It was August 2012 when I had my first foray into the London housing market, my then boyfriend announced that he would start a new job at the end of September so the race was on to find somewhere to live. Websites were searched, lists were written and pavements pounded. We had no knowledge of London outside the usual tourist traps of Zone 1 and so the painstaking search began. Over two weekends we viewed around thirty properties in a variety of areas, West Hampstead, Kilburn, Barnes, Putney, Southfields, Clapham, Battersea, Earlsfield, Wimbledon and Wandsworth. Eventually we chose a two bed flat in Putney, it was very well presented and within budget. Most importantly, we liked the vibe of the area.
Some 8 months later we decided that renting wasn’t a long term option for us so we embarked on another search this time entering the brutal purchasing market. The search this time was well considered, we wanted a property that we could add value to in an area that was fairly well established but most of all it had to be affordable. Very quickly the areas we knew well were discounted and Zoopla filters were downgraded. We spent hours walking around Acton, Ealing, Chiswick, Tooting, Colliers Wood, Battersea, Greenwich, Deptford, Blackheath, Mile End, Whitechapel, Wandsworth and Balham viewing around twenty properties over the period of a month. We were outbid by developers on a few occasions and we were starting to feel very disheartened by the whole process when we viewed a garden flat that had been on the market for over six months. The flat was over budget and in need of a total renovation but we were able to see past the grubbiness and recognise that the flat had huge potential. The hefty price tag meant there would be little funds leftover for immediate work, it was a huge decision to make so we needed to sleep on it. After mulling it over we decided to put an offer in and to our surprise it was accepted, fourteen weeks later we were the owners of a two bed garden flat. We were on the London property ladder and the long road to renovation had begun.
Now two and half years later the end of the project is in sight and we are ready to embark on London property search number three, this time with the addition of our Border Collie Flo. A quick Zoopla search says that if we want to stay in the Clapham South area we will need to win the lottery so in the coming months we intend to hit the pavements again. This time the exhaustive list of areas to explore includes, Tooting, Southfields, Earlsfield, Herne Hill, Tulse Hill, West Norwood, East Dulwich, Honor Oak Park, Nunhead, Brockley, New Cross, Crystal Palace and Gipsy Hill. Expectations and criteria remain largely unchanged for the property itself apart from the need for a garden but we need to be within a 5 minute walk of a park for walking Flo. I’m sure there will be curve balls along the way, there always are… but exploring is fun so join me in my journey to find London home number three.
Mrs B xx