March 31, 2020
10 things to consider before moving to London
London is one of the greatest cities in the world. A truly global city, its inhabitants range from far and wide and it’s a world leader when it comes to culture, theatre, shopping, education, law, finance literature and technology. It has some of the finest open green space of anywhere in the world. And some of the globe’s biggest landmarks, too.
The River Thames – once a major trading post, now a major tourist one – defines the city, and splits the capital in half. Between Prime Central London, the West End and the City north of the river to trendy, hipster hotspots in the south.
As a result of its reputation and standing, London is a very popular location for both buyers and tenants. But what do you need to know before moving to the capital?
1/ Know what you want from an area
London has a huge span. Consequently, each area has its own distinct character. North West London, West London, South West London, South East London, East London and North East London are all very different.
South East London, for example, has areas which are tailor made for young professionals. This includes Clapham, Balham, Tooting Bec, Streatham and Wandsworth. All have big rental markets, more affordable prices and plenty of things to do.
Millennials are also drawn to places like Vauxhall, Stockwell, Brixton, Camberwell and Oval for similar reasons. Meanwhile, those looking for more family-style living may be better off in places like Shad Thames, Herne Hill, Rotherhithe, Royal Docks and Wandsworth.
It’s vital to know what you want before committing to an area.
2/ Take into account transport links
The capital is, as you’d expect, very well-connected. However, there are some areas that are better-connected than others. Clapham Junction, for instance, is one of the busiest transport hubs in the country. Ditto Canary Wharf.
For the City, Aldgate and Tower Hill are very useful. Meanwhile, Elephant & Castle is very well-served when it comes to buses, trains and Tube services.
3/ Pinpoint the type of property you want
If you’re looking for a new-build flat, there will be certain parts of the capital that have more options than others. If period is your thing, more historical parts of London will serve you better than, say, Canary Wharf or Canada Water.
Areas that have been heavily regenerated – such as Stratford – may offer the widest range of new-build apartments. Converted warehouses, meanwhile, will be most common in riverside locations.
4/ Decide on how important nightlife is
If you’re looking for a lively social scene – full of pubs, bars, clubs and pop-up events – some parts of London will suit you better than others. If you’re looking for a slower pace of life, somewhere away from the hustle and bustle will be a more sensible option for you.
If buzzing nightlife isn’t your thing, you may want to steer away from lively areas such as Clapham, Hackney, Dalston and Brixton. Perhaps Mile End, Canning Town or Limehouse would be better. Surrey Quays, too, is largely residential and quieter. Look for places further out for more peace and quiet.
5/ Research house prices/rents
It’s vital, when buying or renting a property, to stay within your means. You will also only waste time if you browse properties outside your price range.
Before you move to London, do some quick research. Check the average prices for various areas. Get in touch with an experienced, local agent to lean on them for advice. But don’t go in unawares.
6/ Be aware of local schools
If you have kids of school age, local schools will be a key consideration. With this in mind, good research is once again needed. Often, property descriptions on the portals and an estate agent’s website will provide this info.
But a quick Google search can also help to put your mind at rest. If the nearest Good or Outstanding school is miles away from your new home, it may be time to re-evaluate.
7/ Work out how much you value green space
If you’re a fitness fanatic, have a pet or are just a keen walker, cyclist or runner, good-quality green space nearby will be a priority.
As stated above, London is blessed when it comes to green space. But, again, some areas more than others. Do some research to find out if where you’re looking to rent/buy has good access to parks, commons, woodland and playing fields.
8/ Understand your area’s foodie credentials
An increasingly important consideration for many. London has been at the epicentre of Britain’s foodie revolution in recent years. Now, it’s entirely normal to expect farmers’ markets, artisan delis, trendy brunch joints and street food venues across the city.
Brixton, Spitalfields, St Katherine Docks, Borough and Elephant & Castle are examples of places with food markets – world famous in some cases. Pubs are often at their most charming in riverside locations.
Parts of London are famed for certain cuisines, too. Brixton, for instance, has a large Caribbean population, which is reflected in the food choices. Brick Lane, meanwhile, is famous for its curries. And Stockwell has a large concentration of Portuguese and Brazilians.
9/ Ask family and friends for recommendations
You may know people who already live in London. Or who have lived there in the past. Lean on them for expert advice, do’s and don’ts. Areas that are most suited to your wants and desires.
10/ Work closely with a reputable local agent
A crucial aspect when you’re considering moving to somewhere new is to have to expert advice at hand. Estate agents embedded in their local area can offer that.
Word of mouth, local reputation, recommendations from others, review sites, and number of properties on an agent’s books can all help you to come to an informed decision about who to use.
Naturally, with the current restrictions on movement caused by the lockdown, and the government encouraging people to delay moves until the coronavirus has abated, people will be thinking twice about moving for the time being. However, this is the perfect time to carry out research and put your moving plans into action, so you are ready to act once normal life returns.
There is likely to be a high amount of pent-up demand once this happens, and fierce competition for homes, so it pays to be one step ahead.
Here at Atkinson McLeod, we offer guidance on buying, selling, renting and letting a property in the capital. To find out more about our services, please get in touch with our expert team today. You can find out how much your rental home could be worth on the current market by requesting a free and instant online valuation here.