Studying and Living in Central London: Moving Made Easy
This week, we warmly welcome a blog contribution from, Wendy Pérez, Department Head of Residential Corporate Services (RCS) at Knight Frank. Based at their global headquarters in Baker Street, the Residential Corporate Services team offers a complimentary, accompanied rental search and oversee international executives relocating into and within London and the Home Counties.
Studying in the heart of London offers invaluable opportunities to students, especially when they reach a relatively independent age of 11+. They will have access to the best libraries, landmarks, exhibitions and museums (which are used by good central London schools as part of their curriculum) as well as a variety of local educational after-school activities, concerts, external lectures and talks…all of which are important for the overall development of your children. These opportunities factored into our decision to move our family to London four years ago.
With our move, choosing a school and finding a home were the most important of the many decisions we had to make. Being from America and speaking the language…and having had a previous international experience in Hong Kong…we did not expect the move to be as difficult as it was. Moving to central London can be a challenge, and therefore doing your research and having expert guidance can go a long way to making the transition smoother.
- Plan your house hunting trip 4-6 weeks before your move. The London property market moves quickly. If a property is unoccupied, landlords will not want to wait two months for a tenant to arrive. Wait any later and you may feel rushed into making a decision. If possible, include your children in the trip. It’s helpful if they have an idea of where they are moving…knowing what their room will look like will help to de-mystify the move.
- Where you choose to live will often be very dependent on proximity to your children’s school. Spend some time speaking with the admissions team and other parents. Where do they live? What are areas they’d recommend? When moving to a new country, it helps to have a built-in community. When it’s easy for your children to visit their friends outside of school, it is often easier for them to adjust to a new location.
- Once you’ve narrowed down a few locations, spend some time in the different areas you’re considering…sit at an outdoor café, visit the library to find out about local programs, investigate local extracurricular activities, do the commute to school and work at prime times…the perfect house in the wrong location will no longer be perfect.
- Don’t expect to be able to duplicate the home you’re leaving. Your available options will often be significantly different than what you had in your home country. Gardens, parking garages, large rooms…these are requirements that you may have to compromise on if you want to be in central London. If a pet is part of the picture (or is promised), make sure that this is discussed with your agent. You need to make sure that the building you choose allows pets and that the landlord is agreeable (again, not always an easy task in central London.)
Relocating to another country with children is definitely difficult, but highly rewarding. The experiences that they will gain will never leave them. As adults, my children will tell you that it was the best decision we made as a family and worth whatever sacrifices they had to go through. Try to keep your children involved in the decision making and they will feel that they are a part of the process. And when it’s all said and done and you have keys in hand, be sure to make a trip down to the local pub for Sunday roast with the kids (and puppy) to celebrate like a true Londoner!
Department Head, Residential Corporate Services
Published on: 3rd March 2015