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-   -   Renting for life? (https://britishexpats.com/forum/moving-back-uk-61/renting-life-865335/)

alexleeson Sep 17th 2015 3:51 pm

Renting for life?
 
I returned to the UK from Oz after about 10 years. Years ago, I sold my flat in the UK and built a huge house in Oz, but after re-mortgaging, redundancy, illness and a period of about 18 months unemployed meant that when I sold my house (to avoid foreclosure) and paid off debts,there was nothing left over. I decided to come back home.

I am now employed in UK I earn about 70k which is a decent salary, but I have no savings and I am already 45 with 2 kids. I live in North London and the house prices are impossible. I can't even afford a 2 bed flat even if I had a deposit. It is so depressing. I feel like I have failed in providing for the future of my family. I wish I had never sold my flat in UK in the first place! Building a big house was a such a waste. Now I have to resign myself to renting for life.

Is there anyone out there that has resigned themselves to renting for life? Anyone who has indeed never owned a home and has a family?

Sorry, this is more of a rant!

christmasoompa Sep 17th 2015 3:57 pm

Re: Renting for life?
 
I'm sure that there are lots of people, the obsession with being on the property ladder does seem to be peculiarly British! Having said that, I can't imagine renting in my sixties/seventies/eighties and still having to find that money each month so I'd always advise somebody to buy if they can.

If you earn £70k then you'd have enough to buy something decent if you moved out of London, is that an option?

Novocastrian Sep 17th 2015 4:25 pm

Re: Renting for life?
 

Originally Posted by christmasoompa (Post 11751175)
I'm sure that there are lots of people, the obsession with being on the property ladder does seem to be peculiarly British! Having said that, I can't imagine renting in my sixties/seventies/eighties and still having to find that money each month so I'd always advise somebody to buy if they can.

I'm not certain that that's the whole story though. My former next door neighbour in Richmond Hill owned his house. He'd lived there since it was built in 1955, alone since his wife died in about 1975.

He'd been an electrician during his career but had nothing except CPP/OAS to live on, I think he said he had $15K a year. The problem was that his property taxes were $7K and after heating and stuff he was totally impoverished even though he'd been mortgage free for decades.

He was in his seventies when we moved in next door to him in 1993 and he died in 2013 aged 94. After his death, the house sold for $1.3 million. :unsure::(

He was a cantankerous and stubborn old grump, who refused to take advice that he should takes out a reverse mortgage / annuity against the equity.

Yes, he had several offspring themselves all retired by then but was estranged from them all (see old grump remark): nonetheless they were extremely happy to divide up the proceeds.

Anecdotal of course but worth noting I think.

scot47 Sep 17th 2015 4:47 pm

Re: Renting for life?
 
I rent from a Housing Association and am happy to do so. They do repairs and act as factors for the apartment block. No-brainer to me. This Anglo-saxon obsession with property ownership is absurd. They don't do it in Germany or France !

neill Sep 17th 2015 5:25 pm

Re: Renting for life?
 
Buying a "Second home" first

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/13/re...irst.html?_r=0

christmasoompa Sep 17th 2015 5:49 pm

Re: Renting for life?
 

Originally Posted by Novocastrian (Post 11751204)
Anecdotal of course but worth noting I think.

Indeed, but if he'd been having to find rent on top of all of that, he'd have been even worse off.

I don't think renting or buying makes a big difference when you're in your thirties or forties, but I can't see any positives for renting rather than owning when you've retired (assuming a mortgage is paid off by then of course!). Not only would you be having to find the rent each month out of your pension as well as all the other normal bills, but you'd also not have the security of knowing you can stay in your own home as long as you wish.

We've still got a long way to go before our mortgage is paid off, but just knowing that when it is we'll be sitting on an awful lot of money that's there if we need it, and in a home which we can stay in for as long as we choose, gives me a lot of security personally. I guess that the other alternative is to rent but to make sure you save a similar amount as you'd have got in equity if you'd had a mortgage, so that you have that if needed.

fulwood Sep 17th 2015 7:54 pm

Re: Renting for life?
 
Yes but there are folks like me who once they return won't be able to get a mortgage. I sold my house in US in 2012 and have rented ever since. Renting works for some but with OP having 2 kids I can totally understand why he would like to buy.. In those circumstances I would TRY and buy.. If I purchase anything it would be a small place in US on east coast..

spouse of scouse Sep 18th 2015 1:03 am

Re: Renting for life?
 

Originally Posted by alexleeson (Post 11751165)
I returned to the UK from Oz after about 10 years. Years ago, I sold my flat in the UK and built a huge house in Oz, but after re-mortgaging, redundancy, illness and a period of about 18 months unemployed meant that when I sold my house (to avoid foreclosure) and paid off debts,there was nothing left over. I decided to come back home.

I am now employed in UK I earn about 70k which is a decent salary, but I have no savings and I am already 45 with 2 kids. I live in North London and the house prices are impossible. I can't even afford a 2 bed flat even if I had a deposit. It is so depressing. I feel like I have failed in providing for the future of my family. I wish I had never sold my flat in UK in the first place! Building a big house was a such a waste. Now I have to resign myself to renting for life.

Is there anyone out there that has resigned themselves to renting for life? Anyone who has indeed never owned a home and has a family?

Sorry, this is more of a rant!

You haven't failed in anything at all, Alex. You have a well paying job and your provide your family with shelter, food, education and everything else that goes with that. You're in much better shape than you realize!

If you can't afford to buy a place in London, you can't afford to buy a place in London. No use agonizing about things that just 'are'.

Just a thought - could you save for a deposit on a little flat or terrace somewhere else in the UK? Something in an area you and your wife wouldn't mind living in once you're retired? If you're up for going North there are still wonderful bargains to be had - you could rent it out to offset your mortgage, and would have probably paid it off by the time you retire. Then you and your wife could move into it and start a new adventure!

Life's short. Try not to get hung up on what you can't have or can't do - from where I stand (well, sit!) you have a lot.

Celticspirit Sep 18th 2015 3:43 am

Re: Renting for life?
 
If you rent from a housing scheme/association, do they check one's financial status first? I'm renting privately, but the landlord must take care of major issues unless it was clearly my fault (eg: don't keep heat on during a freeze if I'm out of town)exterior issues like blocked gutters etc are his problem.

Janelle Sep 18th 2015 6:37 am

Re: Renting for life?
 
We have no children to pass on a property to, so I am quite happy to rent. We have owned houses in the past, in the US, and have been stuck with an upside down property in FL since 2008. I think we would have difficulty getting a mortgage in UK anyway, couldn't get a car loan recently.

My mother has an income of £650 a month and will not even listen to the suggestion that she should downsize to a more manageable property. She would rather live in her 3 bedroom house that she cannot afford to maintain or heat and let it fall down around her ears. Fortunately, our income will increase when we start to draw on various pensions. I'm sure our experience with the house in FL has influenced how I feel, also the flexibility of giving notice when you need to move and relying on landlord to fix major problems. We have a good landlord.

Sparkleydiva Sep 18th 2015 7:56 am

Re: Renting for life?
 

Originally Posted by christmasoompa (Post 11751175)
I'm sure that there are lots of people, the obsession with being on the property ladder does seem to be peculiarly British! Having said that, I can't imagine renting in my sixties/seventies/eighties and still having to find that money each month so I'd always advise somebody to buy if they can.

If you earn £70k then you'd have enough to buy something decent if you moved out of London, is that an option?

I have to say that i think kiwis are even more obsessed with home ownership than brits. Since i have been here, almost 8 years, the attitude towards tenants is awful, even though rents are so high.

brits1 Sep 18th 2015 8:53 am

Re: Renting for life?
 
Hi Alex,

You have obviously not failed, you have a well paid job, you are providing for a home for your wife and children, you have overcome illness and being unemployed and also a huge move back to the UK so give yourself some credit and a break, to go through all of that and still be "alive & kicking" is great. If you really want to actually own a home then you might have to make some sacrifices (horrible word I know) if you cannot afford a home in the area you are now living then move slightly out of the area until you can afford the homes. Or look to move further afield (it might make a clean start for you all and you might be surprised at areas you might not of looked at) and if you have to travel a bit longer to work then that may be one of the sacrifice's you have to make. My wonderful DOD owned his last home for 50 years (he owned others before that as well) and when I came home from Aus we rented (still are) but I was itching to have my "own" home again but my Dad use to say (which was a surprise to me) "why bother, keep your money in your pocket and keep renting, your rental is looked after you can well afford the rent and you can up sticks whenever you want to, that your money is there whenever you need it where as most people have their money in bricks and mortar and cannot really touch it unless they re-mortgage" I do know plenty of people here in the UK who rent now (their choice) which was not the case when we first lived in the UK, my long time friend who is German and lives in Germany has never owned her own home and she is very "well off" she laughs at me when I start saying "I want to buy my own home". We have not bought a home as of yet only because we are still not certain on which part of the England we want to live but the more we have rented the more I can see the positives of doing so. Good luck and give yourself a pat on the back.

michali Sep 18th 2015 9:21 am

Re: Renting for life?
 
Hi Alex, I agree with the previous posters when they say you are not a failure. Most of us make decisions at some point, which, in retrospect, may appear to have been a mistake. But we make the best decisions we can at any given time. Some work out for the best, some don't. But it is all part of life's experience. You are successfully supporting your family and doing your best at the present time. Yes, it is nice to own a place but renting has its advantages too! We rented for years abroad, which always bothered my husband. But when we decided to relocate to the UK, it was a bonus as we had nowhere we had to sell, we had bought a small flat in London years ago so we could return to that. But renting was nice in that when anything went wrong, we just called the landlord! Now we have to find a plumber, carpenter, electrician etc when there is a problem! And they cost money. Of course, it would be nice to live somewhere you own but don't let the fact that you do not at this time, detract from your enjoyment of your job and your family. I am sure this issue is not important to your family and that they love you for your love and support for them. Who knows what opportunities will present themselves to you in the future, but for now, enjoy the present!

alexleeson Sep 18th 2015 9:49 am

Re: Renting for life?
 
Thank you for the encouraging words.

I do need to appreciate more my circumstances now - we are renting a lovely home and have a great landlord. I would say we are even happier in a small home. I guess I am just putting unnecessary pressure on myself and needlessly comparing myself to others. My wife does say that we should count our blessings and not compare ourselves.

The idea of buying something somewhere we would retire to is not a bad idea at all. There are plenty of places up north that are wonderful to live and retire in - so it is worth thinking about.

Bahtatboy Sep 18th 2015 2:04 pm

Re: Renting for life?
 

Originally Posted by alexleeson (Post 11751788)
Thank you for the encouraging words.

I do need to appreciate more my circumstances now - we are renting a lovely home and have a great landlord. I would say we are even happier in a small home. I guess I am just putting unnecessary pressure on myself and needlessly comparing myself to others. My wife does say that we should count our blessings and not compare ourselves.

The idea of buying something somewhere we would retire to is not a bad idea at all. There are plenty of places up north that are wonderful to live and retire in - so it is worth thinking about.

Aye up, there are some grand places oop North. An' I don't mean Islington.

Could you take your £70k job in London and get, say, £60k somewhere that's far cheaper property-wise, and then look to buy rather than rent?


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