Searching for a Rental Property in London

The London rental market can be fast moving, a real blink and you’ll miss it market, and for those searching for a new home to rent in the capital preparation is crucial.I have only had to search for a rental property in London once, luckily I stayed in the property for three years once moved in, but I did not make the most of my options for searching and at that time was not well prepared!

I was searching for a student property and without realising what I was doing I dramatically reduced my options by only searching for properties advertised at the university accommodation office and in Loot. A few years later and the internet is now the standard starting point for any property search, whether that is for a flat to rent in London or to buy a new home in the suburbs of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

An internet search is a fantastic way to generate a very quick view of the property market, the current rental prices and the types of properties available. Searches for terms such as “properties to rent in London” will typically result in the search pages for the property portals and agents with properties; this is a great option if you are not determined on using a particular agent. A search such as “letting agents in London” will help you find letting agents in the area who you may want to contact individually – signing up for email updates from local letting agents can be a great way to stay on top of the rental market and find out about suitable properties as they become available.

Making the time to visit individual letting agents can also be to your advantage, as part of my rental search I did not visit any agents, armed with a copy of Loot I had to do the leg work. By visiting local offices you can talk to the staff, discuss your needs and budgets and let them help you find suitable properties for viewing. Talking to the letting agents will also help you understand the market, and gain an appreciation of rental prices and how fast properties are being let.

When searching in London you always need to consider your travel arrangements – do you need parking, are you catching the tube or a bus, do you need to be within walking distance of a workplace? London covers hundreds of square miles so having a clear idea of the area you would like to live in can be to your advantage as it will define your search area as well as the letting agents you will want to contact.

As well as knowing your location or an option of locations, you need to factor in other needs such as proximity to a tube station or a bus route as well as amenities and attractions.

London continues to have an average monthly rent above the national average and this figure shows annual rises, so it is imperative to know what your monthly budget is and to ensure that bills and rates and factored into this budgeting. Rental prices will vary across London for comparative properties so it is important to consider this when conducting your search. Don’t forget the impact of the deposit as well.

Searching for rental properties is ultimately a balancing act, juggling budget, location, property size and amenities while also trying to beat other prospective tenants to getting your name on the contract. Getting as much help and assistance throughout the process cannot be a bad thing.

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