Moving to London and don’t know where to start looking? When we start a property search for any LR client, we begin with a Needs Assessment which covers needs, requirements and cross references those with choice of neighborhood and area. It’s not necessarily a lengthy process, but it is essential for a successful relocation. Finding a home in London is not as easy as it seems, each suburb in London has its own pros and cons, and each one has its own personality. You need to take a look at what you require in a suburb and you can then start looking for possible rental homes for the duration of your stay. Of course, you will only be able to properly assess each area once you are on the ground.
North London – Pricey suburbs where some of the rich and famous choose to live. These suburbs have a distinctly village feel to them and they have plenty of open spaces and are great for families. If you have the cash then Hampstead and Highgate are the suburbs to choose.
South London – A lively area that has undergone great change in the past few years. While the great North vs. South debate will always be maintained, there are some charming and dynamic areas that are great if you have a job nearby and if you like enjoying the interesting nightlife that South London has to offer. Clapham and Brixton have undergone massive urban development recently and have become suburbs of choice for many expats living in London.
East London – Traditionally this has not been an area that many expats choose to live in, but recently there have been more people choosing to live in suburbs that are close to the city, such as the beautiful suburb of Greenwich and the urban renewal areas of Canary Wharf. There are some pretty pricey apartments along the river, but they have great views and are considered prime real estate locations.
West London – Traditionally this is considered a transient area of London with plenty of Aussies and South Africans living here. It does have a great nightlife and there are an astonishing amount of pubs in the area. The prices of London apartments in this area are quite reasonable and if you are looking to buy real estate then you might some real gems in suburbs such as Hammersmith or Shepherd’s Bush.
Factors When Choosing a Home in London
You really need to have a list of items that are important to you before you start looking for a home in London. Like any big city, London is incredibly diverse and you might not find what you are looking for as soon as you land in London. If you know that you are going to be here for a number of years then you should take a bit of time upfront, to find your perfect home in London.
London is a huge city and is divided into a different areas and suburbs, each having their own personality and amenities. If you are thinking about making the move to London then the best way to find a home is to make a list of the aspects that are important for you and then start looking. While a lot of people ‘think’ they want to live in quaint Notting Hill, made famous by Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, it may be very unsuitable for your lifestyle and your employment needs.
• Find out the exact address of your employers: This will have a big influence on where you are going to live because commuting in London can be a nightmare at the best of times. You don’t want to have to catch three tubes and two trains to get to work every day. You’ll need to find out which public transport services serve the area in which you work so you do not have to spend hours commuting.
• Family: If you have children then schools and education will be important. Remember that you cannot send your children to schools that are not in the catchment area of where you live. This can have a massive impact on deciding the type of suburb that you want to live in.
• Amenities: If you are moving to London with your pets then you’ll need to find a suburb that has parks and areas that you can exercise your pets in. Some London rentals do not allow pets, so you’ll have to add that to your list or requirements when you do your Needs Assessment. You should also see if your area has a vet and other emergency pet services in close proximity.
Renting in London generally falls into two categories. You can rent privately, which means you will be renting directly from the owner or landlord. You need to be sure that you have everything in writing and definitely get the rental agreement checked out by an attorney or someone who has some experience in the rental market.
You can also use a letting agency or estate agent to help you find a London rental apartment that is in your price range and arrange for the contract and documents required for you to be able to rent.
You will have to contact each estate agent separately to view multiple properties, you may also have to pay a hefty fee for leases, contracts and references.
As a team of expats ourselves, we do things a little differently at London Relocation to arrange accommodation quickly and without the hassle associated with being a foreigner.
Finding a home in London is the most important part of moving to London and the sooner you get it sorted out, the more settled you will feel.