One of the things Lucas and I were most excited and nervous about moving to the UK was finding a place to live. His company sent him on a house hunting trip to find a place to live, set up bank accounts and get familiar with the area, so I joined him for the second week of the trip. Since there are other Americans in the program he is in, we were able to talk to people who currently live over there and get advice on what towns to look in and which letting agents are best. We did a lot of searching online prior to our arrival, but still, it’s hard to know exactly what you are getting yourself into until you arrive. This was the first trip to Europe for both of us.
Lucas arrived the week before I did, and when I flew in he picked me up, and we headed out on the left side of the road. We spent a day exploring the town, restaurants, museums and parks and another day driving up the coast, another exploring the lake district and driving up to Keswick and Windermere. But I’ll focus on the house hunting aspect for now.
We met with two different letting agents, and checked out several places. Some things we quickly learned… full size appliances weren’t going to happen. The refrigerators fit neatly under the counter in most kitchens, the size of an American dorm fridge! But since we’ll be in walking distance to two grocery stores and a market, I guess we could make it work. And the washers…also generally located in the kitchen. Sometimes they double as dryers (not quite sure how that works yet) or you are expected to hang your laundry outside to dry. Another strange thing we found was the lack of closets. Most bedrooms had armoires, but none had closets! We looked at a two bedroom flat, but quickly realized that one large and one “small bedroom” would not be enough to house all of our belongings. The other big difference was that since we were mainly looking at furnished apartments/flats, the beds in the master bedrooms were full sized, not queen or king as we are accustomed to. Additionally, finding a rental that would allow us to bring our cats was difficult.
We had luck however! Since bedroom sizes are so much smaller (some “bedrooms” are not much larger than a twin sized bed), we ended up renting a 4 bedroom townhouse that is in walking distance of several pubs, grocery stores and pretty much everything else you could want. It is in great condition, has new appliances and a small yard. We were both really happy with it. Success! We negotiated the lease with the letting agent (leases there are about 20 pages…and the tenant has to split the cost of having them drawn up) and submitted our application. Since then we have found that it was successful and are waiting to move in.