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A Guide to Finding the Best Apartments in London

London | 5 MIN READ

In a city with a population of almost nine million, finding somewhere to live can be a challenging process. So it’s safe to say that finding the best apartments in London can sometimes feel near impossible. However, this vibrant world city is brimming with spectacular, luxury apartments waiting for the right person to turn them into a home. You just need to know how to go about finding the right one for you.

In this guide, we’ll share our insider knowledge on how to go about finding the best apartments in London for rent, breaking the process down into a simple step-by-step journey.

Finding the best apartments in London

The key to finding your dream big city apartment is to lay out your preferences ahead of your hunt. This means you won’t waste precious time browsing apartments that simply aren’t going to work for you.

1. Set a budget

Budget must be the first consideration in any apartment hunt. Set it too high, and your quality of life could suffer. Too low and you’ll end up with a lower-quality apartment, or in a less vibrant neighbourhood than your salary allows for.

With its myriad career opportunities, colourful history, and rich culture, London is an incredibly desirable place to live. Of course, this means that rent tends to be higher in the capital than elsewhere in the UK. It’s important to bear this in mind while setting your rental budget - you will likely need to spend a higher proportion of your monthly income on rent in London than you would elsewhere. Once you’ve set your budget range, you can begin looking at the neighbourhoods you’d like to live in, and how much space you’ll get for your money in each of these locations.

2. Make a list of the areas you are interested in

What excites you about the idea of living in London? The vibrancy you’re met with when simply stepping out of your front door? Its myriad, diverse nightlife options? London’s sprawl means that each area feels like a town, with its own distinct personality and characteristics. Think about what you want to get from your experience in the capital, and choose a neighbourhood to match. It’s also worth poring over a tube map to check that your dream district is an easy commute from your place of work. Your future self will thank you.

Pimlico is a firm favourite of those working in London city centre. This cosy corner of SW1V is firmly in Zone 1, saving on transport costs for residents. It embodies all the best things about London, from its historic regency architecture to easy access to other desirable areas nearby such as Chelsea and Belgravia. Inhabited by a well-heeled crowd, this is prime London real estate.

3. Understand London’s apartments

To secure one of the city’s best apartments, first you need to understand the different types of apartments on the market. Within the best apartment buildings in London you’ll find studios, as well as one-bed, two-bed, and three-bed apartments. Studios tend to be the most economic option, allowing you to live in popular areas without going over budget. Of course, they also tend to be the cosiest choice space-wise, so they’re generally unsuitable for more than one person. One-bed apartments are perfect for couples who are splitting the rent. A similarly cost-effective option, they typically boast separate living and kitchen areas, making entertaining an option.

By renting a two-bed or three-bed apartment, the rent will inevitably increase, but the extra rooms mean you can share the apartment with friends or flatmates who will pay a share of the rent and bills. Opting for a living situation like this means less privacy, but it will give you more space in a city where space is charged at a premium.

4. Deal-breakers and must-haves

Every apartment hunter has deal breakers that they simply can’t get around. You might not have considered these issues before, but it’s important to spell them out so you don’t waste time on unsuitable properties. For instance, do you have a car? If so you’ll need an apartment that comes with suitable parking for vehicles. Often this will come with an additional fee.

If you own furniture, you’ll need an unfurnished apartment. Yet for those without, a furnished apartment is a must. If you don’t own a car, are all the amenities you need - such as supermarkets and pharmacies - nearby? And if you do own a car, are they easily accessible? Those looking forward to London’s world-famous nightlife may want to live in apartments with plenty of bars and restaurants within walking distance. This may not be a dealbreaker for some, but it could make a world of difference to your quality of life. Furthermore, if your life in London is going to be fast-paced, then serviced apartments may be what you’re looking for. In this case, don’t just view traditional properties - browse the best apartment hotels in London too.

5. Use property websites and apps to find apartments

Property websites and apps should be your first step towards finding your dream apartment in London. However, avoid getting sucked in to just one website or just one app, as you’ll be limiting yourself to a small section of the market. Instead, browse as many sites and apps as you can, and cherry pick your favourite properties from each.

6. Ask local Londoners

If you’re planning to move to London, the likelihood is you already know a few people who live in the capital. There’s nowhere better to source reliable information than from people who live locally, and have valuable knowledge about where you’ll enjoy living. Ask these contacts about the pros and cons of living in various areas, how much you can expect to spend on living and socialising costs, and what levels of rent and council tax they pay. This will help you to budget and decide which district is the best fit for you.

7. Be flexible

Apartment hunting in London can be stressful, and it’s tempting to sign on the dotted line for the first place you view. Try to resist this urge - there could be a much better apartment just around the corner. Book viewings for different properties in a number of different areas that you’ve already explored. However, it’s hard to deny that time pressure is significant when renting an apartment in London, so it’s best to line all these viewings up within one or two days where possible. Visiting as many apartments as possible within this time will get you much closer to finding the one that’s right for you.

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Apartments at Dolphin Square

If you’re looking for an affordable apartment in central London, we invite you to consider Dolphin Square Residential Lettings. Located firmly in Zone 1, you’ll find these Pimlico apartments at London’s most distinguished rental address. With studio, one-, two-, and three-bed apartments, this all-rental development includes 24/7 security and on-site professional management, perfect for those leading a busy life in the capital. Apartments are furnished with Value, Standard, and Luxe interiors so you can choose the option that matches your taste - and your price point. Speaking of which, Dolphin Square boasts the lowest council tax rates in London.

What’s more, Dolphin Square residents have access to a variety of amenities, including private underground parking, swimming pool, gym, tennis and squash courts, communal gardens, and a Moroccan Spa. There’s also an on-site shopping arcade, and bar & grill, meaning you’re never far from luxury essentials.

Is Pimlico the right area for you?

If enjoying London’s cultural attractions and diverse nightlife - as well as an easy commute - is a priority for you, then yes. Millbank, Vauxhall, Chelsea, Westminster, and Victoria are all within walking distance, while the comprehensive public transport options mean it’s quick and easy to access the City and the West End.

In conclusion, the key things to do before apartment hunting London are to list what you want and don’t want, to gather as much information as possible, and to remember that the area you live in will in many shape your experience in the city. Then it’s time to hit the apps and websites to find apartments that fit within your requirements, and to see as many of those as you can. Before you know it, it will be time to start your new life in this incredible city.

Does Pimlico sound up your street? Find out more about what it’s like to live in this exquisite corner of central London with our guide to living in Pimlico. Alternatively, simply book a viewing of our suburb Dolphin Square residential apartments.