Moving to a foreign city for the first time is a process that’s fraught with nerves, uncertainty and a good dose of excitement to boot. Suffice to say, when it comes to heading out to a city as large, chaotic and unique as London, all of the above can be multiplied many times over.
As such, it’s never a good idea to have things compounded by the kinds of myths and falsehoods that can steer those looking to relocate in a counterproductive direction. So while London and its housing market may have a reputation that’s multi-faceted on both sides of the debate, don’t let the following six myths cloud your judgement or alter the decisions you make:
1 – Affordable Property Largely Doesn’t Exist
While it’s true to say that finding property in London at a bargain rate can be tricky, it’s far from impossible. When critics try and tell you that London as a whole is just too expensive property-wise, chances are they’re referring to either the centre of the city itself or any of the more in-demand suburbs. By contrast, travel a short distance away from the more exclusive corners of London and property prices and monthly rent rates plummet exponentially. With the help of a good agent and a few online portals, it’s perfectly possible to find a London property to suit any budget.
2 – It’s Impossible to Live On a Budget in London
This statement is only true if you live the kind of lifestyle that would indeed be expensive to facilitate in London. In terms of general costs of living however, it’s worth remembering that things like groceries, transport and so on don’t actually have to cost any more in London than in any other UK city. Yes, there are things that are hugely expensive, but these tend to find their way onto the ‘optional’ pile as opposed to the things you need to get by. It’s your lifestyle that will determine how expensive your new life in London will be.
3 – Foreigners Are At a Disadvantage
These days, this isn’t in fact the case at all – all of which comes down to the web. Regardless of whether you live 20 miles from London or 2,000 miles from the UK, you have access to the same websites and the same agents as anyone else. And while it’s true to say that many of the best properties get snapped up in a heartbeat, there’s nothing to stop any foreign national speaking to an agent and having them proactively keep an eye out for the ideal property. What’s more, with specialist websites for Italian immigrants up, running and 100% free of charge to use, there’s really no disadvantage to speak of.
4 – Private Landlords Are Risky
While it’s generally safe to say that reputable estate agents represent the safest choices of all when moving to the capital, the overwhelming majority of private landlords are also far from risky prospects. The only difference being that if you choose the latter, it’s up to you to carry out the necessary vetting to make sure they’re as they appear to be. From reference checks to asking the right questions and so on, there’s really never any need to find yourself lumped with a landlord you’re not happy with.
5 – Short-Term Rents Are Hard to Find
The myth regarding the apparent difficulty of tracking down quality short-term and mid-term lets in London is about as far off the mark as it can be. While most landlords prefer to lock tenants into longer contract, the very nature of London is such that hundreds of thousands of residents must live in shorter-term accommodation. So while such properties may not be advertised alongside standard lets and home for sale, they can be found with ease if targeted specifically.
6 – It’s My First Move So I’ll be Turned Down
Last but not least, while it’s true to say that those looking to rent a home for the first time may be at a slight disadvantage, there are ways and means by which your prospects can be improved. For example, you have no prior landlord to serve as a reference, but what you do have are employers, teachers and those in positions of authority who may vouch for you. Likewise, the way you present yourself to the landlord/agent and also the amount you’re willing to offer by way of a deposit may also help you secure the property you’re interested in. If in doubt, speak to an agent directly or consider getting involved in a relevant online community of others who may be in or have previously been in your position.