Flats: Choose From Four Or Wait For More?

You may have gathered that I’ve been busy looking for a flat to buy. So I thought I’d write about my options – maybe you are interested, and writing tends to help me.

Before I go on. I do like Croydon. Seriously.

No, I do not want to move to Reading, Hull, Spain (well I do but cannot leave family really), Crystal Palace, Brighton, Redhill, Woking, Kent and all the other places kindly suggested to me that are not London.

And nor do I want to run a management company looking after 300 flats. Yep, service charges are a pain but so is having to replace guttering or whatever nonsense you have to do on a freehold.

Oh and I know the market is peaky and interest rates are high. There’s an argument for waiting and I’ll come onto that later – but likewise prices have fallen in Croydon, interest rates could go higher and I’m also getting too old – two more years and I’d be down to a 24 year mortgage, so things get more difficult.

So here’s what I’m considering:

Leon House

I’ve seen multiple flats here. Those on the south side have a better view than the north side, and there are going to be more flats built on the north side.

It’s a 1960’s brutalist concrete office block – which is a selling point if you appreciate my style. Plus inside is really nicely finished.

Interestingly they were all sold on Help To Buy in 2016/17 at a higher price than they are listed now.

This is the one I’ve looked at on the 17th floor, this is the one I looked at on the 14th floor – identical but 3 floors lower. The 14th floor one was originally listed for £310,000 and is now at £300,000 – and we think previously listed at £320,000 with a different estate agent. The 17th floor one is listed at £300,000.

There are other flats listed there, one is on the 5th floor at £280,000, there’s one on the 11th floor at £295,000 with a different layout and another one listed yesterday at £300,000 on the 13th floor, also looks to be a different layout.

No balcony, but it does have multiple rooftop terraces – and I like the vibe of the place, I could see myself living here – and it feels like there is a community of sorts. The concierge seems sound and it feels secure. I assume lots are going for sale because their 5 year Help To Buy scheme thing has ended, and they cannot afford it any more.

Vita Apartments

This one my sister prefers and it does have advantages – it is right next to the train station and it has a balcony with a decent view…of Croydon. But on the flip side, it is quite far away from any parks – and I do like a walk in a park most days.

Listed at £294,000 which is reduced from £320,000, and apparently the owner is keen to sell.

I was ready to put an offer in after a second viewing during the sunset, until I had a quick Google for “Vita Apartments” and found a Reddit post stating, “DO NOT MOVE INTO VITA APARTMENTS”.

Another selling point from the estate agent was that the service charge hadn’t gone up much in recent years, in fact it went down a little in the most recent year…you know…the 10% inflation year. A little more digging and I found that it seems to have been lower because a resident took the management company (who have awful reviews) to a tribunal.

I really like the flat, and the balcony, but something smells fishy here.

The Penthouse

Finally, I was taken to see a penthouse flat, which was listed at £320,000 (way out of my budget) but still the estate agent wanted me to see it.

Of course, I really liked it, but I’m not going to sacrifice a holiday every year to extend myself further.

And I’ve just seen that it is off the market anyway.

Leon House It Is Then?

I’ve put an offer in for the 17th floor flat at Leon House, and there was some movement from the seller. I’ve gone back a week ago, and studious silence since then. Maybe I should chase him? Oh apparently there is “another interested buyer” though. Of course there is. Perhaps he is telling the truth – I quite liked this estate agent, more chilled than Foxtons and he also looked a bit like Jeremy Hunt. I didn’t say that to him.

I also put in an offer for the 14th floor flat at Leon House, after 15 minutes of Foxtons arguing with and negging me – is it a sales strategy to try to make the potential buyer feel incompetent? Was close to telling him to stick it, though he seems to be ignoring me now anyway. The offer was flat-out rejected, so I guess the seller wants her £300,000 – and I’m not paying £300,000.

I haven’t ruled out Vita Apartments – the balcony and view are pretty appealing – and maybe occasionally being stuck in a lift for hours, or having a flooded flat, is worth it if the flat is cheaper? This is also with Foxtons who seem to have given up with me, and haven’t bothered replying to my request for a breakdown of the service charges.

So the other option is wait. The flats at Leon House are not selling – flats in Croydon at the upper end, which this is, don’t seem to be selling (though estate agents are telling me they’ve never been busier) – flats below £250,000 do seem to be selling a bit.

So maybe prices come down to a more amenable level. Maybe I get a pay rise. Maybe my M&S shares boom. Maybe interest rates come down. Lol. Maybe interest rates go up and force sellers to come down in price.

Or maybe something perfect will appear. The estate agent looking after the 5th floor flat at Leon House did suggest to me that £275,000 could happen. Is it worth paying £15,000+ more for a better view? Probably. Sounds a lot to pay just for a view though. £80 a month.

(Visited 63 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *