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Old 06-14-2012, 08:14 AM
 
6 posts, read 14,851 times
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Hi there!

We have lived in a lot of suburbs ranging from bustling NY to the calm Minneapolis and Charlotte in the USA. Now, my husband has an offer in proper city of London. What should I know about...

1. Schools? We have been living in areas that have excellent schools in the USA so that we may automatically get assigned to those schools. How does that work in London? How expensive are the schools? Any websites that list schools and their rating (similar to greatschools.net)

2. Finding an apartment for rent? I heard you need to look through agents? We are only looking at apartments that rent for about GBP1000 a month as our allowance isn't that great. So how do I go about finding a family friendly neighbourhood that has rentals in my range and good schools as well.

Any other "must-know"?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-15-2012, 08:01 AM
 
Location: Nesconset, NY
2,202 posts, read 3,790,186 times
Reputation: 2141
Quote:
Originally Posted by sukri View Post
Hi there!

We have lived in a lot of suburbs ranging from bustling NY to the calm Minneapolis and Charlotte in the USA. Now, my husband has an offer in proper city of London. What should I know about...

1. Schools? We have been living in areas that have excellent schools in the USA so that we may automatically get assigned to those schools. How does that work in London? How expensive are the schools? Any websites that list schools and their rating (similar to greatschools.net)

2. Finding an apartment for rent? I heard you need to look through agents? We are only looking at apartments that rent for about GBP1000 a month as our allowance isn't that great. So how do I go about finding a family friendly neighbourhood that has rentals in my range and good schools as well.

Any other "must-know"?

Thanks in advance!
Others will probably have better advice than I, however, I can tell you many Americans are not prepared for a few things *whilst* looking for a *flat*.
1) it *will* be much smaller than what one is used to having in the U.S. (unless one lives in NYC)
2) kitchens are rarely designed for two; unless one gets a galley kitchen that is open to the living room/dining area with the kitchen lined-up along one wall
3) if there are laundry hook-ups en-suite they tend to be in the bathroom or kitchen
4) bathrooms tend not to have bathtubs (showers only)
5) toilets could be in a separate room from the shower
6) walk-ups are less expensive than those with elevators (elevators tend to be the size of large phone booths)
7) expect tall ceilings in older buildings
8) ask about redecorating restrictions (paint, wallpaper, adding shelving, etc.)
9) windows may not have screens (this bothered me)
10) parking *will* be a problem in most cases (consider getting a Vespa or bicycle)
11) the "1st" floor is the one above that which is at street level
12) having a place to put your Vespa/bicycle in a garage/storage on street level is very convenient
13) being within walking distance of your child's school will make life easier
14) "walking distance" is much greater there than in the U.S.
15) "mind the gap" and look *right* when crossing the street.
16) if you're going to travel by Tube (subway) take along wet-wipes for your face (it's incredible how much airborne dust is down there)

Last edited by James1202; 06-15-2012 at 08:03 AM.. Reason: structure
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Where else but London
670 posts, read 815,545 times
Reputation: 532
Quote:
Originally Posted by sukri View Post
Hi there!

We have lived in a lot of suburbs ranging from bustling NY to the calm Minneapolis and Charlotte in the USA. Now, my husband has an offer in proper city of London. What should I know about...

1. Schools? We have been living in areas that have excellent schools in the USA so that we may automatically get assigned to those schools. How does that work in London? How expensive are the schools? Any websites that list schools and their rating (similar to greatschools.net)

2. Finding an apartment for rent? I heard you need to look through agents? We are only looking at apartments that rent for about GBP1000 a month as our allowance isn't that great. So how do I go about finding a family friendly neighbourhood that has rentals in my range and good schools as well.

Any other "must-know"?

Thanks in advance!
£1000 won't get you a decent 2 bedroom in a nice part of London. Where in the city will your husband be working?
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Old 06-18-2012, 04:32 AM
 
Location: Paris, France
327 posts, read 923,552 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KayleneO View Post
£1000 won't get you a decent 2 bedroom in a nice part of London. Where in the city will your husband be working?
I can second that. £1,000 a month won't even get you a studio/bedsit nowadays in inner London, let alone a one or two bed flat with a bit of space. We were paying £1,400 for a one bedroom, ground floor, no balcony, in Islington. You'll have to be way out in the suburbs for a family flat for that amount - even then you'll have to stick to the less salubrious suburbs (north and east rather than south or west).

Look in suburbs like Dagenham or Upminster out east or Enfield up north, you'll have your best chance of finding somewhere half decent for £1,000.
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Old 06-18-2012, 05:20 AM
 
Location: SW France
14,805 posts, read 15,064,804 times
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Perhaps sukri would like to respond?
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:36 AM
 
3,490 posts, read 7,664,537 times
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Where in London will you be?

Think of it just as moving to Manhattan. There is no way you would find an apartment in NYC for $1500/ month. Same thing applies to London. Size wise homes are smaller in England generally, but space wise once again you are probably looking at something comparable to NYC - in other words, tiny.

I'm not really sure where to even begin to make suggestions for a 2 bedroom in or around London with such a very tight budget. Sorry.

I love, love, love London and would highly recommend it, but are you sure this is a good idea? I suspect you will end up living way out of the city with your husband commuting in. In that case look up the nearest train station to where he will be working and google real estate in the towns the train passes through on its way into the city. Then narrow it down from there.

Again, just like NYC the schools (apart from private, called 'public' in the UK to add confusion) will probably be better outside the city anyway.

Good luck!
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:07 AM
 
Location: USA
313 posts, read 550,233 times
Reputation: 176
London's climate is most of the year gloomy (cloudy) and chilly winters with plenty of light rainy days... summers are only low 70s.

Britain drives on the left, so get used to eat.
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Scotland
8,024 posts, read 10,688,182 times
Reputation: 4144
Quote:
Originally Posted by In God We Trust View Post
London's climate is most of the year gloomy (cloudy) and chilly winters with plenty of light rainy days... summers are only low 70s.

Britain drives on the left, so get used to eat.
Wow great advice lol.

Like previous people have said to get a decent 2 bedroom flat anywhere near inner London will basically be impossible.

Here is a good site to browse, open google earth to see what areas will be ''do-able'' for commuting to work. There is a box on the left so you can search areas and prices.

London flats. Find 2 bedroom flats to rent in London
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:41 AM
 
Location: SW France
14,805 posts, read 15,064,804 times
Reputation: 28168
Quote:
Originally Posted by In God We Trust View Post
London's climate is most of the year gloomy (cloudy) and chilly winters with plenty of light rainy days... summers are only low 70s.

Britain drives on the left, so get used to eat.
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Old 06-18-2012, 03:33 PM
 
Location: The Silver State (from the UK)
4,663 posts, read 7,672,235 times
Reputation: 2862
Another thing to remember is that the tenant pays council tax (property tax) in the UK, not the landlord so figure another £100-150 on top. You will also need 6 weeks rent as a deposit up front and the first months rent. There are systems in place to make sure you get your deposit back in the UK so as long as you look after the place you will get your money back!!

I'd second the posts above. Central London for £1000 is not an option for 2 beds. I'd recommend living outside and commuting in if you don't mind - factor in your train fares if you do that though.. it's expensive to commute during rush hour in and out of London.
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