The Trials and Tribulations of House Hunting (Part I)
I’ve lived in London for just over a year now. Anyone want to take any guesses how many times I’ve moved house? Not one, not two, not three, but SIX times. You might think that makes me an expert on all things ‘moving house’ but no! It seems the fun old world of house searching never fails to throw unexpected twists and turns into the mix, on your quest for that dream pad.
Anywaaay, I’m going to take you through my six-move epic (well, not all of them don’t worry) and hopefully you’ll find some handy dos and don’ts of house hunting.
Move to the capital
Fresh off the ski slopes, my new job in the big smoke forced me to pack my bags once more (minus the ski gear) and head off to my new ho… oh god, I’m homeless!
Having had very little success searching for shelter on the web whilst back home in Bath, I was fortunate to have a uni friend come to the rescue. She was was kind enough to let my boyfriend and I stay at her family pad on the banks of the Thames for our first month in London, to keep us off the streets!
It felt more like a mini holiday than anything else, we’d started on a high, not ideal, while the mounting pressure of finding somewhere more permanent loomed. But, if you can find somewhere to kip for a couple of weeks in the city you’re searching in, it makes all the difference. Doing it remotely seemed nigh on impossible!
Speed dating with Spareroom
We were searching for a short let to tide us over, whilst we waited impatiently for a mate’s mate to move out, so we could move in.
Spareroom.com to the rescue. It’s effectively tinder for house hunters, minus the swiping, but plus speed dating events (no joke). And just like with tinder, its full of both love and rejection (mainly rejection), so prepare to persevere. You’ll find a match in the end!
Figure out where you want to go, have a little search on the site for what’s on offer and then message lots of people saying why you like the look of their place, a little bit about you (sell yourself) and that you’d like to come for a viewing. Lots won’t reply, mainly because they’re already taken, but for those that do, get your viewing in quick – it’s cutthroat out there!
We ended up staying in two different Spareroom places, a month in each, both with nice people, decent locations and alright rooms. We struggled to find somewhere short term and being a couple did seem to hinder us (something to bear in mind – fair enough, not everyone wants to live with a couple, it means less space, and who knows, we could be one of those ‘make-you-want-to-vomit PDA’ types – for the record, we’re not, I swear), but there were places available. Most of these places (as is often the way with Spareroom) came with the massive bonus of no horrible fees, since we were just filling the place of someone who had to leave their contract a little early (maybe not totally legit, but short term it worked). For longer rentals, fees and all that jazz are listed on each individual advert so just give them a peruse.
Keep your eyes peeled people
Be warned – you may be feeling wary after a long week filled with work and dead-end house viewings, in places where the only communal space is a kitchen imitating a corridor because the greedy landlord sees no need for a living room.
When you finally see a ray of light, some nice normal humans/housemates, in a seemingly lovely house and at a steal of a price, take a moment to process. Make sure your eyes don’t glaze over and you do actually still check that everything about the place is right and ask all the appropriate questions about bills etc. I got so over excited that I’d finally found a normal place with like-minded people, that I failed to notice the inch-thick fur (dust) on all the carpets thanks to the lack of a hoover in the house during the 6 months they’d lived there (grim!). Oozing shower mould, cigarette smoke filled curtains and well, you get my drift. An extra fluffy carpet ain’t a huge issue in the short term, but for any longer, probably best avoided.
Click here to read the second part of my renting experience read
Works at a Marketing Agency in London | @geveritt24
Studied Geography at Manchester Uni
Figuring out life at 25 and having a ball
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