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Would you buy in Welling, Kent?

(70 Posts)
stargirl04 Sun 22-Sep-13 22:54:03

Hi chaps,

I don't know Welling but it's more affordable than London, where I work and live (renting). Am trying to buy now before prices rocket further here.

I looked at this place yesterday:

What do you think? This was before a mortgage adviser told me I can borrow more for longer, upping my budget considerably (190k ish, maybe more).

The vendor, a retired Irish lady, has lived there ten years, says it's really safe, never feels threatened there. And there is no service charge, which is highly unusual for the London area. I could live there very cheaply and not worry about paying the mortgage - my earnings fluctuate as I'm self employed.

On the other hand, when I went to view another flat in SE18:

.... the estate agent told me there is greater price growth in London postcodes because you could "guarantee the property is going to go up in price".

The second flat has service charges of 2000k a year!! And the room layout was such that it would be a close call trying to fit a 3-seat sofa in instead of a 2-seater.

I really liked the Welling place, but am worried I might be buying something that won't make much money in the long run. ie, a bad investment.

Would really appreciate some advice. Thanks guys.

OP’s posts: |
beaglesaresweet Sun 22-Sep-13 23:22:40

How long do you plan on living in this new flat? if you see it purely as investment and there for a couple of yrs, go for London, but if comfort and space are important, and you spend fair share of your time in the house, then do not look at it purely logically! you don't want to feel stressed on daily basis.

Is there a loft in the Welling flat? if so you could add some value by boarding it and making it into a storage space or even converting into a room as now you can borrow more?

Imo all the areas within easy commute to london aer going to go up in price unless they aer very rough areas. I've read (on MN!) that Bexleyheath is a bit rough, and it's bordering, but it may be far enough.

I'm mylesf looking to move somewhere with a quick rail commute, and good value, so will watch with interest opinions on Welling, but I think my advice applies generally (I hope!).

CairngormsClydesdale Mon 23-Sep-13 07:41:19

Right, I know the area fairly well as I went to school a 10 minute walk from your first house.

Now I've only looked at the first flat on Westwood which is itself a very busy road - 24/7 buses and traffic like you wouldn't believe - it's also a good 10-15 minute march to the station, 10 mins to an excellent grammar school, 15 mins to shops, 15 mins to danson park etc., etc. BUT an old schoolfriend has a 2-bed house in a road perpendicular to that which says is only worth 160k... so 155 seems a little "ambitious".

CairngormsClydesdale Mon 23-Sep-13 07:43:47

Just had a quick look at the second place, nestled neatly between Kidbrooke and Shoo'ers 'ill wink. I would personally only live there if I could run 100m in 11 seconds.

stargirl04 Mon 23-Sep-13 09:19:01

Hi Cairngorms, you are right about it being a busy road as I could hear the traffic as I stood in the lounge. It was the space and lovely garden I liked. When you mention the second place, why do you say you would only live there if you could run 100m in 11 mins?

OP’s posts: |
stargirl04 Mon 23-Sep-13 09:25:05

Hi Beagles, there was no loft space with the flat - or at least I don't think there was as the vendor didn't mention it and I forgot to ask. Thanks for your advice re investment versus home. I don't know how long I will live in it in all honesty.

I've been toying with the idea of moving closer to family in Wiltshire but realistically the work is in London in my industry, so it makes sense to buy there as at least I can always rent it out if I do relocate.

Just want to buy something before prices rocket further!

OP’s posts: |
beaglesaresweet Mon 23-Sep-13 11:21:01

OP, I think Cairn means that it's a criminal hotspot - I wouldn't live near Shooter's Hill either. But Welling and almost right by the station is good I think.
I would advise against moving to Wilts at this point, you can always do it later if family there. I've done something similar and moved to the West due to prices in London and wanting a change, but guess what? now I'm looking to move back - not into London but nearby. And I don't even commute daily. But it's tough to find good value if the area isn't rough. Did you look at Bromley?
There must be a loft with the top flat, sometimes they are a hidden asset.

vj32 Mon 23-Sep-13 19:28:43

PIL live in New Eltham/Sidcup area. NE is the edge of zone 4. I've never felt the need to run and hide, although it doesn't look particularly pretty.
Have you looked there?

vj32 Mon 23-Sep-13 19:50:46

I just asked DH (who grew up in that area) and he said only if he couldn't afford to live anywhere else.

stargirl04 Tue 24-Sep-13 02:54:20

Thanks Beagles for recounting you experience of leaving London and ending up looking to return to the area: that is really helpful.

I guess I have this idealised view of life in the country near my sisters and their kids and escaping the urban jungle. But then I ask myself: "to what?" and then remind myself about all the good things about London.

I commute by motorbike and I did have a look in Bromley some time ago, but the commute was long and along busy, congested roads, not fast roads like the A2 in South East London/Kent.

As for Shooter's Hill being dangerous, I don't think it seems any worse than anywhere else in London, and it feels a lot safer than Peckham! I think Shooter's Hill is very beautiful actually; very green and peaceful, with wonderful views over the city.

Lots of people have said the following to me:

"I wouldn't live in ex-local authority" (or even on the same street where there are ex-local buildings)
"I wouldn't live in X area because it's unsafe/too rough/too boring"
"I wouldn't live near a pub/football ground"
"I wouldn't live on a busy or noisy road"
"I wouldn't live in a purpose-built flat"
"I wouldn't live there as there's a bail hostel on that street"
"I wouldn't buy shared ownership because it's a rip-off"
etc etc etc ....

Of course, if I could afford a lovely big place in a quiet, safe road in a desirable area then I would buy such a place - but I can't! At least not in London.

Meanwhile I am still not on the ladder, everyone else is buying these types of places - in London, they are still getting snapped up! - and I am still living in shared accommodation, which I hate. So I guess I'm going to have to stop listening to these "I wouldn'ts".

But I guess living on a noisy road would be a real pain.... grin

VJ - I take it your DH is from Welling? I did look at a place in New Eltham once but the prices have shot up there too ... sigh.

OP’s posts: |
oscarwilde Tue 24-Sep-13 12:31:13

Stargirl If you are buying either property as an investment I would think again. Growth in both postcodes is going to be slow imo. It certainly has been over the past 10 yrs and there has been little Olympic effect this far from new stations etc.

I have friends who grew up in Welling and another who has just sold a house in SE18. The latter had almost zero growth in 10 yrs. It was no where near the new DLR station or central Woolwich.

If you want to buy somewhere and stop paying rent, I would buy the Welling property of the two. What is the bizarre courtyard with the wooden boxes [pic7 of property 2]? Are all the trees dead? It's the least appealing space I have seen in a long time.

For both areas - get there on a weekend and walk around. Then do it again at dusk and ask yourself how keen you are to walk around at night-time from station to home.
This might be worth a viewing. No internal photos which is never a good sign but close to the station and Lewisham is appreciating
Forest Hill is a property hotspot at the moment but I can't comment on the road. Nice flat though

oscarwilde Tue 24-Sep-13 12:56:02

If you can stretch your budget then this might be worth looking at too.
Not pretty from the outside but good area and definitely appreciating. Take a look at the property prices for the past 10 yrs in the same block. This development is surrounded by some very expensive property which is probably driving it.
What about this ? Lovely condition, right in the centre of Charlton which is appreciating fast. Not much of a nightlife in the area but Greenwich and Blackheath are only a short bus ride away. It's also close to a huge hospital and a station so long term rental opportunities as a BTLet would be good.

oscarwilde Tue 24-Sep-13 12:57:17

Sorry links again. Off to do some work!

stargirl04 Wed 25-Sep-13 00:18:33

Hi Oscar, thanks for posting all those links - I will definitely give them some serious consideration. Thanks also for your information on Charlton and Lewisham, which is extremely helpful. Apparently Deptford is up and coming too, because it's one of the only central areas next to the Thames that hasn't become gentrified, or so an estate agent told me.

Truth be told, I just want somewhere I can live in primarily. And my budget could stretch to about 195k, as I didn't realise I could borrow more and over a longer period.

If you have any other ideas in terms of possible locations etc, please do let me know!

OP’s posts: |
beaglesaresweet Wed 25-Sep-13 01:22:43

what does seem to be appreciating in price alsp, is Catford. I went htere once two yrs ago and thought it was very rough and dirty, but now on rightmove there aer all sorts of flats done-up with discerning buyers in mind, really nice interiors, and good value. I wonder of the area IS improving, it must be. In which case, good to invest!

oscar do you have any knowledge on that? I have a slightly larger budget than OP but not much, and looking at all these non-obvious places.
Yes, Op, driving is different, I go by the proximity to stations which means a premium, so maybe not needing a station would win you a bigger house.

Bumblequeen Wed 25-Sep-13 08:16:23

vj32 dh and I like New Eltham but sadly it is way out of our price range.

Stargirl Deptford is run down in a lot of parts but definitely central.

Beagles Upper Catford is nicer than the areas surrounding the high st (Rushey Green).

Squishysquashy Wed 25-Sep-13 11:38:58

We've been living near Welling station for a few years, perfectly happy here. Have got to know quite a few people mainly due to having DD so we bump into people from play group etc. Very convenient for shops, leisure, library and go into Blackheath/Greenwich for restaurants/days out. I'd agree that it doesn't seem like the type of area that's an investment and I think it's hard to sell places that are very close to busy roads.

Squishysquashy Wed 25-Sep-13 11:40:43

Agree I hear Catford is going up, a few years ago was going down but have new investment now.

Quodlibet Wed 25-Sep-13 11:56:20

Deptford is the place to put your money if you're looking for an investment, out of all the places you mentioned. It's a lively (if a little bit edgy) area, v well connected, lots of interesting stuff going on and measurable change in the last couple of years.

I grew up around that neck of the woods (far SE London). Depends on your priorities, but some of the places you mentioned are seriously boring. Nothing going on at all in terms of nightlife/good restaurants/pubs/culture. Personally I can't see the point of living somewhere that is clinging to London by a thread, has most of the hassles/expense of London but doesn't have the advantages of the countryside. Personally I wouldn't live in Welling if you paid me, but maybe that's cos when I was growing up it was full of racists.

beaglesaresweet Wed 25-Sep-13 12:54:33

clinging to London by a thread grin

you are right, Quod! that was kind of my thinking when I moved out of London to afford a bigger property but also chose a town that has quite a lot going on and nearer the countryside than London. There are really quite a few places out of London that are fun, BUT if you do need to be in Central london regularly (even say twice weekly) it becomes a great big PITA as the train fares are very high - you have to missthe rush hour unless company pays for you - so you go back late, and you can't do anything in London that finishes past 9pm max - or you have to pay for a hotel. I've done the whole experiment, and I love in many ways the town I moved to, but I just can't live with the inability to go spontaneously (!) to events in London, as well as work related stuff.

For people who don't want to go to all those events, I'd definitely recommend moving out completely, especially if married and a good family social life, but if the commute is up to an hour. But for others, it's just too restrictive to be far away.

So the suburbs of London do have the advantage of being near, but yes, it's so hard to find something that's also not boring, or not very rough, and not on endless tube line, AND good value. Rail much better though.

Hither Green is ok value wise, at least it's not too far from somewhere interesting (greenwich). As to Deptford - whatdoes it connect to by the new rail? is it just the City?

But that flat in Welling (with loft!) still looks nice to me, OP.

oscarwilde Wed 25-Sep-13 13:04:09

What is the reason for SE London out of interest stargirl. If your family are based in Wiltshire, why aren't you looking at W/NW London? Total pain to slap a cross London schlep of an hour to get to a train station for a weekend at home?

My understanding is that Catford is improving out of all recognition as is Deptford which is the new up and coming Hoxton if the media is to be believed. Catford has large houses, cheap prices and a quick commute but it's still a rough area. To be honest though - every part of London has it's rough bits, it's only local knowledge that lets you buy a diamond and that means living in the area for a bit if you are unsure about a 30 yr mortgage.

Out of the two areas I'd probably pick Deptford if I was looking for a young free and single apartment but what's available on t'interweb is thoroughly depressing. Personally I like my areas leafier.

Tell us what you are actually looking for and what your priorities are? 5 mins from the station, trains every 10 mins to Charing X, offstreet parking. etc etc.

Quod grin

beaglesaresweet Wed 25-Sep-13 13:12:32

oscar, thanks for info on Catford - you see, still very rough as I thought, I wonder how many yrs would it take for it to get a nice-ish High st. I doubt I'd be happy to walk back home at night there though. Also I do like leafy places.

As you mentioned W/NW, can I ask for any specific suggestions? Acton has gone up price-wise (too much now) but still has a horrid High st. Ealing way expensive. Hounslow dreadful as slow tube to centre. etc.
Hanwell? I'm the one who needs a station within easy reach - Op commutes by motorbike, which is a whole doff thing as she needs fast roads.

beaglesaresweet Wed 25-Sep-13 13:13:43

different, not doff!

oscarwilde Wed 25-Sep-13 13:51:02

Haven't a clue about W/NW London I'm afraid. I rented for a bit in the Islington area 15 yrs ago, moved further in, and then right out to SE London. My priority was space and a garden and there was no way I was going to get that for £250k in north london with a reasonable commute.

If you are still at an age where your social life is in the west end on a Saturday night then a small, couldn't swing a cat in it apartment makes sense. If you are happy to socialise in a buzzy suburb or commuter town with an occasional jaunt to the West End and a last train home then your options are very different.

If you want a house you can start a family in, with a reasonable local school then your budget pushes you out of London completely imo. Far better to bite the bullet and just deal with it. Towns like Sevenoaks and Tonbridge, suburbs like Bromley, Chislehurst and Orpington in the SE offer fast commutes/social life with a bit more space and bang for your buck.

Plus the OP hasn't really advised on shared ownership (preparedness to, or even eligibility).

Beagles I really don't know Catford that well, I just drove through it recently and it seemed much improved. It's on the South Circular so that can't help it much but Lewisham is too and that appears to be getting better and better.

stargirl04 Wed 25-Sep-13 14:20:44

Hi guys,

Really appreciate the help and guidance I'm getting here.

Oscar, I am not young, free and single, sadly, but middle-aged and estranged from (cocklodger) partner, lol!

Ashamed to admit I'm a first-time buyer in my 40s. I've been working double shifts for 5 years to save a deposit, and have now accrued a hefty sum. I was living overseas before that, always moving around with work, and never earning enough to buy.

But I digress....

I don't particularly want to move west nearer my family in Wiltshire because I don't travel back there every single weekend, more like once every month or two, and my workplace is in Wapping, east London, although the company is relocating to London Bridge next spring.

I would prefer to prioritise the ease of commute and the A2 is a fast road. Getting to west London suburbs from my office is a right faff along congested roads through Clapham and Streatham and takes ages.

That aside, all my friends are in the SW suburbs so it would make sense, but it is too expensive! Surbiton prices and even those in Sutton have rocketed.

I agree with what everyone is saying about Catford. It's rough but prices are soaring there. The following property in Catford is just what I am looking for and herein lies a cautionary tale:

It went on the market last Friday (Sept 20). For some reason I didn't see it until Saturday night on Rightmove, rang the estatie up on Monday to arrange a viewing, estatie said there had already been two offers on it but the vendor had not committed to either, and they would get back to me.

I have a big deposit and I am chain free with finance in place. I can be out of my rental within a month, so one would think this makes me a desirable buyer.


The estatie rang me back at 5pm on Monday to say it had gone under offer to a cash buyer. I told the estatie I could pay the asking price if that made any difference and he said the cash offer was asking price.

Cash buyers I can't compete with. So the search goes on......

This part of Catford where the above property is located is pretty grotty and the flat wasn't even near a station, but it was, technically, only on the market 48 hours!

So Oscar, in response to your question, what I am looking for is a flat with a good-sized lounge 15ft x 11ins or 14ft x 12ins or 16 x 10 ft minimum, preferably with outside space (even a tiny balcony or patio), but willing to compromise on that cos of my small budget.

Also ideally would like a second bedroom but not essential. One bed with sizeable rooms is preferable to two bed with poky rooms.

I don't have to be right near a station as I commute by motorbike, but not out in the wilds either, at least within easy reach of central London - no more than 10 or 11 miles from work - and with access to decent bus routes etc. I don't mind if a place is a bit edgy, so long as it's not really bad like parts of Peckham are.

I don't want to do loads of work either, I just want to be able to move straight in.

Thanks fellow mumsnetters!

OP’s posts: |

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