Thursday, January 03, 2008

Finding a Place to Live in London: Lesson 1

Just when you think you have certainly seen and experienced it all with an international move, tthere it hits you square in the eye. The UK housing market that is quite unlike anything else I've ever experienced in previous international housing hunting.

The good news is: UK apartments and houses come with kitchens, cupboards for clothing (mostly but still very small), light fixtures, white godds like frigs, washers and dryers, stoves, etc.

I will start these lessons by saying that after looking at over 60 apartments and/or houses, it doesn't get any easier. We finally hit pay dirt (at least we are hopeful as the lease agreement is technically done but it is not finalized quite yet). We quickly realized we are not big fans of the UK real estate market.

Lesson #1: There is no such thing as a MLS (Master Listing Service) concept for rentals or for that matter, selling property. You can only be shown properties that are listed by a particular agency...and a particular agency in a given area. So, Century 21 in the Dallas area of Highland Park can only show you properties they have listed in that area...not the Century 21 Dallas -University Park area. Forget Century 21 showing you ANYTHING listed by, let's say, another agency in the University Park area.

So, after looking at potential rental properties with at least 10 different agents, I lost count of the actual number of real estate agent faces we actually saw during the housing search process. Essentially, alot of wasted time, but we learned (reluctantly, I might add) to go to the flow. There was no fighting the system.

Which leads me to Lesson #2....

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