Forces Homes

Discussion in 'Finance, Property, Law' started by big_bad_bill, Aug 17, 2004.

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  1. I'm contemplating getting into the housing market, but as I'm in Germany, this is starting to look like a pain.

    I've come across a flyer from Forces Homes who reckon that they will do every thing for me, from finding the house to finding mortage etc. Fee £500 up front with a final fee of 3% of the price (less the £500).

    Has anyone had dealings with them? Does this fee sound too much (or too good)?

    Any help will be appreciated.
  2. I'm in the same boat as big bad bill and have just contacted blueforces who run a forces house purchase scheme. I'd appreciate any comments on them. Thanks,

  3. Don't know about Forces Homes, but this is from a financial service I subscribe to:

    It doesn't please us to say it but the UK property crash has begun. In fact, the bubble burst last month. Hey-ho, you can't have everything. And you surely can't have house prices rising 7 times faster than RPI inflation - four years after a stock market crash - without storing up a whole lot more trouble at the top.
    Back in June, we thought that UK house prices were already starting to slip. As usual, we had no more evidence than anti-terrorist police on a dawn raid in Dudley. A new instruction unsold flat there...fewer buyers registering with estate agents...
    This morning, July's break is clear to see. Estate agency group Countrywide yesterday reported making a pre-tax profit of £30.2m in the six months to June. That was up 38% from the first half of 2003. But come July, and it arranged 25% fewer sales than in the same month last year.
    A property crash? Mr Market thinks so. Countrywide's shares fell 35 pence on the news...down 10.9% for the day to 285p. Fellow home-huckster Savills also ended Thursday sharply lower. It closed 7% lower for the day, 14% off for the week, and 27% down from its top back in
    The headline data is sure to confuse plenty more investors yet, however. In total, the FTSE's Real Estate Sector closed just 0.3% off yesterday. Construction & Building Materials slipped 0.2%. The Banking Sector actually rose, up 0.5% for the day as the FTSE All-Share crept 0.3% higher. The FTSE100 rose 16 points to 4,328.
    Looking at the plunge in estate agency stocks,"says our friend, Zurich Club advisor David Guthrie in a note, "Mr Market is clearly telling investors and homeowners where those Halifax and Nationwide numbers will be heading." A report from the Council of Mortgage Lenders agrees. The top is in - and the nation's estate agents are point the way down...
    According to both Nationwide and Halifax, annual house price growth in July hit its highest for over a year. Hometrack reckons average national house prices fell one tenth of a percent in July, while the number of new buyers dropped by 4%, "practically wiping out the excess demand that had prevailed previously," says the CML.
    But Rightmove collects 'asking price' data from estate agents, rather than mortgage approvals, which lag by up to 10 weeks. Its latest report shows that in the 3-week period to July 31, the average asking price fell by 0.5% - "incontrovertible evidence that prices are coming off their peaks," according to Miles Shipside, Rightmove's commercial director.
    The wider impact of falling property values on UK Plc? We've warned countless times that Britain's economic growth now depends on the strength of house-price inflation. Gordon Brown, the Bank of England and property-show TV producers have conspired to ensure the feelgood factor scours the property pages every day, before jumping into his car each weekend and heading straight for B&Q.
    Net Mortgage Equity Withdrawal now totals £146bn from the stock market top of 2000. This is secured debt NOT used for home improvements or repairs. In the 9 months to June this year, it equalled an 8% rise in the nation's disposable income. A recent report from the CEBR, meanwhile, estimates that construction spending has driven 20% of GDP growth in the past year, and 34% of net job creation since 2002. Now, Dr Madsen Pirie of the Adam Smith Institute has spotted that this was Gordon Brown's plan all along...
    "Keynesian policies sought to smooth the economic cycle by increased government spending into the downturn," he reminds his readers. "The extra public spending would boost demand, stimulate investment and create jobs at a time when private demand was falling, thus making the trough of the economic cycle less severe."
    Such policies seemed to work at first. "But the government demand was not a real one," Dr Pirie continues. "It sent false signals and caused industry to over-invest, especially in producer goods. When the government coffers closed, industry found itself with surplus capacity, and headed for painful contraction and attendant job losses."
    Today, "governments seem to have stumbled upon a modern version," Dr Pirie says, "in which private spending rather than just government spending is encouraged to smooth the economic cycle. Prompted largely by government policies in both the UK and USA, private consumption did not dry up as the most recent cycle turned down. Instead it increased, largely at the expense of saving and by increasing levels of indebtedness."
    Dr Pirie warns this privatised socialism may still result in crippling mis-investment by business, inflation in consumer prices, stagflation in industry, and a much-delayed credit crunch. "It remains to be seen if the new model Keynesianism can escape the consequences of the old," he concludes.
    Well, you know our guess. The impact of today's property crash won't be anything like the last plunge...which cut inflation-adjusted prices in half at the bottom...and took 7 years to recover the peak.

    No, this time round will be much worse, we fear. Much.

    So I would think twice about getting into the market just now - I am told that 3-6 months could be a better time.
  4. 3% to me sounds far too much especially at current prices, remember that will be on top of your legal fees which can top 7-10K dependant on area and cost of house.

    If you are buying overseas get family to find the property then deal with your lender over the phone/fax and internet.

    Everything can be arranged long range, they want your buisness so will be prepared to courier the contract anywhere. Even a quick flight over to sign contracts will be cheaper than 3% arrangement fee.

    Thats how the majority of my mates bought their homes while overseas.

    Good luck
  5. chimera

    chimera LE Moderator

    Whichever way you go you should get into the property market as soon as you can. This has nothing to do with whether the market is rising or falling, but simply so you have some investment behind you. In 1984, having been in the Army for only a few years, and as a single man, I was told exactly that, and bought a flat. Money was a bit tight for a year or 2, but the one thing that we have going for us in the Army is that our pay only ever goes up, even if you don't get promoted. 20 years on, I have moved up the market, and have the security of knowing that I could leave the Army now, and have somewhere to live, without the worry of where to get a deposit or pay a mortgage.

    Being in Germany is a bit of a pain, but it can be done. I did the bulk of a house purchase on a Buy to Let property from Bosnia by email and BFPO.

    Go for it!!
  6. Excellent advice.

    I bought my house whilst on Op Tour in Bosnia, (I was single at the time), I viewed it over the net, got all the fees paid for by credit card, the letting agency sorted out tenants, it has doubled in value, and I've never been in it once.

    I found the problem is that soldiers talk about getting onto the housing market and then find reasons not to do so. I admit if you are married etc.. it may present more problems, but by not getting at least some form of property than all you will do is compound them.

    If you can get a Forces-Compliant firm to do it for you then great, but to be honest it is quicker to cut out the middle man and do it yourself. From start to finish it took me 3 weeks.
  7. Good CO

    Good CO LE Admin

    I've had an email from Forces Homes asking for the figures in Big Bad Bill's first post to be clarified - so, from the horse's mouth:

    We Search for our clients ideal
    property, organise the mortgage, manage the complete purchase and arrange
    the letting for those clients who wish to buy to let whilst still have years
    to serve at home or overseas.

    To allow transparency and ease of mind we charge a fixed fee, which still
    includes all the professional and legal fees, so our clients know exactly
    what it is going to cost them from the off, allowing them to make a fully
    informed decision. Our fee is scaled in relation to the price of the
    property, which is in line with all the professional agents we use. We have
    though managed as a company to obtain a discount from the agencies we use,
    this discount we pass straight back, penny for penny to our clients.

    To start work we insist on a £500 deposit to get rid of time wasters which
    is deducted from the final invoice. If for some reason we are unable to get
    a mortgage for one of our clients, we refund £450 retaining £50 for
    administration fee. To date we have a 100% success rate in getting our
    clients a mortgage with leading mortgage companies. Those who have been
    posted overseas with a BFPO address for years, have no credit history or who
    have not put themselves on the UK voting role will know how difficult this

    Our services are:

    * A full property finding service as explained above.

    * Management service for those clients who have found a property but
    have not got the time or knowledge to manage the sale.

    * Tailored service � for clients who wish us to sort out a
    particular part of their sale, ie mortgage/re-mortgage, valuation or survey

    Our web site is <>
    please feel free to visit.
  8. Oracle,
    It is always difficult to predict the market, but I am a Chartered Surveyor and have seen much more activity in the past few weeks than in the past few months in terms of instructions for surveys. Although it is early days yet an increase in surveys tends to proceed an ancrease in sales, so I'd say the market is starting to look up. The market has been pretty flat for the last year, so I think the predictions you have are unlikely to become a realoty.

    However, I would not be looking at buy to let if you are looking for a good investment. The rental market is not good, returns are pretty poor, and with changes the pensions regime a lot more people are likely to be jumping on that band wagon shortly.

    On Forces Homes, I don't know them and they may be great. However, many Chartered Surveyors (not me, so don't ask) provide similar services and provide you with the additional security that comes from being regulated professionals with indemnity insurance etc. So if you are looking for someone to find you a property try looking for a surveyor listed as a relocation agent here