Many ambitious people come to London to advance their careers and establish themselves. If you’re one of them and have already been living here for some years there’s no need for me to sing the praises of one of the greatest cities the world has to offer.
But I’m going to do it anyway.
Reasons to live in London
They say that “Once you are tired of London, you are tired of life” and I couldn’t agree more. There is so much to see and experience. Try to think about something you want to do or see. London probably has it. It’s very difficult to get bored.
With a population of almost 9 million people and over 300 different languages spoken, you can experience global cultures and make friends from all over the world. Maybe you’re an expat yourself, in which case this is a place where you’ll never feel out of place because everyone is different and diversity is celebrated.
London is not only one of the major cities for economic advancement but also exerts significant impact on arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism and transportation.
Renting or buying
The high salaries that London has to offer compensate for the restrictively high rent prices but after a while you might be ready to settle down and start a family. In this case you don’t want your rent to eat into a big chunk of your income and would rather invest in a home that is yours to keep and that you can modify and personalize to fit everything that you are.
Because of the uncertainty brought on by the Brexit vote, you now have a means to negotiate the price of your dream home. Maybe you’ve been dreaming of something more high end or maybe just big enough to fit the number of kids you’re planning to have.
What to look out for
When searching for a home you should start with researching the location. Depending on your needs you can evaluate what every neighborhood has to offer in regards to schools, play area, parks, transportation, family friendly restaurants and reasonably close activities for your kids in order to instill a sense of independence early on. You can even look for the average earnings in any area in order to get a better sense of the prices you can expect in places around you.
Regarding location here are the most important factors to consider:
- Quiet or happening?
- How long does it take to get to work?
- Public transportation options
- What can you get within walking distance?
- What community groups do you have around?
- Crime rates, safety
- Access to medical care
- Council tax rates
How much are you willing to spend
Now we can move on to establishing a budget. Once you have a clear image of how much you’re willing to spend the decision process become a lot more straight forward. You can determine what you can afford and you’ll know what areas to pick, size and amenities.
Know your market! When it comes to buying a house, timing is everything and the more you familiarize yourself with what prices to expect in any given location you will be able to tell if you’re getting a good deal. You’ll want to avoid buying property that might decrease in value. The same things that matter to you when choosing a home will be what future buyers are looking for, so make sure you know the neighborhood well and any changes that might affect prices.
Ask Questions! Lots of them, don’t worry about getting cheeky with the real estate agent. This will be one of the most important financial decisions you will make. Ask about the previous owners, the reasons why they are selling it, any renovations that might be needed. Anything that might concern you, ask it. The more detailed the questions the less time you’ll waste visiting houses that aren’t worth it.
Speaking of visiting houses, don’t make the mistake of seeing a house and just buying it. The more properties you see, the better you’ll be able to get a sense of what you like and what to expect. You’ll start with a list of requirements and you’ll be able to think of more items or change old ones as you have more potential homes to compare.
Once you have your mind set on a neighborhood and general aspect of the house you want to live in you can communicate them to your estate agent. If you seem to know what you want you are more likely to be considered a serious buyer and have a positive relationship with them.
When narrowing down the list of houses start taking pictures of the ones that fit your ideal best, after a while everything turns into a blur.
Attention to detail
Once inside the house check for how damp it is, does it smell musty? Check the ceiling for cracks, open drawers, cupboards, windows, doors. Check if all the light switches work, inspect the sockets, find out the age of the wiring.
Moving on to plumbing, turn taps on, check water pressure and how fast it gets how and how hot it gets. Check cupboards underneath the sinks and flush toilets. You might be worried about offending the people around you but you’re about to give them a lot of money and of course you want to check if that money is well spent.
But wait, I wasn’t done: check the radiators and boiler, check the locks, left mats and rugs, turn on your phone and check how good the signal is.
When searching for a house to call home you need to be both brave and cautious. Simply living in London is enough to keep you busy, entertained and satisfied, but wouldn’t it be nice to come back to a place that feels like somewhere where you want to be?
Good luck on your adventure and on making one step in building the life you want for yourself.