My Dream Home: the story after

Readers earlier in the year will be aware that I found myself buying my Dream Home, on something of a whim, at very short notice in January. My plan had been to put the old house on the market last Easter. Things haven’t gone entirely to plan, as I’ll recount.

First off the old house needed a bit of TLC. Nothing major, but not something I have to bother with on my other valuable assets. This took a few weeks, and prevented me selling the house at the start of the year.

Secondly, I got quite a significant shock when I got the house valued. This being London, the first and almost only step required to value a house in a given postcode is to measure its square footage. Measuring is a very slick process these days involving lasers. But I couldn’t believe my eyes when I got the plans back : they were 500 sq ft short. Shurely shome mishtake? Alas not. I’ve been labouring under a misapprehension for about fifteen years about the size of my old house.

500 sq ft in North London is worth over half a million squids so this was quite a blow. In many ways I’m glad I hadn’t realised this when I was looking at new houses, but I’m certainly relieved I didn’t stretch myself to buy a more expensive Dream Home. Certainly it is a good reminder of one of life’s most important lessons: Check Your Assumptions.

In any case I then had a few of the local agents visit to tell me how wonderful my house is, how exorbitant expensive it will be and how rapidly they can sell it for me. My original strategy was to deploy two agents who between them covered all three of the UK’s large property portals but in the end I ended up with a ‘pile it high’ agent and a ‘classy one man band’ agent both of whom were on the same two portals (Zoopla/PrimeLocation being the one that matters in my market).

The pricing of a house to sell is a fascinating process.

Continue reading “My Dream Home: the story after”

My portfolio performance – September 2016. ‘Hard’ vs ‘soft’ Brexit emerges

September.  The academic new year.  The Jewish new year.  The end of the press silly season.  What did it hold for us?  More banging on about Brexit  – with the three Brexiteers all appearing to get slapped down by their boss at various points for saying we would / wouldn’t leave the single market / leave the customs union / trigger the legals by such-and-such.  Amidst the heat and the light, what actually happened?  Not a great deal.

The pound fell, of course, a bit further (though nothing compared to what, at the time of writing, the Tory party’s annual conference is doing to it).  This meant that UK equities were up. US equities were flat, remaining at record highs on some measures.  Bonds fell everywhere I track – by as much as 1.9% in the UK.  Does this mark the top of the bond cycle?  Time will tell, and time will also make a mockery of anybody who tries to make such calls.


Continue reading “My portfolio performance – September 2016. ‘Hard’ vs ‘soft’ Brexit emerges”