Thursday, July 17, 2014

the property supplement

This is a blog the starts with buying a house. It’s not about buying a house. But everything has to start somewhere.

Blogs about buying houses are very dull. And I’m sure a million well-meaning and informative blogs have already thumped every breath out of the subject. It’s also not a blog where I — not-so-sotto voce — hint at how much I spent/made on a house. That’s for terribly middle-class dinner parties that would only be enlivened if they found several missing knives in the kitchen and a serial killer in the understairs cupboard.

Plus, I don’t have any good advice about how to buy a house.

I don’t have any good advice about how to buy a house.

That’s worth repeating because I don’t.

Trust me, you’re in the wrong place for advice. I don’t give advice. I can’t even take advice. When it comes to advice, I’m teflon, it just doesn’t stick. I’m not very good at buying houses, believe me I’ve tried. This isn’t self-depreciation. I’m not. Chances are you aren’t too.

Buying a house is what grown-ups do and what the rest of us try to do to pretend we’re grown up. Like most people I stumble through the process with the slightly bemused air of a man who hasn’t realised he has a serious head injury. I’m mostly surprised to find that I am standing there in front of my new front door with a key. Probably because it’s quite possible I could buy house without a front door. I can’t be expected to think of everything. It’s a complicated business.

So yes, this is a blog the starts with buying a house. Not property. Property is the word people use when they’re out there trying to build an empire to outdo the Romans. It’s the preserve of people you’d like to hit over the head with an angry shark. I bought a house to keep the rain off my head. It’s effectively the most expensive umbrella I’ve ever bought. On the plus side, it’s the only umbrella I won’t leave on a train.

But mostly this also isn’t a blog about buying a house. It’s about bears, suburbia, and an invasion of sentient wheelie bins. It’s also not written contemporaneously. These events happened back in 2013. I reserve the right to make things up, mislead, and generally tell big stinking lies.

A note on houses

They cost too much. This is not a good thing. This is not something to celebrate.

It stinks.

It stinks for everyone. Even the dull people with concrete for a soul who like to regale with tales of how much their house is worth. They’re just idiots. Excessive house prices suck the juice out the economy and the energy from people’s reasonable aspiration to own the roof over their head. If you live in London it’s a price bubble. It will pop. Interest rates will rise. There will be every flavour of horrible to savour.

So, again, it’s not that gloaty, oleaginous kind of blog, full of the kind of smug perfect-skinned people you hope will one day find themselves trapped in a small room — admittedly well appointed — with a hungry tiger and armed with nothing other than a still hot Nando’s take-out.

I know, a bit of a politics. But I wanted you to know where I am coming from. This is not the property supplement.

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