So You Want to Move to London – Part One (of Two)

So you’ve decided you want to move to London…that’s certainly exciting, but there’s a lot of work to be done before moving day!

Decide where you want to live

Balancing affordability with convenience is always the biggest challenge when you plan your move to London. As with most big cities, the closer you get to Central London the more expensive your rent becomes. Try to balance cost and location, so you can be happy where you live without spending every last pound you make just on your accommodations. The best thing to do is find a place close to public transportation, so that distance doesn’t become too much of an issue.

Do you like to go to the gym in the morning or after work? How about hitting the pubs on a Friday night? Learn about the local amenities available around you when you move to London before you rent a beautiful, inexpensive flat in the middle of nowhere!

Find a property

Once you have an idea of where you want to live when you move to London, try to find a property as fast as possible. There are two ways to do this:

Go through an estate agent (yes, in London they’re called estate agents instead of real estate agents)

  • Pros – much easier. The estate agent will do all of the heavy lifting for you, making the property location process as stress free as it possibly can be.A good estate agent will know the best neighborhoods, the trendy spots, the best gyms, all of the hidden gems…
  • Cons – Estate agents usually charge a fee for the work they do.

Doing it yourself

  • Pros – You’ll avoid the cost of the estate agent.
  • Cons - That could mean several costly trips to London to find your place, figuring out the legal nuances of renting property in London, and trying to determine which neighborhoods truly fit your requirements.That’s a lot of work – so saving on the cost of an estate agent – may not yield anywhere close to the amount of savings you think.

Whichever route you choose, be sure to be ready to move quickly on your choice of properties – properties don’t sit around for very long in London, so if you find something close to what you want for when you move to London, snap it up!

Once you’ve identified an area you like, get some more details on what flats might be available. Are they furnished? Will you have a large bedroom, a kitchen and a separate lounge area or will you have to watch TV while cooking eggs over your bed? A capable estate agent can help you with all of these questions.

Put down your deposit

When you move to London, you don’t have too much time to ponder the meaning of any specific property you’re considering – if you see something you like, put down money as fast as possible! Tell your estate agent or landlord that you want the place, then put down a holding deposit (usually equal to a week’s rent – in London, rent is done on a weekly basis, not monthly). If the landlord backs out of the agreement afterwards, you will get your deposit refunded. However, if you back out, you’ll lose your deposit, so make your decision speedily but carefully.

Once you’ve made the move official, it’s time to go ahead and set up your utilities (unless you want to move into a house with no heat or water!). If you are using a professional moving company to help you along the process, they can help you set up everything you need. If not, make sure you remember to set up your:

  • TV license
  • Council tax
  • Water
  • Gas
  • Electric
  • Home insurance

When you are setting up your utilities, you will need to have the following information on hand:

  • The name of the former renters
  • Your move-in date
  • Your bank account details to set up automatic payments
  • Your mailing address
  • Meter readings for gas and electric
  • The number of people living in your home to inform the Council Tax office (note: if you are living alone, you get a 25% discount of your council tax. Also, full time students are exempt from paying council tax)

Sign your tenancy agreement

As with anything, don’t sign your tenancy agreement until you’ve read through it thoroughly. If you have any questions or find any unreasonable requests in it, bring them up as early as possible. Do you need an attorney to help with the tenancy agreement? Just remember, properties move very quickly – in the time it takes to get comments back from your attorney – your dream flat may well be long gone. Also, remember to check how long the tenancy agreement lasts. Most contracts are a year long, but there are often six month breaks where either you or your landlord, with a month’s notice, can break off the agreement.

Get the keys

Getting excited yet? After the landlord hands you your new set of keys, they will walk you through the house and take stock of every item of furniture in the property, noting the condition of each piece on the way through. Pay attention and speak up if you disagree with anything the landlord says. Once the landlord leaves, it’s time to start unpacking!

Deciding to move to London is an exciting time that can get very complicated. If you need help with your move to London, call Platinum Moving – we can take care of all the details to make your move as hassle free as possible!

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