Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Experience the joys of flat hunting in London

Flat hunting in London is a very special experience. 

In fact, if you've never felt your hope deflate, melt, and accumulate slowly into a pool of disillusion at your feet in the space of 30 seconds, then I highly recommend you try it.

Because 30 seconds is usually all it takes, and I'm not talking about that "oh, you just know" instinct that buyers harp on about. I mean literally: you walk through the door and within 20 seconds you've seen the living room, kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms of wildly varying proportions, which leaves another few seconds to pause and take in the damp using only your nose.

And because the estate agent's standing there while you open various doors looking for the secret Narnia cupboard that £650 per month would probably get you up in Newcastle, you make the best of it.

You find yourself saying things like "Without that bed, you could probably fit a desk in there", and "Oh, well it's not like I'd need to get to the kitchen much anyway", before shaking hands and leaving, stepping over the puddle of despair on your way out.

It also doesn't take long to realise that basements are good for a lot of things; storing bicycles, hiding boyfriends, even raising children you fathered with your daughter, but they seldom make for light, airy, sweet smelling living spaces.

Likewise, when even the "enough room to swing a cat" cliche would be pushing it in the bedrooms of the split level maisonette you're viewing (n.b. fish-eyed cameras lie), it's all you can do to cease wondering where the second level got to and quip to your Future Housemate, "Well, on the plus side, the bedrooms are the same size".

And ah, Gumtree listings; where Marylebone means Edgware Road, Camden means Holloway, "shabby chic" means your bed's in the living room, and £240 per week means you're the wrong side of Finsbury Park Station.

Samuel Johnson said when you're tired of London, you're tired of life.

I say when you're tired of flat hunting in this city, you're probably only just getting started. 


Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. I remember looking at one flat in London that was not only a dingy basement, but actually had the bed in a cupboard. Most odd.

Blonde said...

I feel your pain. I do. I have nothing uplifting to add. The process is a bitch.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

This is all just to soften you up for when you eventually buy a piece of real estate later on down the road. When shopping for a house, you get put in your place real fast. You immediately become aware of what rung of the economic ladder you occupy. I had put some money away for a house and thought I was doing pretty well. House hunting corrected that impression. It turns out I'm not doing that well at all.

Martin said...

I haven't moved in five years. This blog post explains why.

London-Lass said...

Property hunting is a heinous task. All agents (letting or estate) should immediately stop photoshopping their particulars, stop using wide-angle lenses whilst crouching down in someone's living-room/garden/kitchen, stop using cutesy vague phrases, stop telling someone (as you're showing them round a total dive) that all it really needs is a lick of paint or, worst, some `TLC' .. in fact just STOP.

Fingers crossed that, amidst all that toe-curling damp dingy grimness, something a bit more palatable quickly turns up.

treacle said...

Sounds horrendous. I hope you find something soon

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Mud - Bed in a cupboard? Cor blimey. I would love that. Not to own the flat, just to laugh mockingly at the estate agent for 5 minutes.

Blonde - You've been there. You know it. *screams*

Unbearable - Funny you should say that. I do often get the overriding feeling that everything I go through now and find hard is only going to get more difficult as I get older. Alas.

Martin - Stay put. Hold on to your hair.

London lass - I want to hit those wide angle lenses out to the moon. I hate them. THEY DON'T FOOL ME. (anymore )

treacle - Thanks. me too!


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