London is a unique city in many aspects. The real estate in market is no different – it has its own dynamics and processes that are unique to the city. When looking for a property in London, the following needs to be taken into consideration:
- Prices can be extremely high. Like most major global cities, London is quite expensive to live in, and whether renting or buying – prices are several times the cost of anywhere else in the UK. Once you take this into consideration, the easier it will be to focus energy on the things that can be controlled
- Estate agents can significantly aid in the process, but this has a price. In the past, some people would opt for trying to go to landlords directly. Today, many property owners rent their properties through estate agents. The agents understand the market better and provide added value. Trying to avoid their services will limit choices and cause you to miss out on some of the best properties.
- Check that prices are realistic. Some properties tend to be priced on the high side, and it is possible in some cases to negotiate the price down.
- Things move fast in London. Some places, especially the top picks, may remain on the market for a very short time. If you drag your feet for far too long, you may find that the property you like will be gone by then.
- Despite the fast pace, there is no need to be desperate. You can always find another property to your liking, so even if you miss out on a property you like or find the price unreasonable, you can be sure you will find others to your liking.
- When placing a deposit on a property, make sure it is protected by the Deposit Protection Scheme. This stage is very important, and all landlords are legally obliged to comply.
- Some agents will “bait and switch” clients, by posting highly lucrative properties at unbelievable prices, which are “no longer available” when people inquire about them. Other, less appealing properties are then offered in place. In some cases, the property truly has just been taken off the market, but if this happens more than once with the same agent, than you should beware and use other agents.
- When looking at moving out of central areas to save money, you need to factor in transport prices, which can be quite expensive. If you need to commute to central London, especially during peak hours, you may find yourself no better off financially when living outside of central zones in London as the difference you think you are saving has been spent on transport instead.
- Sometimes signing a longer lease can help save money on the rent and/or provide an advantage over other potential offers. If you plan to rent long term, it is worthwhile mentioning it during the offer process to help get you the property you want.