Top tips for London house hunting

By: Emma Gettings

Looking for a new home can be a stressful, time consuming and complicated process anywhere in the world, but in London it’s even more of a minefield. London Bridge estate agent, Williams Lynch says, “Our glorious capital is a notoriously expensive place to live, with the majority of first time buyers finding themselves priced out of the market and having to look for a less costly alternative.” If you are one of the fortunate ones with a big enough budget to handle life in the Big Smoke, here are a few little tips you may want to keep in mind:

1)            House prices. Ok so we’ve already mentioned the cost, but it really is a biggie. London is one of the most sought after and best loved cities in the world and there’s countless things to see and do, so it stands to reason that it will come with a hefty price tag. The list of positives about living in London is almost endless, but consider whether you’re really getting value for money. As Brixton estate agent, Eden Harper points out, “A small bedsit in a central location can cost as much as a three bed semi in the suburbs, so think about how good your standard of living will be before committing.”

2)            Fees- this isn’t something that’s specific to London; you’ll almost always have to pay fees if you buy through an agent, no matter where you are in the UK.

3)            It’s ok to bargain. If you’ve found your perfect property but can’t quite afford the price tag, there’s no harm in haggling a little. Most sellers expect offers that are lower than your asking price and you can find some real bargains if you shop around. This can even work with rental prices too- there’s often a little wiggle room when it comes to the monthly fee and if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

4)            London is constantly evolving. Regeneration projects have taken over the capital, meaning that some of the areas that house hunters may once have not wanted to touch with a bargepole are fast becoming very desirable. Don’t rule out areas like Elephant and Castle, Stratford and Kilburn- these areas and plenty like them are on the up, so keep your mind and your eyes open.

5)            Do the maths. Living in London may seem astronomically expensive, but consider whether you’ll be cutting down on other costs. Denhan Guaranteed Rent says it’s worth looking at all the pros and cons. “The average person commuting from Buckinghamshire into London will pay almost £600 a month in train fares, so it could even out nicely if you’re not spending so much time and money on transport.”

It’s always essential to do your research before making any major investment, so take your time before making a commitment. Property prices are still high but starting to drop slightly in London, so it’s a good time to be thinking about moving to what many consider to be the best city in the world.