Today – How to Choose the Perfect Rented Flat in London
Choosing a new flat to rent should be an exciting adventure – but too often it turns stressful and chaotic. When you’re looking for property in a competitive market like London, it only makes your search more complicated. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can quickly be swallowed up by London’s housing rental market. How do you stay on course and choose the perfect rented flat in the British capital? With these tips!
Choose Your Location
Location is everything. Location determines which neighbourhood you’re in – and there are plenty of lovely London neighbourhoods to choose from. Location also matters for proximity to shops, restaurants, and pubs, or catchment area for a good school if you have kids. If you know nothing about London’s neighbourhoods, do some research and see which one might appeal to you.
If you aren’t familiar with boroughs in London but you care more about being nearby amenities, schools, your work, and public transport, you can use a smart search tool like Search Smartly. The website sorts home listings by location filters that matter to you, so you can see which flats are closest to the amenities you’re looking for.
Learn the Property Lingo
You won’t get very far looking for a London flat if you don’t understand what anyone’s talking about! Here’s a list of common property terms to be aware of when you’re flat hunting.
- Purpose-built: flats originally constructed as flats, not converted from another type of property
- Converted: the opposite of purpose-built, a house that has been converted into flats
- Studio: a one-room flat, where the kitchen, bedroom, and living room are all in the same space
- Terraced: a row of attached houses with shared entrances
- Semi-detached: a single-family dwelling attached to another house on one side but not the other
- Maisonette: a house split into two separate flats, each with their own entrance
Make a Must-Haves List
Once you have a feel for location and property terms, you can start compiling your list of must-haves and deal-breakers. When deciding your must-haves, consider the following factors.
- Property type (see the above list to learn about property types). Do you want a studio, a purpose-built, or a converted flat? Or is a maisonette more your style? If you can’t stomach the idea of terraced houses, put all of those factors on your list.\
- Commute time. How long do you want to have to travel to work? According to Search Smartly, the average London commute time has gone up from 45 minutes to one hour in 2020. If you work from home, as many people do these days, then commute time won’t be a significant factor for you.
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Garden or access to outdoor space. Proximity to green space, whether private or public, has become a top priority for many renters following the COVID-19 pandemic. If you must have a garden, keep in mind that green space is a hot commodity in 2020.
- Proximity to supermarkets. How far are you willing to travel to pick up groceries? Maybe instead, you order everything online and have it delivered. Even so, it’s good to have at least a few options for purchasing food and essentials nearby.
How to Choose the Perfect Rented Flat in London – Set a Budget
Once you have location, property type, and must-haves, you can get a realistic picture of your budget. How much does the type of flat you want to rent cost? Is there any wiggle room in your budget if you find a great place that meets all your requirements? Budget is the first question real estate agents will ask you and it’s the primary filter you use on property websites. With a budget in mind, you can narrow your search.
Schedule Your Flat Hunting
After you’ve found a few places that you like, you’ll have to schedule showings. Even if they are virtual showings, you’ll want to set aside the proper time for flat hunting. Trying to squeeze it in between work and daily life will stress you out and you’ll end up choosing a flat you don’t like because you feel pressured. Give yourself adequate time to evaluate your options.
Choose a Trustworthy Property Site
There are a lot of property sites out there. Some are trustworthy, others aren’t. To tell if a property listing is legitimate, check if it’s being rented by an agency or by an individual. That’s not to say independent landlords can’t be trusted, but you should definitely exercise some caution. If the photos of the property seem like they were ripped from another advert, they probably were. Some UK housing sites you can trust are SpareRoom, Rightmove, Zoopla, Homes24.co.uk, Search Smartly, and Spotahome.
One of the best property search sites is Search Smartly, though, because they’ll help you arrange showings and give a complimentary move-in concierge.
Finding the Perfect Flat in London
Finding a flat isn’t easy, but with a little preparation, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Treat it like a project and give it the attention it deserves. With the right attitude and the right tools, you’ll find your ideal rented flat in no time.
How to Choose the Perfect Rented Flat in London is a feature post