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London’s profile on UK Hotspots Map

moove2london on 07 Jan 2015

HouseSimple has put together an interactive map showing the best places to live in the UK.
The map has been created using collated information from a number of national surveys and statistics from 2012 onwards.
Categories which feature on the map include the Wealthiest, Friendliest, Happiest and Safest areas of the UK, as well as those with the Biggest Population and those that are Best for Families.

This interactive is brought to you by House Simple

Wealthiest areas of the UK
Good news for Londoners, as the capital is top of the wealthy list based on an average gross disposable household income of £21,446. This represents 16.7% of the entire UK gross disposable household income. Runner-up on the list is the surrounding area of the South-East of England. The data comes courtesy of data provided by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) from 2012.

Biggest Population in the UK
As you might expect, London also comes high up on the list of areas with the biggest population. Second only to the South East population of 8.8 million, London has a population of 8.4 million according to the ONS’s stats from mid-2013.

Friendliest Area in the UK
London isn’t always renowned for being the friendliest of places with people often joking about never making eye contact on the tube and not knowing their neighbours.
So it’s perhaps surprising that 3 areas of London feature on the UK’s Friendliest areas in the UK list.
These 3 areas are the Northcote Road in Battersea (no. 15 on the list), Finsbury Park (no. 19) and Primrose Hill (no. 20). The list is taken from a survey in the Telegraph in late 2014.

Happiest Area in the UK
Unfortunately London does not feature on the Happiest Area in the UK list provided by a Rightmove survey. Those on top include Harrogate, Inverness and Taunton.

Best for Families in the UK
Although many Londoners do manage to have a wonderful family work/life balance in London, again it does not feature on the list of ‘Best for Families’ in the UK provided by FamilyInvestments.co.uk. Instead, St. Bees in Cumbria tops the list, closely followed by Wokingham in Berkshire and Faringdon in Oxfordshire.

Safest Areas in the UK
The areas listed on the Safest Areas in the UK provided by Moneysupermarket.com are predominantly rural and therefore it is no surprise that our capital city did not make it into the top 20. Instead Hampshire, Devon and the East Riding of Yorkshire are at the top of the charts. Interestingly, two areas of Durham also feature.
However, there are ways to keep safe in London – take a look at some of our top London safety tips.

Is London the Best City for Graduate Jobs?

moove2london on 06 Jan 2015

A recent study by QS World Institution Rankings has deemed London to be the 3rd best city in the world to be a student.
The study required criteria from 5 different area to be satisfied – namely:

  • University Rankings
  • Student Mix
  • Quality of Living
  • Affordability
  • Employer Activity

Paris and Melbourne came out as the top two cities respectively, but London didn’t fair badly at all as it was the only city to come top in 2 out of the 5 categories – those being ‘University Rankings’ and ‘Employer Activity’.

The Head of Research at QS, Ben Howter, had this to say about London’s third place position:

London is an amazing city for students and the only city in the world to come top in 2 out of 5 of our indicator categories – rankings and employer activity.

However, affordability is a key factor for many international students and thus for us here as well, and perhaps due to the relative strength of the UK economy, more than half of London’s dropped points are in this category. London is also mid-table rather than world-leading in some of the new factors such as safety and pollution.’

The fact that affordability has been mentioned is no surprise as recent reports have also emerged suggesting that London tenants are paying out as much as 50% of their salary in rent. Homelet’s research examined rental patterns across the UK and found that London has the highest rent to income ratio.
London’s average rental costs are £1413 pcm – 49% of the average salary.
Edinburgh’s average rental costs are £700 pcm – 47% of the average salary.
Plymouth’s average rental costs are £510 pcm – 27% of the average salary – this city came out as the most affordable in the UK in terms of rent to income ratio.

However, even though rental costs are high in the capital, the chances of acquiring a job in London are good at the moment, and the QS research actually gave London 100/100 for the ‘Employer Activity’ category, suggesting that now is as good a time as any to be hired and that it is indeed the best city in the world to be looking for work.

If you’re considering moving to London in 2015, then take a look at our where to live in London pages to assist you in finding the best areas of London to suit your situation.

Furnishing your first flat in London

moove2london on 18 Jun 2014

So you’ve taken the plunge and moved to London. With so much to think about, it can be difficult to create a homely environment when rents are high and budgets are low, especially for a recent graduate. Thankfully however, there are a number of options available that can make your first London home look great without breaking the bank.

Choose your look

In London, it’s all about image, and you’ll want your first flat to reflect this. The beauty of our capital is that is boasts both classic and contemporary looks, so have a browse through a few catalogues before you go buying any new furniture. Ask yourself – are you inspired by ergonomic, European-inspired design or do you want a more vintage or even Victorian look? Some of London’s most beautiful properties are influenced by period design, so look to specialised magazines such as Period Living for a little inspiration. If you’re not much in the DIY department and want modern design, consider purchasing flat pack furniture to make your transition into the Big Smoke quicker and easier.

Look for deals

Try to make sure that the timing of your moving-in date is consistent with the change of seasons. Most often, furniture companies offers great deals on furniture when they come to the end of the season, and it’s well known that full price furniture can have an 80% mark up, so you’ll want to get the best deal you can if you time it right. Companies like Bedstar can offer high quality furniture at low prices, which will last for a long time and save you more money in the long run.

Go to auction

Looking for a particularly unique piece to go with your quirky sense of style? An auction is a great way of getting hold of a rare item that will invariably have a rich history to go with it. Whether it’s an armoire, antique clock or dining set, it will set the tone for the rest of your flat and impress your house guests. Going to an auction doesn’t have to be expensive either – The Telegraph offers some tips on how to get the best value furniture at auction.

Add a personal touch

Moving to London can be a daunting experience, especially if you’re coming from far away and leaving friends and family behind. To keep a closer connection with your nearest and dearest, make sure your flat has plenty of mementos, from a notice board with concert tickets, photos and festival wristbands to fridge magnets.
A great way to make your flat in keeping with London’s modern vibe while holding on to your personal memories is to purchase a digital photo frame. These handy little devices can either connect to your home computer via USB or have their own built in memory cards, giving you the chance to have some of your most treasured memories on loop without having to drill holes in the walls. Pop the frame in an office or on a kitchen worktop to make you smile every morning.

A Place to Call Home Sweet….Scam? Beware online rental scams in London

moove2london on 11 Jun 2014

So you are new to London and in need of a place to call home sweet home – The most obvious port of call to search for your new rented property or room is online and the classified property web listings. However, unfortunately, a small pocket of the internet is home to a world wide web of scam artists who are defrauding unsuspecting flat hunters out of a lot of money, by posing as legitimate landlords on classified listing sites. Fortunately, sites such as EasyRoommate are proactive in their awareness of fraudsters infiltrating the online listing sites, with their administrators flagging and removing emails which they deem to be attempts at a scam. But it is important that you are also vigilant and recognise the signs of scams, in order to prevent yourself from being caught in the scammers’ nets….

So you respond to an advert, expressing interest in viewing the room or flat advertised, and a response will reach your inbox, usually composed in a specific style of writing. Emails received from a bogus landlord will often follow a similar pattern of odd and/or broken English, emphasising trust issues with past tenants and including elaborate stories as to why they are unable to be in the UK to arrange a viewing with you. Furthermore, the ‘landlord’ will build up an image of themselves as a trusted and noble individual, usually emphasising their professional position to convey themselves as quite the ‘holier-than-thou’ individual whom you would never think to question… But question marks must begin to surface when the scammer then asks you to prove that you have the funds for rent payment available and you are therefore the ‘trustworthy’ tenant that they’ve been searching for. And at this point you will see two words, which should immediately send warning signs flashing – ‘WESTERN UNION’.
Yep, Western Union, the money transfer service with a lack of safeguards and therefore the bogus landlords’ preferred way to steal your money. The ‘landlord’, who is conveniently living abroad and unable to meet you in person, will request that you prove that you have the funds to rent the property by sending money to yourself or someone you know and trust, via Western Union. They will then request that you send your receipt to them to again prove that you are trustworthy. With a receipt in hand, the scammer is then able to withdraw the money so you can’t retrieve it. And as simple as that, your money has vanished. And oh, the room you were interested in is of course nonexistent.
Since money transfer companies are not the same as banks, you are not protected by the same consumer safeguards (for example, sums of up to £2,000 can be withdrawn without address verification), so once your money is in the hands of the bogus landlord, there is no way of claiming it back. As Citizens Advice states, by sending over a copy of the receipt, it is like ‘handing over a PIN number to a stranger’, which you would of course never so freely do in the outside world.

Another way that scammers can abuse your trust and the money transfer services is by requesting that you send over your deposit and/or part of the rent, before you meet the landlord or actually view the property outside of the online world. Again, the bogus landlord will lure you into their trap with their words of trust and you happily send over your money by Western Union to secure your new home. Or in reality – you have parted with money for a phantom room.

When you are viewing adverts online for flats or rooms in London, it is important to be mindful of adverts which appear to be too good to be true. If the location is exceptionally central, the flat is exceptionally luxurious and the rent is exceptionally lower than expected, you may well think that you have stumbled upon an exceptional opportunity. But most likely, this advert is a scam, with a nonexistent property and a bogus landlord, laying in wait for your Western Union money transfers. Therefore, be wary of those adverts which are often vague in description but convey an incredibly appealing and luxurious looking property with rent below the market value. The ‘landlord’ will often be out of the country and informs you that they can send you the keys and paperwork once money has been transferred over – And of course this often means that the property doesn’t exist and the ‘landlord’ is in fact a scam artist ready to steal your money.

Property scamming isn’t only confined to bogus landlords – If you are searching for a new tenant or flat mate online, be careful not to fall victim to a bogus tenant and their cheque scam. This usually follows the same pattern of email exchanges as illustrated earlier, but the scammer insists that they send you a cheque for a year’s or few months’ worth of rent. Once the cheque is received and placed in your bank to cash, the scammer will contact you to say that they’ve sent a cheque for more money than necessary, and requests that you transfer back the difference. And as you’ve probably predicted, the cheque is in fact counterfeit and that was in fact phantom money which you have willingly transferred over, and your bank account is now quite a few hundred pounds lighter.

So, how to avoid these scams? As a general rule, be wary of any communication where the transferring of money is discussed before you have met the landlord in person or physically seen the property in question. If a ‘landlord’ mentions that they are abroad and in need of proof that you are trustworthy, never agree to transfer money. The National Landlords Association states that tenants should never send out payments or proof of legitimacy in this way.
Or if you are a landlord in search of a tenant, be mindful of individuals who are insistent on sending you a large proportion of the rent by cheque – And not only because it is so rare that anyone in London would be so enthusiastic to pay such a large sum of rent at once, you may question their sanity.
Do some background research of the landlord if you are suspicious – Google their name – if it is a scam, it is likely that there have been other victims who have discussed this or sent out warnings online. Furthermore, investigate if the landlord is genuine with a land registry check or checking if they are in fact a member of the National Landlords Association.

So of course the internet shouldn’t be avoided in your search for new homes in London, there are endless legitimate adverts out there on sites such as EasyRoommate. But just remember to approach with caution and trust your instinct if something doesn’t seem quite right. And of course, immediately cease communication and run, as soon as anyone requests a money transfer as a symbol of your trust!

Written by Leanne Phinikas

Buying Your First Property in London

moove2london on 22 Mar 2014

Over the past year, house prices have risen by 8.1 percent in London and are now currently at a record high. The average home in London costs £425,000, and this means that a significant investment is required if you’re serious about buying a place in the city. Renting prices can be proportionately even higher, and this means that many professionals are being priced out of renting and forced to climb on to the property ladder. A house or flat in London should be viewed as an investment, and if you’re fortunate enough to have a generous budget then London is definitely the place to buy.

Location Matters
London’s size and the diversity of the areas it has to offer means that first time buyers can be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a postcode. For those on a more modest budget, it’s definitely a good idea to put aside location prejudices and turn to the lesser known addresses to find somewhere more reasonably priced. Many of London’s ‘bad reputation’ areas are becoming gentrified and are now referred to as ‘up and coming’ and can be great investments if you’re considering renting out your property, or selling it on in the future. For those with more money to spend, it’s worth being as close to central London as possible. Some postcodes will always inspire envy and admiration in others, and areas such as Chelsea, Kensington, Richmond and Mayfair will always have a reputation for style and class.

Negotiation is Encouraged
Whether you’re strapped for cash or newly minted, it’s definitely worth negotiating your price. The asking price is usually a guide, and many sellers are willing to accept a lower price. First time buyers are attractive to sellers because they come unencumbered by another property, and this can encourage sellers to drop the price accordingly. Remember that there’s no substitute for good research and that the internet is a very important tool for comparing properties and getting clued up on the kind of prices places are selling for. Check how much of a difference there is between the sale and asking prices, and how long properties sit on the market for before they are snapped up.

Buying at Auction
Some properties in London are sold at auction, and these tend to be slightly ‘distressed’ assets that banks or other investment groups are trying to move cheaply. The risks of buying at auction are similar to those for buying through a private treaty and it’s essential that buyers do their research before they commit. At auction, the documentation and necessary property info will be available beforehand, so make sure you or your solicitor reads it carefully before you put in an offer. Winning a property at auction also means that you should have a deposit of 10 percent ready.
Whether you’re making good use of the government’s popular Help To Buy scheme or borrowing from generous parents, London is the place to invest in property. To find out more about buying and renting in the capital, contact an experienced agency like Wilfords London.

The Complete Student Landlord Guide

moove2london on 22 Mar 2014

University College London, Queen Mary’s College London, King’s College London and Imperial College London are just a small selection of the large number of universities which have their homes in England’s capital. This means that each and every year, thousands of students from around the world come flocking to the city for the opportunity to learn at some of the finest academic institutions the nation – and indeed the world – has to offer. Ultimately, this means that there is a growing need for student housing across the capital, with the South West of London included. This means that if you can stomach the thought of letting out your property to students, it’s a great way to ensure your property will be filled all year round.

Letting Go of False Preconceptions
Students get a bad name when it comes to being tenants because many have the false preconceptions that every student flat will feel like a ‘Skins’ party day-in, day-out. Of course, this isn’t the case, and as the number of international students (15 percent of all students in 2008 to 21 percent by 2018), and mature and postgraduate students increases over the coming years, it’s more than likely going to be the case that the types of tenants student landlords receive will be greatly different to mainstream ‘party culture’ preconception.

Increase Your Profit
With non-student tenants, it’s almost certain that in a three bedroom property, as a landlord you could only have three tenants. This isn’t the case with student tenants, however, as most students are looking for the best deal – in financial terms – that’s available, so this means that converting a living room or dining room into a fourth bedroom and finding a fourth tenant to fill it would be perfectly acceptable. In fact, the students are likely to welcome this, as it will bring their individual monthly rent down, while you receive more income per month.

Budget décor and Interior Design
Another benefit to dealing primarily with student tenants is that their standards for what constitutes acceptable living are much more reasonable than the professionals market. This means that so long as the property is presented well and has the basic amenities; your student tenants are likely to be appeased. In terms of furniture, a trip to a site like PeelMount will ensure you can source high-quality, yet inexpensive, bedroom furniture all from the same place, making the paper trail easier if you need to return or replace something.

ROI
Although you might think that students are the sorts of tenants who will be there for a year and then be gone, student tenants can be fiercely loyal to their landlords if treated with the appropriate level of respect and service. If you only provide the bare minimums and exclude things like ironing board, vacuum cleaner and free light bulbs, your tenants will more than likely leave after the minimum allotted time. However, if you provide the extras aforementioned and listen to your tenants’ questions, you’ll build rapport and they might just stay for longer. Doing this might take greater effort, but it will also guarantee that your tenants remain loyal to you, ensuring their custom for future years.

Ukrainians moving to London

moove2london on 04 Mar 2014

For obvious reasons, we’ve noticed a huge increase in Ukrainian visitors coming to our site over the last couple of days.
Whilst we do not offer personalised moving assistance, we wanted to help out any Ukrainians who are wanting to visit or move to London in the near future by providing a list of companies and websites that you can contact for guidance.
For visas, you’ll most likely require either a General Visit visa or a Family visit visa – both of which would allow you to stay in the UK for up to 6 months. Both can be applied for up to 3 months in advance of your visit and you would normally receive a decision on your visa status within 3 weeks if you apply direct through the UKBA website.
If you understandably require a fast track visa service, then a company such as 1stContact may be able to help you.

Other organisations and websites that may be helpful to you include:

In terms of getting to London, you can use a site such as Skyscanner.net which gives you a breakdown of all airlines flying from Kiev (and other Ukrainian cities) to one of our London airports. Airlines such as Ukraine International, British Airways and Turkish Airways have frequent flights leaving daily, with some seats available on the day if you’re lucky.
For those of you who would prefer to get here without flying, you could consider travelling to London by train. Seat61.com offers a full summary of the route to London – which involves travelling by sleeper train from Kiev to Warsaw, spend the day in Warsaw, then board another sleeper train to Cologne. Take an early morning train to Brussels and finally the Eurostar to London. The whole journey will take you just less than 2 days.
There are also options to start the journey from beyond Kiev in places such as Odessa, Sebastapol, Yalta or Simferopol. Ticket details can be found on Seat61.com – this is unlikely to be as affordable as flying to London and will also obviously take much longer.

Do not buy tickets for flights or train travel until you’ve secured your visa though.
If you do get a visa organised, then your next step will probably be wondering be where to stay when you arrive in London. Those of you on a family visit visa will undoubtedly be staying with family.
Others can use sites such as Easyroommate which is a fantastic flat finding service, local estate agents (rightmove.co.uk is a good starting place for rentals, some of which will be short-term within your 6 month period), or a hostel site such as hostelworld.co.uk. Hotels are also an option depending on your budget. Expedia.co.uk has a great range.

Once you’re here, you might be interested in getting in touch with other Ukrainians in London – there are a couple of Facebook groups such as Ukrainian Events in London and of course the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family which will allow you the opportunity to meet fellow Ukrainians.

We wish you the best of luck.

Be an Au Pair in London

moove2london on 08 Feb 2014

For those of you who are thinking of moving to London from abroad, you might be interested in becoming an au pair in London.
An au pair comes to England as part of an ‘au pair scheme’ and is typically from another European country. Very often au pairs are between the age of 18-20 and are on a gap year, but this is not always the case. An au pair visa allows you to work in the UK as an au pair for up to 2 years.
Au pairs live with a host family in order to help take care of the family’s children and assist with general light housework. In return, an au pair can expect to improve their English language skills, often enrolling in a language school and of course live in an exciting and vibrant city like London where they can meet many other young people.

In terms of the ‘deal’, au pairs can expect to be given their own bedroom and all meals will be included in their board. It is often common to have additional expenses such as a mobile phone and travelcard paid for, particularly if they are essential to the daily duties of the au pair – for instance if it is necessary to travel on public transport to pick up/drop off the children at nursery.
It is important that the host family are clear about the au pairs hours from the outset – 25-35 hours per week is the norm spread over 5 days and for this an au pair can expect to earn £65-80 per week on top of the room and board.
Babysitting work can also be agreed upon as an optional paid extra.

In terms of qualifications, whilst it is not necessary to have taken any childcare certifications as an au pair, it is desirable as there have been a number of newspaper reports with attention-grabbing headlines such as this one from the Daily Mail – ‘Drunk on the school run, dragging toddlers by the hair and never off the phone – are cut-price au pairs damaging our children?’. This has obviously alarmed families so at the very least you must have and display an interest in enthusiasm in caring for children. You should also be dedicated to fitting in with the routines and disciplinary methods that are currently in place for the children at home. It is a very good idea to seek an au pair position through a recognised agency such as the British Au Pairs Agency Association who will properly vet you.

Once you have acquired a position, moved to London and got to know your host family, you might feel that moving to London has been somewhat of a culture shock – don’t worry, because here at Moove2London we have helped thousands of newcomers who feel a little out of their depth. Take a look at the articles on our site that help you settle into London for the first time, find out how to meet people in London and discover how to enjoy our exciting city on a budget – it can be done.

The effect of young professionals on London’s property market

moove2london on 07 Feb 2014

Winkworth estate agents have confirmed today in the Metro what we have suspected for a long time – young professionals are key players in the state and shape of London’s property market. Young professionals decisions on where to live in London create a pattern that ripples across London throughout the years. It goes a little bit something like this: young professionals choose a suitable area that holds amenities (transport links, pubs and bars, restaurants, local gym etc) and is convenient for their workplace. They flood into the area as it becomes more gentrified and established. This of course pushes prices and demand up. New prospective incomers to the area find that they are outpriced and can get a lot more for their money just down the road in the neighbouring postcode, so a new influx of interest floods the next area which in turn gets posher as the years go by. And so this domino effect goes on and on.

It has had a staggering effect on property prices in various areas as the following information proves:
10 years ago, in Islington (a mecca for young professionals and graduates) prices were 12% above the average of London’s property prices. These prices are today 40% higher than the average.
Other areas that are popular with young professionals can report similar findings – Hammersmith and Fulham was 24% above average prices 10 years ago, it is now 65% above. Hackney was 6% LOWER than average London prices 10 years ago, now it is 22% HIGHER. Tower Hamlets and Wandsworth were 1% and 2% respectively higher than average 10 years ago, they are now both 22% higher than average houseprices in London. All of these areas mentioned have over 50% of the population aged between 20-44.

So why is this effect more prominent in London than it is around the rest of the country? Well, according to the Office of National Statistics, 60% of London’s workforce are graduates. This is much higher than Scotland (41% graduates), Wales (33% graduates) and the North-East of England (29% graduates).

Where do we expect young professionals to move to next in London? Whilst there’s been a lot of talk about the commuter belt in recent times, with the Crossrail plans coming into fruition, we don’t really expect a lot of young professionals to want to move too far outside of Central London – so look closely at currently ‘cheap’ areas such as Penge, Collier’s Wood, Enfield, Leyton, Eltham, Wood Green and South Norwood.

If you’re interested in finding accommodation in any of the areas we’ve mentioned today, check out Easyroommate

Make money by hiring out your car in London

moove2london on 04 Feb 2014

We’ve talked in the past about the benefits of Car Sharing in London, but now we’ve come across a brilliant scheme involving hiring out your car and making bucketloads of money in the process.

Many car owners in London commute to their jobs in London, simply because it is easier and quicker to do so. Finding a parking space in London can be a total headache and parking charges are through the roof. So many owned cars sit in a driveway at homes out in the suburbs from Monday to Friday and at the weekend they only get used for a quick trip to Tesco or to visit friends/family outside of London.

What a waste!

Well from now on, you can make money from that vehicle that is of no use to you during working hours and hire it out using the easyCarClub

The biggest selling point to doing so is that you can earn up to GBP 250.00 per month if you rent it out regularly. That could go a long way towards paying some of your bills!

Things you need to know:

  • You choose the times at which you want to rent out your car
  • You can either hand the keys over in person or use the remote Key Safe option
  • You choose the price at which you’re willing to hire your car out at – if you’re unsure then easyCarClub can assist you in setting the right figure
  • You choose where to rent the car from – eg your driveway, your workplace, wherever is more convenient to you
  • You choose whether or not to allow pets or smoking
  • Your car must be less than 10 years old
  • Your car must be in insurance group 1-32
  • Your car must not have a replacement value of more than GBP 25,000.00
  • Your car must have less than 120,000 miles on the clock
  • Your car must be currently insured
  • Your car must have more than 30 days left on the MOT certificate and the Road Fund Licence.

If you think hiring out your car to other Londoners could be for you, then find out more by visiting easyCarClub

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