The time has come, once again, to (inward groan) deal with estate agents.
Getting a house sorted in London is stressful, last-minute and eye popping-ly expensive. I may not be able to help you first hand with these issues (legislative changes in tenants’ rights, anyone?) but I am able to give you a few tips for staying calm and collected throughout your ordeal.
Take a deep breath; assess your options realistically. It may not be the comfort you’re used to at home but is it a dive? It is easy to get hurried along by persuasive agents ready to tell you what a great time-saver the shower/kitchen room is but try to think about it objectively. Don’t be afraid to negotiate on rent if you think it is too expensive.
Communicate with your future house-mates. You may think you’re all best buds, but just you wait until you’re arguing over who gets the smallest room. Ensure that you all agree exactly on how much you want to spend, what area you want to live in, and your room allocation policies. It is better to get it all out in the open first, rather than expect it to all work out and be disappointed.
Have a checklist of wants and meet them. I’m not talking ‘jacuzzi bath’ and ‘panoramic views’, I mean making sure the toilets flush and that it has regular gas checks. Don’t be afraid to ask to see the boiler certificate, or check the agent’s credentials. QMUL Residences have a great list of things to look out for on their website.
I hate to tell you what you’ve no doubt already heard, but move quickly. If it is a nice place in a decent location and within budget then go for it. If you don’t get it, those guys you don’t like from your Monday morning seminar will.
Perhaps this is contrary to the previous point, but don’t panic. You will find somewhere to live. Most estate agents will have you believing that you can’t live on the street for less than £120 p/w but remember something suitable will come up, even if it takes longer than you initially thought.