Buying A House On A Flight Path – A Bargain Or A Toxic Wasteland?

House On A Flight Path

WHO ELSE IS GUILTY?

I’m one of those deplorable fannies that went house-shopping during the midst of the pandemic, hoping to crawl through this shit-show with at least one positive in the form of a discounted property purchase.

Yup, as the world was burning to the ground around me and with blood on the streets, I had the gall to salivate over the temporary stamp-duty relief (which will end on 30 September 2021). A welcomed initiative… by every bargain-hunter on the planet, apparently!

Oh, but of course, the shopping aisles got stampeded by like-minded, penny-pinching Neanderthals. The irony is, we heated-up the property market to the point that we quickly wiped away the potential savings! A gift that quickly unravelled to be overhyped junk. Not terribly surprising, to be honest.

People actually believe they’ve been scrambling around for good opportunities.

We haven’t.

Sadly, buying a discounted commodity in an overheated environment just means we’re loitering in the Harrods bargain bucket, where reasonable prices are but a mere illusion. The leftover ill-fitting XXXXXXXL Gucci tees are still overpriced. And ghastly.

Admittedly, amongst the excitement, I almost fell victim to the alluring lustre of the current property market and one of its many traps. I nearly got lumbered with a toxic wasteland and mutant children, but all for a fair price.

Lesson learned.

Did anyone else notice the voracious influx of properties near or on a flight path that shot up for sale in the thick of the pandemic? Holy moly!

All rather logical, mind you. Anyone that has been wanting to flog a property on a hideous flight path has been gifted with a once in a lifetime opportunity. Selling those buggers to anyone with ample hearing is tough on any given day, so if you’re going to attempt to pull off the heist of the century, there’s certainly no better time to do it than when the entire aviation industry has gone tits-up [with the vast majority of planes grounded]!

House shopping close to a major airport

Have I ever told you that I live in Hertfordshire, near Stansted Airport (but far enough away from the flight path to avoid having to cut my ears off)?

I have, but you never listen.

It’s a lovely part of the world; it provides pleasant rural, country Bumpkin living, but also an ease of access to the buzzing capital and the world of black boogers! It’s great.

I knew I wanted to remain relatively close, so I had to be wary of the fact that my 5 mile radius search [from my current location] will likely return properties that frequently encounter rattling windows, gusts of toxic jet fuel fumes, and least of all, the inevitable and unbearable kerfuffle generated by aircrafts grinding away as they depart and land all-bloody-day-long at the third busiest airport in the UK.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with living in hell, it’s not just not for me, and the last thing I want to do is get swindled into that situation.

According to statista.com, there were 183,000 aircrafts landing and taking-off at Stansted Airport in 2019, that averages out to approx 500 flights per day, and 21 flights per hour.

FUCK.

THAT.

There are plenty of small towns, villages and hamlets surrounding Stansted, and it’s relatively easy to identify which one’s are too close for comfort, because the house prices sharply nose-dive into the earth’s core. Yes, many of the houses are beautiful, consisting of spacious gardens and pretentious driveways, but they come at a deafening cost. If you skateboard 5 miles down the cobble road where the air is cleaner and the world is quieter, the same properties demand 50% more. Apparently fresh air ain’t cheap, and why should it be? :/

I have to admit though, my eyes have been opened. I never realised how vast the price difference can be. I totally get why many are prepared to live close to a major airport and make the compromise of bathing in poisonous fumes, and potentially breed 3-armed, telepathic mutant children. The noise can be an issue, too.

Certainly not for me, but I get it.

On a side note, my experience is not necessarily a reflection of how every house near a UK flight path is impacted. I imagine it varies airport by airport. But broadly speaking, it’s probably safe to assume that noise and air pollution is universally undesirable.

My dream home turned out to be a radioactive mutant breeding pit!

Blimey, I forgot how boring I find viewings. So boring.

I dreaded waking up knowing I had to attend them. There’s absolutely nothing appealing about trampling through someone else’s home; it’s bitterly uncomfortable, especially when the homeowner is on duty, which most were during the pandemic. Alas, that’s how I quickly realised that vendors love sharing stories and fond memories, which, quite frankly, I couldn’t give a flying shit about.

Thanks for explaining to me why you decided to place every item of furniture the way you did, and why you made the strategic decision of converting your baby’s room into a gym (that you clearly never use) after he left for University.

Are you sure he didn’t just runaway before he dropped dead of boredom?

I missed the agents.

I said it!

After an intense and exhausting stretch of viewings, I eventually found a property that I thought I could eventually call home. Location wise, it’s a little closer towards Stansted Airport than my current residence. Actually, the distance was so little that I didn’t bother concerning myself with the normal and potentially deal-breaking questions that should be asked when house-shopping near a hub of chaos.

I viewed the property three times in total, and it was notably dead quiet each time, not a birdy in sight. That was part of the mass appeal.

The property didn’t seem undervalued (on the basis that it’s positioned outside of the flight path), but I did feel ever so slightly uncomfortable with the “fair” asking price.

A fairly valued property in 2021? Shitting hell! The obvious was staring me square in the eyes and I just ignored it, like a complete ditz. I took the easy route and said to myself, “times are batshit crazy, man! Go with it.”

At one point, I did, without much real thought or intention, ask the owner whether the airport caused any annoyances. For example, should I be mindful of poisonous clouds that could shutdown my lungs quicker than he wants to get rid of this gaff? He smirked at me, took me out into the back garden, and pointed way over there towards Mars, and smugly signalled ‘not a problem’

Well, that’s not exactly irrefutable proof.

But okay.

And with 95% of flights grounded and with a price-tag that didn’t seem like it had been violated by a flight path discount, enough was in place to overpower my microscopic noggin to throw me off the scent.

After days of contemplation, I decided I was going to pull the trigger and make an offer.

Everyone, please welcome Fate into the story.

The night before I was going to make my [perfectly reasonable] offer, I was awoken at 3am by an itch; she was screaming at me to check the flight path in relation to my beautiful new sanctuary (I was getting ahead of myself). I can’t explain it, but it happened.

With one crusty eye open, I ended up with this on my screen:

Stansted Airport flight path

Stansted Airport flight path

KIUJH*(&^*(*(*&!!!!

SHIT ME IN THE ASS!

While the property is bang-on the outskirts of all the commotion, the diagram clearly implies that aircrafts will be flying directly over the property, and it was indeed on the tail end of the flight path. The question is, how close we talking?

Well, I had no choice, did I?

Stakeout!

Staking-out house on flight path

After crying myself to sleep, I woke up the next afternoon and made my way to the property. I was prepared to sit on the layby, just in front of the driveway, all freaking day long if I had to (a few hours, max) in order to determine what I was dealing with.

After a mind-numbingly boring 1.5 hour wait, which gave me the opportunity to remind myself of how much I don’t like the game Solitaire, my heart abruptly fell out of my anal-passage, as I heard the colossal roars of an incoming aircraft. My head frantically swivelled in all directions, and there she was in all her glory… a regrettably short 15’ish metres down the road, and scraping the rooftop of the neighbours’ property, a Boeing 737 Ryanair aircraft was approaching to land.

Fuck this!

I’m out!

Dear Lord, it was so close to the property; frighteningly close and not nearly quiet enough for such a relatively tiny aircraft. I’m convinced the pilot could have seen the mascara dripping down my face.

It was obvious that the back garden of the property is the optimal location to get an eye and ear full, rendering the garden totally useless and unpleasant without earplugs and a gasmask. But more concerning was the fact that the vendor’s earlier hand-signalling, suggesting that the flights were way over there [in another dimension], was nothing more than a display of his sharp pantomime skills, which were presumably garnered from the local drama classes held by the local Vicar (who also happens to be the resident doctor and postman).

Naturally, my mind started racing through several conspiracy theories. In hindsight, it felt like the homeowner was very particular about when he was available for viewings, so I couldn’t help but wonder if I had just foiled the master plan of an evil genius. Was the cunning rat-weasel scheduling the viewings around the handful of active flights? Probably not, but maybe. Just maybe.

Bear in mind that during normal times I would have seen and heard multiple flights during each and every viewing, no doubt about it. So this window of opportunity – literally a once in a lifetime opportunity – was the perfect moment for him to bend me over like a tattooed Victorian prostitute.

In any case, if my weakling ears can’t even handle the rattle of a feeble Boeing 737 aircraft, how on earth would they deal with regular flight schedules and heftier aircrafts with a tad of oomph? They wouldn’t.

To put the final nail in the coffin, I did some research and discovered that the property is eligible for airport noise insulation schemes (e.g. triple glazed windows), and that certainly ain’t a good thing.

Final thought, the “fair price” was just a reminder of how overheated the market is. That property should have felt like a bargain in a flea market, certainly not fair.

Right, I’ve ‘eard enough (pun intended). I guess I’m staying put for now.

Why a house on a flight path isn’t for me!

I have REALLY, REALLY, REALLY outstanding and sensitive hearing. The other kids at school used to call me Owl Boy.

The adventures Owl Boy

Have you been shopping, or perhaps even trying to flog a dead horse? How did it go? Talk to me!

Landlord out xoxo

37 Join the Conversation...

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poor and penniless 22nd July, 2021 @ 09:34

bought a boarded up burnt out 3 bed house in a London Borough for £325k 1 March 2021, paid commercial stamp duty rates as uninhabitable

Did a loft conversion, rear extension and complete refurb £55k( its what we do), now worth just shy of 600k, rented for £2k a month , years rents in advance, tenant from HK

August 2021 bought commercial property 300k again commercial stamp duty in same borough, now have planning permission for 2 flats and shop rented £10k a year with v large national paint chain.

your just being lazy lol

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Dave 22nd July, 2021 @ 09:49

Good article and I agree it's easy to get caught up in the fear of missing out that seems to have taken hold. I've watched the property trainers spout the usual nonsense now is the time to buy etc buy what ?? Anything that is anywhere reasonably priced is a) in an area you'd never want to buy or b) as you describe has its issues.

Post office savings might not be sexy but they are safe I think !!

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Boj Haque 22nd July, 2021 @ 09:50

Oh my god, so refreshing to hear this. We fell victim to this and lost money in a auction property (how stupid where we) the property never completed and we lost tonnes of money!

The stupid prices on the market means we have not added anything to our portfolio. We nearly ended up spending stupid amounts of money on dodgy properties- and I mean seriously dodgy! I became the motivated buyer. I made 10 calls to book some viewings, I managed to get only 2 booked (the worst ones) One sold for significantly above asking price and the other got sold before I viewed it.

It looks like people are just jumping on the bandwagon because everyone else is...that is never a good idea, I will ride it out.

Boj
My Landlord Cares

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The Landlord 22nd July, 2021 @ 10:16

@poor and penniless

Well, you definitely did well, congrats. I'm not saying people didn't do well out of the relief, I'm just saying that many got caught up in the hype, and house prices reflected that.

I'm not sure if it had anything to do with being lazy, I just wasn't desperate to find an opportunity, and development isn't my thing :)

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The Landlord 22nd July, 2021 @ 10:18

@Dave
Ha, yup, agreed!

"Post office savings might not be sexy but they are safe I think!!", that's true, but my fear is inflation!

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Alastair McFarlane 22nd July, 2021 @ 10:20

You almost made me feel guilty... Finally got my shithead tenant out who maxed out the Covid non-payment of rent scenario and left a massive mess and £8500 in rent arrears.
I then used up my Covid incarceration to do up my long deceased parents' bungalow. The sound proofing grants for the double glazing made the property more presentable and I deliberately geared the sale towards deaf geriatrics. Opened up every door aperture to be wheelchair friendly, rewired it, dropped the anaglypta ceilings by 7" to accommodate multiple dimmable LEDs. Removed wall to create open plan kitchen diner. New kitchen and appliances, wetroom, new LVT flooring, mirror wardrobes and decking plus artificial grass outside with new fence panels on all boundaries.
SOLD 12 weeks later to a lovely elderly couple who will treasure it.
I grew up near the airport. You get used to it. At least the 737s are quieter than the old BAC 1-11s!!!

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The Landlord 22nd July, 2021 @ 10:24

@Boj Haque
Ouch! Sorry to hear that.

Granted, I didn't really do any extensive bargain hunting, but the little I do was disappointing. I couldn't really find anything where the numbers made sense (at least, not to the level you'd expect), even with the stamp duty relief.

The market is crazy overheated, in my opinion. I think you're right, a lot of people just blindly jumped onto the band wagon, assuming they're going to make massive savings with the stamp duty relief. In reality, I think the relief may have been one of the primary catalysts to pump prices.

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The Landlord 22nd July, 2021 @ 10:29

@Alastair McFarlane
Haha, congrats on removing the shithead and getting the sale!

You should feel guilty. What gives you the right to prosper at a time like this?

Man, I was talking about this the other day. I firmly believe planes genuinely used to be so much louder when I was younger (25'ish years ago), but some of my friends aren't convinced. I distinctly remember plane noises being horrendous. So I wasn't sure if I was right, or whether I was having those "back in my day everything was better [when it really wasn't]" moments...

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Emma 22nd July, 2021 @ 10:55

Lucky escape. Wonder what they would have disclosed on the sellers doc if it had got further. Sure they would have been liable if they didn’t disclose.

I offered on a stunning cottage in Cornwall just before the stamp duty break was announced and before the entire country decided they wanted to live in Cornwall. I’m never that lucky, still waiting for my punishment. I do have to put up with the roar of tractors though!!

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Alec 22nd July, 2021 @ 11:36

Fortunately (or was I just a decent planner?) I bought my first buy-to-let in Thaxted (just outside your RED zone - nice view of planes coming in but no noise).

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Stephen 22nd July, 2021 @ 11:42

I think I must be one of the lucky ones.

Instead of buying a new property, I sold / rolled over a couple of existing properties. By that I mean, I ‘sold’ two properties I owned and bought them back through a Trust for my grandchildren.

Why?

Firstly, to help with my future life planning. (They’re no longer mine, so can’t be included in my estate for ‘Care Home fees’ assuming I don’t go gar gar reading too many of these blogs - sorry, had to e said!).

And Secondly, by not having to pay the Stamp Duty, I was able to capitalise the Capital Gains Tax bill and write it off against the Stamp Duty savings. Yes. I still had to pay the 2nd homes tax. But, I’d have had to pay that anyway. At least this way, I’ve reduced my overall tax bill. And, started the future Capital Gains Tax bill from a higher starting point. (That’s the downside of rising property prices).

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Lee 22nd July, 2021 @ 12:05

Another great comical read! I stayed out of the scrum for overpriced homes (and everything else) and will wait to see how the fallout is in a couple of years. Working from home, becomes living at work for some and they will soon realise their move from a two bedroomed mortgage free property to a four bedroomed (heavily mortgaged on cheap money for now) so you can both have your own office is just a free upgrade for your employer. Keep the comedy coming Landlord ;-)

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The Landlord 22nd July, 2021 @ 13:27

@Emma

UK holiday homes in general have gone mental! I was looking at getting away for a long weekend in Cornwall (since flying comes with too much hassle right now), and the rates are just insane.

I imagine this will continue for the foreseeable, especially as working from home has become trendy.

Sorry to hear you missed out, but think of it as fate. The cottage was probably built on an ancient haunted cemetery.

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The Landlord 22nd July, 2021 @ 13:31

@Alec
Ahh, nice area. I've noticed a lot of nice properties come up for sale in Great Dunmow, which is right next door to Thaxted.

There are a lot of lovely locations around Stansted that escape the noise (bordering Essex & Herts), but still provide the nice visuals (if you're into planes). It's easy to get caught out though, so that's you need to be extra careful while flights are still limited.

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The Landlord 22nd July, 2021 @ 13:35

@Stephen,

Crickey, that's some real strategic planning, Stephen! Nice one.

It sounds like the stamp duty relief provided you with the perfect opportunity to reshuffle.

No doubt about it, there are plenty of winners (but probably more losers).

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The Landlord 22nd July, 2021 @ 13:40

@Lee,

Thanks, appreciate it :)

It got kinda' exhausting scrambling around looking for properties, so I don't blame anyone for sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the dust to settle. I can see how people could have easily got hellbent on finding a property, to the point that they were willing to make sacrifices, just to benefit from the stamp duty relief.

I'm with you now; I've decided to wait and see how things pan out. To be honest, I'm not in any immediate rush.

The market seems a little unpredictable right now, I feel like it could go either way, so I'm going to sit tight.

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Sean 22nd July, 2021 @ 14:35

I’m with Lee on this. Employers reduce their office plate size and invest in connectivity at their end. Big savings. Employees WFH pay their own heating and accommodation charges, move home to buy the boss a new office then overheat the housing market for places to live and basically tear up their working hours protection.
Plus, of course, for those who decided to move out to the farthest sticks to WFH from sheep farms in the Dales - kiss goodbye to lunch at Prets, your London weighting allowance and and enjoy the new train mega fares for when you are dragged back in to the office to show your face or be told you’ve been selected for redundancy.
This may be the brave new world for all i know, but it sure smells like a dead fish, and as an employment lawyer for 20 years I have seen a few.

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Taylor 22nd July, 2021 @ 15:44

Good points made by Lee and Sean
Most of my friends and family working in London city haven’t been told to come back into work - one of my family members were told they are moving to permanent home working. I suspect we will see more big companies shift to hybrid working when they realise £££ savings to be had. No doubt this will have a knock on impact to see house choices!

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Emma 22nd July, 2021 @ 15:48

Badly worded by me.
I DID get the cottage. Offered just before the SD break so no silly price hike and saved £17k. Big hangover following that news. Strangely it is quite close to a cemetery but not easily spooked. Cornwall had gone insane and a lot of the sales are 2nd properties and holiday lets so its all a bit contentious.
Did pick up a BTL in Plymouth as well with an easy 7% yield. Really good investment market

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David 22nd July, 2021 @ 15:56

@Landlord

Hilarious article as always!

A member of my family sold their 1 bed first floor flat and purchased a 1 bed ground floor flat with room to expand to 2 bed, I am not convinced that they made much of a saving. They made money on the sale but City based 1st floor properties in Pandemic Lockdown, not as popular as they once were.

The £15k saving stimulated the market and made a lot of lemmings run around like blue arsed flies, but in my opinion the ONLY people that really benefited were my old enemy "THE AGENTS".

The Agents increased the asking price of properties by £15k immediately, but it did not stop there; because the Stamp Duty debacle caused such an urgent rush the Agents told everybody early on "you may have to go to sealed bids" which is exactly what happened, without multiple asking price offers even being established first!

If people would not pay the over the odds price as encouraged by the Agents, they would tell buyers "don't just offer what you think it is worth, you are saving £15k and that has to be factored in across your lifetime of buying properties".

When the sealed bids came in and were all lower than asking they told sellers "take the hit, you are getting a £15k saving and need to consider your position over the term of the mortgage".

If they the Agents did not have enough or any offers they told the seller to hake hit blah blah blah,

Time and time again we see Agents hyping up prices to remove any benefit in the market (interest change etc), yet the Mortgage market has been constricted because of the Covid uncertainty, many expected to lose their jobs so interest rates less competitive and bigger deposits required unless you are gold plated.

I witnessed a number of clients affected by this madness, Tenants being told they had to leave because break term exercised, but not given the 6 months notice of an S21. Many told they had to accept viewings 6 months before they could be evicted.

Some Landlord clients got caught up in the rush and were looking to me to persuade their tenants to leave. Some had wasted a lot of time issuing flawed S21's, but some did well because they offered the tenant money to leave, 2 months rent seemed to be the sweet spot although some paid more.

This also brought out the worst in Letting Agents, again fake eviction notices that we let just expire, some issued a second fake notice (which was also ignored). A few of these went so far as using fake terminology or quoted the Housing Act as it was before the pandemic.

The letting Agent S21's ranged from mistakes like using old form to changing the text on the Coronavirus version of the form 6A.

I had one client who did not make the deadline, the Agent tried to get them to go ahead with the sale and rent back their own house from the buyer until they could find a property! The rent to be charged was £2k a month!

The Agent said that they would still benefit even without the £15k as the price whatever property they found would drop. However, even if it dropped £15k, it would not happen overnight and if it took six months they would be £15k down on the rent and have to pay the Stamp Duty.

As I said, I hate Agents!

You had a lucky miss and it goes to show, never buy in a hurry.

I must review that Crypto currency article of yours!

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Paul Barrett 22nd July, 2021 @ 16:07

Interesting blog.
Especially as I have gone through the same process.

I bought in Bishop's Stortford avoiding the flightpath areas.

This was part of my DD.

I would say the map is a bit misleading.

The noise profile though not the pollution needs to be moved to just outside Southmill Road.

This because my mother had a house there.
My flats are 6 mins walk away.
No noise.

Anything East of the stn and you are OK.

The same issue occurs with Heathrow.

The noise and pollution footprint is massive to the point that rules out West London and surrounding areas like Windsor.

You swerved a bullet but anyone buying near an airport should do DD.

There are CAA details which you have obtained.

I doubt any EA ever shows them to prospective buyers.

Fortunately I'm on the river and when I bought you could see the aircraft but not hear them.
So I bought.

I'm now in the market to sell my flats.
4 mins walk to the stn.

Everything in BS has you would say gone batshit crazy.

Practically every house SSTC!!

According to BS Tourist Centre the 'white flight' is coming from Londonistan to BS.

They are bringing their 'London money' so pushing up prices irrespective of CV19.

People are taking London profits and taking the chance to escape to far better environs.

Providing you choose wisely in Hertfordshire especially BS you will do well.

You have 4 tenant markets.

Airport workers

Local workers

London commuters

Cambridge workers.

Plus great schools and only about a 20 min bus ride to the airport.

Most of mine are occupied by Ryanair cabincrew.

They need to be able to reach Stansted within a hour from time of call from their work.

So a lot occupy in central BS.

No aircraft noise there.

But absolutely under no circumstances buy under or near that green stuff!!

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Simon 22nd July, 2021 @ 16:58

Misleading information given right at the beginning of this blog. The Stamp Duty holiday didn't finish on 30 June 2021, as the blogger has led us to believe. Relief is still available up to 30 September 2021, albeit the nil % threshold has been reduced from £500k to £250k. Normal service will resume on 1 October 2021 (i.e. £125k). Still time to grab a deal.

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Mary 22nd July, 2021 @ 19:10

Oh Landlord, oh how I love your articles, I have learnt so many lessons being a landlord over the last 20 years. Being kind to tenants who did not pay the rent reducing the rent when my tenants got pregnant, being friendly and yes of course tenant if you want a new shed fridge washing machine oven etc of course I will supply it. I have learnt the hard hard way this is a business and I need to make a profit so now I have become brisk and business like. I wanted to buy some properties near my own ones and yes they were sold as soon as they were advertised so for now I will relax and wait.
Keep up the good work and yes some of my properties are on a flight path but my tenants are happy to live there.

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Nigel 22nd July, 2021 @ 20:28

Thanks for all the info. The other problem that people either ignore or do not notice is what is next door at ground level! That is - I cannot understand why somebody would buy a property right next to an electricity sub-station with all its hums and electro-magnetic fields that surely must be dangerous to health. In our village centre here, there has been 4 properties built right next to one, but they all sold pdq. We all say that we would not buy a property under electricity cables between pylons or right next to the pylon but many ignore the dangers. My friend did just that and his health went rapidly downhill until he left this world in an awful death.
Therefore, I think that we would either have difficulty getting a tenant for such locations or much lower rents!
Anybody in these circumstances out there?

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The Landlord 22nd July, 2021 @ 20:50

@Emma
Ahhh, got you. Well in that case, congrats!!

I like how you say you picked up another BTL, like you added to your Royal Doulton figurines collection, haha!

I think I'm going to buy another BTL at some point this year, but not going to rush anything. The rate of inflation and the piss-poor interest rates is scaring me from saving more and more.

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'Leycesteria' 22nd July, 2021 @ 20:53

Yes, me too, I failed as well. In the 'desirable' but Gatwick laden air on the Surrey/Sussex border there have been waves of houses coming onto the market for the first time in decades, and the prices are a serious hike from what they were! They range from the pretentious mansion, strewn with concrete horse head 'art objects' and unweildy candelabra, (do people really share their homes with these ghastly objects, or do they secrete them in handy cupboards and bring them out just for the photographer or the viewer?); to the thinly disguised 'hovel' masquerading as a de-res. Am I wrong in admiring 'clever' photography while despising the old 'fish-eye or wide angle lens'? I find that I have pored over the on-line details of dozens of houses(often multiple times), but fortunately I have visited very few. For example on visiting one property, much lusted after online, I reluctantly assessed the traffic noise level (in person) to be dire, never mind the transition from our current house in a quiet country lane to a several times-a-day traffic jam outside the house, to be possible 'curtains' for two moggies and a small dog. Sometimes I have just seen the short cuts that the owner has taken on materials or design or fittings - and despaired! As a rather 'haphazard' rather than 'houseproud' female I am frequently in awe of the cleanliness of other people's houses, but sometimes these same houses seem to lack any vestige of 'character' - which brings me to the bifold encased acres of kitchen/diner/living room currently replicated everywhere - will we view the acres of meticulously (to-be) cleaned white floor with strategically grouped 'dining' and 'sitting' areas (and difficult gaps) with disfavour in a few years? There are disadvantages to having too much glazing or too many 'openings' in rooms - where the hell do you put the (useful) furniture? There is still a lot of property out there but would you want it? I have a life-long love of houses, especially really 'old' houses, but the poky room sizes, the changes of level, two steps up or down, all over the place, and the miserable cost of the upkeep of the fabric. You do have to be fairly wealthy to keep these houses in the manner in which the heritage people would like you to keep them.

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The Landlord 22nd July, 2021 @ 21:07

@David,

Thanks, David :)

Agreed, buying in the city (any city) seems high-risk right now, because more people seem to be moving away as companies have adjusted to a remote working environment. I can't see things going back the way they were, at least, not close to what it was. From a financial perspective, it makes a lot of sense for employers to have their staff work remotely if they can.

That's why beach homes (and properties in rural areas) have gone mental recently (exactly what me and Emma have been discussing).

Completely agree with your sentiments; as soon as the stamp duty relief became a thing, prices increased everywhere else.

The industry basically gave with one hand and took away with the other!

Not only were agents increasing the asking prices, but to add insult to injury, a bunch of parasite conveyance solicitors introduced ridiculous premium services overnight, which included "completion before stamp-duty deadline guaranteed" costing double the amount of their standard "snail" service.

An offer, that presumably, was too critical to pass up on by many buyers/sellers.

Are you kidding me?

Here's an idea, how about you actually work efficiently by "default" for your customers, and not make us pay more for it?

If I didn't laugh, I'd cry.

As far as I can tell, in the bigger picture, most people didn't and won't find bargains.

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The Landlord 22nd July, 2021 @ 21:16

@Paul

Ahh, I love Bishop's Stortford, I go there frequently. The town centre is lovely, plenty of nice cafes and restaurants.

Funny you mentioned Stortford, because it's one of those locations where house prices sharply rocket from it's neighbouring town/village, because it just falls outside flight path.

I noticed lots of houses shot up for sale during the pandemic in Birchanger (a tiny village 2-3 miles from Stortford, I'm sure you're familiar with it), because it's on the flight path. Very nice properties.

Same properties are 50% more in Stortford.

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The Landlord 22nd July, 2021 @ 21:23

@Simon
Ah, sorry. My bad.

I know the threshold changed in June, and the relief completely ends in Sep, I was just careless with my wording. I have updated the date.

Either way, there are no deals :)

Well, at least, I don't think the stamp duty relief created any out of the ordinary deals that couldn't be found during any climate. It may have done at the very beginning, but then I think the relief caused prices to rally to the point most savings were wiped away (as I said in my post).

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The Landlord 22nd July, 2021 @ 21:28

@Mary,

Thanks Mary, appreciate it.

I hear ya'. I think the only way to learn those lessons is by actually going through it, and no amount of education (or blogging) can impart those practical skills.

I still think BTLs near airports can do incredibly well, because there will always be huge demand by the local workforce.

However, since the specific property I blogged about was for my own personal residence, it's a difference scenario :)

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The Landlord 22nd July, 2021 @ 21:36

@Nigel,

Oh Jesus, that's awful (regarding your friend).

To be honest, I've never really thought about electricity sub-stations, but that's probably because I've never even looked at, or even noticed properties next to one. I'd probably just ignore the property if I did spot one for sale, because I'm quite particular about surroundings. For example, I would never buy a property next a pub (why on earth do people do that?). I presume anything jarring like huge electrical infrastructures would fall into the same category.

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The Landlord 22nd July, 2021 @ 22:58

@Leycesteria

Haha, I think we shared very similar experiences. House-shopping, both online and offline, can quickly get exhausting when you're encountering dud after dud.

I also prefer older houses (not necessarily "old", as I try to avoid grade 2 listed), because they tend to be unique and have character. Like you pointed out, modern houses seem to come off the same conveyor belt. Not to mention, the material used is dire.

Ha, I know exactly what you mean about the random level changes and low ceilings in older houses. Apparently that is "character", I call it a royal pain in the butt.

Furniture? Pfft. How old are you, like, 200?

Furniture is dead. Less is more.

Minimalism is the now. If you possess more than a lamp and a toothbrush I can't even be friends with you anymore.

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Kate 28th July, 2021 @ 14:45

Did you look at Great Hallingbury by any chance? :) I know my old home was put up for sale by the landlord (and taken off the market just as quickly), but for 1.2k a month, I got to live in a castle-like house complete with moat as well as common access to a tennis court whose fence is in such terrible condition that each night we'd watch badgers skulking past as a herd of fallow deer played on the court. The place is mentioned in in doomsday book, but was rebuilt in the 19tu century. Indoors, you barely noticed the planes unless the windows were open. If you want to touch the ceiling in any room, you'd best get a REALLY LONG ladder. A 7-foot-tall person could jump in the doorway and not bump their head. My old 4-bed, 2-storey house could've fitted in our quarter of that building. Location- and neighbour-wise, it's idyllic. On the other hand, sometimes I found getting into Stortford was hell, and parking was worse (but on the other hand, I never really got to know the area too well in all my years there - I just know to avoid the A414 when schools are off if I want to keep my windscreen in good nick). Just remember that every flight path has a diamond in the rough. :)

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The Landlord 29th July, 2021 @ 13:46

Hi @ Kate,

Hah, I certainly did look at houses in Great Hallingbury, another lovely little village near Stansted, with amazing houses. Also noticed houses shot up for sale, there.

I was told that one half of the village is more exposed to noise pollution than the other. Not sure if that's actually the case, but either way, apparently GH is less brutal than Birchanger and Takeley.

Interesting that you struggled to get into Stortford, never really experienced that myself. On the parking front, they're just in the process of opening a big new multi story in the middle of town, so I'm guessing parking was a legit issue. BS has really upped its game in terms of infrastructure and amenities (the high-street is now full of bars and restaurants, which always seem to be buzzing).

Are you still in the local area?

100% agree. I'm not completely against living on a flight path, because I know some houses are less impacted than others, so those diamonds definitely exist! Just need to be proper careful not to get caught out, especially right now.

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Paul Barrett 29th July, 2021 @ 14:10

The stuff going on in B Stortford is the Goods Yard development.

This is a massive development that will take a few more years to complete.
Yes a MS carpark is now on the site of the old ground level stn carpark.

So a much better use of space.

There will be loads of flats eventually.

There will be a hotel and a care home.

Personally I wouldn't want to live in flats next to a MS.

My flats are 1 min walk away and far better located facing the river.

The new flats will be adjacent to the stn.

I wouldn't invest in any of them.

My flats are in the Goldilocks position.
No aircraft or train noise.

Yet am only 4 mins walk to the stn!!

As you may notice the excellent map highlighting the flightpaths is where you should avoid buying any property.

The Council required the flightpath to circumvent the outskirts of BS.

Of course that has meant the flightpaths have gone over other areas.

Those areas should be avoided unless you accept property values won't be as much as areas not under the flightpaths.

Capital values will always be more away from noisy areas however that noise is created.

Anyone doing DD must surely understand that an airport will affect property values.

It is all down to personal choice but one must be aware of the detrimental effects an airport can have on property values.

It is all about noise footprint.

If you look at the CAA noise footprint for Heathrow it is massive.

There is NO way I would buy any property within that noise footprint or adjacent to flightpaths.

Which is why I choose to have nothing to do with that part of the country.

I always consider future potential Capital values as part of the total business proposition.

No matter how good the yield may be near an airport that is just part of the business value.

Always consider exit.
You want to have ideally achieved substantial CG.

You won't get that next to an airport and it's flightpaths!!

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Kate 29th July, 2021 @ 14:44

@The Landlord

You're not wrong - the last conversation I had with someone regarding our landlord at the time, he was looking at around the £390k mark, which definitely wouldn't have been unreasonable. He put it on the market for... perhaps 2 months earlier this year at £450k-£490k, my former neighbour said. Then he decided to keep it on. It does interest me that prices have shot up. I can't help wondering why...

I think in my case when it came to finding a space, I only really started going into town when my kid was born. To cut a long story short, her birth left me walking like Quasimodo's elderly disabled mother for a while. The nail in the coffin for me though was when I'd managed to get a babysitter one morning just long enough to go and see a movie, but couldn't find a parking spot anywhere (taking my limited walking capabilities at the time into account). However, I moved from there in July last year. Before lockdown there were quite a few important roads in BS closed for I think M11 reasons, etc., so while I WOULD visit town, I'd do it as early in the morning as I could.

I wouldn't have minded staying in the area, but considering how few places accept pets - I inherited mine from my late mother so removing them wasn't going to happen - the only place at the time I could find within my budget suitable for my kid and animals was in Bassingbourn. Arguably, I've moved from one flight path to another, but in Bassingbourn's case it's biplanes, warplanes and chinooks from Duxford and the barracks. Instead of trying to ignore the planes, we run out with watch them. It's not as picturesque - I can't exactly take a walk down to the forest with my dog now - but in other ways it's so much better.

I'm curious as to where in Herts you are. Sawbridgeworth, perhaps? I know if I was in Sawbo, I'd prefer B/S to Harlow. Harlow's town centre is very manufactured-looking whereas B/S's seems far more natural. If you know what I mean - obviously both are manufactured, just one is prettier than the other.

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The Landlord 3rd August, 2021 @ 10:17

@Kate,
I think house prices in general have gone a bit silly for various reasons, but to name a few: stamp duty relief (as discussed), ridiculously low interest rates, fear of hyper inflation (i.e. keeping money in property is probably a good hedge right now) etc.

Haha, yeah, if you're referring to the cinema in BS, there's currently a Travel Lodge being built on the old parking lot, so parking around there is rather limited at the moment.

Completely agree, I definitely prefer BS to Harlow. The town centre is like a rundown version of Lakeside. BS is definitely more authentic and more natural looking, and has an old town look and feel about it. Plus, it's no way near as busy as Harlow.

You're going in the wrong direction, I'm closer to the other side of Stansted (not towards Sawbo/Harlow) :)

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