You’re finally escaping the windowless, moth-infested ‘temporary stop-gap’ you moved into 18 months ago. Hasta la vista, slight smell of damp! See you in hell, douchebag landlord! You plan to spend a whole month carefully scouring London for the perfect place to live – and you know you’ll find your Dream Home somewhere in the city. Here are the ten stages of looking for a flat in London.
Sure, your mate couldn’t find a spacious four-bed in Hackney for less than £2,400 a month, but that’s probably because he wasn’t looking properly. You’ve already saved Gumtree as a bookmark AND started throwing around terms like ‘pcm’, so you’re clearly a total pro. Number of viewings = zero.
2. The lazy period
Everyone knows you only need a few days to find a house in London, so why start looking three weeks in advance? If anything, the later you leave it the better. It’s time to just doss around your flat watching ‘Big Bang Theory’ re-runs, maybe giving your Gumtree tab a token click every couple of hours. Number of viewings = still zero, but slow and steady wins the race.
3. Actually house hunting
Oh, shit – two weeks left. You spend lunch breaks calling letting agents and 70 percent of each actual working day scouring the web for properties, only to get told there’s ‘nothing in your budget’. Number of viewings = err, zero.
4. Hatred for all things in the world
WHY DOES NO-ONE DO VIEWINGS AFTER 6PM? WHY DO FLATS GO IN LESS THAN TWO HOURS? WHY DON’T PICTURES OF FLATS EVER LOOK LIKE FLATS IN REAL LIFE?
5. The picky period
Even though you’ve currently seen a total of ZERO properties you like, you’re still convinced the perfect one is right around the corner. In fact, it’s totally reasonable to demand to be near a tube station AND have a lounge AND live within walking distance of your central London office for £550pcm each. You deserve it. Number of viewings = five. You hated them all.
6. Manic competition
Finally, you find a flat you like and the race is on. Nothing beats the adrenaline rush of putting down the deposit, especially when you’re running to the finish line against that annoying couple who viewed the flat at the same time as you. #psyched.
The annoying couple got it. No words can describe your heartbreak. RIP Dream Home 2k14. That house was THE one. You plan to squat in your current flat for the foreseeable future and start leaving the bin bags to rot in order to sabotage your landlord’s viewings. Number of viewings = Who cares?! Everything’s the worst.
You develop a series of superstitions to avoid jinxing potential properties: no delegation of rooms and no telling external parties about viewings until the deposit is down. You also become increasingly convinced your future housemates are finding you a dead weight in the search and will drop you if they find a three-bed. An emergency Spareroom account is created.
Who needs a lounge? £3,500 pcm sounds reasonable. Two hours isn’t too long a commute! Maybe one of you could turn that shed into a bedroom. With just seven days left and no-where to move in to, you ditch a) all your fussy demands and b) sanity and start viewing every place you can see across the city. Number of viewings = 32. Plus that one where the letting agent didn’t show up.
Deposit DOWN. You are a house-hunting God, a Messiah amongst mere renters. Yes, the house you’ve chosen doesn’t have any of the qualities you were originally looking for and you’re going to have to couch surf for three weeks before you can move in, BUT it’s only a ‘temporary stop-gap’. You’ll just stay here for a few months then start searching for the Dream Home 2k15.
While we’re moaning, here are ten weird flat adverts in London.