The Trials and Tribulations of House Hunting (Part II)
And so the moving continues… Here’s the second part to my trials and tribulations of moving around London, with some handy dos and don’ts of house hunting.
Finally, home sweet home
The room in our friend’s place finally came available and in we moved to a dreamy top floor flat in Tooting Broadway (right opposite the station #locationlocationlocation). The Vets downstairs helped us save on heating bills and apart from a few mouse/squirrel issues, all was fab.
The main perk was that this place was run by the landlord herself. Why’s that a plus? No crazy agency fees and top notch communication!
Sadly, due to various reasons, this domestic bliss lasted a mere 9 months – time to move again…
Onto the next one
Turns out attempting to move house properly, when you don’t have a cushy room in a mate’s place available, is a bloody rigmarole (only learnt this word recently, quite a handy little thing).
We started looking for yet another new pad with another couple. Our house-dating advert would read: seeking a nice 2 bed place, cheap as chips, good location, with all the trimmings. We found plenty of nice places online, made lovely little lists, only to contact the estate agents and get told they were all already gone!
So, instead of wasting all that time making lists, have a peruse of the websites to get an idea of what to expect, then just call the estate agents, or even pop in to see them, and tie them down (not literally, probably frowned upon) until they give you a list of places available and arrange a time to see them!
Sadly, in my experience, they can be notoriously useless in London simply because there’s so much demand, meaning they may not even bother with a sales pitch. Just to give you an idea – we looked around a couple of places with around 20 other people at the same time – think less estate agent eloquently describing the divine mauve coloured kitchen, and more shepherd herding sheep waiting for the inevitable moment where one sheep/house hunter breaks free to put in an offer.
Not only that, you need to commit there and then, otherwise your dream place will be unceremoniously swiped from under your feet (to avoid disappointment, try not to plan how you’ll arrange your furniture before sealing the deal). Estate agents that we did manage to pin down, advised us to take a day off work and book in a whole load of bookings with one agent!
After all that drama, we ended up moving in with some other mates of ours. Obvs only for 6 months, because who really wants to be in one place for too long! 🙄 Sadly, this was also our first experience of agency fees – 150 FLIPPING SQUID (£) TO SIGN A PIECE OF PAPER, YOU WHAT?!?! Sorry, clearly not quite over it, but yes, not ideal hey. Unlike a deposit, this is sadly money you’ll never get back, so make sure you’ve got all the facts before signing.
At least going through all this madness means when we come to our next move, we’ll be the most clued up house hunters out there and find our perfect pad with ease (maybe, hopefully), with all this knowledge under our belts:
- Location, location, location – know where you want to be, wander round the area and assess your commute before even looking at what’s on offer
- Avoid estate agents if you possibly can (OpenRent is a good website for landlord only places)
- If you must use them, call estate agents/pop in to see them (only use their websites as a bit of pre-search, rather than setting your heart on the pretty pictures that are sadly likely to be unavailable)
- Keep your eyes peeled for furry carpets and mouldy showers
Read Part I of my trials and tribulations here
Works at a Marketing Agency in London | @geveritt24
Studied Geography at Manchester Uni
Figuring out life at 25 and having a ball
See more from Georgie:
Office Politics – Cliques and Competition
How to deal with tricky situations without compromising your happiness and professionalism
A Tale of Two Interviews
One good, one bad… lessons to be learned from both experiences
No Clue What to Do?… Don’t Panic
Grad schemes, travel, work experience or job applications… what are the next steps after university?