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Guide and Tips: Moving to London

Posted on 21/03/2016 by

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Moving to London

Moving to London can be an exciting prospect to some and a daunting challenge to others. At the end of the day, if you have the right perspective and prepare yourself as much as possible, moving into London isn’t as painful as some people would have you believe.

I would recommend to anybody who has the opportunity to come and live in London to do so. I (perhaps with touch of bias) feel that London is the greatest city in the world. Give me all the money in the world and I still wouldn’t choose anywhere else to live. London has it all. 

Like any metropolitan city there are obvious drawbacks like traffic, pollution, crowding and cost of living. However, to be able to work in Central London at the beginning of your career is a wonderful thing and when this city has so much to offer, all of those drawbacks start to seem less significant.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Budget

If you’re renting in London, and don’t have a family friend or connection whose arm you can twist for a cut-price rent, you’re going to be paying a significant premium to live. You can go one of two ways when dealing with this: sit in the corner and cry about losing a huge chunk of your earnings to rent, or you can be prepared to be more conservative with your money. Making a few habitual changes (e.g. stop buying coffee on your way in to work) really do make all the difference. Have a think about what you’re spending your money on and cut out anything that’s not essential.

Be Patient

You have to have a certain level of patience. You can spend hours and hours trawling online for rooms for rent, line up a load of viewings for them to be cancelled at the last minute. Don’t stress – you’re not alone.

Be Decisive

North? South? East? West? You’ll make your life a lot easier if you set yourself some criteria. Decide which area you want to live in, your maximum budget and requirements and stick to them. Also, when you go and view a property try not to ponder for too long – if you’re not convinced, you’re not convinced. If you’re interested, let the landlord/agent know ASAP – rooms simply don’t last for long on the market. Don’t miss out!

Be Wise

Don’t sign anything you haven’t had time to read. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If somebody is pushing you to sign, explain that you want to take some time to look over the contract and will have it signed as soon as you can. Also, make sure any deposit paid is put into a certified deposit protection scheme – no questions. Read more: https://www.depositprotection.com/.

The Best Things about London

Green Space – you’d be mistaken to think that there’s not much to London beyond the offices around Bishopsgate. London has so many green spaces which bring a calming balance after a week at work.

Check out Southwark & Greenwich Park if you live south of the river and Regents Park/Primrose Hill if you’re more central.

Spoilt for choice – by now we have just about every cuisine imaginable. Pizza Pilgrims (Soho or Carnaby Street) has long been my favourite restaurant and it’s one of the best for value as well. http://pizzapilgrims.co.uk/

Concerts/Entertainment – some of the most popular venues in the world are all in London and this obviously attracts the biggest stars, bands and shows here. http://www.timeout.com/london/music

My Experience

I’ve been part of the Alumni programme for a year now and during this time I’ve had a couple of different living arrangements. When moving to London, it’s not unusual to have a few stints in different places and in some ways a change isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

When I began working, I was commuting from my hometown in Hampshire. The commute wasn’t unreasonable (about 1.5 hours door-to-door) but I naturally had the itch to move into London. Growing up I was up to all sorts in and around London and living here is something I aspired to.

I lasted 2/3 months at home with my parents before seizing the opportunity of a spare room in a friend’s place in Shoreditch at an almost unheard of price for the area. It wasn’t particularly glamorous (as some of the other Alumni who sought shelter here on a particularly rainy Friday night might agree…), but to be able to walk to work was the selling point – not to mention the great benefits of the local area. 

I stayed here for about 6 months until the contract was up, when I returned home briefly.

Returning to live with your parents was unsurprisingly a culture shock, so it wasn’t long before I was hunting for a room again. By this point my hours had increased and so too did the need to live a little closer to the action.

I had time to kill one Saturday waiting for a friend so I decided to check my SpareRoom.co.uk account to see if anything interesting had popped up. I went to view three places that morning and ended up finding a brilliant place which matched my requirements. I accepted the next day and moved in the weekend after. Be decisive!

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