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London Flat Buying

(60 Posts)
user1462887151 Tue 10-May-16 16:36:19

Hi everyone! Long-time lurker, first-time poster. I've put this in the Redbridge local forum, but now I think this might be a better spot for the post! Despite not being a mum (I'm a 22 year old uni student), I've found Mumsnet to be one of the best places on the internet for useful discussions and property, and I would appreciate this community's advice.

I am in the enormously fortunate position that my parents have decided to purchase a flat in London for me to live in. Our budget is 350k, give or take, for a one-bed, and I'm feeling overwhelmed, particularly in deciding on an area. My main priority is to be near a tube (not Overground or National Rail), within a 40ish minute commute of the City. Nice supermarkets/cafes/restaurants/green spaces are a plus, but definitely secondary. No kids planned for at least a decade (or ever?), so schools aren't a concern.

As I'll be a single woman living alone, safety (particularly walking at night) is really a key priority for me. I don't walk around alone at 3 am anywhere, but I'd like to feel comfortable walking from the Tube til about 11 pm. In the past I've lived + spent time in Holloway/Highbury (liked it), Chiswick (too far/bit empty at night), Isle of Dogs (love it), and Golders Green (also bit too deserted at night). I'm probably more of a scaredy-cat than many, and consider areas like Finsbury Park, Turnpike Lane, Wood Green, Stepney, Tottenham, Brixton, Caledonian Road, and Acton too 'dodgy' for my comfort level. I'm not concerned about poor or immigrant areas- it's specifically street crime, harassment and mugging I'm worried about. But ideally the area would also have enough going on to not become a ghost town after 7 pm.

I'm looking a lot at east London and have little personal experience of it, but I welcome suggestions about other areas! If I've posted in the wrong place, please point me to the right forum. :-) Some places I'm considering, which seem to be within budget, include:
- Isle of Dogs (I rent here now, but might be priced out)
- South Woodford
- Woodford
- Leyton/Leytonstone (don't mind a bit of grimness, but is it safe?)
- Wanstead
- Mile End/Bow
- Deptford/Lewisham
- Charlton (although no tube is a big minus!)
- Ealing
- Willesden
- East Putney
- Balham

lalalonglegs Tue 10-May-16 17:29:49

I don't know most of those areas but I think you would struggle to get a flat in Balham or Putney for that amount (usual apologies for lunacy of London market). If your parents are cash buyers, I would recommend that they look at auctions as their money can go a lot further and you may have more choice of locations.

MothershipG Tue 10-May-16 17:58:47

If Chiswick was too far/quiet I think you would feel similarly about Ealing.

How about Shepherds Bush? I lived there when I was your age-ish and it didn't feel dodgy.

If you don't mind living on a busy road there is this flat right on the Green

This one is much nicer but a bit over budget.

LBOCS2 Tue 10-May-16 18:12:30

If you're a scaredy cat, I really wouldn't recommend Lewisham or Deptford. Also, they don't have the tube.

Why are you so adamant you want a tube connection? Your money will go a lot further in SE London (even the gentrified bits) and the train links are considerably faster, less crowded and almost as frequent as the tube...

JT05 Tue 10-May-16 18:16:55

Try East Finchley.

rubybleu Tue 10-May-16 19:42:43

£350k will get you a one bed flat in Holloway or Archway. Upper Holloway is quite nice these days.

Spickle Tue 10-May-16 19:48:59

I've always liked Wanstead though haven't been there recently.

YoungBritishPissArtist Tue 10-May-16 20:08:54

Walthamstow? Victoria line is fast and reliable. There are also trains direct to Liverpool St for the city.

user1462887151 Tue 10-May-16 21:08:35

Thanks for all the replies so far! I'll check all of these areas out. We are buying in cash, so auctions will be something to consider.

In terms of why I want a tube link- train frequency is definitely a big factor for me; even the District Line feels frustratingly slow. Plus, I'm still holding out on night tube eventually easing journeys back from nights out, and most of my friends live West/North/East. So while I wouldn't cut out SE London entirely, I'd rather see how far my money takes me elsewhere, first. (Also, I have absolutely no need for a second bedroom, even if it were within budget, so getting more for my money matters less than location.)

ajandjjmum Tue 10-May-16 22:09:39

DD lived at Royal Docks for a while - very quiet. DS has an apartment near Canary Wharf, but he rents it out as he would prefer to share at his age (similar to your own). He says that he wouldn't like to live near Canary Wharf at the moment, as it is pretty dead at the weekend.

He and a couple of friends share in Balham and love it. Tube is about 30 mins into London Bridge for work, and he can get to various parts of London easily - although he does love Balham and Clapham. I would have thought a 1 bed in Balham could be achievable within your budget.

Another friend has an apartment in Bow, and she does feel a little out of it, but that maybe due to the location of others in their friendship group.

Wish I was young again! grin

newname12 Tue 10-May-16 22:16:45

Come live in se4!

I moved here when i was your age- main reasons being trains, the london bridge connection, and the night buses from central london. We also now have the east london line tube which makes getting around central and north london even easier. Canary wharf is also good for nights out, and shopping. I've always felt safe here, it's now even more middle class with deli's and naice restaurants and coffee shops.

Racheyg Tue 10-May-16 22:16:58

Hi op,
Wanstead is lovely have a really nice village feel while still being London. I have only recently moved away as could afford to buy there.

There are a few nice pubs, cuckfield and duke also some great coffee shops. And a really good nail bar grinthe central line is normally in good working order.

Good luck with your search

TheCyclist Tue 10-May-16 22:29:22

Leytonstone isn't grim and it is safe. You could get a very nice place for 350k in E11.

Londonbased87 Tue 10-May-16 22:37:17

Don't buy in the suburbs!

Have a quick look around Zone 1 south of the river (the south east bit, around Elephant and Castle, down towards Oval which is the first stop in Zone 2). It's buzzy at night, actually pretty safe, never ever quiet and between E&C, Kennington and Oval is amazing for the tube. There's also loads to do locally (Bermondsey/Maltby Street, Southbank). It is the most undervalued place in Zone 1 by a mile and you can get everywhere very easily. You can walk to the City.

You are buying in cash so may well get a deal. <-- this is in an amazing location, really near the Southbank - within walking distance to Tower Bridge and a million buses - slightly further down but a lovely road - I used to live there when I lived alone in London at 24 - and walking distance to Oval and Stockwell. Everyone was dead jealous of where I lived...

kirinm Tue 10-May-16 22:42:02

It's not where you want at all because it has no tube but I cannot shout about Peckham enough. It's a great place to live but expensive - we are buying and are moving up the road to New Cross.

I've never felt scared in Peckham. Incidentally, I used to live in Brixton and I didn't feel scared there either.

user1462887151 Tue 10-May-16 22:48:28

Keep these coming guys, this is so helpful!

Hadn't really considered Walthamstow and stupidly didn't realise the ovg takes you straight to Liverpool St- it's definitely moved up the list, as has Leytonstone and Balham!

I would probably add Elephant and Castle to the list of areas I've felt uneasy in, though- I've had two friends get mugged there in the past year. They were definitely being a bit drunk and silly, but I'm still at the age where I will occasionally want to be drunk and silly!

Londonbased87 Tue 10-May-16 23:04:33

What I've shown above is mainly Kennington/Oval, even Vauxhall, and those areas are as safe as any you've mentioned and in parts very quiet, and different from the clubbing area of E&C. We are all five-ten years above you and my close group of friends lives between there, E&C and Peckham, in much bigger flats and houses than our friends in Zone 2/ 3 north.

Anyway, look as far in as you can afford, as geographical proximity makes visiting friends all over really easy. Having said that - lots of people love living in Stratford and that's got fantastic tube links?

user1462887151 Tue 10-May-16 23:21:37

@Londonbased, that first flat you posted in particular was absolutely gorgeous! It is nearly 400k, which we can't quite stretch to, but will we have a lot of bargaining power as cash buyers? I don't have any buying experience and my parents have only done bought a house in sleepy American suburbia, so we're worried that if the London buying market is anything like the rental market, anything decent will be snapped up within hours. shock

kirinm Wed 11-May-16 07:50:03

My experience, as a ftb, is that your budget is going to be similar to most ftb. We had a budget of £450k and we were constantly being outbid on places. We've finally managed to get a one bed in zone 2 for just over £400k BUT the market in some areas is definitely slowing down and there's nothing wrong with making a lower offer. As you start your search you'll get an idea of what places are going for and you can change your search accordingly.

Good luck!

kirinm Wed 11-May-16 07:52:05

Oh and if buying a flat, make sure you ask about ground rent and service charges. The bigger the block of flats, the higher the charges in my experience!

fabulousathome Thu 12-May-16 07:45:55

South Woodford or Wanstead are safe and you should get somewhere for your money. Living in s flat in the area between Wanstead and Snaresbrook stations is good as you can get any Central Line Tube train on the way home. Each of those is on one branch of the central line.

concertplayer Thu 12-May-16 11:33:41

If you are scared just make sure you can taxi it from the Tube Station (registered
companies of course)
Ditto Kirinm re service charges in flats They can be enormous and annoying.
if you say live on the first floor but have to pay for a communal lift that you
rarely use .Ask if they have a sinking fund for maintenance .
In addition re flats and the MOST important thing is the number of years left
to run since the lease was granted. It may not be a problem now as you are
paying cash but when you sell your buyer may not be able to get a mortgage
if it is too low . Also negotiating to extend a lease can be a real hassle which
requires a solicitor. The Leasehold Advisory service is a free service and will tell
you rights so have a look at their website first.
Leaving it till the lease only has 80 or fewer years to run increases the hassle
and cost of lease extension. I would say if you see one with recently extended
lease Grab it. Even if it seems to cost more than the others the peace of
mind it gives is worthwhile.
To only way to avoid above is when the lessees own the Freehold.

MiddleClassProblem Thu 12-May-16 11:48:54

I don't know how you feel about being in a block but this is right by Clapham Common and Abbeville Road which has loads of lovely restaurants and cafes and independent shops (Oliver bonasy kind) and they gave a summer street fete etc. Nice community and a posh pub but also right next to Clapham

Worsopp Drive, London

DustOffYourHighestHopes Thu 12-May-16 12:33:16

Have you considered Hither Green? Train is SO frequent from there that it's like being in the tube.

mrsmortis Thu 12-May-16 12:48:47

How about Stratford? On or near the olympic park?

Don't forget if you are looking at flats to check the service charge and what, if any, works are planned that you might be liable for. S

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