Life in London

Flat-hunting

Here we are at the end of our first week of flat-hunting, and we might have a place already! We only started viewing places on Wednesday after spending Monday & Tuesday searching online, making shortlists and calling real estate agents. We found two possibilities on our first day, but kept looking, and found another place yesterday which we liked a lot.

This brought it down to two main possibilities. Both are within a short distance of each other and are the same price and are located in the same style block of flats. Flat A, however, had double glazed windows, what looked to be a very new kitchen (not the flashest of kitchens, but new and relatively modern), a nice bathroom, relatively large bedroom, and is about 15 minutes’ walk from a tube and train station. Flat B had a smaller bedroom (but has a built-in wardrobe, although even then the bedroom is still small), no double glazed windows, a not-as-polished bathroom (although not dingy either) and the kitchen is not as new (although the appliances are still relatively modern, the kitchen is still nice with enough storage for our needs, and I think the fridge was bigger!). However, Flat B is also only about 5 – 10 minutes’ walk from a tube station, rail station, and a DLR station.

We decided to put down a deposit on Flat B so it’s at least held for us while we decide. I’m still trying to figure out if the double-glazed windows will make that much difference (temperature-wise) in such a small flat with not many windows, in a block with over a dozen other flats, and whether being a bit closer to transport justifies the smaller bedroom, older kitchen and lack of double-glazing! Anyway, the real estate agent still has to talk to the landlord to see if he’s happy to go ahead with a 6 month lease (because we are not sure where we’ll be working, we don’t want to commit to living in the one spot for too long in case it ends up being inconvenient for us) and we have to see how the referencing turns out – we don’t have jobs which can work against us, although we’ve agreed to pay 6 months’ rent up front which is generally required for people who are unemployed. So who knows!

Last night we came home via London Bridge, so we stopped there and went for a walk along the river to see a few sights like Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, which we hadn’t seen since arriving this time. The Shard is completed too, which it wasn’t when we were here last.  We had a drink and sat on the steps by the Tower of London for a while before coming back to our room.

In amongst all that, I have just looked through my emails and been reminded I haven’t done my tax yet. Sigh. It really won’t be that difficult to do, and I should get a decent return this year because I’ve still been getting taxed at a higher rate despite having paid off my HECS-Help debt at the end of last year. We don’t have anything lined up today so I guess that will be on my to-do list!

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