Q3 is traditionally the busiest period of the year in graduate recruitment - and this time around was no different. In t
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Feeling excited about the future, but not sure how to begin your new chapter in London? Moving to a new city as a graduate can be very daunting, so if you’re feeling a little anxious about taking the plunge into the bustling streets of London, remember, a lot of graduates have been in your shoes before, and it definitely can be done. The university bubble may have burst, but these tips will help you prepare for your next step as a graduate living in London.
Trying to save as a graduate, without the financial cushion of a student loan will be difficult, so it’s a good idea to plan how much money you’ll need to move. Generally, you will need to pay for a deposit, two month’s rent and an agency fee even before you’ve entered the building! This might mean an extra few months at home, or selling a few more clothes on eBay alongside your graduate job, but it’ll be worth it in the long run and will help you keep stress levels to a minimum.
You might find it hard to align your move to London with friends as some may be taking a post-university gap year, or others might simply need a little longer to make the initial jump. House sharing with strangers in London is very common and gives you the chance to make new friends, which is a big plus, especially if you’re travelling a long way from home. If you’re not keen to share your milk and butter, deciding to go solo and live alone is another factor to keep in mind when sorting out your spending.
Try before you buy! Even if you think you’ve seen your dream home online, it’s always advisable to see the place for yourself. Be wary of angles in photos (a camera can work wonders and make a small box room look huge!) and don’t pay your deposit until you’ve seen the property yourself. Look at a few other options before making your final decision but try and plan your viewings so they’re spread out over a couple of days rather than a week, as places in London can get snapped up quite quickly. Try not to feel too pressured by the agent if they ask for an answer there and then. If you think you’ve found the place – still go away and have a think, even for half an hour before contacting the agent or landlord, but make sure you find out as much as possible at the viewing i.e. what the neighbourhood is like, what the nearest station is, how far the commute to work will be etc. – all worth considering!
Rooms can crop up on a number of sites, but try to follow well-known sites such as Zoopla and Right Move, steering away from any ads on unfamiliar sites, especially if you don’t know who’s posting the ads. Signing a contract is a must. Even if your landlord doesn’t have one, press them for it. If you don’t take the necessary precautions, you might find your landlord is actually a tenant and illegally subletting the property (trust us, it can happen!)
Before moving in, you’ll need to pay a deposit upfront – you’ll get this back when your contract ends (providing there isn’t huge damage to the property) – it should then sit in a Tenant Deposit Scheme and paperwork will be given to you to confirm this within the first week of your tenancy. Your landlord or agency have to put this into action, but if you’re unsure of your deposit’s whereabouts, click the link above for more guidance. Sorting this sooner rather than later is highly advised!
As soon as you step foot in London, make sure you have Google Maps, City Mapper, Tube Map, Uber and National Rail apps at the ready. These will make life in London a lot easier; from finding your local pub to finding your job interview, these are real game changers!
One of the things graduates probably miss most about university is the student loan – it’s a satisfying moment, being welcomed into a new term with a new batch of money landing in your account. Life without student grants and loans can be difficult but is doable if you plan a monthly budget. Consider rent, travel and bill costs after each payday, then divide the remaining money between each week of the month. Brunch and cocktails will be pricier as a graduate in London compared to your student days, but if you manage your earnings well, you’ll still be able to keep a fun social calendar.
Take the opportunity to delve into the cultural segments of London, free of charge! There are plenty of free museums to take advantage of e.g. Tate Modern, V&A, British Museum, Museum of London, Science Museum, Natural History Museum… the list goes on! If you’re having to tighten your purse strings a little, remember you don’t need to be cooped up indoors, London has a lot to offer a graduate on a budget and there’s always something new to see, so it’s impossible to run out of things to do!
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