I’ve had quite a few emails recently from girls who are in the process of moving to London. The most important part of that process is obviously finding a flat or a house. However, that’s easier said than done, especially if you have a very long list of requirements. One of my very first requirements was a huge closet and then it turns out most houses don’t even have built in closests! That was a shock to the system. One of my best friends recently moved to Oakland, CA (check out https://www.fourthstreeteast.com/) and we’ve been sharing our apartment hunting tips. She’s already moved and settled in but I’m still going through the legal processes with my landlord. It’s stressful stuff!
Having moved several times within London, here are my tips….
(1) Don’t stay with just one sales or letting agent. The best thing to do is have several different agents working for you at the same time, and to stay on top of them! If there is something that you want to see, ask them. Don’t wait for one agent to get back to you, it will take a lot longer. (I would also say to avoid Foxtons agents, who are terrible! Just my opinion.)
(2) Be in charge of your own flat hunt. There are great websites now that consolidate all of the different letting agents so that it makes your search easier. My go-to ones have been: Find a Property, Right Move (which also has a great iphone app), and Prime Location. The best thing to do is start with the post code that you want to live in.
(3) You can bargain! Even on rental properties. I know that some of us are not used to being able to ask for a lower price on rents, but it is possible. Never just offer the asking price, you can usually get at least Â£50 or Â£100 off the pounds per week price. If you’re looking at houses for sale wembley park, you still may be able to get something knocked off the listing price. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
I found http://www.globrix.com very helpful as well. It at least got me in touch with agents and familiar with areas and prices.
I find Alex Neil to be the most helpful. I've had 5 different flats since living in London (crazy!) and these agents are always so helpful and have offices throughout the city
A friend of mine used Chancery Finch to help her find a flat. They do all of the leg work for you. I met the guy who showed her around and he was just fabulous! I would definitely use them if I were moving again here. It is so much to do on your own (especially with kids)! But definitely avoid foxtons.
If you are ever looking to buy, I cannot recommend the lady who helped us enough. We must have seen over 50 properties ourselves to no avail. Having run ourselves ragged trying to see all these places we then met Marie-Cecile from the French Property Link. She is an incredibly chic French lady who will take all the stress out of looking for a flat/house for you. She previewed all the properties for us, chased agents, even wrote letter to homeowners on streets that we liked. With her on side, you are sure to find a real gem, as we did. Best of all, you need never speak with an estate agent again!