For some reason, i decided to wait until I was 28 to buy a property. Well, when I say some reason, that reason was the deposit, which for anyone who has a normal job and has to give most of it away to Mr Taxman, saving for a deposit is pretty hard.
Anyway, as luck would have it, I got flooded out of my house in 2007, and all my possessions were completely destroyed. I was sat in my living room one evening at around 7pm, when a Police Officer knocked on my front door, and told me that the River Ock, which is about 100m from my house, was about to burst its banks, and I should move all of my furniture upstairs. A great plan I thought to myself, but there was one minor stumbling block. I'd broken my ankle 3 days before, so attempting to hump settees and wide screen TV's up the stairs was going to be a touch difficult. After about 10 minutes of thinking, I decided that unless the Police Officer has a degree in Environmental Sciences, specialising in River Bed Capacities, I would be okay, as the river was quite a way away.
About half an hour later, I kept hearing my dog flap open, and as my dog was lying beside me, I was getting a bit confused. I hobbled over to the kitchen door, to see it being opened by the River Ock. It had risen dramatically, and was now flowing through the dog flap. I now panicked, mainly because I was wearing my Bananaman pyjamas, and in my current disabled condition, I knew it would take a good 20 minutes to get upstairs and get dressed. So I had to make a decision. Should I try my best to move as many of my treasured possessions as possible to higher ground, or should I hobble upstairs to put some proper clothes on.
20 minutes later, I was dressed in tracksuit bottoms and a tee shirt. I hobbled downstairs and witnessed a bizarre sight. The river had now risen in my lounge about 2 feet high, my front door was open ( I left it off the latch when the Police Officer came round, who I later found out was PC Jones BSC (Environmental Sciences, specialising in River bed capacities)), and my laminate flooring was now floating out of the front door, and onto the main street. The sheer speed of the rising water was amazing, and within 40 minutes, it was just below my waist.
To cut a long story short, I lost everything on the ground floor, and in my garage, and it took many months to get back to normal. However, the kind people at the Insurance company did their very best to ensure I got as little insurance payout as possible, but I had enough to use for a deposit on an apartment. Sod it, I don't live in America. It's a flat.
I spent 3 months looking at about 100 flats, and eventually decided on a spacious 2 bed, 1st floor flat. The nearest river to it is abour 2 miles away, so it would have to rain in biblical proportions to flood it. Finally, i'd done it. I'd secured my own property, which I would keep as an investment, watch the price go up and up, and then sell it a couple of years later to buy a very slightly bigger flat, to give me the feel of a property tycoon.
I was genius planning of mine to wait 28 years before I decided to buy, as 2 months after I got the keys to the flat, the property market crashed, and it suddenly became worth about the same price as a kettle.
This was pretty gutting news, but I tried to see the positive side in things. I currently live in a house provided with my job, so I decided to rent it out. I looked at about 10 local letting agents, and decided, as any single man with no common sense would, to go with the cheapest one. After all, what could go wrong with choosing the cheapest option? Well I'll tell you. Everything. And this is another purpose of my blog, to let you know what can happen when you rent out a property.
I don't want to mention the name of the rental company, as I wouldn't want to name and shame them, but lets just say I had the worst experience with them ever ever.(They're called "Seekers", 3 York Road, Erdington, Birmingham, West Midlands B23 6TE)
I was paying them to manage my flat, which included checking on the tenant regularly, and visiting every month to make sure everything was okay. After the 3rd month in a row of not getting any contact, or in fact rent, I was getting massively concerned, so I phoned them up, and spoke to a delightfully unhelpful jumped up pretentious arrogant man called Usman.He told me that he was literally about to call me, as he was a bit confused. He went to visit the flat the day before, but the front door had been boarded up.
I suddenly switched from the cool, confident, funny, handsome, incredibly likeable character that I am to a very irate chav. I was furious, and gave Usman some serious shit. How could he not phone me to tell me this straight away?
I jumped in my car, much like David Hasslehoff tried asking many girls to do in his chart hit, and sped off up to Birmingham, and 1 hour later, I flung the door open at the letting agents. Unfortunately, they had new carpet in the shop which rubbed on the bottom of the door, so it opened at pretty much normal speed, but they could tell I was angry. I got Usman to follow me to the flat, whereby I found the front door boarded up, with a sign saying "Police Notice: Contact Police Immediately".
Usman claimed he had no idea what was going on, so I told him and his shiny suit to wait there, and I went to the local Police station. It turned out that the "Chinese Doctor" that Usman had rented my flat out to had sub let it to the chinese mafia, and my flat was being used as a brothel, and a drug factory. The flat had been under Police survaillance for 2 months, and eventually, the Police raided it. They found one bloke in the main bedroom being serviced by a prostitute, 2 blokes in the living room watching porn, waiting for their turn, and loads of drugs, bondage gear, and porn films scattered all over the flat.
Whoever was on the Police team that raided the flat, had obviously only just passed their 'Door Breaking Down' section of their training, as they decided to smash down every door in the entire flat, for some sort of conformation that they knew what they was doing.
When I returned with the police, I went into the property, and the damage was awful. As it was classed as a 'legal forced entry', the Police were liable for none of the damages, which the Police Officer who accompanied me had great pleaseure in telling me. What's worse, none of the porn had been left.
To draw a close on this already overly long blog, it cost over £2000 to repair the damages. My flat was now officially a money drain. Since then, I've watched many thousands of pounds spunked up the walls. Which I think may have been what the police found when they raided my flat.
I was always taught at school to finish everything off with a conclusion. Therefore, my conclusion is do not buy property as a long term investment. Rent is the future. People say it's dead money renting somewhere, but I have to pay £1200 a year maintenance fees, which basically pays for a man to sweep the car park twice a year, and I self funded several months of Mafia activity and sexual entertainment in the Midlands area. If I had the choice again, I'd have not bothered using my insurance payout for a deposit on a property. I'd have found somewhere to rent long term, and paid for an on line learning course in River Bed Capacities.