Monday, June 20, 2011

US vs. London for apt hunt

I am happy to report we have a place to live. It's been hard, but finally I can say...it's been worth it. Yay..... 

But it has been painful, and I am sorry I will be comparing to US, sulking and ranting about the way things are done for rental apartments here in London. So if you don't want to hear it, stop reading now.

In US, i have moved 8 times in 9 years, so i know a little about moving. You go to craigslist, shortlist the area, the budget, go see the places, like, sign the lease and move in. Simple. Yes you might have to see a few places, but when you search for 2 bed/ bath, it's a matter os aesthetics, the basics are the same. Standard. Simple. And above all, quick

In London..... Here is my story.
We started with, contacting realtors on our own. Go to the areas which we had researched prior just to get a feel of the area and the property styles. Also to see how much will we get in our budget. Stretching the pound if you will.
First day, was woooh! Yes it's a three bed/ bath but seriously it's only700 sq. Ft. Ouch. Too small. Yes that's more like it, but wait a minute, that's 400 pounds more per week
"Hmm, it's a bit random here" was what I said the end of our first day. 
The next couple of days was the same, few more areas, few more apts. and a lot of WTH moments.
After we shortlisted our areas, we contacted our relocation specialist. That was one day, back to back viewings and the end of the day, we had a favorite.
We were elated, in my mind it was to be, like place, tell the realtor, sign the papers and thAts it.....move in. Done.
Sadly no, the first place, the landlord took our 'offer' gave it to another interested party and negotiated a higher rate. Sorry though we like you, the other party is giving considerably more. Do you want to match that ? 'no thank you, is all I could mutter.'

Property two, it took three realtors, four days independently to have the landlord agree to our 'offer'. Now I was happy. Yeah. But no, once again two days short of moving in, the land lady kept adding clauses and sub clauses to the offer. Red flags. 'if the land lady is being such a hard ass before we move in. Imagine what happens that if the washer breaks down. She might just bring in the firing squad. So we had to back down again. A meddling land lady would be a nightmare.

Phew.......
I was so pissed by the whole 'whims' of realtors, contracts, land lords, offers. I was done. I told Sumit, screw it....I am going to stay here in the hotel. Done. 

Then finally, we found another place. Perfect. Ten minutes from V's school, 5 min. From tube, our top area. It works perfectly for us. I didn't want to celebrate, since I had a hunch that if something were to go wrong, it would. But luckily for us. It didn't. Papers, clauses agreed on. Move date finalized,  and we are good to go. Since I have post marked this, while you read this, I am in the nightmare of arranging things in the house with a very very helpful toddler. So wish me luck.

Now if you are moving to London, buzz me, I will give you a reality check before you look.
In short, be ready for a slower place, heart break and middle men. But you will eventually find something in your budget and get used to not having a Dryer in the apt. If you get one, call me, I have no shame in bringing my wet laundry to use the dryer.

1 comment:

wordingmythoughts said...

Tough luck. I have heard similar cases about my husband's colleagues. Reminds us about Indian ways, doesn't it? We were however lucky to get a place in our budget with good facilities and a tumbler drier with our washer. And the small sizes of apartments, streets and almost everything, well that is how it is. I find all that appealing obviously I haven't been to the US. :)