Photos - 09523
(Sorry – I cldn’t find a suitable house photo, so I’m going for a cheering P Bad in the washing machine one instead.)

I started the Great LLG Apartment Hunt as of last week. On Saturday lil’sis, P Bad & I trogged around the estate agents of Hampstead, registering my details. (In short: I moved back from New York at Christmas, moved lock, stock & barrel into my friends’ delightful basement flat, but then they had a life change, the house was rented out, & so I need to find a new home. NOW.)

And goodness – the differing opinions and requirements of said agents. Some require fiscal histories so detailed there’s not a chance in hell I’ll be able to divvy up the required paperwork. Others seem laissez-faire to the point of humour – I was tempted to suggest to one that a torn out magazine ad page of me in the Hunter Boots campaign could be used to prove that I had an income…

I have until the beginning of September to find a place – my move out date is 07 August, but I am travelling for much of the month, (hello Durham, Yorkshire, Stockholm and er, Moreton Pinkney), and can put my stuff in storage if need be. That gives me lots of flexibility, but my requirements are so precise I suspect it may take a while to find what I need.

I must be a maximum 5min drive south from my sister’s front door in NW5, (she has a tendency to medical emergencies) and preferably not on a hill as I also bike around &  turning up to fashion meetings sweaty & red of face is not a good look. (This is more difficult than you may imagine in NW1/NW5/NW3.) I don’t care about the size of the rooms, but I cannot function without a modern bathroom, a concept that estate agents find wholly impossible to understand.

What IS it with rental properties and stained grout/chipped baths/limescale stains/teeny-ness/window-less bathrooms in this country? I also need the shops practically on my doorstep – after four years in New York, I prefer not to live without convenience. I will never leave the house if I have to go too far to forage for food. (Always good to recognize one’s weaknesses, I feel.)

This Saturday I looked around one apartment that sounded perfect on paper, but when I had a viewing I found a (weeny) bathroom & kitchen with no windows, and a roof terrace (oblique brochure shot) which in reality was a bitumen-ed expanse rendered essentially un-useable by numerous skylights, plus an absence of walls, meaning any neighbor from the entire row could hop over to say hello or peer in the rear windows. Er, No.

So: I spent a large chunk of yesterday marking possibles on the various London property websites & sending viewing requests. By Friday expect the tone of the blog to be somewhat fraught, as I discover yet again that agents’ camera lenses make the depiction of reality an impossibility.

And, if by any chance, anyone knows of a one-bedroom flat in Camden/Regent’s Park/Chalk Farm/Primrose Hill, with a bathroom up to American standards, coming up for rental soon, do get in touch…

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18 comments

Reply

Gumtree really helped me out a lot! But you probably already knew about that one, didn’t you?
Oh well… I’m sorry I have nothing else. 🙁

Reply

Good luck on your apartment hunt and loved the doggie photo.

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Oh good luck, I’ve never had to go house hunting but I imagine it to be quite a stressful process :/ xx

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Oh, I feel your pain. I’m house-hunting right now too. I saw a flat last night which was described by the estate agents (grrrr) as a ground floor, spacious two-bedroom apartment. Nope. Basement, teeny-tiny kitchen, disgusting bathroom, one-bedroom and a glorified cupboard. Sigh.

Wishing us both the best of luck!
Kath x

PS anyone selling a *nice* two-bed place in SW18/19 let me know!

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Good luck! I am sick and tired of the way you are treated in this country if you want to rent, as opposed to buy. It is to do with the whole property worship thing, overpopulation and v. high level of property ownership, which is higher than in the rest of Europe, and so if you want to rent, you are treated like 2nd class citizen. You pay through the nose for v. low standards, compared to other countries. It is by far the worst aspect of living in the UK, and I know people who got the hell out and moved abroad because they could bear it no longer. I don’t have that option so I will just have to hope things will change for the better, though not likely, considering the housing shortage.

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I do not miss flat-hunting in London. at. all. it took me months to find one place, and I went through several dramas with estate agents. why do they all seem so bent?

I wish you all the luck in finding somewhere soon!x

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I’m an NW5er and have a few connections in the property world, rental and sales, so will keep my ears open.

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I’m doing exactly the same thing (although in Bermondsey), with the added fun of having to find somewhere in the next 10 days due to our housemates dropping my boyfriend and I in the proverbial. Sigh.

Property hunting is right up there at the top of my Most Stressfull list. I would rather redo my entire Ma coursework in a month than have to go through finding a new place to live.

Good luck.

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My tip is to forget emailing, I would recommend just calling and finding out if the flat really exists. I found half the advertised flats on realtor’s sites were already taken. It seems they also use photos of lovely flats at rates that are really good to bait and switch when you enquire. When I looked 3/4 weeks later they are still on their sites. I even called back about one of them and it apparently had just been taken that morning (again).

It is very frustrating and when one lives a busy London life it is the last thing you need.

Might be worth giving the site http://www.moveflat.com/ a check, it has a small listing but is well organized, with a handy chart view.

Good luck!

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I used to live in Hampstead so have a word of warning about a Millennium Residential on Finchley Road who lease properties in the area. They are dodgy operators (well known ones) and our landlord didn’t even bother to put our deposit into a scheme when we leased a flat through them. This resulted in a long battle to get our deposit back. I’m sure you could do without such stress. Good luck!

P.S Completely agree about bathrooms – I’ve only once had a brand new bathroom in London. Normally they are in awful condition!

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