Monday, 3 September 2012

How to rent a property?

Ever since I came to the UK I have had one new experience after the other. The time has come for yet another experience; renting. Prior to this I’ve never even moved houses let alone search for a new property. So while the task of renting may seem daunting, it seems exciting as well. Which of the two emotions win will be determined once the task is accomplished. =P So we just started viewings houses. Target town is High Wycombe. Not having any prior experience I asked some people and did some internet research. I ended up making a list (that is too long for my brain to retain) of the things that one MUST take note of while renting and another list (this one is longer obviously) which YOU must take note because every person has their own preferences.  First I present to you the general list:
Budget. Doink!
Are the windows double glazed? (For efficient heating)
Locality. Is it safe?
Do you want to be close to the town centre or do you prefer the countryside? The former might result in a smaller property than the latter.
Will the property be managed by the landlord or by the agent?
 How far is the nearest fuel pump or superstore?
Is the heating gas or electric? (Gas being cheaper but electric is safer)
Has the property ever been burgled before?
Phone and TV connection
How much is the council tax?
Property agent fee and expenses

And after looking at many houses I tailored (read: expanded) the list according to the common issues I found in UK homes and also, my preferences. So here is my seemingly impossible and never-ending list:
No separate taps for hot and cold water. How can you even ask me the reason Mr. Property agent? Can’t you see for yourself how inconvenient it is?
Location: Suburbs works for me. I’d rather have a more spacious property within my budget rather than a smaller one as long as there is a super market nearby since I visit the town centre only once or twice in two weeks.
Is the development well maintained?
Is the approach to the property development nice or is it in a not-so-safe area? Sometimes the development in which your house or flat is in will seem suitable but the approach or surrounding area might not be.
There is no body who could hate dishwashing more than I do. Dishwasher PUH-LEEZ.
How far is the nearest bus stop? Sometimes all the shopping renders my legs unsuitable for walking back home.
Are the carpets clean? (Did I say clean? I meant spotless)
How big is the fridge and freezer? (When the expensive cheese and butter are on offer I like to buy them as much as I can)
How big is the bathroom and kitchen? (Too big would mean some back breaking-ly long scrubbing)
Does the kitchen have an extractor fan? Yes I’ve seen kitchens without them! Asian cooking is unimaginable without them.

Believe it or not, my list of fussy-ness is now complete. Just kidding. Read on:

Are there any storage cupboards or will I have to buy my own?
Is there space for storage cupboards that you can purchase yousrself?
Is there a window in the bathroom? Sometimes the extractor fan just isn’t enough. Not me, *points at husband*
Is there a window in the kitchen? Asian spices are lethal.

Okay now I feel bad for you for having to read all that. Coincidentally, my list has ended too. Somehow new points are added to this list every time we see a flat or house that lacks something very basic. And it surprises me as to how could someone not add such an absolute necessity to their property? For example, mixers tap instead of separate hot and cold taps. Would someone please put an end to my misery and tell me how to use them? Initially I completely dismissed the properties that had separate taps but now I’ve given up since one of the best homes have those. Our search is still ongoing and I hope we can find that perfect home that we will look forward coming back to and that we can enjoy while entertaining friends and family. 

Hope this helps another house hunter apart from proving me as the fussiest one ;)

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

There is something about London

  What is it it about London that makes you get over all that you don't like about living in the UK? I arrived here in March 2011. I was never too excited about living in the UK because as per my knowledge acquired from books and movies, it wasn't a country with the grandest of lifestyles.

  I arrived in Reading, a town that is an hour away from London. On my way from Heathrow to our flat in Reading I had decided that I was never going to enjoy living here. But then on my first weekend here, my husband took me to London and there was something about it that made me get over the narrow roads, the ugly hatchback cars, the biting cold (I was freezing in March which is supposed to be spring!), the lack of a family entertainment night life, the malls and stores closing around 6pm, and the suffocatingly small houses! There was something in the air of London. Something that made you feel like a tourist and something that made you feel at home because everyone around you seemed like a tourist! Or maybe it was the metropolitan feel of the city. You can't tell who is actually native to the country because of all the multi ethnicity that you see all around you. Or is it that you can get the best of any cuisine in the world here? Or perhaps the designer shopping? The best of which is only limited to the busy shopping centres in Central London. Sometimes you feel it's the trend watch in the city that really refreshes you. If you have trouble matching your new highlighter yellow trousers to a suitable top, take a walk down Oxford street and just looking at the shoppers will give you at least half a dozen ideas! Maybe it's the acutely planned under ground system of the city which makes you wonder why on earth would anyone drive a car when you have such a convenient mode of travelling? Not to forget the planning of the city. For someone who belongs to a country where land is in abundance, it's a marvel how such a 'big' city of the world is actually planned on a relatively smaller piece of land.

  All I can say is, my husband will be over joyed to read the above thoughts on London. =P I've given him such a hard time with my bitter criticism of life in the UK ( don't be surprised if you see a never ending post on that soon) that this would be a breath of fresh air for him.

  Perhaps like every place in the world, UK too has its pros and cons. Something works for some while it doesn't for others. Visiting London for the weekend or day trips is one of the things I look forward to the most. You can never get lost in the city because it's so well planned out. You can never get bored in the city because there is so much to shop, so many theatres to visit and so much history and culture to admire. But don't you come to me later that I didn't warn you, unless it's central london or a few other popular streets around London, life will come to a dead stop around 6pm unless pubs and bars is your idea of sole entertainment in life.



Tuesday, 24 July 2012

My very first

Is it just me or does everyone has this difficult a time coming up with their first blog post? It took me forever to start a blog, took me an even longer 'forever' to come up with a name for a blog (and I am not counting the time it took me to think of all the replacement blog names when I found out my chosen ones had already been taken) and then it took me literally 'forever' to write my first post! The last forever is still going strong =P

It seems like when you want something to be really perfect you have a hard time making it happen. So I decided to start away with my first blog post right away with whatever I could come up with. I'll try not to care that its not perfect, atleast it's a start. I'll just read it later on and then regret it. =P I hope to improve myself as I go along and add all the charming qualities of a good blog post to my blog. So here's hoping that I'll learn from the blogging world and contribute a great deal as well!