If you are reading this blog, you are quite possibly a recent graduate, pondering your future existence; what career to do, where to live, the best way of getting rid of the heavy student loan hanging around your neck… We may not be experts in everything but we will give you our personal advice on what to do if you decide to move to London.
We can all agree that London is one of the greatest cities in the world; from its fast paced way of life to its bustling yet charming feel. Therefore, we completely empathise with why you might be considering this city as your future home. You may think this process is simply a job for ‘Rightmove’ but unfortunately, the reality is that your ultimate decision on your final property can only be reached after you have answered hundreds of different mini questions. Which zone? borough? All of this being reflected in the astronomical rent prices, but possibly the most important question of all… what is the property’s proximity to the pub? However, arranging a move to the city is no joke - so we’ve built up our best advice that’ll hopefully help you find your new London home.
London is divided into five major areas: North, South, East, West and Central London. Beyond that, there are 33 different boroughs in London, each with its own unique character. Asking the personal opinion of a born and bred Londoner may not be as useful as you might think though on guiding you to the right district for you as they will tend to hold very strong bias towards where they themselves live. Instead we would recommend considering the right location for you specifically as this will differ from person to person, dependant on a range of factors such as your potential job and nearby facilities.
Proximity from your potential job - The commute to work can be a killer first thing Monday morning. That is why it is important to consider where you will be working before signing for a property blindly; remember that practicality is key when you're having to drag yourself to work, half asleep in the morning. Extrapolating from your office will give you a better idea as to what your commute will be like from day to day. Ideally, you should have multiple public transport options surrounding your chosen property, whether it be bus, tram, tube, overground or a suitable cycling distance. After all part of moving to London is feeling like you’re connected to the city, but if you can’t get to Central London in less than 40 minutes, do you really live in London?
Proximity to nearby facilities - As a graduate, you’ll likely be living a pretty active social and work life. The more convenience in your area, the better. Look out for off-licences, 24-hour supermarkets, public parks and other social spaces to understand what your life in the area might be like. You’d be surprised at how much your surrounding area affects your ability to treat your new house like a home. I mean, what’s a new place to live without figuring where your nearest local pub is for a post-work pint?
East London - East London is usually known for being the ‘hipster’ end of London with plenty of rooftop bars. However, there are some areas of East London which are less bohemian and hence more affordable than you think. Although some areas of East London can have a slightly less than appealing reputation, it is also one of the fastest up and coming areas of London full of investment. Places like Dalston are packed with fun night outs and ‘unique bargain buys’!
West London - You may think of West London and have places like the very high end Notting Hill and Chelsea spring to mind, however it isn’t just a place for the poshest of the posh. There are still some fantastic, scenic places to live which are a little bit quieter than other districts, so if you’re looking for a little more tranquility and green space, this area will probably suit you best.
North London - Over the years, North London has lost its status as being being the most ‘hip’ location of London. The once notorious Camden has been gentrified to its limit. However, Camden remains a hub of music, comedy, experimental style and late-night drinking.
Central London - The stereotype of Central London is that it’s unrealistically expensive so you probably won’t be able to afford living there; unfortunately, this is probably the case! Zone 1 is probably a definite impossibility if you’re a London newbie. In contrast it can be normal for young professionals to start off in Zones 2-4 and move closer into the centre as their career progresses.
…Remember where you initially start looking probably won’t be where you end up.
Always view the property/room…
Don’t forget to check out the surrounding area of the property while you are there to see what there is to do in your spare time such as local bars or proximity to leisure centres.
Find out some background about the property like its age and how well it has been maintained? Be sure to look out for damp and disrepair - often hidden and not always easy to spot at first look. Check what the Landlord covers with maintenance and insurance for example.
If you are considering a shared property, check out the facilities like the bathroom and kitchen and how many people these may be shared between. It is also important to consider the current tenants and whether they are the type of people you will want to be living with.
Be sure to find out what is included in terms of furniture. Does the property come fully furnished or will you have to provide this yourself?
Make sure you know what’s included in the deal. Get specific on the bills that you still need to cover and how much on average this will be in addition to the rent.
When exploring potential properties online before your viewing, it is always best to disregard any options that don’t have any attached photos straight away; this will save you from wasting a lot of time as this is often a red flag of a dodgy deal or lazy landlord. Similarly, look for listings filled with detail and a positive tone in the description as these tend to reflect relatively accurately on the property.
Best property websites to try…
Rightmove - https://www.rightmove.co.uk/
Gumtree - https://www.gumtree.com
Zoopla - https://www.zoopla.co.uk/
Spareroom - https://www.spareroom.co.uk
AllAgents - https://www.allagents.co.uk