Moving to London? You probably read hundreds of blog posts about what to do to manage your move. I did too, and it helped a lot. What I didn’t read, was what not to do. Equally important though, as we’ve found that is where mistakes can happen.
6 things not to do when flat hunting in London
Do not focus your flat hunt online
Websites like Rightmove.co.uk and apps like Movebubble are a great start. They are perfect to get to know the London lettings market – read: to manage expectations (A shoebox for the price of a mansion? Sure!). However, we found ourself browsing these day and night, with no effect: the flats we liked were already gone, the others were horrible in real life. If you can take it offline, do so.
Do not limit your flat hunt to one agency
Each agency has its strength and expertise. Agency fees differ from agent to agent, so that’s also worth checking. We had equally good experiences with well-known agencies (like Foxtons) as with lesser-known (James Pendleton, Winchester White, …).
Do not let agents push your decision
Agents are amazing! They help you throughout your search, they even drive you around from flat to flat. And they give genuine advice – and less genuine. Good agents should solely share the information of the flat without advising on the decision itself. If they try to convince you, it probably is because the flat isn’t convincing enough from itself…
Do not rush
Everyone keeps repeating that the London lettings market is a fast paced one – and it is; if you love a flat, don’t hesitate because indeed the good ones are gone soon. Nevertheless, don’t love it, don’t sign for it. Your patience will pay off, we promise. The demand is big, but so is the supply. We have visited almost 50 flats in 3 days (crazy in the coconut), but we couldn’t be happier with our new home. In the end, it costs you a fortune, so it’s a decision not to rush.
But do not wait until the sun’s out
Prices tend to be higher in spring and summer. If you can be flexible, schedule your flat hunt in another season, preferably just after the Christmas break.
Do not pay fees without double checking
Once you have found your London crib, you need to pay a bunch of fees (agency fees, reference fees, … read more about the fees here). Sometimes a holding fee is required; an amount of money you pay to secure the flat for you. Don’t pay without reading the small print: some agents keep the money even if the flat doesn’t turn out to be yours in the end.
Any tips from your side to flat hunt in London? Any advice needed? Reach out to us!