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June 15, 2010
Moving to London: Searching and Viewing
As discussed before, it is best to have found a place to live about 8 weeks before you move from abroad. The question then becomes how long it takes to find that property. Barring a miracle, you will not find your home on the first day of looking. The longer you look the more opportunities you come across. Aside from giving you more time to check more agents’ offerings, new properties are posted every week around the area, so if the property you want isn’t immediately available, it might become so during your search.
There is a down side to long searches though. First, estate agents are usually looking to fill properties quickly, so you will be at a disadvantage when you are looking to move in too far in the future. Second, properties you find at the beginning of your search may not be around at the end. Someone else may well take the property before you have the chance.
These issues are made even more difficult when moving from abroad. The issue of viewings makes a search much more difficult when you live far away. You may only have one or two trips to London before you move in, and so need to make sure you see the right properties in the little time you have.
My advice, unless you can do as I did and get a friend to view the property for you, make sure to know exactly when you intend to view any properties you find. If possible arrange a few trips over between two and five months before moving over. Once you’ve schedules those trips, spend a few weeks before each one looking over properties to view and make the most out what viewings you can afford to have.