Lessons learned about flathunting in London

* Do some virtual ‘legwork’ before you come to London, get a feel for what properties are advertised for which price. Use sites like Findaproperty or Primelocation;

* When in London, go to the estate agents’ offices. 9 times out of 10 if you ring you won’t be called back, and the properties you’ve found on the internet are gone. However, if you go in in person, they’ll tell you what they do have on their books;

* To find estate agents, ask current students which ones they used, look at the portal (there’s always people recommending/warning against certain agents), walk through the neighbourhoods you like and walk into every estate agent you see;

* Get the money sorted before you start the househunt so you can act quickly. Guidelines for the amount you’d need: 1 week deposit to hold the flat, 4-6 weeks deposit and 4 weeks rent up front;

* Don’t take the first place you see, but don’t dither too long either. If you like a flat you see, it’s in the right location and price bracket, go for it!

* Weigh up the alternatives: living further away from school, but cheaper (although you need to take into account you’ll spend more on transport), or closer, but more expensive. Expect to pay between 150 and 170 pounds per week excluding utilities for <10 walk from LBS;

* There seem to be a lot of good 2 and 3 bedroom properties around: obviously sharing with students has the advantage of lower costs and company and a lot of the MBAs share housing;

* Wear comfortable shoes, take a pencil and paper to take notes (after seeing a lot of flats you tend to forget what was special about what flat), maybe even a digital camera (we did that so we could show our third housemate who couldn’t be there for the hunt what the places we liked looked like).

I’m back in my own flat in Holland at the moment, dealing with some last minute things that need dealing with. Strange thing is, I actually miss London and my housemates and my fellow 007s already…. didn’t think I’d get used to it/them so quickly but I did and I miss ‘em. Tomorrow and Saturday morning will be spent on packing the last of my belongings, getting rid of a few and cleaning up my flat before it gets sold on Monday (which is also the day that the 007s report for duty). Plus Johnny, my lovely Powerbook, needs to go to the dentist, since he’s lost on of his keys today (the F1 key dropped off…). Strange, since the keyboard seems pretty sturdy and I’m very very happy with Johnny otherwise.

[edit 1: this morning as I was taking a shower, I thought of some more things I wanted to say about flathunting, so I’ve added these to the list]


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