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<p>A delicate bowl of the thin white blooms is quite something to come home to in the darker days of winter</p><p>The scent of paperwhite narcissus surpasses heady into something almost narcotic. I’m not sure I’d want to be trapped in a room stuffed with them, but a delicate bowl of the thin white blooms is quite something to come home to in the darker days of winter.</p><p>Paperwhites, <em>Narcissus papyraceus</em>, are native to Mediterranean areas from northern Africa to southern Spain and southern France, where they are most likely to be found growing in grassy, cultivated land and stony places – free-draining, sunny spots. In our climate, your best bet is to grow them inside. Plant from now to December and they will magically bloom six weeks later in a room that is about 21C. They take longer in cooler rooms, so one way to stagger blooming is by keeping some in a cooler space until you want them to flower. You can order online from numerous places, but your local garden centre may well have bulbs, too; I’ve also picked up bargains from supermarkets.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/nov/10/how-to-grow-narcissus-paperwhite">Continue reading...</a>

How to grow narcissus paperwhite | Alys Fowler

Nov 10, 2018 11:00

A delicate bowl of the thin white blooms is quite something to come home to in the darker days of winter

The scent of paperwhite narcissus surpasses heady into something almost narcotic. I’m not sure I’d want to be trapped in a room stuffed with them, but a delicate bowl of the thin white blooms is quite something to come home to in the darker days of winter.

Paperwhites, Narcissus papyraceus, are native to Mediterranean areas from northern Africa to southern Spain and southern France, where they are most likely to be found growing in grassy, cultivated land and stony places – free-draining, sunny spots. In our climate, your best bet is to grow them inside. Plant from now to December and they will magically bloom six weeks later in a room that is about 21C. They take longer in cooler rooms, so one way to stagger blooming is by keeping some in a cooler space until you want them to flower. You can order online from numerous places, but your local garden centre may well have bulbs, too; I’ve also picked up bargains from supermarkets.

Continue reading...

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