As part of my pretty sweet relocation package from Google, I have the help of a “flat search consultant”. If you’ve ever watched Location Location Location or A Place in the Sun, you’ll more or less know what this is. If not: why not?
I have a couple of friends in the Kingston area (and several others in South London as a whole), and now work in Victoria, so my plan was quite scientific: throw darts at a map.
Not really. I basically drew a line between between these two areas and declared that I wanted to live somewhere along it. Furthermore, this place should neither be shit, not overlay expensive. In particular I thought Richmond looked like a very cool place to live, and seemed to be in reach of many of the places I wanted to go. That said, it has the potential to be a bit of a slog into the centre, and unfortunately it’s quite expensive. Thus, my flat search consultant wanted me to look at a couple of other places.
We started in Richmond and straight away viewed a really nice flat, which set the bar a little high. It already had offers, and thus I would have make a decision fast if I was interested. This is generally the case with rentals in London at the moment, though this one had a particularly short fuse. I came very close to putting in an offer, but n the end came to the conclusion that it was too small.
Next we went and had a look at the outside of a flat the agent wasn’t able to show us, to get an idea of the area. I’ll come back to this one. We also viewed a flat in a quite cool art deco development, which was a bit crap on the inside. Single glazing and on a main road? I think not…
After this we checked out a slightly dingy flat which was essentially in the landlord’s basement. I don’t, quite frankly, want to feel quite that much like a tenant. This was the last spot in Richmond, so it was on to Clapham, via a fairly spectacular drive through Richmond Park.
The first flat in Clapham was amazing. Really big, nicely finished and in a decent area, if a little ways off the main drag. This was probably my favourite from the entire day. I’m not sure how I feel about the location. Transport wise it’s very cool, and you can get just about anywhere from it, but… I don’t know. You know?
Next we viewed a couple of really nice new builds in an utterly unspectacular area of Battersea. Nice price (for London!), nice size, nice big garden (in one case), nice finish (aside from the one wonky switch in one of the kitchens, so that flat was out). But… right on a busy main road, in part of Battersea which seems to mostly be a place people pass through when going to other places? No. Well… probably not.
Lastly was had a look at a mansion flat in a gorgeous building… but that’s about all it had going for it. If you gutted it, it could become something spectacular, but work would be required.
On the whole, non of the flats I saw were utterly terrible, and all of them will get rented. This is definitely a seller’s market. We’re going to go back to the Richmond flat we couldn’t see today, because the pictures look great, then it’ll be a straight choice between it and the Clapham flat. Perhaps there’ll also be a couple more viewings. We’ll see. Tomorrow, a choice must be made, otherwise I have nowhere to live after I get back from Mountain View. No pressure!
In other news, I stopped by the office to finish of a last bit of admin, and then attend my first ever Google meeting, which also included participants from Mountain View and Dublin. I’m starting to understanding things more, which is good, because I have an absolute ton of stuff to learn. I also briefly petted a very cute West Island terrier, which either belongs to one of my colleagues, or IS one of my colleagues.