Orkney - Buy or Build

Covering Market, Trends, and Practical (but see LEMON-AID for Building & DIY)
idpickering
Lemon Slice
Posts: 278
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 5:04 pm

Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby idpickering » December 27th, 2016, 7:32 am

Good morning all.

My Wife has this idea that we move to Orkney in about 5 years. There is a family connection so she has experience of being there, and Shetland. She talks about it being a better option to buy a plot of land in Orkney and build our own house rather than buy one and redo it to our tastes. Has anyone here had any experience in this up there, that can offer any pointers? Dos and don'ts etc? We live in Nottinghamshire currently.

Regards,

Ian

Snorvey
Lemon Slice
Posts: 290
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 12:51 pm

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby Snorvey » December 27th, 2016, 9:08 am

2nd best place to live in the UK...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-s ... s-38347021

The weather will be your biggest challenge Ian. Then the lack of population. A harsh winter will be tough on you, that is a certainty.

Apart from that, it's a glorious place and if you embrace what it has to offer, then you'll love it.

Dod1010
2 Lemon pips
Posts: 242
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 10:18 am

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby Dod1010 » December 27th, 2016, 9:13 am

I have plenty of relatives in Caithness but Orkney is a different world. When I asked why there so many new houses all over the Highlands (I know Orkney is not the Highlands) I was told that it is cheaper to knock a place down and build as new than to renovate an old place. That is a great shame, but the saving in VAT is worth thinking about.

Frankly if I had my time again, although I was born in Scotland, I do not think I would retire here. The climate, political and meteorological, puts me off for one thing. Of course outside of the Central Belt and the A9 to Inverness at least, traffic is much lighter and that is an advantage, but I am afraid I sometimes find it a fairly depressing place. I would advise you to think carefully about it.

OTOH take a trip up there next summer and do a bit if research. I found it an interesting place to visit and very different.

Dod1010
2 Lemon pips
Posts: 242
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 10:18 am

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby Dod1010 » December 27th, 2016, 9:17 am

I am afraid that I cannot see that having the largest number of pubs per head of population is much of an attraction. That may just show the boredom level or lack of other cultural attractions.

If you want/need to live in Scotland Orkney might not a bad place but my question is why would you want to live in Scotland anyway?

idpickering
Lemon Slice
Posts: 278
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 5:04 pm

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby idpickering » December 27th, 2016, 12:06 pm

Thank you very much for your posts guys. Most helpful To be honest it's her baby. I'll be 60 by then and intend to stop working, and living off my HYP as it was always intended to be so. I only ever lived in Scotland when I was a kid. At 77 Redhall Drive, Longstone, Edinburgh, aged 14 - 16. Dad was in the Army there. Strange I remember the address LOL. Must've had an effect on me. My wife buried her parents up in Orkney a few months ago such as is her connection to the place, and there's too I add. It's all very idealistic IMHO, but she has her heart set on this. As she's followed me all over the place in the Army over the years I think I owe her the chance for me to follow her for a change. Interesting about it being beter to build/rebuild rather than just buying? Thanks, any more pointers to cheap builders at least? :D

Ian.

staffordian
2 Lemon pips
Posts: 229
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 4:20 pm

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby staffordian » December 27th, 2016, 3:53 pm

Ian, there was a Grand Designs programme featuring a new build on the Isle of Skye a few years back...

Episode 7 "The Larch-Clad House" Isle of Skye 31 October 2012
Kevin McCloud meets artists Indi and Rebecca, who are planning to build a modern, larch-clad home on the Isle of Skye, with a second hand-crafted building alongside to use as their studio, all on a tight budget of £150,000. They have been saving for years, but making it happen will mean taking on the savage weather, not to mention the sceptical locals - and as if that weren't enough, most of the work is being done by one man, local builder Donald.


Whilst not perhaps as remote, it might give some insight into what is involved if you can track it down online or on Channel 4's website.

Staffordian

idpickering
Lemon Slice
Posts: 278
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 5:04 pm

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby idpickering » December 27th, 2016, 5:15 pm

staffordian wrote:Ian, there was a Grand Designs programme featuring a new build on the Isle of Skye a few years back...

Episode 7 "The Larch-Clad House" Isle of Skye 31 October 2012
Kevin McCloud meets artists Indi and Rebecca, who are planning to build a modern, larch-clad home on the Isle of Skye, with a second hand-crafted building alongside to use as their studio, all on a tight budget of £150,000. They have been saving for years, but making it happen will mean taking on the savage weather, not to mention the sceptical locals - and as if that weren't enough, most of the work is being done by one man, local builder Donald.


Whilst not perhaps as remote, it might give some insight into what is involved if you can track it down online or on Channel 4's website.

Staffordian


Hi Staffordian,

Thanks for your input. I shall certainly check that out.

Regards,

Ian.

ap8889
2 Lemon pips
Posts: 131
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 10:55 am

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby ap8889 » December 27th, 2016, 6:13 pm

Ian, I had no idea you were a veteran.

Nothing on earth would make me want to overwinter in Orkney, or anywhere that far North. I think there are far more practical places for me personally. I was with a stunning blond Orcadian lass for a while, who I think would best be described as Amazonian. My experience was the Orcadians can be somewhat insular and as an outsider I never felt comfortable there. She was the only thing that made the sub-Arctic conditions there tolerable...

I still think if she had come from somewhere warmer I might still be with her. As it was, she didn't see herself living on the mainland long term and I couldn't tolerate island life as a permanent arrangement, so regretfully we parted. Still think about her sometimes, she was a hell of a good-looking girl....

idpickering
Lemon Slice
Posts: 278
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 5:04 pm

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby idpickering » December 28th, 2016, 2:25 am

ap8889 wrote:Ian, I had no idea you were a veteran.

Nothing on earth would make me want to overwinter in Orkney, or anywhere that far North. I think there are far more practical places for me personally. I was with a stunning blond Orcadian lass for a while, who I think would best be described as Amazonian. My experience was the Orcadians can be somewhat insular and as an outsider I never felt comfortable there. She was the only thing that made the sub-Arctic conditions there tolerable...

I still think if she had come from somewhere warmer I might still be with her. As it was, she didn't see herself living on the mainland long term and I couldn't tolerate island life as a permanent arrangement, so regretfully we parted. Still think about her sometimes, she was a hell of a good-looking girl....


Thanks for your post ap8889. I served in the Army for 14 years and was a copper before that. Your words of caution are most welcome. "Message received, and out!"

Ian.

Bubblesofearth
Posts: 46
Joined: November 8th, 2016, 7:32 am

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby Bubblesofearth » December 28th, 2016, 8:28 am

Snorvey wrote:2nd best place to live in the UK...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-s ... s-38347021

The weather will be your biggest challenge Ian. Then the lack of population. A harsh winter will be tough on you, that is a certainty.

Apart from that, it's a glorious place and if you embrace what it has to offer, then you'll love it.


To say 'apart from the weather' you'll love it is a bit like saying that apart from the anacondas and piranha fish you'll love a dip in the Amazon.

BofE

toofast2live
2 Lemon pips
Posts: 102
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 2:24 pm

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby toofast2live » December 28th, 2016, 9:58 am

Once had an enquiry from a woman in Orkney about renting our place in Spain. She asked what the weather was like in February and I said it was like an English summer. Oh she replied, we never experience anything as warm as an English summer!

Brrrrrrrrr.

dspp
2 Lemon pips
Posts: 239
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 10:53 am

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby dspp » December 28th, 2016, 10:17 am

I've had a few dealings on the various Scottish islands over the years.

A lot of folk up in the islands flee to Spain all winter every winter.

The islands are full of remote properties owned by southerners (aka mainlanders) who have retired to live the dream, and who have found that it is a one-way trip because they can never get back the money they poured into the island property. They die lonely and their children find it difficult (time, money) to visit. Just getting there eats extra days out of the holiday budget.

About 1/3 work for the state in various guises, 1/3 are retired (see above), ad 1/3 are on the poverty line in casual / seasonal jobs. I don't know the Orkneys but in many of the other islands there is also a 1/3 church; 1/3 not; and 1/3 incomer division - and it is a division.

The only warm houses I have ever been in on the islands were newbuild. My recommendation would be to build to near-passivhaus standards (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passivhaus-Institut). You can do this in a retrofit, but most of the retrofits end up (or start out) with small/damp/dark rooms. I have successfully done this with a Victorian property down south, but up north have only seen it done in newbuild.

The biggest single cost on the islands is fuel, which is part of my point above. One of the biggest downers is the absence of daylight in winter. But glazing = cold. So newbuild with carefully thought through and well located large triple-glazing will help. Another downer is the incessant wind, especially if you are a gardener. Go for solar PV, not for small scale wind unless you are very isolated. If you do, despite my advice, go for small scale wind then email me off-board. Fuel is a cost issue for vehicle use (inc ferries) as well as heat/elec.

Budget for off-island travel. Lots.

Consider renting for a few years whilst you find your feet and figure out if it really works for you. Maybe rent out your mainland property for two years and plan to rent in two different locations on the island(s) for a year each whilst really checking it works for you, and figuring out the local pros and cons of where/how to buy/build.

regards, dspp

spiderbill
Lemon Pip
Posts: 56
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 9:12 am

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby spiderbill » December 29th, 2016, 12:18 am

Hi Ian

Orkney is a place I adore but I very much doubt that I could live there full-time. The weather in winter would just be too harsh - it's not exactly warm even in the summer and as you get older you may find that takes a greater toll! (I recall getting caught in a sudden squall in August that went through my top of the range Gortex jacket like it was rice paper.)

What it does have are amazing open vistas and seascapes and skies that seem endless. In the early summer the sun sets at about 11pm and rises again not long after, but you pay for that in the winter.

If you are interested in archaeology it's heaven on earth - if not then you may run out of interests, though folk music is strong.

However I've found the islanders to be amongst the most welcoming people I've ever met, and if you wife has family there then I would think you would integrate fine.

I would echo the suggestion to try renting a place - maybe even just temporarily for a few weeks/months at a time to get used to the different parts of the island and the weather, to see if you can handle it.

I've seen a couple of lovely barn conversions up there - so conversions can sometimes work - but in general it's probably easier to build new and incorporate top-level insulation and eco-friendly facilities from scratch. Make sure you have enough water pressure - I stayed in one B&B where the shower stopped working one day because they had to pump water up the hill and the pump failed.

Didn't realise you were an Edinburgher - I'm just up at Colinton Mains when I'm in Scotland. But increasingly I'm in Slovenia where my own retirement fantasy house benefits from lovely warm weather from April to October and the most jaw-dropping mountain views you could hope for.

Good luck whatever you decide.

cheers

Spiderbill

youfoolishboy
Posts: 49
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 11:35 am

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby youfoolishboy » December 29th, 2016, 10:26 pm

I know the Highlands and Islands very well lived the text a long time and travelled to Orkney a lot. There is a lot of good advice on this thread the vmbest is rent first. Three points I would make.
1 there is a reason no trees grow there and its the wind
2 the main pastime is drinking as the climate makes outdoor hobbies not really practical
3 Take a close look at the medical facilities or rather the lack off if you are retiring there you are going to need them

midgesgalore
Posts: 22
Joined: November 5th, 2016, 12:02 am

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby midgesgalore » January 3rd, 2017, 1:50 am

Hi Ian
I think the weather, though colder, would be tolerable so long as you involve yourself with the local island life and become a part of it. There are advantages that cooler weather brings in less people and less nut-cases. It is not that cold inthe summer, I remember walking into Kyber Pass in late June in normal summer apparel :)

To me the biggest risk living in the Scottish territory is the political scene with brexit looming large and the SNP raising the independence card again. Whether this is just a bit of expedient posturing by the Scottish government - who knows.
If Scotland did split from the rest of the UK and - heaven forbid - work an arrangement with the EU then that would almost certainly mean Scottish currency would henceforth be the Euro and the tax situation would become unclear.

Considering you are on a property board discussion then the practicalities of paying for it comes from your life savings and investments. My worry (myself a resident mainland Scot) is income from Stock market investments may later be treated as foreign income.
Since you often pop up in the HYP board I would expect a significant (or non-ignorable) section of your investment is in LSE registered stocks whilst the currency of Orkney could be Euros.

midgesgalore

todthedog
Posts: 25
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 4:24 pm

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby todthedog » January 3rd, 2017, 11:40 am

This might be worth a look it is the blog of my friend not the Orkneys but might give you a feel
https://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com

He he has also built his own house

InTheHighlands
Posts: 2
Joined: November 7th, 2016, 11:03 am

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby InTheHighlands » January 4th, 2017, 1:09 am

Hi Ian

As my name suggests, I live in the Highlands. Moved up 8 years ago, although I've owned a holiday house in the very far NW for nearly 20 years.

A few thoughts :

I've been to Orkney a couple of times in summer and loved it. Loved it as someone who has chosen to live in the Highlands - but as a place to visit. Anywhere in the Highlands can be bleak in winter - but Orkney has a reputation for windiness....... It's nice to be able to get to & from the Highlands easily (see below....)

I live 50 miles / an hour from Inverness which is fine. My holiday house is 90 miles / 2 hours from Inverness - and that feels much more than twice the distance. You don't pop into town on the spur of the moment.

Being on an island is a big deal; the Pentland Firth is a big obstruction to travelling anywhere - in time, logistics & cost. My wife point blank refused to contemplate an island - and, for us, she was right.

We're now separated and one of the factors was the isolation and lack of similar people. Depending on where in Orkney, that may be fine.

Inverness has an airport served by Easyjet with cheap flights down to London & Bristol. Flybe with not so cheap flights to Manchester, Birmingham, Belfast, Dublin. KLM to Amsterdam. Currently Flybe, soon to be Loganair, to the islands. Inverness to Edinburgh/Glasgow by car is 3 hours. There are trains & coaches too. Look v carefully into travel costs & times - a Flybe return from Kirkwall to Edinburgh looks to be about £200 in January. Look at them in the context of your retirement income (although I think you get a subsidised cost?) - but people coming to visit you pay full whack, I presume.

I'd echo other peoples' comments about giving it a try first - rent so you can see if you want to live there, and where you want to live.

Think about the alternative of living somewhere on the mainland. I find Caithness grim & remote, you might not. There are also loads of places within striking distance of Inverness.

I enjoy living in the Highlands, but I'd find Orkney too cut off.

Regardless - good luck with whatever you end up doing!

Lootman
Lemon Slice
Posts: 570
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 3:58 pm

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby Lootman » January 4th, 2017, 1:58 pm

Bubblesofearth wrote:To say 'apart from the weather' you'll love it is a bit like saying that apart from the anacondas and piranha fish you'll love a dip in the Amazon.

"Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?"

What are the hours of daylight in Orkney right now? I think it would be the dark and gloom, as much as the wind and cold, that would drive me to despair.

ayshfm1
Posts: 3
Joined: November 5th, 2016, 9:43 am

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby ayshfm1 » January 4th, 2017, 4:06 pm

I'm not entirely sure Orkney/Shetland etc would go with an independent Scotland if we have a referendium re-run. They aren't Celts for example, I remember reading they would want to be self governing if they voted no and the Scotland mainland voted yes the last time. Not entirely sure how the Nats would respond, but they could hardly argue without being seen as opportunist hypocrites.

Rather more interestingly I imagine those Islands control a fair bit of the oil. It may not that it's worth what it was (or ever likely will be again). But it's still a huge amount of wealth for the small population on those islands.

IsleofWightPete
Lemon Pip
Posts: 60
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 12:07 pm

Re: Orkney - Buy or Build

Postby IsleofWightPete » January 4th, 2017, 4:19 pm

It'll be alright when they are independent.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01 ... ng-brexit/


Return to “Property Investment Discussions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest