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Renting in/commuting from Thames Ditton/Surbiton

(28 Posts)
Rosie295 Mon 25-Jul-16 12:51:25

DS1 has a job in central London (Victoria) starting early September. He's now decided he wants a 1 bed or studio rental in the Surbiton area, having looked at some house shares. I will accompany him to look at some places at the weekend. Neither of us know London at all really so it's new territory for us. No experience of renting either!

I'd be grateful if anyone could confirm our impressions (or not) and give any advice.

1) he thinks Surbiton is prime commuting territory and trains are pretty full - would seats be more likely from TD (but only half hourly service - is that a problem?) He's seen a couple of places advertised in Weston Grove which look nice and quiet.

2) he's seen somewhere in Hampton Wick too- is getting on there better than in Surbiton?

3) I've seen comments on the internet about negotiating/haggling over rental prices - is that really common practice like if you are buying?

4) he likes cycling and has seen the new bike lanes near the river. Any comments or advice about cycling in the area/ the parks?

5) any views on the area would be most welcome smile

whois Mon 25-Jul-16 13:59:33

How old is he?

I can't think why a low to mid-twenties guy (age guess since you're helping him find somewhere!) would want to rent in Surbiton for their first experience of London TBH.

How frequent are the trains / when is the last train / how much will the travel costs be vs living somewhere more central / how many times a month will he end up getting a taxi home after socializing with new friends / how many new social activities will he have to turn down because he has to go get his train...

I would recommend moving down about 2 weeks before work starts and renting a room centrally off airbnb and doing some serious house share hunting in those 2 weeks (with pre work and viewings set up before).

Re haggling on rents - yeah London rental is kinda like buying in that you put your 'offer' into the estate agent with rental amount which may be below the 'asking' rent and any conditions e..g fix the dodgy lock, replace tile grouting in bathroom as moldy and and remove sofa cos you have your own.

Then the LL considers the offers and accepts or rejects.

Humptynumpty02 Mon 25-Jul-16 14:40:55

I used to live in Surbiton and commuted to Victoria, it's an alright trip but Surbiton is a very busy station. Unfortunately the fast train (nicely air conditioned) to Waterloo doesn't stop at Clapham Junction which he'll need to change to Victoria so it's the slow coaches instead (although they only take 17 mins still). No complaints about the area, it's changed a lot over the years but is prime place to commute given the relatively short trip into London. Fares can be expensive though. I find Thames Ditton a soulless place, but some like it. The train from there is the ultra slow one, ie stops at every stop.

fairgroundsnack Mon 25-Jul-16 14:50:00

I used to live in the area and it is lovely, although is definitely commuter belt rather than 'proper' London. In response to your questions:

1. The fast trains are very full when they get to Surbiton but as PP says he will be looking at the slow trains which stop at Clapham Junction rather than the fast ones straight into Waterloo. There are generally seats available on the slow trains if you get on at Surbiton. There are more seats at Thames Ditton as you've only got the Hampton Court crowd ahead of you but as you say the trains are only every 30 minutes. Not a problem if you are organised enough to get a particular train but doesn't give you the flexibility that Surbiton would.

2. Hampton Wick is on the Norbiton/Kingston line rather than the Surbiton one. It is also quite busy but without the frequency of trains you get at Surbiton. Nice walk just across the bridge into Kingston though.

3. Yes I think it is quite common to make an offer on rental.

4. There are loads of cyclists in the area - Richmond Park is a bit of a cyclist mecca. There is a great bike shop in Hampton Wick where he will be able to meet fellow cyclists.

Rosie295 Mon 25-Jul-16 15:32:16

Thanks for the replies, very helpful. He's looked at house shares but given that his job may be full on and he has a strong introvert component he thinks he'd like to live in a peaceful haven at least at first - maybe move in with some others he's made friends with in due course. He has looked round a few places and felt comfortable by the river (used to living by the sea in the back of beyond). Personally I might do a more central house share but I'm not him - it's his life and his choice, not going to push my preferences on him.

Well he'll set up some viewings and he can see where he feels comfortable - seems like there's loads of time. Maybe suggest he looks at a few areas further in - but he was rather taken with the area; I've never been there. I can do my sounding board act. It's good to know his suspicion it was a good place for cycling was correct!

Thanks again for the replies, any other tips still welcome smile

BigGreenOlives Mon 25-Jul-16 15:35:48

There are really good Triathlon clubs in the area, lots of cyclists also go out to Box Hill/Cobham from there if they fancy pushing themselves.

specialsubject Mon 25-Jul-16 17:31:36

Presumably he has factored in the huge fare costs?

I used to commute from t d a long time ago. Changing at Vauxhall for the Victoria line was the trick. They also used to hold the Hampton court train at surbiton if the fast train was late so people could connect.

3 hours travel every day. And the system was much less crowded. Never again. T d is lovely though!

Rosie295 Mon 25-Jul-16 18:31:14

special subject, he seems to have done his sums, he is fortunate enough to have a fairly high salary. To me it seems Surbiton would offer a better commute though TFL reckon less than an hour door to door from TD. It remains to be seen if that is accurate! Can see the point of changing at Vauxhall - TFL reckon on 11 minutes to walk from the train station to the underground, are they really that far apart? Maybe lots of steps etc/includes waiting time for tube. My "commute" to work is a 3 minute walk so I am spoilt. Anyway it's up to him. At least he has some sort of plan. Glad to hear TD is lovely smile

Big Green Olives interesting about the triathlons - not sure he's up for that yet but you never know. He did a kids one when he was 10 and came a magnificent last - very character building though.

Ragusa Mon 25-Jul-16 19:14:42

Surbiton would be my preference between Surbiton and Thames Ditton but a) I'm biased and b) I'm not your husband ;)

These are the reasons:

More useful shops and facilities in Surbiton - if he doesn't have a car, then surbiton provides easier access to supermarkets (large waitrose), choice of dry cleaners, pubs, restaurants, stationers, banks, closer to sorting office, etc. This mightn't matter at all to him, but I find it makes life so much easier.

Much better and faster commute, notwithstanding the packed trains from Surbiton. If you time it right you can sometimes get a seat, but yes generally, the fast non-stopping service does get full, uncomfortably so at times. Nevertheless, I'd opt for speed rather than space and a longer commute for a number of reasons which mightn't be relevant to your DH (e.g., getting home in time for childcare).

Moire choice of housing tenure, lots of 1 bed flats in surbo and surrounds, particularly near the station. TD does have flats, but much of the housing stock is (big, expensive) houses and there's a much more limited rental market there.

Also, depending on where you live, Surbiton will potentially be easier to get to if you ever decide to visit at the weekend. It's on the main lines out to Hampshire etc. You can get to the IOW and new forest easier too, both of which are good if you're into cycling.

Re making offers on rental property....always worth a try but don't count on getting a reduction. Sorry to sound Eyeore-ish, but the reality is that there is limited housing stock and high demand.

Finally, you mentioned cycling. I don't know if you meant as an add-on to the commute, but if so.... be aware that you can't take bikes on peak train services into london unless they are folded. For that reason lots of people have Brompton-type bikes. On the plus side, if your DP can get a folding bike the options for commuting are much better. If he goes from e.g., surbiton into waterloo or one of the other stations into vauxhall/ waterloo, he can get to Victoria in about 15 minutes from waterloo and 20 minutes from vauxhall respectively. Season tickets to vauxhall are cheaper than into W'loo incidentally.

Ragusa Mon 25-Jul-16 19:23:01

Oh, and from Surbiton you can get to richmond park in about 20 minutes on a bike (DP does regularly, road bike, fast cycling). Richmond Park is rammed full of cyclists - smooth roads, good long circuit, 20mph limit for cars. Plus you can cycle on special shared cycle/ pedestrian paths if you've got MTB tyres.

From Hampton Wick, you have easy access to Bushy Park and also to Richmond Park but I think (could be wrong) that the cycling in Bushy is on road only.

titchy Mon 25-Jul-16 19:23:54

The TD line isn't particularly reliable...

littlepooch Mon 25-Jul-16 19:28:32

Dont forget to consider things like getting home late at night. Both would be a good cab fare ride home after the trains stop. If he is doing any kind of job in the city in banking/law/accountancy there will likely be client events/drinks etc which will involve journeys home after the last train.

Both feel a bit out of the way to me, but out of the two I'd go for surbiton purely for transport links.

JudyCoolibar Mon 25-Jul-16 19:29:36

The changeover from the train to the underground at Vauxhall shouldn't normally be more than 5 minutes at most.

CowVersusMouse Mon 25-Jul-16 19:38:11

Don't let him live there! There will be house shares where you don't have to see people much; often someone with their own place who is away a lot wants a lodger for money and security.

He'll have a much better time being in zone 2 or 3, honestly.

I hate people as much as the next person but surbiton is too far.

Have a good look at or moveflat (?) and you should find something quiet.

CowVersusMouse Mon 25-Jul-16 19:40:01

Don't let him live there! There will be house shares where you don't have to see people much; often someone with their own place who is away a lot wants a lodger for money and security.

He'll have a much better time being in zone 2 or 3, honestly.

I hate people as much as the next person but surbiton is too far.

Have a good look at or moveflat (?) and you should find something quiet.

Ragusa Mon 25-Jul-16 20:53:09

Arf, Cow, come on now, it's not all bad out in the burbs :D There are, you know, people with a life out here as well grin.

If he's more into open space and outdoor stuff as opposed to museums, galleries, restaurants etc, then he might better off out of the centre. You can do that outdoor stuff in London town, but it's harder to get immediate access to countryside.

Rosie295 Mon 25-Jul-16 21:09:44

CowVersusMouse much as I share your views, I don't feel I should try to tell him what to do. He has actually thought things through and seems happy about his plan now; if he ends up hating the commute he can always move. I just want to have a bit of background info for if he wants to bounce ideas off me. I had to travel a similar amount when I was at school and it was fine - pretty squashy sometimes but I got used to it.

Ragusa it's my son not DH but thanks for very useful insights. Cycling sounds good - we are all a bit twitchy about road cycling where we live now as my DH had a serious accident (driver pleaded guilty in court) so it would be good for him to live somewhere more bike friendly.

Good point about late nights littlepooch though I think if he has late nights/events he would be put up in a hotel from what I can gather. Not totally sure! I'll ask him what he would do.

Thanks everyone for info, very helpful as I try to be supportive but not directive. Sounds like Surbiton itself would be most practical. He'll just have to explore and come to some conclusion. My only knowledge of Surbiton is in the context of The Good Life (yes I'm old) so I'm a bit surprised by this turn of events, was imagining Wimbledon or Brixton in a shared house... Can see the pros and cons but I am determined not to interfere!

Ragusa just seen your last post, fair point - and he can always do stuff in central London at the weekend (will have Zone 6 travelcard?) and evenings before he comes home. He seems to have some friends in various places scattered around. I guess he'll manage one way or another.

Ragusa Mon 25-Jul-16 21:22:37

Oh I'm so sorry! your DS, why can't I read things properly?? I wondered why posters were all 'go zone 3, houseshare'. Hahaha.

For what it's worth, I kind of agree with your DS. I think if you've got a proper grown up job where they work you hard, then there's a lot to be said for your own quiet place and not having to have some barely known person sharing your hand towels and eating your supplies ;) I've never been happier with my domestic situation than when I moved to London and had my own studio and first proper job. It was ace. Left it for a house share. Whyyyyyy?

Richmond upon Thames might be good if he's earning megabucks. It's a bit la-di-da but is very nice and has the park, tube, train, buses. Cons,...vaiiir expensive and under the flight path.

Kingston proper might also suit him. Trains are a bit slow into London but at least it's a Uni town and has some young maaan things to do e.g., clubs (bad ones, but clubs all the same), bars, shopping, restaurants etc.

Wimbledon might suit him although the nice bit is up on the hill and without a station/ any notable transport to speak of.

Wimbledon, Richmond, North Kingston, Thames Ditton are all v popular with well-to-do city workers. Surbiton too but marginally less so and more average joes.

specialsubject Mon 25-Jul-16 21:32:52

I was most disappointed to find out that the good life wasn't filmed in surbiton!

Rosie295 Mon 25-Jul-16 22:45:46

Haha specialsubject that means my knowledge of Surbiton is now officially zero.

Thanks Ragusa that's encouraging. He's not in the megabucks league yet but should have enough to do what his current plans are. Won't be able to save as much but he accepts that. Sounds like he could do worse than Surbiton. I've heard it isn't too bad re flight path noise. He is so happy and relaxed tonight as he feels he's striking his own path, not doing what other people think he should do. He's not into clubs and heavy drinking so maybe a quieter life in the 'burbs would suit. I dunno, just have to go with it. I've been looking at StreetView and it looks a pretty nice area.

titchy Tue 26-Jul-16 08:01:17

Surbiton has a decent Waitrose - you can rest easy grin

Svalberg Tue 26-Jul-16 16:19:00

The last train to Surbie from Waterloo is at about 1am and they're quite frequent up to then. Kingston University is virtually IN Surbiton! It's on the road from Kingston to Surbiton.

Svalberg Tue 26-Jul-16 16:22:04

Regarding Heathrow noise, you only really get it when they're on Easterlies, which is about 30% on the time. And it tends to be take-off, southbound planes only.

HoneyBadgers Tue 26-Jul-16 19:25:45

I live in surbiton - about 10 minutes walk from the train station. We've been renting a 1 bed flat here for almost a year, although we're moving and it's back on the market now. Surbiton is great for London access - very regular trains with regular direct to Waterloo. Lots of shops/restaurants, I've really enjoyed living here.

Rosie295 Tue 26-Jul-16 20:49:49

Thanks titchy and Svalberg , sounding better by the minute! He has got a few viewings lined up for this weekend, 10 minutes walk from the station seems to be pretty standard HoneyBadgers , maybe he'll look at yours smile There seem to be lots on offer, I've heard people are not selling because of Brexit uncertainty so there are more rentals around. He's tending towards Surbiton itself as more facilities/more flexible transport. I'll be very jealous of him having a Waitrose grin

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