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Archive May 2006
Tuesday 30 May 2006
So, I've finally figured out where in the UK I want to live, and coincidentally also found a house that's reasonably in my price range and ridiculously well suited to me (meaning low-maintenance everything), but I'm still hitting the same catch as when I was only just back in the UK - nobody will do a mortgage for someone who's been out of the country (both legally and physically) for the last several years.

Thus, a half-plea half-offer - does anyone have spare money they want a good interest rate on? I would pay a 7% APR, which is better than you'll get from banks or most money-market things. Ideally UK money since then currency-exchange-rates won't confuse how much must be paid back, but other currencies would work too if the amounts are large, with whether the interest is on the numbers in your currency or mine being pre-agreed.

The loan would be pretty much locked in for ten months, so similar to a cash-deposit bank-thing (only with a couple of percent better interest rate, and over a shorter term) - after that I can either continue to pay the loan back slowly, like a normal mortgage, and you'd continue to get the high interest rate, or at that point I'd actually be able to get a normal mortgage, so I could "remortgage" the house and easily pay back any money borrowed from friendly humans.

The numbers that a normal mortgage-broker would be interested in, if they weren't rejecting me out of hand for having travelled - the house is 85000 quid, and I have a bit more than 30000 quid of that up front myself. In the unlikely case that I am unable to make payments on a loan I would sell the house in preference to screwing the loaner, but that shouldn't be an issue anyway since I can pay the loan back in ten months regardless of what my income might be doing. I will of course insure the house over any time that money is borrowed, to be certain that payback is possible.

I know a couple of people have recently sold houses and have drifting money they've been wanting to invest in a low-risk middling-high-interest thing. I am that thing! A couple of people expressed vague interest in this idea already, and if they've not changed their minds I won't need very much more at all, so I'm not just being totally insane and expecting random Livejournal friends to magically lend me 55000 quid. I have some grounds for believing it's feasible, and a few smaller amounts might just complete the deal for me.

So, if you're in a similar position to those house-selly people (or me of two years ago for that matter), with a bit of spare money that could do with becoming slightly larger and isn't doing anything else for the next year or so, email me at raven@ravenblack.net to stake your claim and make me happy. [16:47] [2 comments]
If you think you dislike broccoli, you have never had broccoli how I just cooked it. Normally I make broccoli significantly more delicious than your average broccoli-chef, to the point that people who claim to dislike broccoli will grudgingly concede that yes, it is quite nice. I've never had broccoli that compares to mine, other than my dad's. But today's broccoli was the best broccoli I have ever cooked, and not just by a little bit. You know how people often enthuse about some delicious chocolate. I have never felt like enthusing that way about a vegetable, but this was that good. This was better than any chocolate except the insanely rich vegan chocolate mousse made by several_bees. There is no way I can possibly convey how good this broccoli was, and if I could you'd just think I was lying or exaggerating wildly. It was good enough to elicit involuntary noises. I thought I might have undercooked it a bit because I was impatient, but the deliciousness of this broccoli persuades me that impatience is a virtue, not just in this one case, but always, because there's the tiniest chance that the same impatience might result in something else being so delicious, one day.

I may never eat broccoli again, because it could only be a disappointment in comparison to today's. [03:41] [7 comments]


Thursday 11 May 2006
I just saw a TV ad for mortgages, and a Nomic-style legal scam caught my eye. Can anyone poke a hole in this plan for instant free money? The Chelsea Building Society offers a mortgage that's a fixed rate (the rate is largely irrelevant), the arrangement fee is £545, you get cashback of 6% of the loan amount when you make your first monthly payment, and there's a 5% early repayment fee. If you'd like to play along at home and work out the scam for yourself, you now have all the information, don't read the next paragraph.

So, let's say you borrow £150000 on this mortgage. You're down £545 for the arrangement fee. You wait a month, there's £811 interest, so you're down £1356 total. You get your 6% cashback of £9000, so now you're up £7644. Now you pay off the entire rest of the borrowed amount, which incurs a 5% penalty of £7500, and ta-da, you're up £144 at the end of the transaction. For each additional £10000 you borrow with this scam, you get an extra £46 absolutely free. But wait, there's more! While you've borrowed the £150000, you could put it in some sort of reasonable interest bearing account, thus offsetting around half of the one-month interest penalty, which makes your scam-money £71 per £10000, which breaks even at borrowing £77000, and, eg. puts you up about £500 if you borrowed £150000.

The catch, of course, is that you need to be able to get the mortgage for the large amount without actually buying a house with it at the same time. But still, comical numbers. [14:42] [4 comments]


Thursday 4 May 2006
One more reason why I shouldn't have a mobile phone. Guess what went in the first load of laundry I've done since owning a mobile phone, that rhymes with robile groan? Bonus hint - it's not my sobile loan.

My week in short sentences with information between the lines: New washing machines and freezers are very quiet. Freezers successfully converted into fridges are even more quiet. Breadmachine bread is delicious. Breadmachine bread when you run out of wheatflour and put half rye in instead is more delicious. Rewiring plugs is easier than rewiring sockets. Rewiring plugs is harder than I remembered. Rewiring plugs might be harder because of using a stanley-knife as the primary tool. Leek and carrot soup is better than leek and potato soup. Proper ginger beer seems easy to make. Nobody sells Grolsch in the good bottles any more. Connecting up a washing machine when the only access to the pipes is behind the washing machine is hard. Moving a washing machine on your own is hard. Spices from an Indian supermarket cost a fifteenth what they do in ordinary supermarkets. The sun is out to get me. [21:02] [3 comments]