The Great Flat Search of 2013 is over! It was very intense, but actually quite short. We spent last weekend looking at neighborhoods and streets and narrowing down our options, and then this past Friday and Saturday we went looking at actual flats. We saw five places on Friday, and on Saturday we decided to put an offer in on one of them. And (surprisingly) the offer was accepted! So we’ve signed the preliminary paperwork, and our move-in date is Sept 21-22. Unfortunately that means we have about 2 weeks of overlap between our current place and the new place, but that’s not the end of the world. It gives us more time for a leisurely move, rather than a frantic one.
So, about the new flat. It’s pretty much as close to St Pancras as you can get, without actually living IN the station (although we joked about just permanently checking-in to the really nice hotel there…). It is in a council housing estate, but apparently most of the flats have been privately owned for quite a while now. We talked to a few of the neighbors, and got good feel for the neighborhood. It’s very different from where we are now (above a shop on the high street). Instead, this flat is on a pedestrian-only footpath, with no cars allowed. It’s very, very quiet – you’d hardly know you’re in central London! We think the building was constructed in the 60s or 70s, but have yet to find confirmation of that. We’ll have a tiny balcony, and a small garden, as well. (I’ve already started researching hammocks!)
Overall I think this flat-search experience was better than last time. Of course, back in 2010 we’d only just moved here and didn’t understand how the British process worked. But mostly it went better because we narrowed down our search area – we were really specific in what we wanted, which knocked a lot of places out of contention. Previously we would have looked at 20 or 30 flats, but then it gets hard to compare (apples and oranges, you know?). But being super-specific in your criteria means that you can get super-specific in your criticisms, as well.
The new place is furnished also, which means we’re saving money on buying furniture. It’s got hardwood floors, which I am very happy about. AND it’s got a bigger fridge, so we can go grocery shopping every other day instead of every day. But the best part about the new flat is the location. We can actually see the platforms for the Midland trains from our kitchen window! It’s pretty impressive! Especially when you think that we can roll out of bed and be on the Eurostar in less than 5 minutes…
Fear not, friends from afar …. there is still room for you. Once we get moved in and settled we’d love for you to come visit.