12 June 2014

Flat Hunting From Another Country
{Part 1}

There is already a lot of research and work that goes into finding a home.
Doing this in another country, from another country - makes things a little more difficult.
A lot more difficult.

For those of you who are going through/may be going through a jump across countries.
I've got a mini  (meaning I broke it up in parts because it's not mini at all) guide for how to go about this in an organized way.

This is pretty specific to London, but I'm sure this can relate to any type of apartment hunt as well.


Heather and I have been at this for quite a while now.
We've gone through the dirt and grime of the hunt,
and feel like we could be estate agents ourselves,
with how much we now know about renting in London.

Going into this, you are starting from scratch,
so you need to lay down the foundation (the easy stuff) to this building process.
The preparation.

What are the things that are most important for you to have in your home
for the next 12+ months?

1) Budget
 - This is probably the most important of anything I'll list- make sure you know your exchange rate with the British Pound - if I had a guess, I'd say it sucks.  The British Pound is one of the most expensive currencies in the world, so unless you live around the Persian Gulf, you're probably going to be hurting with this.
Now, accept the fact that you are going to be converting everything for the unforeseeable future. 
London is expensive. Like New York City, but more expensive. So having a budget of what you'll be spending a month for everything will help you figure out how much you'll be able to spend in rent.

An example list of things you may be paying for on a monthly basis:
Rent
Utilities (Gas, Water, Electricity, Wifi, Cable)
Transportation (Tube Pass)
Groceries
Mobile Phone Bill
Leisure/Emergency/Miscellaneous

This may also include a Council Tax if you are in London for work.
(Council Tax - basically a monthly fee everyone have to pay to simply live in London - used to pay for local services i.e. police force, firefighters, trash collectors, etc.) 
Full-time students do not have to pay Council Tax in the city - make sure you know this if you are a student. Council Tax is a pretty expensive bill, so being exempt can make a noticeable difference.

You'll want to have a general idea of how much money you will have monthly to spend, then break these payments down to how much you can spend on each.
It's a bit of a process, but having the clearest idea of how much you will be spending makes the next few steps easier to get through.

2) Transportation Links
-  Commuting through London is a long enough process - you definitely want to make it as easy as you can.  If you have a job or are going to university, know what Tube lines are nearest to wherever the place is.  You'll want your flat to either be near a direct line, or where you are only needed to make one line change during your commute.

3) Safety
- I'll get into areas in the next section, but this is something to take note on from the start.  Safety is very important to me - meaning I want to be able to walk home from the Tube Station by myself at 10PM at night and not feel like I need to kick off my heels and make a sprint for it to keep myself out of danger.
This may mean finding a property in a safer, wealthier area, or preferring to look at flats that are within a close distance to your Tube Station - we choose this, meaning we normally look into flats that are (at most) around 0.5 miles away from the station.
You may be more okay with a flat that is a mile away from transportation, or you may not want to go farther than a quarter-mile. It all depends on you, and what you are most comfortable with.

4) Convenience to Necessities
 - Being near these shops just makes life easier. Groceries, Cosmetics, etc. - in my previous flat, we were right down the street from a Tesco (grocery store), and a few blocks away from a mini-Boots (health, pharmacy, cosmetics, etc).  You want to be close enough to these that if you need to make a quick run to pick something up, you'll be able to with ease.

5) Furnished Flat
- This is a necessity simply because if you are reading my blog, you are probably somewhat similar to me and don't have enough money to ship furniture, or buy furniture on top of your rental fee.  This is okay - London always deals with internationals, and many properties are available furnished for you. Just make sure the ad lists the property as furnished, or ask about this when in communication with the agent/landlord.

6) Miscellaneous Needs&Wants
- Do you prefer a double bed, or are you able to survive with a single? What about a desk? Do you need a washing machine in the flat, or are you okay with going to a laundromat?  Do you like the idea of living in a residential area, or more of a place with nightlife and things to do?  Little things like these questions will come into play later on in this process.


This is a general list of the first things that Heather and I discussed.
Once we created the big picture of 'what' we wanted,
we were able to move on to part two - 'where' we wanted it
.


Check out part two --> HERE




52 comments:

  1. I can't imagine how tough it can be so search for a flat from so far away! I'm sure anyone who is doing it will find this post incredibly helpful! :)

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    1. Very tough, but working out alright! Thank you!

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  2. I think this is good information for everyone!

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  3. I cannot imagine trying to find a place to LIVE from another country! There are so many things that you have to take into account. It looks like you have all your bases covered though! Great tips and good luck! (:

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    1. So many things to keep in mind! But once you get organized, it becomes (just a little) easier!

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  4. That would be so hard! It's hard enough finding something you want when you can go look at them all in person :P

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    1. That's the toughest part, is not physically being there! And the time different - I can't tell you how many 4AM UK-number phone calls I've gotten!

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  5. I can't wait to hear more about the search!

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  6. Hope you find a great place to call home! <3

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  7. oh my word…i am overwhelmed just thinking about moving to another country and having to find a place to live! hope you find an awesome place!

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    1. It's a very strange mix of complete stress and utter excitement - such a roller coaster!

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  8. Flat hunting whilst abroad is the worst! Let me know if I can be of any help! It gives me the cold sweats just to think of doing it again. x

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    1. It's so stressful and frustrating - I keep telling my roommate the day we move in I just want to open a jug of wine, lay on the floor, and just take in that all the hard work is finished.
      I will most likely be taking you up on some help/advice too! Thank you!

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  9. My close friend is currently in Dublin looking for houses. I agree it's better to sell all of your stuff versus shipping it all over the world.

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    1. I'm hoping I can go through all of my stuff before I go and have everything I own fit in the luggage I'm taking - but I am a girl, and I do love my clothes, so we'll see!

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  10. This is a pretty good list, welcome to our pound country. I actually love buying things in dollars even euros coz it translates quite cheaply for me. The most expensive currency in the world is Swiss franc am still crying to this day lol x

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    1. YES! I went to Switzerland when I was previously living in London and we could not believe how expensive it was there - we thought London was expensive, but we couldn't afford ANYTHING there!! The Franc is so colorful though, I loved it - I still have a note that I kept just because it was so pretty :)

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  11. I'm having a hard time finding a place across town. I can't imagine trying to find a place from another country. Good luck!

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    1. House hunting in general is just plan tough! Here's to hoping we both find the perfect places!

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  12. You are brave! I've always moved somewhere where housing is provided or set up housing ahead of time. Good luck lady! xx

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    1. I thought about going through set-up housing to make it easier, but we really wanted our own home, so we're going to give this a shot! Hooooopefully we don't regret the decision O:)

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  13. Reading this made me think of House Hunters International on HGTV! I can't even imagine finding a place to move in another country! Best wishes!

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    1. A little over a year ago, a friend actually sent in an application to House Hunters International for us as a joke - but they replied to him!
      Broke college kids are definitely not the market that show attracts though - so funny though!

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  14. This will definitely be handy for me in the future! My husband is in the Air Force and we will more than likely end up outside of the US. Although we would have the option to be housed on base I would LOVE to live off base and experience a different culture :)

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    1. It's convenient to have a place set up for you - and we've considered university housing for that reason, but we wanted to have the feel like we were immersed in the city and that it was our 'home'!

      Good luck with your possible future travels - can't wait to read about where you end up!

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  15. That would be so frustrating! Good luck!

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  16. This is very nice list, very thorough.. and among these, safety is also what I consider the most when moving. You must not risk yourself from a cheap rent in a questionable environment.

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    1. No matter how great the flat is, if I don't feel comfortable in the area I'm living, it's an absolute no. I can't compromise that!

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  17. Oh my gosh can I live in one of those places? Gorgeous! Great tips :D

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    1. I only DREAM of those flats in that picture! Someday!

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  18. Wow! I hope that I get the chance to live in another country one day!

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    1. I hope you do too! You definitely should try!

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  19. This must be might difficult, but so exciting at the same time.

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    1. The exact way to describe it - so stressful so frustrating but SO exciting!

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  20. This is a great list - I hope I'll need it someday, I'd love to live abroad! ;-)

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    1. I think everyone should spend time abroad sometime in their lives! So I definitely think you should! :)

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  21. Brilliant! Now time to travel and be abroad so I can use this info!

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    1. Heheh, working on it!! I can't wait to finally get abroad after all of this!

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  22. Great list! I've always wondered how to go about finding a place :)

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  23. That sounds like so much work! I have a hard enough time picking a place in my town, let alone somewhere else!

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    1. It's a lot of work, but the payoff will be amazing!

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  24. Good tips! I'm house hunting at the moment - it's hard compromising on things! I'm trying to work out my 'must haves' versus my 'ideals'!

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    1. Exactly! I had this huge list of things I wanted, and then I realized for the budget I'm looking at, a lot of compromises would be in order. I'm still working on that!

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  25. Man! Just the thought makes me break out in hives from the anxiety! But holy cow how fun would that be! You are awesome for sharing tips!

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    1. Thanks! And yes - the stress is at an overload, but it's all for something I want so bad, so in the end it's not tooo horrible!

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