1. Finding a property

    Three ways to search for properties are:

    1. Property portals

      Property portals such as ZooplaRightmove and PrimeLocation offer a quick and easy way of searching for property online. They can save time visiting many estate agent websites, and are particularly useful for initial searches and working out what is affordable.

      Additionally, for flat shares property portals such as EasyroommateFlatshare and Spareroom can be very useful tools, providing ways to search for flat shares and for potential flat mates.

      Property portals are sometimes linked to commute times maps. These two sites, Propertywide and  Primelocation, can be useful for finding properties within suitable journey times. For properties near schools, this site may help with initial searches. 

      However, there are a few drawbacks to using property portals. They may not provide the complete information; not all properties being sold will be put on property portals (some properties will often sell before they hit websites); and online sites can also be frequented by scammers.

      It is therefore a good idea to register with estate agents as well.


    2. Estate agents

      An estate agent will play a big role in any accommodation search. Estate agents will usually give priority to interested buyers or renters registered directly with them before they put the property online.

      Looking at estate agents in areas of interest will give an idea of which ones sell or let properties that meet conditions such as budget. If possible, go in and register in person with a few estate agents, telling them what you are looking for and what your price range is. Keeping in contact is more likely to make you top of the list when properties hit the market, and before they go online. 


    3. Relocation agencies

      Relocation agencies handle all of the constituent parts of the accommodation search. They will listen to the requirements of the client and provide advice on suitable areas, and then search for properties. They will aid with viewings and negotiate to secure the property.

      The process can be very quick and hassle-free, but there are associated costs. The average service cost is about a month's rent.


  2. Viewing

    Before viewing properties it is advisable to have all references and supporting paperwork in order that an offer can be made without delay. Having copies of past pay slips can also be beneficial for reassuring landlords.

    To arrange a viewing talk to the estate agent handling the property; they will set up a viewing and be able to provide advice and answer questions about the area. It is usually acceptable to take photographs when looking around the property; however, it is worth checking. Some suggested questions are listed below:

    • How much is the rent and what is included in the rent?
    • Is the property furnished, unfurnished or part furnished?
    • How much is the deposit?
    • Are there any fees to pay?
    • When is the property available?
    • What is the local area like?
    • Are pets permitted?
    • How long did the last tenants live here? (If a relatively short period, it is a good idea to find out why.)
    • How long has the tenancy been on the market? (If it has been on for a while the landlord may be willing to accept a lower offer.)
    • Have they received any offers so far?
    • How much is the council tax for the property?
    • Can I have a final look around without any distractions?
  • Arranging accommodation when outside the UK can be difficult and is often not the best approach. Many Crick staff make arrangements to stay in temporary accommodation while they search, as this allows them to get a feel for an area, and understand London a little more before making a decision about where to live.
  • It may take around two weeks to find an area and a property, and have an offer accepted.
  • There is no wrong or right season to look for accommodation in London. The property market moves very quickly, with properties coming and going in weeks. When viewing tenancies, make an offer at the viewing: do not wait, as it may be snapped up by others.
  • Be aware that most renting is subject to inspections and constraints about what can be done with a property, which can stop tenants from making modifications to the property to make it feel like home.
  • It is worth bearing in mind that the majority of London housing is dated, with modern fittings added later. Be prepared for the different quality standards, as well as the higher prices.