How to find the right property for you in London?

Having spent the last 3 weeks of my life (this year only) viewing houses I thought that it would be a good idea to utilise all this experience (good and bad sometimes) and write an article that I can help anyone who is or will be in my shoes.

Where do you start really? Don’t panic!! Keep reading and you will find tips on how to search properties in London, help you narrow down your search, identify properties that suit your needs, and how to tell if the asking price is too high.

Let’s start at the beginning; How to search for properties?

As most of the things in life right now the answer is simple: ONLINE! There are various sites out there like  ZooplaRight MovePrime Location and Move Bubble that are the top choices to start your research.

You can search by area, specifications (bedrooms, baths etc) and by price. You will have to either complete the web form to contact the agent directly, or make a note of the code and contact the estate agent directly to set up a viewing day

Top Tip: If you find a property that you love and absolutely have to have – move fast!!! I am not even joking. A nice property won’t probably be for more than a couple days on the market! The demand is crazy. If you find a few properties that you’d like to see, and they’re from different agents, you’ll have to set up viewings with each one, usually over a few days or weeks. So overall it’d be good to start looking for your next new flat one month (at least!) before you move in.

Now that you know where to look at, let’s see how do you have to start looking. If the first answer that it came to your mind is by are, then IT’S WRONG!

Far too many people moving to London make the mistake of starting their London apartment search by looking at neighbourhoods. Unless you have experienced each neighbourhood yourself, (for more than a quick drive-through) this is a mistake. For example, Notting Hill isn’t as charming as it was pictured in the film; It’s a lovely area, don’t get me wrong, but it’s an area that is made up of other small areas and you need to be sure that your new neighbourhood will suit YOU, not that you’ll have to fit into the neighbourhood. And yes, FYI there is a dodgy-end of Notting Hill.

What you should do instead is try to see which location can meet better your daily needs taking into consideration the distance that you are happy to travel daily to work, where are most of your friends based.

Top tip: As the transportation in London is seriously expensive before you say yes to a property, you should definitely take into consideration how much you will be spending monthly to travel to work. Sometimes it might make sense instead of giving it to TFL to top up your budget and stay somewhere closer to your work that for example, you can walk to.

Lastly, I thought of giving you a snap shot of the things you should know about agencies, as these are the people you’d have to deal with.

•  Estate Agents are private and each branch is showing properties in their own area, but each agency has completely different properties; YOU CANNOT go to ONE agency and see all options in one area.

• Estate and Letting Agencies are employed by landlords to market their properties; each agency will only have a limited amount of available properties at any one time. So if they don’t have something that matches your requirements then they simply cannot help you.

•Agents are paid by the landlord and take a percentage of the rental amount. The more you pay, the more they get paid. ALWAYS TRY TO NEGOTIATE THE PRICE!

Also, once you find the house of your dreams there is one thing that I found really useful the ‘Moving House Checklist’ from Zoopla: describes from the scratch everything you need to do when you decide to move house and in chronological order!! The only thing that you have to do is just follow it blindly and in no time you will be in your new flat with no drama and problems.

Until next time xxx

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