With London being the huge metropolis it is, you’d be mistaken for thinking that finding a room to let would be an easy process.
Sure, there are loads available, but once you start looking, you’ll soon realise that a) the good ones get snapped up really quickly, b) they’re expensive, and c) there’s an awful lot of not very nice ones out there.
But never fear, because with a little bit of inside knowledge you can ensure that your search is a fruitful one. With a bit of planning you’ll soon be moving into your ideal London pad…
1. Work out your budget
This is definitely the number one step, as it will determine not only what you can rent, but also whereabouts in the city you’ll be able to live.
According to property website, Zoopla, the average price of renting room in London is £552 (as of October 2015), but if you look at living in Zone 1 (central), this can rise to around £1,110.
2. Work out what you want
This is your personal requirement that only you can determine…
- Perhaps you want to be within a 5-minute walk of a tube station
- Is it essential that you have some open spaces close by?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you have a pet?
- Do you want to live with lots of people or only one other person?
- Are you happy to just have a room, or do you want to be able to use a communal living area as well?
- What about cooking facilities – would you only be happy with a gas hob, or can you cope with electric or halogen?
- Would you share a bathroom or do you want your own?
These are only questions you can answer, and will be different for everyone.
3. Research different areas:
With prices ranging considerably within the London area, your budget will have a big impact on this. Some areas are far more expensive than others, such as Fulham, Chelsea, Kensington and Hampstead.
According to London Property Watch, cheaper places include Mill Hill, West Wimbledon, Bromley, and Muswell Hill. Don’t discount places that are in outer London, as the excellent public transport that covers the whole of the London area makes it simplicity itself to commute into the centre for work.
4. Word of mouth
Never discount the power of talking. Be sure to tell everyone you meet – friends, family, work colleagues, gym buddies, etc. – that you’re looking for a room to rent.
Not only might this save you a huge amount of time and effort, but it may also mean you find a place before it even hits any advertisments. And never forget Facebook, as this is a great place to tell all your contacts that you’re in the market…
5. Look for private rentals
Search websites such as Gum Tree. Finding a property in this manner could save you money, as by not using an agent, their fees don’t have to be absorbed into your monthly cost.
6. Hit the online adverts
7. Visit potential properties
When you do this, be aware that you’ll be interviewed in the same way that you’re interviewing your potential house mate/s.
Dress smartly, be on time, and bring references. In fact, if you view it in the same way as you might a first date, you’ll be pretty much ready for anything…
You should be prepared to have to see quite a few properties before you find the right room and potential roomie/s to live with…
Of course, you should always be aware of your safety when going to meet anyone for the first time. Common sense should prevail – you know the score…
Ensure that someone knows where your going and what time you’ll be back. And remember, always trust your instinct – if something doesn’t feel right about a situation, it probably isn’t.
If you lose out on a possible room because something felt wrong? Well, there are certainly worse things that could happen.
8. Be prepared to move fast:
Good rooms get snapped up quickly. Because of this, you’ll likely have to make a quick decision if you’re offered the room.
This makes it even more essential that you’ve worked out your needs (split these into a “must have” and “nice to have” categories, and you’ll need to be flexible).
You should also ensure that you have the necessary funds in place for the deposit you’ll have to pay, as well as your first month upfront (6 or even 8 weeks in some cases) that you’ll need to pay in advance.
9. Get ready for moving day!
So you’ve found your perfect room, and the date to move in is set. You can do quite a lot in advance to ensure that this is as stress free as possible.
If you’ve got a lot of stuff to move, then this is the time to rally the troops to help. Call in favours, promise to buy the pizza, organise a van (or van and man if needed) to move any big items…
And make sure you can park outside your new place whilst you unload (ask your new landlord for a parking permit, and for them to cone off an area if parking’s a problem).
You can also provide people with your new address, and inform organisations such as work, your bank, Amazon, Ebay, car insurance, etc. of your moving in date.
And while mentioning insurance, be sure to sign up for contents or renter’s insurance so all of your personal effects are covered, should the worst happen.
And of course, don’t forget to organise a moving-in celebration at a nice local restaurant with your friends (and family). After all, there’s no better way to discover your new home area than to get out and explore.