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"It's not about the destination, it's about the journey. "

Finding a place to live in London

I’ve been looking at moving house and very recently found a place. But unfortunately the deal fell through as the landlord decided that they he would favour a member of his family in place of me. This is a small setback, but just means I’ll have to live where I’m currently staying for a while longer.

I thought I’d post up a few of the sites that I’ve been using to look for places.

First up is SpareRoom.co.uk.

Advertised as the UK’s #1 Flatshare Website and touted as the #7 website in the Business and Finance – Property industry via Experian – HitWise, it’s likely you’ve heard of SpareRoom. If not, then it’s definitely a website that you should use.

My favourite feature on SpareRoom is their Map Search function that allows you to interactively find spare rooms in houses and flats via a map. It’s much better than the sort of directory-esque listings that you get on the likes of GumTree and RightMove. At least this way you can explore other areas that might be in your budget range and not too distant from the area you would like to live in. Plus, most of the listing on SpareRoom are from actual landlords rather than agencies that will charge you £100 in agency fees.

SpareRoom.co.uk

Second up is OpenRent.co.uk.

OpenRent’s database of flat/house shares is not as large as SpareRoom’s, but its interface is quite intuitive (I love that word) and easy to use. They actually charge landlords to advertise on there and sort of work similarly to an affiliate website. From what research I’ve done on OpenRent (admittedly not enough), I’ve found that they used to charge landlords 5% of a properties annual rental income if they chose to advertise (via the paid route) on OpenRent. There is however a free option for landlords to place their ads on OpenRent. The good thing for tenants is that there aren’t any additional fees to pay, which is how it should be really. OpenRent’s tagline is “NO ADMIN FEES, NO HIDDEN COSTS.” Here’s what OpenRent’s map search feature looks like:

OpenRent

Again, I do have to overstate the lack of properties listed on this site. But you never know when you might find a bargain and it’s definitely worth looking on this site for one (that’s if there is anything in the area you’re searching in).

Third up is Gumtree.com/london.

Now, I do have a little resentment towards GumTree as I was scammed on there when I stupidly handed over almost £220 over to a thief for a smartphone that I thought was a bargain. Turns out the only bargain was had by the receiver of my money. If we forget this little hiccup for a moment, you’ll find that GumTree has a section where you can post up your own ads (so that landlords come seeking you rather than the opposite way round) or you can find ads posted by landlords/agencies. You have the generic options that come with most websites, where you can filter down to how much you would like to pay per week and so on.

Flatshare in Islington   Gumtree

As with any website like this, you have to be extremely cautious and even more so with GumTree. It’s quite an active website, but I’ve had to list it here as its database of house & flat shares is quite large. You’d likely be able to find something on GumTree if not anywhere else.  Be careful though.

Last up is findproperly.co.uk.

FindProperly is another of those 3rd party sites powered by Zoopla. I’m sure you’ve seen Zoopla plastered everywhere in your hunt for a flat/house share. What makes Find Properly unique is its simplicity and its additional ability to give you an idea about the area you might want to move into. For example, I’m looking for a place in Stratford for around £120 per week. You can see the results like this here:

properties to rent for less than £120 per week in London

Then if you click on to a full listing there are features on the listing that give you a better idea of area in terms of transport, nightlife, restaurants and other activities. There’s also a neat map that shows you exactly where the house is.

1 bedroom property to rent in Varley Road  E16  London

However, again, there is a lack of properties on this site and that’s likely due to the lack of popularity that sites like this get when compared to bigger sites like GumTree and SpareRoom. But you never know where you’ll find those hidden gems, which make sites like this sometimes worth the extra hassle of checking out every so often.

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