If you’ve managed to find a decent and affordable flat in London you should sign up for the “Needle in a Hay Stack” competition. You’ll win all the prizes without batting an eye.
My company is helping people move in in just one day so I know exactly what I am talking about from experience: all jokes aside -it really is rather difficult to find a decent place to live in London.
But difficult isn’t impossible. You just need to know what to look for and what to watch out for. So I have decided to make this list of 10 underwater stones in hopes of making your relocation a bit more pleasant.
1 – Agencies
Do you know the old saying “can’t live with them, can’t live without them”? It is usually said about women but I frankly never get why. We are absolutely lovely, aren’t we?
The Agencies on the other hand… Not so much.
The worst part is that they are the necessary evil. You won’t find a fitting home in London without one. It’s not like the solo search is simply “harder”. It is impossible.
With the rent prices as high as they are now property owners prefer to conduct background and credit history checks before lifting a finger. They have found out that a symbiosis with an agency that will do the paperwork for them works out just fine.
What does this mean for you? You simply won’t be an option in their book unless an agent says that you qualify for the property.
This is why are working with more than 80 agencies all throughout London – we get more done in a faster time plus we get to choose the most cost-efficient options for our clients from what is currently offered on the market.
2 – Prices
One of the most important factors that affect your wallet on the settling in stages is the rent prices. It’s not that the rent itself is too expensive, no (although it could have been cheaper). It’s the fact that rent comes in one package with other fees that are formidable.
Whenever you rent a home in London, you will need to pay the rent for 1 month upfront. You will also need to make a deposit that is usually worth as much as 6 weeks of rent. Yes, it will be returned to you when you move out, but when will that be? Then there are the administration and the referencing fees.
To sum things up, you will be paying anything between 3,000 to 5,000 pounds up front. Yes, the price of living in London is high indeed.
Then there are the bills.
You are expected to pay for everything from water and electricity to Wi-Fi and cable on your own even if you are renting a flat. You are the one using those services, after all.
Pro tip: only get a water meter if you have fewer people living in your flat than you have rooms. It won’t save you a dime otherwise.
3 – Furnished or not?
Which one is better: to pay more now for a furnished flat or to save the cash and get your own comfy furniture?
Well, for starters, even if you do wish to bring your own furniture, you won’t be able to if the flat has one or two bedrooms. Those kinds of apartments are usually furnished. The chances of finding an empty one are two to a thousand.
That noted, if you are looking for a larger property like a house, moving in with your stuff is a handy solution. Not only will you avoid sleeping on a cough where three generations of the landlords family have probably met their doom (or is there any other reason for it to smell that bad?), but you will also get a better deal in terms of price.
4 – What about the stuff?
Furniture doesn’t make or break a flat in London, but a kettle does. Do you have one in your new home? What about the microwave, a toaster, a freezer or a washing machine?
If yes, then great. If they aren’t here – even better.
Why? Because you’ll have to buy your own, meaning you’ll get to choose the model, the size, the shape and the color.
But since when is the need to buy stuff a good thing? Since you don’t actually need to pay for it. Well, technically, you do, but you can negotiate their purchase with the property owner and he will pay for it, or the sum will be taken from your monthly payment. To cut the long story short – you get a free toaster and a chance to enjoy taking part in a 100% cashback program. How often do you see those, really?
5 – Read the contract!
I can’t stress enough how important reading the contract is. There may be terms and conditions there that are simply unacceptable.
We’ve seen cases where property owners demand to keep the deposit to themselves if the person moving it will choose to move to a different flat without notifying in writing about such a decision 16 (SIXTEEN) months in advance. If you were to look up the word “bollocks” in the dictionary – you would see a picture of this contract as an illustration of the term.
So please, pretty please people – please check what you sign before actually signing it! If you have any questions – don’t give the landlord or us the silent treatment. Ask and we will help. Everything in this world is negotiable!