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Potentially relocating to London - need help!

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Alexander, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I got a job offer today with a company in the UK and was wondering if any of you guys might be able to help out with a couple of questions:

    1. What are some good, yet reasonably priced areas in\around London that we may want to consider living in? I have three young kids (age 3, 6 & 11), so family environment is important. I'd need a 3 bedroom flat - any ideas of what I might need to pay in these areas? Do you typically pay utilities or other services (and how much)?

    2. How would you rate the quality of the public school system?

    3. I'm struggling a bit with the UK tax code - I know I would be in the 40% rate. I think I get some benefits for being married with kids. Not sure how donations to charity may help me (if at all) or if there are any other things that might benefit. Any ideas?

    4. Anything else you think I might need to consider that might be missed by someone coming in from the US?

    Thanks in advance for the help!

  2. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    You'll probably end up outside of the city and taking the "tube" in and out. Looking for that many bedrooms will cost you some pounds. Schools, as my friend from York says, are mostly private. All that said, I would jump at a chance to live in Europe in a hot minute!
  3. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    As far as taxes go, you need to talk to a tax pro (your new employer may have one that they use for employees if they hire from outside the country often). If you're a US citizen you're income is taxed in the US no matter where you earn it. You will get an ex pat credit. I used to work in international tax and it can get quite complicated. Good luck and congrats on the job offer.
  4. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks - at this point they are talking a local UK package vs. ex-pat, so taxes would be a bit more straight-up. I figured I'd have to live outside London and tube in - just not sure where to start looking...

    Thanks, guys for the help! Maybe some of our UK bretheren will start waking up soon and can add to the help you've laready provided!

  5. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    There is NOTHING reasonably priced in London. I love the City, but I can't imagine how anyone affords to live there.
  6. deaf pea

    deaf pea

    Mar 24, 2005
    Cuernavaca 1 hr S Mexico City
    Seymour Duncan/Basslines SMB-5A Endorsing Artist
    You (and/or your employer) WILL need to do the paperwork regarding your work permit . . . an American citizen can't just go anywhere in the world and expect to work (and earn money) without having the permission of the host country's government. It usually costs quite a bit . . . but the employer usually includes that cost in your "perks" . . .
  7. thefruitfarmer


    Feb 25, 2006
    Kent UK
    London is expensive and congested....ok if you are earning good money though.

    ....London is the most successful multi-cultural community in the world. Be aware that it is a necessity to accept and accommodate difference.....

    "Holborn" is pronounced with a silent "L"....
  8. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    These things are pretty much mutually exclusive. Just do a quick web search - for loads of stuff rent is somewhere around £1500 ($3000) per month. That will probably still give you an hour travel each way - that's considered pretty good.

    Hope the job pays a HUGE amount. I don't know anyone who can afford to live in London and support a family. One friend earns about $200,000 and lives in 2bed ex-council flat. He rents out the spare room to help pay for it, and he's lucky that he bought a few years ago before things got really silly. Most people I know there live in shared houses.

    UK housing is expensive. London housing is impossible.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Yup - agreed - most people I know commute from outside London into the City. So - they live in Sussex,Essex, Kent etc. and get the train.

    I have friends who have lived in London but hated it and got out as soon as they could - having visited them, I determined never to live in London.

    I work in London, but live on the South Coast - some trains only take about 50 mins to get there - although realistically my commute is 2 hours each way, door-to-door - it's still better than living in London!

    I like coming into London, but the affordable areas as far as property is concerned, are not anywhere I would want to live...:meh:
  10. Happynoj


    Dec 5, 2006
    I like turtles.
    This is not true. There are many private schools, but there are far, far more state schools. Personally I think that the education system in the UK is excellent. People will disagree with me, but if you are reasonably intelligent and are willing to put in the work you will get good grades - same as any country.
  11. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Don't listen to the doomsayers, its not that bad. It is expensive, but relatively speaking, just as much as Sydney or New York or Hong Kong. There are a lot of nice areas that are close (within Zone 2) of the true city which a three bedroom can be rented for about £2000 per month upwards. A nice one will be closer to £3000, but with an ex-pat salary that should be manageable. I would be more concerned about schooling though. It is very expensive to go privately and getting into good state schools or grammar schools is very difficult (so I am told).
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I'm not doom saying as such - just that I couldn't in all honesty recommend any area of London as being cheap and a reasonable place to live...?

    If you have a lot of money - I can recommend Kensington or Knightsbridge...:p
  13. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    £2000 a month for a 3-room apartment? Wow... :eek:

    A couple of years back, my twinbrother and his GF rented a 73m² 3-room apartment on the 6th floor with a balcony featuring an astonishing view to the sea which is located less than 50 meters from the house. They had a fabulous evening sun there as well, because the sea and the balcony was on the west side of the house. Rent: about 750 €/month. It's considered the "luxury area" in our town and the city centre is less than a km away. The price for such an apartment lies today around 200-300k€.
  14. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    PM me and I can give you some more specific information. It might be useful to know what your rough income would be and your requirements for a house / garden etc are and I could give you a better idea of prices and areas. The other thing to remember is that where you office lies on the tube is liekly to influence where you live. Its terribly inconvenient to have to make multpile changeso n the tube each and every morning. If you know where the office it would help!

  15. ForestThump


    Jun 15, 2005
    Sounds quite economical in Finland!
    London from my experience is very expensive especially a 3 bedroom apartment.
    Personally I think your company should be helping you to find housing.
    Good luck!
  16. Assuming you're going to be in the 40% tax bracket, you'll be on £32k or more, which will make life around London a bit more affordable... although, unless you're on a six-figure salary, don't expect to be able to live in anything bigger than a shoebox anywhere near central London. A friend of mine is looking for a 2-bedroom flat in the Clapham area at the moment and isn't finding anything cheaper than about £1200 a month. And that's not even that close to the centre of town!

    If you go out south or east of London, there's some reasonably affordable areas with decent access to the city - Croydon, in south London, has excellent connections to the city, and is mostly quite nice (but stay away from West Croydon, Thornton Heath and New Addington - really sh!te areas) - the train from East Croydon to Victoria takes about 15 minutes, and even less to London Bridge. You'd be talking £900-ish a month for a half-decent 3 bedroom place in that area. Beckenham (close to Croydon) is a bit nicer, but a bit more expensive and the trains aren't quite as regular.

    If you're prepared to look a little further out, Redhill, Ewell and Epson are also quite nice (if somewhat less accessible), and, if you can deal with an 1h15m commute into London, Brighton's lovely and right on the sea (just stay away from any of the nearby towns with "dean" in their name).

    If you go out east, some of the formerly depressed areas around Leyton, Barking, etc are coming back upmarket again, plus, you'll have the benefit of the Tube (Central or District lines). If you're prepared to go a bit further out into Essex, outside the M25, you'll find things to be much more affordable. You'll just have to deal with Essex people. :D

    Check out www.gumtree.com - basically, London's equivalent of Craigslist, and see what's going. Also, www.rightmove.co.uk will be a great help.

    You'll love it.
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    As you might guess - I tend to agree with most of your points - especially in your 3rd para!! :p
  18. On the subject of schools, the British state school system is, on the whole, pretty good. Of course, there are good school and not-so-good schools, and they work on a catchment area basis (ie, your kids can only attend a certain school if they live in that area). Generally, the better the area is in general, the better the schools will be. If you live in an area that still has the grammar school system, they are of a considerably higher standard (up to the standard of private schools) and require entrance exams.

    On the downside, discipline has been an issue in UK schools since they got all "politically correct", and the curriculum will not be what your kids are used to in the US. There is a great emphasis on end-of-year exams rather than continual assessment, and a lot more regular homework. Also, especially if they go to a grammar school, they'll have to get used to wearing uniforms. For the state school system, for the most part, all this consists of is smart trousers and a school jumper. For a grammar school, there'll be the full shirt, tie and blazer combo.
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I did go to a grammar school, but IME they are very few and far between now...?

    Even left-wing politicians seem to send their children to fee-paying schools now ...:meh:
  20. marcray


    Nov 28, 2006
    Englishman in Oyster Bay, NY
    Aging Former Bass Player
    +1 on New-Addington!! 15 years old, ran away and never went back. Croydon is okay though, just don't go there on the weekend unless you like a nice punch-up.

    I like Bromley better, Mottingham, Eltham, Grove Park, areas which were, or had quiet suburban areas when I was still living in England, nice towns for families, good train service to London.

    OP... Outer London is kinda like Long Island or New Jersey that have nice and bad areas within each town. You just have to find a place on a nice street on the nicer part of town.

    My sister lives in Catford (horrible area, but nice flat) but is clued in to where is liveable around London, so if you ever need an opinion, PM me and I'll ask her.

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