Author Topic: Househunting Logistics in Glasgow  (Read 723 times)

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Offline Nan D.

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Househunting Logistics in Glasgow
« on: January 21, 2017, 04:58:59 PM »
Ok, I'm up to my eyeballs in packing boxes, early. (Better than rushing later.)

So. Moving to Glasgow. ETA last weekend in April.  Have four big suitcases between the two of us that should allow us to take what we need for living out of hotels for a while, and the credit cards are completely paid off.  Have booked us into one very budget hotel in our target area for two weeks, then another across the street for a third week. Sixty pounds a night, with a full breakfast every day, basically, at each place. (They're not the Ritz, but have decent reviews on TripAdvisor.) If we need more time, it'll be hostels or Uni housing, I think. I seem to remember that hotel rooms in May in Glasgow  were in short supply when I last visited.

The thought was, if we find a place right away, we don't want to have to pay for several extra weeks at the same hotel if we won't need the room. If we don't find a place, we'll change hotels. At least that way if we can get into a place a day or two  into one of our pre-paid (but refundable with 24 hour notice) weeks, we will only lose the one week's room charge rather than, potentially, several. 

We are hoping we would be able to locate an apartment in three weeks. It doesn't have to be perfect, just a "landing" apartment. Furnished/Unfurnished doesn't matter. (Thank God for Ikea. If we end up not liking it, we can always move when the lease is up.) If we can move in immediately, great, if we have to wait to June 1 (or later), we'll go be tourists for a while.  I'm thinking that in Glasgow West a lot of the students will be leaving at the end of May (term ends in mid-May) so that may hopefully provide more options for us. Would prefer to not move into student rentals, but, again, it just needs to "make do" at this point.

If anyone is familiar with the Glasgow housing market, are we being overly optimistic as to the timeline?  We are looking to be renting a place for no more than 1,100 pounds a month, and that seems to be doable there - the farther from the Uni, the more the price drops, of course.  Since we won't have a car, we'd prefer closer to the Uni (at least for our first apartment). We'd prefer a two bedroom, but, again...

As to the actual search:  we have my daughter's laptop and her tablet. The first hotel only has Wi-Fi in "public areas" (I assume that means the lobby).  The second has Wi-Fi in the room.  My thought is that we will scan all the adverts just before we leave the USA and perhaps make appointments to view any that are showing as available after we arrive, if possible. I've set us up for alerts on several of the property websites, and thought that in the evenings we could check online to see if there's anything added that could phone for arrangements the next morning. Since we're arriving on a weekend, and I ~think~ May 1 is a bank holiday, we should have had time enough to sleep off the jet lag before going to look at housing.

When not looking doing that, we would do a lot of walking in the general area to get a feel for the neighborhoods. If memory serves, it stays light very late there in May, and we'll be very near the Botanic Garden, so a nice take-away picnic in the gardens (if it's not raining) in the evenings, after exploring a bit, might be nice. Thankfully there's a TV in the rooms, so it won't be like some places we've stayed in the past - shared bath down the hall, no phone, no TV, perpetually raining outside.  (Great on the purse, bad on the cabin-fever!   ::))

Any advice is welcome at this point.

Offline physicskate

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Re: Househunting Logistics in Glasgow
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2017, 05:13:27 PM »
Glasgow is a big city. There is probably loads of housing available at any one time. Avoid student lets (these let for the whole year and you would just get the room and use of shared spaces).

Currently 113 results within your budget within 2 miles of the Uni. Most places will be available to move into within a few weeks...
http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/find.html?locationIdentifier=USERDEFINEDAREA%5E%7B%22polylines%22%3A%22yc%7DsIhkaYbX%7BNgDhf%40iHz_%40aTvfBc%5B%7EiB%7Bs%40zYuvA%7DhBh_%40snCz%60AipA_FqNdGiG%7DBsMyEwU%7EAbAsEaNtI%7BYhEqEH%5EYj%40xVyJx%40%7CiC%60UhC%7E%5C%5CvI%22%7D&maxPrice=1100&minBedrooms=2&viewType=LIST

It's good that you have a plan, but I don't think you are going to struggle.
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Offline Nan D.

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Re: Househunting Logistics in Glasgow
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2017, 05:16:32 PM »
Sorry, I'm just a little paranoid. The last time I did a big move (across the USA to California) housing was so difficult to find that literally the advert would appear in the morning paper and if you didn't call and see it that day, it was gone.

Hopefully we're not going to have problems with no UK credit history. Thankfully, my daughter still has her bank account open there from when she was a student last Spring.

Offline jimbocz

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Re: Househunting Logistics in Glasgow
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2017, 11:49:19 AM »
Good luck, and it sounds like you've done a lot of prep work. 

I'd worry that you'll need more internet than you are planning for.  I would make sure that the tablet has a SIM card for mobile internet, or at least be sure that one or both of you have smartphones that will work in the UK.  Go to Car Phone warehouse first thing and buy a cheap pay as you go SIM with data.  Relying on WIFI is an unnecessary pain in the butt. 

Also, be VERY careful of scams associated with getting a place.  There are plenty of scams around taking deposits for places that don't exist and convincing you to transfer money to fraudulent addresses. 

Also consider how you will get your American money and if there are bank fees or conversion feees.  Also, be ready to give up to 6 months deposit up front.

Offline Nan D.

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Re: Househunting Logistics in Glasgow
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2017, 04:25:37 PM »
Hi Jim.

Yes, we have the money thing sorted - we're trying a test of one of the transfer services this next weekend (not a large transfer, just to see how well it works). Wish we would have done it two weeks ago when it was dollar twenty per pound, but dollar twenty-three is not all that awful.   ;)   It's my understanding that XE is now using wire-transfers, which would add to the cost. But some of the others do not. So, we'll transfer and make sure it arrives ok, then periodically start loading her account over there until we have a nice nest egg.  We are anticipating the six months' in advance thing - hopefully not, but we could manage it. Thereafter, my pension has to be deposited to a US bank (annoyingly) and I'll transfer it over quarterly or as needed. Once I start receiving social security pension in a year the SSA will pay directly to my UK bank, so that's not as much of an issue.

We don't have smart phones. We do have two cell phones, and my daughter has a company she used over there and liked, so literally as soon as we are up and around we'll be buying the sim chips. I think May 1 is a holiday there?  Will the stores be open?   This will be the first trip over when I've actually had a working phone with me.  We pretty much only carry phones here for if the car breaks, or if one of us needs to text the other to say we're going to be home late or something. Our USA phone service is through CallCentric, and it will route to the computer/tablet through VOIP and we can take and make calls that way as well, if necessary. (Love that service, it works everywhere, and it's less than $5 a month.)

On the scams, should we be a bit less nervous about those if we go to a place listed through an agency?  We were thinking that, at least until we have a better sense of things there, we should go through an agency.  I am leery, even here, of using a blind newspaper or Craigslist (aka Gumtree there?) advert. I want some sort of proof that the landlord is registered (and will check that) and that the deposit is going into the mandated deposit account. How does one check on that?

Thanks!
« Last Edit: January 23, 2017, 04:26:51 PM by Nan D. »

Offline jimbocz

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Re: Househunting Logistics in Glasgow
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2017, 04:41:15 PM »
I'm not sure about what you mean by mandated deposit account, down south there is some government scheme to protect deposits.  I'm not sure about Scotland. 

Yes, if you use a high street agency you should be protected from most of the scams I know about.  When transferring a big amount, I usually transfer one pound first and confirm it went through OK.

You guys should get smart phones, at the least so you can use Google maps.   

Yes, the stores will be open on a bank holiday, but the banks won't (sorry, couldn't resist)

Have you looked into the Revolut card for moving your dollars around?  I have no idea if it's better than your plan but I thought I'd mention it.

Offline Nan D.

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Re: Househunting Logistics in Glasgow
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2017, 07:33:26 PM »
Ah "bank holiday." I was thinking more of "May Day" rather than anything dealing with banks.

No way on the phones - I'll use a paper map if I need one.

Not heard of Revolut, but will check.  For most things we'll just use our credit cards, as there is no foreign transaction fee, and pay them from our US bank account. We'll pretty much only need to move funds for our housing-related expenses.

Thanks for the info!
« Last Edit: January 23, 2017, 07:34:51 PM by Nan D. »

Offline eatoomey

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Re: Househunting Logistics in Glasgow
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2017, 07:51:24 PM »
Ah "bank holiday." I was thinking more of "May Day" rather than anything dealing with banks.

No way on the phones - I'll use a paper map if I need one.

Not heard of Revolut, but will check.  For most things we'll just use our credit cards, as there is no foreign transaction fee, and pay them from our US bank account. We'll pretty much only need to move funds for our housing-related expenses.

Thanks for the info!

Do your credit cards have a chip and pin? It'll get old real quick if they don't.
Sept 2001 - June 2006: studied at the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde
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Offline Nan D.

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Re: Househunting Logistics in Glasgow
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2017, 08:27:23 PM »
Do your credit cards have a chip and pin? It'll get old real quick if they don't.

Yep, they do. :)

(Been there, done that. Last time I was over I had one card that did not, and the cashier had no idea how to process it.  Had to get a supervisor to do it.)
« Last Edit: January 23, 2017, 08:28:35 PM by Nan D. »

Offline Verystormy

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Re: Househunting Logistics in Glasgow
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2017, 04:25:59 PM »
Hello from Glasgow

I work in Glasgow, but live 18 miles south.

Finding a place on your budget should be pretty easy.

You will need to pay a months rent in advance and a deposit of a months rent. The deposit is held by a government body to ensure it is safe.

Yes, the 1st of May is a holiday. They are called Bank Holidays and there are 9 of them a year in Scotland - one more than England. Here is a link with them on https://www.gov.uk/bank-holidays#scotland
Yes the shops will be open, but most will operate sunday hours which means opening at 10am and closing between 4 and 5. Though there are masses of little corner shops that are open as usual which is early morning till late night.

You mention you don't intend to get a car, I would urge a rethink on that. Scotland has a huge amount to offer with places to see and things to do, but getting to them isn't easy by public transport and although we are a small country, things can be very spread out and some of the best parts of things like the Highlands are only doable by car.

I don't know the west end very well as it is not somewhere I go often, but it has everything a big city offers. Many people though chose to live out of the city in more rural areas. As I mentioned, we live just 18 miles from the city, but it feels like a lot more as we are in a tiny village surrounded by countryside and farms. We don't have a shop, but the walk to a little town which has everything we need is only a couple of miles and through stunning scenery including a waterfall. Rents are also a LOT cheaper out of the city. We pay £495 a month for a stunning little two bedroom cottage. But, if you are younger, then the bright lights of the west end would be fun.

Feel free to get in touch with any questions

Offline Nan D.

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Re: Househunting Logistics in Glasgow
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2017, 05:05:34 PM »
Thanks, Very. That's amazing at the cost of your housing! I could live quite nicely there if the rents are so low. But that will be a few years down the line. I would prefer to live in the country (I'm an avid gardener), but right now we need to live in the city for a while.

No, I'm actually older - and I'm starting to have trouble driving here so it's probably best that I don't plan on doing it there, unless retirement sharpens my perceptions up a bit! My daughter will be at the Uni, so we need to be within walking distance/short bus trip of it for the next several years. Once she's done there, I fully expect she will need a car. Until then, I'm good with walking/buses/taxis/trains/paid tours and saving the expense of purchasing, licensing, maintaining, etc., a car that's not essential equipment.  I've traveled a bit in the UK both with and without a car. (Mostly in late Winter and early Spring.) I actually rather enjoy getting off a bus or a train with a backpack and hiking a bit to somewhere with a nice pub and a decent room to spend some time in. How long I'll be able to do that - who knows?  My bucket list contains walking Hadrian's wall, as far as it's walkable, someday (yes, that's England), and doing at least one of those epic Highland walks. Am bringing my walking stick (hiking stick, not a cane, not sure what it's called there) with me. All I'll need is a long gray robe and a beard and I'll double for Gandalf.  ;D
« Last Edit: January 27, 2017, 05:09:38 PM by Nan D. »

Offline Albatross

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Re: Househunting Logistics in Glasgow
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2017, 06:35:27 PM »
We are looking to be renting a place for no more than 1,100 pounds a month, and that seems to be doable there -

Family circumstances forced me to move to Helensburgh 2 years ago, but prior to that, I lived in the west end (Partick).  Through Countrywide letting agents, I rented a very pretty 1-bedroom flat in a quiet street for 8 years.  When I first moved in, the rent was £375, increasing to £475 by the time I left.

Hope that helps.
Happy hunting... I think you'll be able to get a very nice place for that sort of money!

Offline KFdancer

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Re: Househunting Logistics in Glasgow
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2017, 07:20:17 PM »
Nan, I'm pretty sure they are called Nordic walking sticks here.  I think so anyway.

Offline Nan D.

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Re: Househunting Logistics in Glasgow
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2017, 09:19:31 PM »
Family circumstances forced me to move to Helensburgh 2 years ago, but prior to that, I lived in the west end (Partick).  Through Countrywide letting agents, I rented a very pretty 1-bedroom flat in a quiet street for 8 years.  When I first moved in, the rent was £375, increasing to £475 by the time I left.

Hope that helps.
Happy hunting... I think you'll be able to get a very nice place for that sort of money!

It does, thanks. I'm hoping for something in the 800s, being intrinsically cheap, but we do have a little wiggle-room.  Right now it's more important for us to just get settled somewhere into someplace that's ok, even if it's not ticking off all the boxes of things we'd want in an apartment, just until we get our bearings and all. We're on a few automatic lists and they are feeding us info daily, and I watched the market there for the last couple of years, so I'm hopeful that things will continue to come on the market in greater quantity this spring, as they did the last few years.

As long as the Big D doesn't totally destroy the exchange rate, we should be good

Offline Albatross

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Re: Househunting Logistics in Glasgow
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2017, 10:40:18 PM »
Nan, I'm pretty sure they are called Nordic walking sticks here.  I think so anyway.

I've always heard them referred to as poles, or walking poles.
If you hear of someone walking 'with a stick', that's what you're calling a cane. (Canes are called sticks... in Glasgow, anyway.)