This luxury 2 bed 2 bath end of terrace apartment in a beautiful conservation brick building in Kensington, one of London’s most celebrated districts. Purchasing this address (less than 100m from Gloucester Road tube station) makes a statement to your friends and acquaintances that you have arrived. Immaculately renovated in a period-contemporary style this super stylish urbanite residence is the perfect location for a Halloween or new years eve party in one of the world’s coolest cities.
Not only is commuting frustrating, an invasion of your personal space, damaging to your health and lost time from your day it’s also expensive, very expensive. So, how much is your commute costing you?
Lost Life Time – Commuters are spending an average of 43 minutes – travelling 22 miles – each way. 86 minutes a day is equal to 29 hours a month or 2 weeks a year and that’s just the average, some people are commuting for double the amount of time at 90 minutes each way every day.
Health – The American Time Use Survey helps to quantify the negative effects noting “each minute spent commuting is associated with a 0.0257-minute exercise time reduction, a 0.0387-minute food preparation time reduction, and a 0.2205-minute sleep time reduction.” So, for instance, over the course of the year, someone who commutes for 15 hours each week for 50 weeks misses out on about half an hour of sleep each day.
Frustration & Satisfaction – An international team of researchers surveyed 225 employees of a large media company in London earlier this year and found that the longer they commuted, the less happy and emotionally satisfied they were with their jobs.
Personal Space – In most social circumstances we only allow people within an arm’s length of our body, but commuting on public transport violates that immediately. Gately argued in his book Rush Hour that we very frequently travel in conditions that would be considered inhumane for livestock
Money – With train prices rise year on year, now costing over £5,000 for an annual, season ticket in some parts of London, it’s hard to believe commuting is better than living in central London. It’s more expensive to live in the centre of the city but you have all the amenities and attractions on your doorstep without the cost, stress and reliance on unreliable rail services.
Cut the Commute: Cut the Cost
You can dramatically slash your commuting costs and reclaim back your life. Here are our top 10 tips on how you can improve your life. You’ll be surprised how easy it can be to accommodate some major changes and big savings.
If you love your job but hate your commute, you may want to consider moving. Living closer to your workplace can dramatically slash the cost of travelling. If you can find something within walking distance, you can eliminate the expense completely.
It’s not a crazy idea: If you rent your home, then you have the flexibility to find an apartment for rentand try a new place to live, especially if you feel like you have a good level of job security.
But it’s extreme: If you own your primary residence, on the other hand, this may be both cost prohibitive and, in this property market, extremely difficult. Plus, high moving costs usually mean it’ll be a while before you start noticing a positive change in your bank account. One way around this is to rent out the property you own and rent another property closer to work
Download PLACE today to search for properties based on commute time
2. Find a New Job
If you’re spending your life and your disposable income commuting to a job that you hate or you could find work closer to home, quitting for greener pastures is probably the most extreme change you can make but can make you better off, especially if you do contract work without the long term security of a full time contract.
It’s not a crazy idea: If you own a home and have highly portable job skills, this option may be for you. Like moving, changing jobs can save you a great deal of money in commuting costs (without dealing with the hassle of expensive moving costs).
But it’s extreme: Though your trip to work is tough, finding a new job can be a lot tougher. Don’t quit because of a commute until you have something else lined up.
3. Work from Home
Believe it or not, many companies are sensitive to the rising cost of commuting and office space. Take advantage of programs like flexible hours and the option to work from the comfort of your own home.
It’s not a crazy idea: Even if you need to be in the office most days, your employer may be willing to compromise. Working from home just two days per week can cut your commuting costs by 40% per year.
But it’s extreme: Be very careful how you propose this. You don’t want to be perceived as someone who isn’t running with the pack.
4. Work Longer Days
Working four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days can save you 20% per year in commuting costs, with the added benefit of three-day weekends.
It’s not a crazy idea: Many employers have adopted the “9/80” schedule, in which staff members work two full weeks in nine business days. For a few more hours a day, you’ll get an extra day off every other week. With a smart schedule, companies can cut internal expenses and save you money without losing an ounce of productivity.
But it’s extreme: Obviously this only works if you can make the required arrangements with your employer. Don’t fall in the trap of thinking you can go home early some Fridays just because you worked extra hours earlier in the week.
It’s not a crazy idea: As communities become more bike-friendly, it’s getting a lot easier to find protected bike lanes and safe routes to work and many office buildings have secure bike parking, showers and changing rooms
But it’s extreme: Cycling in driving rain is miserable so don’t rely on this plan for 100% savings.
Use a Waxi
Water taxis are often overlooked. With seating and wifi they are a very pleasant way to travel to work whilst actually working onboard at the same time. Waterway commuting can be faster, especially if your office is near the river, like Canary Wharf.
If you’re not interested in changing your commute consider carpooling. It’s an easy and effective choice that usually only requires a bit of coordination among some colleagues at work.
It’s not a crazy idea: Carpooling is cheaper, as long as you all share teh cost equally.
But it’s extreme: It can lead to frustrations and arguments with your co workers and you might want to get away from your co workers when you leave the office rather than be forced to sit in a car with them for an extra couple of hours a day. Think Peter Kay’s Car Share http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02n62v4
Change of Car
8. Buy a More Fuel-Efficient Vehicle
If you don’t want to make any significant changes, but wouldn’t mind saving a little bit of money in fuel expenses, think about investing in a small fuel efficient cars.
It’s not a crazy idea: A new car comes with a high initial expense, but if you’re in the market for one, look for the most efficient models and you’ll save plenty over the next few years.
But it’s extreme: You’ll have to sell your car and buy something that you might not like and might not be practical outside of the city.
Join a Flexi Car Program
Some cities and towns offer flexi car arrangements (e.g. Zipcar), which let you share cars with other locals or even take taxis with Uber
It’s not a crazy idea: With the flex car alternative, you can cut maintenance, insurance, and sometimes even fuel costs from your regular budget.
But it’s extreme: A flex car or taxi service is too expensive for everyday use. It’ll only cut your budget if you commute just a few days per week, or if you pair it with another one of the tips on this list.
10. Changes Your Driving Habits
Do you love your job, your house, your car, and your lifestyle? You can still save a little bit on your commute without making any drastic changes. Just incorporate some small changes in your driving technique and car care.
First, buy a tire gauge (the Accutire MS-4021B Standard Digital Tire Gauge is a good option). Properly inflating your tires can increase efficiency by up to 5%. When you’re on the road, drive the speed limit, avoid carrying access weight, coast down hills, don’t gun the engine after every red light, and pay attention to regular maintenance. You’ll find that while these little changes won’t save your budget, you’ll cut a few pounds here and there from your usual travel expenses.
It’s not a crazy idea: These are practical tips that everyone should incorporate. You don’t have to spend any money to operate your own car a little more efficiently.
It’s not too extreme: Something you should do anyway but it can be a challenge to change driving habits that you’ve had for years.
For many of us commuting to work is one of our largest recurring costs so applying these tips can help you save you several thousands of pounds. Apart from the saved money commuting itself has a cost on your lifestyle and your health. Even though it may cost a bit more living closer to work you’ll feel better and have a better quality of life.
When I think of my commute to work the first thing that comes to mind is the waste of time. Even if you can read a book, listen to music or do the odd email it’s a huge amount of ‘dead time’ in your life moving around the city.
According to CityAM we spend 107 hours a year travelling to and from work, which works out as a year of our lives in a lifetime. Most commuters only travel a short distance but get caught in public transport traps. Just think about that for a second and imagine what you would pay to get a year of your life back.
At PLACE we decided to put your commute 1st and give you the chance to claim back your life. We have developed an app that allows you to focus your property search on where you need to travel to on a daily basis and display properties in a time zone bubble from your office, college or university that you can set the time limit for.
In cities where distance is irrelevant and travel time is everything it’s the only way to find a PLACE that really fits in with your lifestyle and frees up time for you to enjoy where you live. You’ll be surprised how many affordable properties are in prime areas of cities and a short travel time to work, college or university.
For any international student moving to UK, it can be a little daunting. Having gone through the same process not too long ago, we decided to put together a list of things we wish we knew before arriving in London!
Communicate, Communicate and Communicate
While online research is important, it’s better to speak to someone who is already living in London. If you don’t know anyone already there don’t be afraid to contact the University or Student Union to ask for advice.
Things like public transportation costs, safe neighbourhoods, recommended places to eat will help you plan your time and budget better.
2. Choose your Accommodation Wisely
University accommodation is a good idea for first few months to help you settle in as it will give you a chance to meet new people and network. Once you know the city better you’ll probably want to spread your wings and move into a place with a few friends away from the antics and irritations of student halls.
You can use our free app called PLACE (http://placepropertyapp.com) to find good and value for money apartments and student houses, just a few minutes from all the flatmates colleges or universities.
The public transportation network in UK is excellent but is expensive outside of London, even with a student rail card. Luckily, as a student in London, the majority of the careers fairs and job opportunities are on your doorstep. In London you MUST get an Oyster Card, the contactless payment card for all transport in London. It gets you the cheapest rates of travel in London and you can even get a student discounted rate too. Here is what we suggest to simplify your choices –
The cheapest way to get around London and the best way to see the city from the upper deck of a classic Double Decker bus. They run really frequently and it’s often no more than a few minutes between buses arriving at a stop. Great when there isn’t much traffic, terrible when there is traffic. The Underground or Tube is the simplest and fastest way to move around the city but the map can be a little confusing.
If you are travelling between cities, coaches are a cheaper alternative to trains, but they can take almost double the travel time to arrive and don’t expect them to arrive to destination on time. Megabus is the cheapest option with fares starting at £1 but they tend to be very busy. If that’s the case, then try National Express as they offer the largest coach network in the UK or Stagecoach.
Trains are the most preferred way to get around the UK and is the most comfortable too!
Get yourself a student rail card, it’ll give you at least ⅓ off the the normal fares. Also, book in advance, it can save you as much as 80% if you are flexible on your travel times and travel outside of peak hours (which usually rush hours in the morning but they do vary so you have to check the timings on the book site).
If you are in London then the tube is often the fastest way to get around. Also, for travel in London, take a look at the Oyster card. It is by far the cheapest option.
4. Cheap International Calls
“Hey Mom! I made it. Talk soon!” and you are charged £5 for that. Now we don’t want that, do we?
We suggest it is best to get one of those PAYG sim cards which are available at the airport and practically every supermarket and grocery store. In terms of network coverage, O2 and Vodafone have decent coverage while giffgaff (uses O2’s network) is the cheapest one.
For calling back home, there are hosts of low cost options, such as LycaMobile, Lebara and RebTel offering around 1-2p a minute.
5. Sort out your Bank Account
It’s advisable to apply for a Student Bank Account if you are going to be in the country for more than couple of months. There are many advantages to it –
Bank Statements acts as a Proof of Address especially if you need a Schengen Visa to travel across Europe or
Proof of Income
Benefits such as interest free overdraft of up to £2,000
Keeps your money safe meaning you don’t have to carry lots of cash on you
You will need a confirmation letter from your University/School proving your student status. It is advisable to apply well ahead in time as from personal experience, it usually takes long to receive the debit card and pin.
6. Register with a General Practitioner (GP)
It is strongly recommended that you register with a doctor as soon as possible after you arrive in London so that you can access healthcare as quickly as possible if you become ill or injured.
You can find most of the details about Registering with GP on this page
7. It’s Raining! It’s Sunny! It’s Raining Again!
It’s entirely normal for it to rain one minute and then be a perfect day a few minutes later. The weather is a daily topic of conversation and you must be prepared for anything. Even on a good day people will carry an umbrella, just in case it rains on your journey.
Again, you can use PLACE to find an apartment based on commute distance from the University.
8. Working part time in London
As a rule, the EU is more flexible for allowing working than outside of it. The best approach is to check with your student representative or counsellor at the University who can guide you better on an individual basis and they often have jobs boards. Alternatively, you can also check out the more generic official guidelines at UK Council for International Student Affairs.
9. Preparing for London
London is a patch work quilt of areas with very different styles of buildings, characteristics, people and atmosphere. While you will be able to find many students who share similar background and beliefs as yours, we recommend that you make the maximum of this opportunity to learn and understand other cultures. The best way to do that is to live in the city, the worst thing you can do is stay in student halls for all 3 years, isolated from one of the best places to live in the world.
London boasts of array of restaurants, bars and night clubs. As the poet Samuel Johnson once said “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” No matter who you are and what your tastes are you can find something to do in London. In such a vibrant city with so many creative elements there is always something new to go to or experience, whether it’s high rolling clubs in the West End or something a bit grittier in hipster East London.
Lastly, don’t forget to book that Transport from the Airport to your Accommodation! Buses are cheapest but don’t expect to get there in a hurry.
10. Taxi Transfers
Usually, Taxi Transfers from Airport to City Centre are quite expensive. Its advisable to use Airport Express or London Tube Transfers. You can save a lot if you plan well ahead in time. But if you have good number of luggage with you, it’s better to book an Uber in advance. Even better, you can share your Uber ride if you are travelling with a friend as London has Uber Pool.
The author was a student in the UK and learnt about living in London the hard way when he rented a very cheap flat with 3 friends in East London.
If you are an international student moving to UK and have a query/suggestion, please share below and we will try and help.
If you are an international student studying in UK, please add your comments below to improve our guide and help other students.
This pad is truly in the heart of Manchester’s vibrant city centre and has everything a student or young professional needs, complete with slick and stylish black glass noticeboard. The best feature of this place is the £1,250 pcm rent, that’s just £625 a month for two flatmates to live in sumptuous luxury! Find more details of this place on the PLACE app.
Every week we search the app for hidden gems out there. This week we found this place, a 2 double bed, 2 bath in Paragon Mill, part of the iconic Royal Mills development, in Ancoats.
Paragon Mill was the last cotton mill of the Royal Mills complex to be converted and has brand new fixtures and fittings. If that wasn’t enough for you Royal Mills is situated on Cutting Room Square within Ancoats Urban Village, a canal side area undergoing regeneration and is just a few minutes walk from the Northern Quarter and Piccadilly Station and is just around the corner from the super trendy Northern Quarter of Manchester.
Live in the heart of Manchester’s very own version of shoredicth and hackney; start your search today using the PLACE app (download from www.placepropertyapp.com).
Paragon Mill was built in 1912 and at eight stories high was the world’s tallest cast iron structure when it was built. It is the final mill conversion phase of the popular Royal Mills Development, a mixture of mill conversions and new build 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments. This apartment is within the Victorian Mill Conversion and has many period features throughout typical of this kind of property. Find more properties in Paragon Mill on the PLACE app.
This apartment is immaculate and fully furnished with some spectacular and unique pieces of furniture and is available frpom the 2nd August.
There is a huge open plan kitchen/diner and living room, main bathroom, two double bedrooms and an en-suite bathroom. This place has space and lots of it, even with the 4m solid oak Hudson dining table from Harrods. The dining table really is the focal point of the room, making any meal a social occasion. By the floor to ceiling Victorian windows there is a leather chesterfield you can slouch on and relax with a glass or two.
Also the property also comes with a secure underground car parking space within the development.
Escape the city hustle and bustle over the summer and take full advantage of the relaxation of green space on your doorstep. London has some of the largest and most beautiful parks of any city and here’s a quick run down of some of the best places to go to chill out with friends.
If you don’t have one of these parks on your doorstep then try looking for a new place to live with the PLACE app.
Battersea Park – Picnics
Sure to grow in popularity even more as the area continues to develop, this long-standing park includes multiple gardens. There is also a peace pagoda, for those seeking quiet contemplation.
2. Hyde Park – Roller Blading and Boating
Hyde Park is probably the most famous park in London, and occupies a massive open space between Knightsbridge, Mayfair and Bayswater. Paddle boating on thethe Serpentine Lake is very popular. The space is so vast that it’s sometimes easy to forget that you’re still in central London.
Regent’s Park has some beautiful rose beds and landscaping, and is home to London Zoo. It also has a boating lake with ducks and geese. During the summer you can enjoy performances at the bandstand, and plays at the Open Air Theatre. Another favourite way to pass a few hours is taking a canal boat from Camden to Little Venice,
4. St James’s Park – Regal Splendour
One of the smaller royal parks but undoubtedly one of London’s most inviting green spaces. Surrounded by the regal elegance of Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade with the Mall running along one side. Within the park pelicans roam free, a lake teems with life and the Tiffany Fountain, shooting a plume of water 20ft into the air, serves as a pleasant feature in a heat wave.
5. London Fields – BBQs
Better since barbecues were confined to a designated area of the park, London Fields attracts masses of visitors on any sunny day. A favourite of the super trendy hipsters of east London. Definitely worth visiting in the summer for the Olympic-sized lido.
A truly spectacular 150-year-old ornamental garden, it provides a beautiful backdrop for gatherings on the grass nearby. A shame picnics are banned but understandably so. Must see features include rosettes carved in Carrara marble, the white marble Tazza Fountain.
You can find affordable places for young couples around Italia Gardens using PLACE. Download from www.placepropertyapp.com.
7. Richmond Park – Cycling
Get out into the wild and enjoy the expanse of Richmond Park and it’s red deer residents. One for cycling enthusiasts with miles of countryside and hills to climb.
8. Victoria Embankment Gardens – Take a Break
Offering a tranquil retreat this strip of land just over the water from the hustle and bustle of the South Bank is a mini oasis. This dainty park features a number of curious statues that pay tribute to characters associated with the area. A great place to take a break and read a book.
You can find a PLACE close to these lovely parks in London using PLACE. Download today from – www.placepropertyapp.com
The Brexit debate rages on and no issue is closer to UK voters hearts than property equity. For a nation traditionally of home owners and lately of generation rent this is a hugely passionate issue for all. Here we address the issues for both owners and renters if we Brexit or Bremain-
Demand for houses in the UK is driven by influencing factors – foreign investment, population growth, the availability of credit and consumer appetite for debt. Below is the ONS data for property sales with a spike of sales in March – the rush pre the BTL tax rate changes in the budget – and the dramatic fall in April.
2. Foreign Investment
49% of London residential property buyers are from outside the UK but only 16.5% are from EU states (Knight Frank). Indeed the EU citizen’s who rushed to buy in London all did so in order move their money from their own relatively unstable countries to a UK safe haven, thus driving the London property market. The fact is anyone in the EU who wanted to and could move their cash from a risky economy to the UK and convert it into bricks and mortar has already done so. A foreign national capable of buying in London is unlikely to be affected by the Brexit issue and is more likely to be put off by the enormous price tags of London real estate. The two graphs below right illustrate the progressive slowing down of the London prime housing market over the last 24 months and therefore could not have been caused by Brexit speculation.
Out with prime me London UK house prices have shown strong growth, largely driven by the lack of supply and population growth. The inability of supply to catch up with demand will continue whether the UK Brexits or Bremains. EU citizens working in the UK are contributing to the economy and must be given the right to continue to work in the UK for our economy to grow. Will they leave the UK if we Brexit? Absolutely not, they came to the UK to find better jobs with better pay. So what about the 1.2 M UK citizens working in the EU? The EU could expel them, which will only increase the demand for homes in the UK. Basically, Brexit or Bremain, house prices and rents outwith London prime will continue to rise.
As the Bank of England base rate remains low lenders have been able to offer very competitive interest rates on mortgages. According to the Bank of England the number of mortgages that have been approved has been steadily growing since 2009 (below left). Even though buyers have not seen wage increases in the last decade disposable income has remained stable meaning greater price to earnings ratios as prices rise (below right). So, credit is freely available, even for London prime purchases.
Elections have traditionally had an effect on the volume of house sales and therefore also the price achieved. Pre election jitters have traditionally made home buyers nervous and post election certainty leads to a boost in home purchases. According the Jefferies Bank data in the two charts below we can expect to a recovery in house sales within 2 months of the referendum. It’s not the Brexit that is affecting house sales, it’s the debate and the referendum surrounding it, catalysing the fall in sales in April. With Buy-to-Let (BTL) comprising approximately 50% of the house purchases in the UK the post Brexit referendum recovery will be hindered as investors appetite for property is diminished by the new stamp duty rates for BTL.
5. Rental Costs
Homelet (the rental credit and reference check agency) average UK rental price index has reached a plateau (below). While that may seem like good news on the surface for generation rent but the data includes London, which boosts and distorts the average. With house prices at their peak in London the drive for increasing rent is diminished. Outwith the London property scene rents are rising as house prices rise, the population grows and London renters escape the city to reduce their bills. Brexit or Bremain this situation is not going to change.
Every home must feel as though it is a safe place for you to relax, to feel ‘at home’. You need that peace of mind to be certain that your home is safe and secure. Every home is a castle, cosy on the inside but fortified on the outside.
Here are a few top tips on how to spot vulnerabilities and what to do about them when you have:
AVOID bad locations
Check the crime rates in the area and the type of crime
Check if the property is close to an area which is on or close to the Crime Map.
Look for easy access points – ground floor windows, weak back doors, flimsy fences
Find areas where a burglar could be hidden while they break in – porches, walkways or lower ground stairways
Check windows and doors are strong with toughened glass.
Check locks are in good condition – if old or keys are very worn because have been re cut several times, ask for the locks to be changed.
Make sure there is no way to climb to the 1st or above floor
Install good locks.
Install double and toughened glazed windows that cannot be crowbarred
Cover any potential climbing surfaces with grease
Place barbed wire on the perimeter wall
Install an alarm that initiates a response team
Have a highlighly visible alarm
Install security cameras to cover blind spots
Subscribe to a local security patrol
PROTECT when on vacation
Dont put your garbage cans out
Use a random timer on your indoor lights or TVs
Stop newspaper and mail delivery, if you don’t have someone picking those up for you
Those are just some of the inexpensive ways to make your home more secure and burglar-free. Do you have tips of your own that you would like to share?
Property Rental Market in UK is one of the most competitive ones in the whole of Europe. As an agent, it’s really important to make your property listing stand out. To this end, we bring you a list of 5 must essentials –
Great Photos, especially of the living room
It sounds obvious but you would be surprised how many properties are listed without photos. Properties listed without photos receive 8X less views that properties with photos. Clearly photos are important and what isn’t obvious is that your leading photo should be the main living area of the interior of the property. Tenants will of course have an affinity for the external character of the property but they wont be able to imagine and develop an emotional connection to what it would be like for them to live in the property.
Accurate Listing Details
If your property’s data is accurate, it will filter correctly for exactly the right kind of tenant you are looking for. For example, get the available dates, the deposit size and the other details of the property spot on and when the tenant searches you will find a tenant who can afford the deposit, is looking to move in when the property is available, so a highly qualified lead.
When a potential tenant messages you through one of the property websites or mobile apps such as PLACE, it’s best to respond immediately so you can ensure you agree a viewing time straight away. If you delay, the tenant will make a booking for another viewing and you will lose a hot lead.
A property without wifi already installed will deter a tenant. Tenants all want wifi and are loathe to have to wait for the wifi connection to be established.
Include a Floorplan
If you have one available, always upload it. If the property has an unusual layout and doesn’t have a floor plan, you should consider making one to improve the listing.