The Next Move: Flat Hunting in London

So…we’re buying a flat! And it’s stressful. The real world is upon us.

Anyway, Sean and I were debating moving in with each other and stumbled upon the opportunity – his landlord decided to sell his flat, meaning he was getting evicted, and I conveniently had a friend interested in living in mine! We took this opportunity as a sign and decided to start looking. When we first started, we had plenty of time and it was fun. We got to be picky, only view the best places, and had no pressure to settle for anything less than what we wanted.

Fast forward and month and we still haven’t found anything. It’s getting down to the wire and it seems like there are literally NO flats on the market. We’ve also switched from renting to buying which means the options are even fewer. So we accepted that we won’t get everything we want and decided to make a list of priorities. These are the essentials, in order (at least in my head!):

1. Location

This is where we should probably be more flexible, but where we have no desire to be whatsoever. The SW4/SW12 bubble of Clapham is perfect for us – young, full of restaurants and bars (and important stuff like grocery stores, too!), and close to transport links. It is also off of the tube line that takes me direct into work which is a major plus. We both know that we could get something cheaper and larger with a bigger garden and so on if we move further out, but this is the area where we have both chosen to be inflexible. It’s definitely the #1 priority.

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[This is my area map, made with Zoopla – my new favorite site until we find a place!]

2. Budget

This should be number one, but I’ve never been good with money. Just kidding – well not, but that’s not why it’s number one. We both have parents that we can fall back on if need be. Obviously it’s not ideal, but it allows us to be flexible in the area that is normally the most restrictive. To start, we are looking at places much cheaper than either of us can actually afford. I would feel much better if I save money by moving in with Sean, and I know he feels the same way – however if we have to spend a little more to have a place we can truly call home, I’m willing to put off a shopping spree for a couple of months!

3. Storage

This one is mainly for me. I have a lot of…stuff. And not just clothes and makeup and that silly stuff, but things such as suitcases.  I mean, I moved over here from America, so did not have many options for bringing my stuff (shipping is so expensive) so now my suitcases just sit in a corner and it drives me insane. In this new house, we are looking for some built in storage so everything can have a place and the flat can remain tidy (hopefully).

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[This was one of the first flats we viewed – it ended up being a bit too small for us, but I loved how they made such great use of the space with built in storage!]

4. Large common area

We both love having friends over and I’ve always dreamed of having a place where I can entertain – everything from a chilled movie night to a full on dinner party. If we can find a flat with a large living room/common area, I know that this is possible. I prefer open kitchen/living room combos because it makes the space feel larger and also space is not wasted with walls. However, I am also happy with contained rooms if we can find something that is not cramped. I hate spending time in my bedroom during the day, so it is important to find a flat with space large enough to hang out away from the bedroom.

5. Garden

This is the dream – and the thing that is starting to seem more and more unlikely. A garden flat in central London. The flat I lived in last summer had a garden and it was just so nice to sit out there for an evening drink or a meal on the weekends. Even just to escape outside to read a bit seemed like a huge break from the city. Plus, this adds to the possibility of entertaining – hello garden parties! Once again, a dream, but you never know what we might find!

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[Dream – this was unfortunately taken before we had a chance to view it. But so much grass, I love it!]

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