There are always people moving into London from the rest of the UK and from much further afield. Some of them might never have been to London, some may have visited one time on a school trip and some may know it quite well. But there’s so much to learn with a move into London; such as what sort of price properties should really cost to rent, what sort of things you should be looking out for and, most importantly, what sort of area suits you.

And how can you find that out? You need a (sort of) local – so I’m up!

Before the move, check out this cool tool on Time Out to work out which area of London is perfect for you. You can include your preferences i.e. nightlife, close to green spaces, shops etc and add in where you will be commuting to. The tool tells you how that area scores for different things, gives you handy tips from locals and even tells you your uber cost from there into town (very important and not one you want to learn at 2am, in the middle of Old Street somewhere, on triple price fares!)

Once you’ve shortlisted some areas, get onto Spareroom and Rightmove and set up profiles or sign up for new property alerts. If you’re looking for a flatshare, Spareroom’s process is an easier and more personal way of doing it – you make a profile about you, you will see the profiles of homes and both sides can liaze until you find the right person. If you’re looking for a flat to rent (or buy if you’re super lucky – and minted) Rightmove shows the properties of most estate agents so you can get alerts for relevant homes and contact the agent through the site to set up a viewing.

What questions should you be asking?

  • Does this price include any bills? What other bills will I have to pay on top of that?
  • What other fees are there – admin, references etc, professional clean at start or end of tenancy, deposit?
  • What furniture and fittings are included?
  • When is the end of the contract? What notice do I have to give? Will the rent be going up if I stay?
  • How involved is the landlord? How long has he been leasing the flat? Does he lease a lot of flats? (if it’s a serial landlord, he may not be as attentive)
  • Who do we contact if there’s a problem with anything in the home?
  • Why did the last person move out?
  • How is the local area for shopping, transport links, supermarkets, bars and restaurants etc

Top tips for a successful hunt:

  • See a few homes before you commit – just so you get an accurate understanding of what things are worth (as some cheeky monkeys ask way too much!)
  • Don’t oversell yourself to possible future housemates as, if you tell little white lies at interview stage, they will eventually come out when you’ve moved in and affect your living atmosphere. Same if you’re filling one of your rooms with a housemates – set the right expectation.
  • Make sure your landlord or people in your home are organised with bills etc you don’t want a wishy washy house as it will be more trouble than it’s worth.
  • Before you commit to a home, have a walk around the local area and see if it has close enough amenities for you and if you feel it’s safe and a do-able commute etc.
  • Watch out for things like damp around the windows or broken things in your room – you don’t want your estate agent whipping your deposit away when the problems were there beforehand. And, if you have problems, report them as you’re going along in the tenancy – don’t wait until you’re moving out – as they will take your deposit without a backwards glance (!)

Finding an unproblematic home in London is difficult. The estate agents have the pick of tenants, people make up their own rules with new housemates, some landlords only care about what they can get in rent and the market is so competitive that people will take something which is overpriced or under standard and not ask the honest, fair questions for the fear of missing out.

So long as you know what area’s right for you, the right questions to ask and what to be aware of, your chances of finding the perfect home are much more likely. And once all the moving’s out of the way… you can get on with the tourist stuff!! Happy hunting!

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