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Henfield Storage’s Guide on How to Find a Flat in London

Finding a flat to live in London can be extremely tricky. Is it possible to find an apartment in London that ticks all of your needs? It’s like finding a needle in a haystack. London has postcode-envy. It is no secret that London’s real estate market is incredibly competitive and challenging. There is a high demand to get spacious yet affordable flats in London. 

Don’t worry, though. Henfield Storage is here to make sure that your flat hunting goes smoothly. If you’ve decided to move already, read our guide on Moving to London, so you know what to expect.

Read ahead for Henfield Storage’s Guide on how to find a flat in London.

Set a budget

Usually, everyone would tell you that you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your income on rent, however, London is one of the most expensive cities to live in so you may have to prepare yourself to spend a little more.

According to studies, the average rent of a one-bedroom house or flat in London takes up almost half (46.4%) of the gross-median pay. That means there is a high chance that nearly 50% of your income goes straight to your landlord. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. In some boroughs like Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea, the rent of a one-bedroom flat can take up over three-quarters of the median pay (79.3% and 75.2%). That leaves a measly 20% of the salary left for other basic needs such as groceries, transportation, leisure, and education. 

If you’re moving to London, you need to set a budget. Take a long, hard look at your financials and determine the maximum amount you can shell out for rental fees. Consider that the living expenses in London are also higher. 

According to Numbeo, a single person living in London would need about £847.42 for their monthly expenses, rent excluded. Do the math and calculate how much would be left for rent.

Single out three areas in London

Once you have decided on your budget, select three areas in London that fit within it. Here are factors that you must consider when choosing a part of London to live in. Determine what your must-haves are so you don’t become dissatisfied.

Budget

In London, the closer you are to the centre of London, the more expensive rent becomes. The most inexpensive area is located in the Outer London Boroughs, including Havering, Bexley, and Sutton. The average rent price for a one-bedroom property in Havering is £1,021 pcm (per calendar month). For Bexley, the average rent for a one-bedroom property runs about £866 pcm. Lastly, for Sutton, you can get a one-bedroom flat for £981 pcm.

When deciding on a budget, factor in the holding deposit and whether what you’re getting is furnished or unfurnished. If it’s unfurnished, you have to include purchasing furniture in your initial budget.

Proximity to work

If you’re going to work in London, you’ll probably want to look for rental properties that are fairly close to your office. This way, you can avoid the stress and expense of a very long commute. If you’re stuck on the road for hours, then you may live somewhere far away, like Brighton, and just take the train.

Transportation Links

Excellent transport links surround London. If your work requires you to travel regularly, consider a flat close to various transport links. 

Green spaces

If you’re moving with your family, find a place where you can enjoy a leisurely stroll. London is filled with green spaces like parks where you can enjoy your off days in.

Security

According to the latest crime statistics, London’s crime rate last 2020 was 101.48 crimes for every 1000 residents. That means one in every ten residents have experienced a crime. Avoid areas that are not well-lit and have a lot of alleys. Use this Police Crime Map and enter the postcode of your desired location. You’ll be shown a list of the crimes reported in that area.

Cross out any areas that are too far from your office or from transport links, or too sketchy for you. What are the locations that are left? You’ll easily be able to single out three areas from there.

Start looking through listings

Now that you have a couple of boroughs you want to live in start looking through listings. Check both the paper and online. There are lots of different options to search for real estate listing, but you should always make sure to use trustworthy websites, so you don’t end up in dealing with a difficult landlord. 

Most real estate websites will have a filter tool to help you with your search. Filter out the results by price, furnished or not, etc. Remember that you shouldn’t sign a contract immediately. Don’t rush into a decision even if the landlord tells you that it’s in demand. Do your homework and check all of the essentials. You might be getting ripped off without you knowing it. 

Ask Help from a Real Estate Agent

Finding a London flat on your own can be challenging, especially with London’s tight market. You can always ask for help from a professional real estate agent. However, if you’re on a budget, this can be a problem. Hiring real estate agents to find you a flat to rent will require two fees: retention fee and success fee. The retention fee is what you pay them for working for you. The success fee is if they find you a property that you decide to get. However, if you’re on a tight budget, this may not be an option for you.

Moving to London? Use Henfield Storage!

One reality you should know about London is that there’s always not enough space. As we said, the demand for flats in London is high. With that comes exorbitant rent prices. If you’re just starting at an entry-level job, you might not earn enough for a flat on your own. You’ll probably be doing a house share or a flatshare with other people who also can’t afford the rent on their own.

With this reality comes the lack of storage space. If you are moving into a small flat, consider renting storage units with Henfield Storage. For as low as £6 a week, you can rent a spacious and secure storage unit in London where you can store all of your items in.

Contact us now for more information!

Ben Sutton-Jones

By Ben Sutton-Jones

Ben has worked in the storage industry for over a decade. His expertise and knowledge is often called upon by colleagues and customers alike. He has a passion for writing, and so branching out into blogging was a natural move. Ben is a keen reader and also follows many sports, especially football. He is a beekeeper in his spare time and enjoys tending to his bees. If he's lucky he may even get to harvest a little honey from time to time.

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