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…