Archive for February, 2008


Sunday, February 24th, 2008

A short history of computing by me:

Mortgages and Confusopolies

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

We are looking at mortgages, being people of a scientific disposition we are trying to approach the task of picking a mortgage.. scientifically….

This turns out to be harder than expected, a cynic might suspect that the system is in fact designed to make this kind of analysis very difficult. The first barrier is the inability to compare like for like, for instance almost every mortgage we have looked at has very slightly different terms: in the simplest case the fees vary massively and some providers use very high fees (up to 3%-4%) to reduce the headline rate, over a sample period of say 3 years these lower interest rates have no effect on the total cost of borrowing. Other examples include bundling of survey fees (HSBC will allow you to pay extra to turn the valuation fee into a full buildings survey). Comparison sites are of some use however they don’t list some major lenders, their total fee costs vary from mortgage to mortgage with some estimates including costs like land registry fees with others not, and it seems to be almost impossible to replicate their estimates based on published information from the lenders themselves.

Taking all of these things into account we eventually have a comparison for three major high-street providers. Despite different headline rates, monthly charges and arrangement fees; the total cost of borrowing over 3 years for fixed-rate mortgages from HSBC, Norwich union and C&G turns out to vary by a grand total of about £300 (this is on a cost of borrowing of around £16,000).

We did have a brief look at the new national savings bank but they won’t even lend us enough money to buy our house.

Things & stuff

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Life goes on,

My dad was 60 yesterday, he got a helicopter from us. We spent a lot of time on Sunday crashing a simulated version of it into houses/trees/the ground, I’m sure he’ll be ready to start doing the same with the real thing very shortly.

We are trying to buy a house, this is scary.

We bought a newish car a couple of weeks ago, it still goes.

My MP3 player broke after christmas (nothing at all to do with my accidentally propelling it across the office at high speed, honest), I seem to have fixed it now (by re-connecting the screen and power wires to the motherboard..). In the process I’ve found a neat little adapter which would let me replace the disk with a compact flash card which I might do at some point.