Moving to London from NYC

Dec 20th, 2006, 11:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Moving to London from NYC

Hope someone can help me.

We are currently living in the New York City metro area. My husband, our baby and myself are moving to London soon. I wanted to know what are nice, safe, quiet areas to live in. My husband will be working in WC2 area.

We want to live in a two bedroom and not pay more the 400 p.w.

We just found out that we are moving yesterday and I really have no idea how to approach flat hunting in London. Are we supposed to get an estate agent? Which one is a good one?

alchemistee is offline  
Dec 20th, 2006, 11:37 AM
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i suggest a book called the london property guide. it describes all the areas and gives good indicators of price and has maps. then you can check your favourite areas in the estate agent pages on the internet for up to the minute offerings and prices. you can also ask more specific questions of us here.

there are far too many areas and at this point we would be just 'shouting out' suggestions randomly without knowing what you want (besides safe and quiet).

the book is available on amazon and maybe is available in nyc bookstores as well.

sounds like you are not getting much help from your husband's company? too bad if this is the case. best to get some place temporary for 8 weeks or so--would probably be more than 400 per week if it is a short term let. if the company would agree to pay more for a short term let whilst you look around that would be helpful.
walkinaround is offline  
Dec 20th, 2006, 11:47 AM
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I used to live in the St John's Wood area. It is popular with expats, particularly Americans, because the American school is nearby. There's a small shopping area with restaurrants and pubs. Regents Park is a short walk. Very pleasant but pricey. Don't know the current rents.
Dec 20th, 2006, 01:19 PM
Join Date: May 2006
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I live in Richmond, which is on the District line on the Tube - definitely nice, safe, and quiet. Don't know where WC2 is. Anyway, there are lots and lots of American expats here and many that I know have small children and babies (including myself). You can maybe find a 2br flat for that price around here (I am assuming you mean GBP).

Wherever you decide to live, I suggest you contact the American Women's Club of London to help you get started in a play group and help you get a social circle - I also assume you will not be working. In Richmond (as I am sure in other areas) we have an active group of American expat wives. I met someone literally the day I moved here last year and I got set up in a play group, got info on preschools, etc. right away. It was really helpful. Even if your baby doesn't play yet, it will be helpful for you to develop a social network.

I have a link to a web site I look at frequently where you can look up properties for rent in different areas. I have to switch computers to get the link so I will do that after posting this.
where2 is offline  
Dec 20th, 2006, 01:37 PM
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The link is below. If you were curious about it, Richmond is actually in Surrey, not central London.
where2 is offline  
Dec 20th, 2006, 01:45 PM
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alanRow is offline  
Dec 20th, 2006, 01:58 PM
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alchemistee: "nice, safe, quiet areas to live in" London is a VAST area. Any suggestions on here would be semi-fruitless since there hundreds of areas you might like. Walkingaround's suggestion to first order a copy of the London Property Guide, is a good one. I am amazed you are not getting more help from your husband's employer. Or maybe you will and you just haven't heard from them yet . . . . .

(There are MANY areas much more convenient to WC2 than is Richmond)

janisj is online now  
Dec 20th, 2006, 01:59 PM
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To clarify I meant suggestions re neighborhoods -
janisj is online now  
Dec 20th, 2006, 01:59 PM
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Lucky you! Whatever you do don't make that "American mistake" of living in total isolation and limiting yourself to social contacts exclusively within the ex-pat community.
Dukey is offline  
Dec 20th, 2006, 02:04 PM
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Presumably you mean £1600 a month. If you mean $1600 (ie £800) you've got real problems if you really want to live in London

£1600 a month won't get you anything in WC2. WC2 is the area around the very central Piccadilly line tube stations like Leicester Square and Covent Garden.

So you need to live at the very edge of the Piccadilly Line tube (like Cockfosters) or places easoily accessible from Waterloo or Charing Cross overgrounnd rail stations - say about 20 miles down the line.

If that's not your idea of a good time, renegotiate your package now, before wasting any more time dealing with an employer who's expecting you to do the impossible.

We don't have socialist nonsesnses like controlled rents here. All accommodation prices are driven by what people in the highest concentration of billionaires the world's ever known are prepared to pay. Your chap's employer has to understand that, or you need to put your foot down.
flanneruk is offline  
Dec 20th, 2006, 02:18 PM
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flanner does not paint an accurate picture. many people live with rents far under £1600 per month but not in the best central london neighbourhoods. anyway, £400pcw is not equivalent to £1600 pcm but to £1733 pcm. many to most central london rents are stated on a pcw basis so i don't understand the need to convert to pcm. but if you do, do it right. £133 pcm is not insignificant.

but £400 pcw won't get you a two bedroomed flat in a top great area but you are not at the bottom of the market either.

and usually people's negotiating position is related to their job level ...not everyone is a company director so don't feel bad if the budget does not put you in a top w2 flat. people of normal means rarely live in this area.

as for the socialist aspect, there is A LOT of rent control in the UK. it's called council housing. rent is set by the council at far below market value. anyway, that's irrelevent to this thread and you don't qualify anyway. stay a while and you might, however.
walkinaround is offline  
Dec 20th, 2006, 02:20 PM
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Council housing is a thing of the past thanks to The Blessed Margaret, Lady Porter & her gerrymandering and the sale of anything else to Housing Associations.
alanRow is offline  
Dec 20th, 2006, 02:27 PM
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alchemistee: The more I think about this the more I assume (and hope) you just posted in a panic when you first learned of the move, and hadn't yet heard from the firm's HR folks. Many companies provide a few weeks/months of temporary accomodations while you look for a permanent place. And often even a paid trip over to scope out things before the transfer.

Get back to us and let us know what the company is providing and more details about what type of place you want (don't count on a 2 bdrm BTW)
janisj is online now  
Dec 20th, 2006, 02:49 PM
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The two times we lived in London temporarily I found this website a helpful place to start:

Click on the various post codes to learn a little about each area.

Depending on just how central you wish to be, I think you will be hard-pressed to find something reasonably close to WC2 for £400 per week. How central is central to you? (And remember that in the UK such things as council tax are passed on to the tenant). That said we noticed that prices for similar flats within the same area really varied depending on the actual street and even the type of building it was located in. Are you planning to secure housing before reaching the UK? Is this a long-term move? If you're going to be there any length of time I would hope you can do your flat-hunting in-person so you can be sure of what you're getting.

Last time my husband worked in The City (EC2) and we lived in Kensington (W8) and the commute was a good 30 minutes by tube (11 stops). So you need to get an idea of just how far away from your husband's work in WC2 you want to live. Assuming he'll be traveling to work by tube each day I suggest using this website to calculate various journey times across London

Good luck!
samtraveler is offline  
Dec 20th, 2006, 02:59 PM
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as janisj mentioned, a relocation company may be provided by your company, or can be negotiated, and they will help you with everything before, during and after the move.

EURA is the european relocation association and has list of bonafide agents in london. this would be a good support system for you.

i hope you are backed by a firm that will provide something similar for you.
lincasanova is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 05:28 AM
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Hi Alchemistee

Another place to consider is Greenwich. It's only 15 minutes by train to Charing Cross station (in WC2), 10 minutes to London Bridge and also has access to the DLR, buses and river boat services.

Here's a link for some info :

Greenwich is "nice, safe and quiet" (except in the summer when the tourists descend !) and I think you'd find something decent within your price range. There are also lots of young families around, a huge park, a great craft and food market and some beautiful architecture, to name just a few things.

Happy flat hunting !

SusieR is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 05:40 AM
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Try looking in Bloomsbury and Holborn. Flats in the mansion blocks there are well within your £400PW limit.

It's very central. There are problems with it for people with children (the nearest school of any sort is miles away and the nearest school worth going to is in Hampshire), but as you've only got a baby that isn't a worry for you.

Try to avoid the yank ghettoes of Kensington and St Johns Wood - what's the point of travelling this far to hang about with other yanks?
audere_est_facere is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 05:43 AM
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Oh and yes - if your budget is 400 quid a week -you're fine, if it's 4000 dollars you are royally screwed.
audere_est_facere is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 06:09 AM
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Hi Alchemistee - I think some posters are being a little negative on this board about your ability to rent a decent flat. London is a GREAT city, very spread out with lots of areas which would suit you. I am an American and live in W14, which is right at the bottom end of Kensington High Street. I work in Berkeley Square and if I take the Tube, it takes me exactly 30 mins door to door. If I take the bus, which drives past lots of landmarks, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park, etc. it takes 45 minutes. My husband and I pay £800 a month for a 1 bedroom flat in a glamourous Victorian redbrick apartment building with wedding cake icing plasterwork (can you tell I love it?). I do know that you would be able to rent one of these flats for £350-£400 as they are regularly advertised in the local estate agents. Sometimes we think about splurging but we don't need the extra space right now. But you have a child so you would need a bigger flat.

I did a search on Foxtons and came up with these results, as an example. This is a great website because the search facility is easy to use and you have photos, floor plans, 360 views, etc. Some of the flats are based in St Johns Wood and not Cockfosters as Flanner suggests! But obviously these only apply if your spend is in Sterling and not Dollars.

Hope this helps:
endlessummer is offline  
Dec 21st, 2006, 06:17 AM
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I did a search on Foxtons>>>>>>

Please under no circumstances use Foxtons, they are oxygen thieves, and fairly iffy with it.
audere_est_facere is offline  

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