Thursday November 17th, 2011
It’s not just the different words or even the strange array of British accents that befuddles many Americans moving to London. It’s also the nuances in speech that many expats struggle with. If you are planning your relocation to London then you might want to tune into British television so you’re attuned when you arrive.
It cannot be said that the English speak “better English” than Americans. Just a quick listen to the array of accents in London and the amount of slang used, puts paid to that theory in an instant. They do however speak a language that is filled with slight nuances and differences in meaning.
If you’re moving to London as part of a relocation jobs package, you may have to spend some time figuring out what your colleagues are trying to tell you. The British tend not to be as direct as people from other countries. They don’t tell you what you need to know in short sharp sentences and they very rarely get to the point precisely.
Some call it eloquence, others call it irritating…
Self-deprecation is another aspect of business life that you’ll have to get used to after your relocation to London. People in the business world tend to downplay their contributions. This means that grand boasts and “blowing your own horn” is considered uncouth in the business environment in the UK.
For all the British sense of decorum and reserve, the one thing you will have to get used to is the sarcasm and even the use of swear words in casual conversation. Don’t wither and fade into the background if you’re the recipient of a sarcastic comment. What you consider hurtful and even offensive, may just be part of some light-hearted office banter.
As a foreigner, moving here is not just about organizing a home or finding your way around the city by tube. It’s also about immersing yourself deeply into the life and the culture of the country. You don’t have to lose your own culture, but fitting in and adapting your style of English usage could help you out quite a bit if you’re starting a new job after your relocation to London.
Thursday November 17th, 2011
Your professional London relocation services company will ask you a lot of questions when you contact them with regards to helping you with your relocation. Today’s blog entries are not about the trendiest or most fashionable areas that many Americans moving to London look for, but rather the facets of you as an individual that will help your relocation agents find the best area for you!
Relocation Jobs and the Importance of Your Commute
One of the most important aspects of relocation and choosing a new home will be the distance you are prepared to travel to get to and from work. Your relocation agents will ask you for the physical address of your offices so that they have a good idea of the closest public transport hubs and the amount of time it will take you to travel to work in rush hour.
Some lines are more crowded than others during ‘peak time’ and you’ll have to decide how long you’re prepared to travel each day. If you don’t mind a commute involving a couple of tube changes and bus ride or two then you can live pretty much anywhere in the city. If you’re looking for quick and convenient, your choices of neighborhood may be restricted. The average commute for a local is about an hour, unless you’re prepared to pay the exorbitant process of living in the heart of the city and being able to walk to work each day.
If you have a social network here or are planning your relocation with children this will be another factor in your choice of neighborhood. This is a huge city and if you have friends or family in a certain area you may want to tell your London relocation agents that you’d like to be close to your support structure as far as possible.
You don’t have to make up your mind over the internet, most relocation agents will organize a list of properties in different neighborhoods to show you within a day of arriving in the city.
Thursday November 17th, 2011
Many Americans moving to London don’t consider the issue of shops and shopping. It’s quite different when you are moving and you may not have a car when you arrive. If you don’t discuss your requirements with your London relocation agents before you arrive, you may end up having to take several forms of public transport to get to the shops each week.
London Neighborhoods and Neighborhood Shops
If you want to do your shopping in bulk, you may have to have a car to get out to the suburbs. The concept of a super store is not new to the UK, but for the most part they are not found in central London. There are however, some neighborhoods that have a range of shops that are within walking distance. You’ll have to factor in all of the aspects that suit your personal preference. Don’t be afraid to tell your relocation agents EXACTLY what you want, not matter how outlandish it sounds. This is a big city and there is a perfect home for you somewhere in the maze of cobbled streets and crowded highways.
Some of the most popular neighborhoods are also the busiest. If you don’t mind the noise from the high street going on until all hours of the morning then you can look at areas that have a buzzing night life. If you’re looking for a quiet village-like atmosphere then you can find suburbs in London that cater to your needs. There is no wrong or right neighborhood. There is only your personal preference.
You can also specify if you’d like to live in a modern home or a home that has a more traditional look and feel. Bear in mind that many homes here date back to the Victorian era and have been converted into apartments for the modern day city dweller. They are extremely small and often don’t have closets or the space for large appliances. You can though, after your relocation, find some of the modern urban development’s right in the heart of the city that are well appointed and have all of the mod-cons that you’re used to.
Tuesday November 15th, 2011
Planning your relocation needs to be done with a professional London relocation services company. If you’ve not visited the city before you could find it a challenge to choose a neighborhood after your international relocation.
Before moving into your new home, you need to have a good look at the neighborhood to make sure that it provides all of the amenities that are important to you. Relocation is an entirely personal experience and what works for a professional couple may not be suitable at all for a family with children who need to find good schools. International schools tend to be situated in areas that attract a lot of expats, but for Americans moving to London you may choose to live further out of the city in order that you are closer to one of the international schools in the surrounding counties.
Schools are classified according to a zone in the UK. If you live in a certain zone, you will not be able to send your children a school in a different zone, even if that school provides a better standard of education. If you’re planning your relocation o London with school-going children make sure that you discuss your education requirements with your London relocation agents before they start hunting for apartments in unsuitable areas.
Moving with a family also raises other relocation factors. Access to hospitals and emergency services is important if you have young children. Registering at a local doctor is required by law when you arrive in the UK and you’ll want to be able to reach your doctor quickly if you have young children. Not all hospitals have A&E (ER) units. You’ll have to ask your London relocation agents to advise you of suitable hospitals and even specialized children’s hospitals if that is your need. The last thing you want to have to do is trawl the city looking for an emergency room at 3am with a sick child.
Other factors that can influence where you live after relocation to London are: Community activities and centers, libraries and the proximity of shops to your new home.
Sunday November 13th, 2011
Deciding where to live after your relocation is a challenging decision. For Americans moving who have not visited the city, the choice can be bewildering and often overwhelming. If you’re negotiating your international relocation jobs package, ask your employer about the possibility of hiring a specialist relocation services company to help you find accommodation that will suit your style, your lifestyle and your budget.
London is the most culturally diverse city in the world; it is also one of the largest, spread over 650 square miles. Likeany other international city there are great areas, fashionable areas, totally out of your budget areas and then some not so great areas. Deciding on where to live cannot be done alone. Getting advice from other people is also not the most effective way of doing it. What works for a swinging single will definitely not be suitable for a family of four. You need to get professional, objective and unbiased help when you are moving.
Inside Out London
The biggest choice of course, is going to be whether or not you live in the heart of the city or in one of the surrounding suburbs. Young professionals tend to choose the trendier areas of Shoreditch, Clapham, and Wimbledon. They are South of the River Thames, but so terribly close to “The City”, which is the financial and business district of London. Trendier areas and the choice of expats and Americans moving to London are found in the North and West of London. Prices are slightly higher, but there is an international flavor to these areas of London.
If you’d prefer a taste of English country living, you can find great counties that are conveniently located on the train and tube lines like Buckinghamshire and Essex. It is a bit of a commute, but if you have a family accompanying you on your relocation, it may be better to raise them in a more rural setting. The counties nearby are filled with market towns and small villages and you may even be able to find a home with a substantial garden if you have a young family.
Just deciding on the general area that you’d like can be a challenge if you have not had the chance to view different areas before moving. When you hire one of the professional relocation agents, you can arrange a tour and set up viewings of houses and apartments within a day of arriving in the city.
Saturday November 12th, 2011
Although the relocation blogs focus on an international relocation and the different aspects of moving. There are people that plan their relocation from within the UK or who are looking at relocation after they have arrived.
Each year thousands of university graduates make their way from across the British Isles and Europe to England to look for work and make their way in the bustling metropolis that is this city. It can be just as hard to find accommodation as a university graduate as it is for Americans moving here. Living here can be expensive and you may want to consider house sharing for a while or living further out of the city until you can afford to move into one of the more expensive areas.
Estate agents can cost quite a deal of money to set up a lease agreement and unless you know the city of London very well, you may be paying more than you should. You may have to get your parents to sign as guarantors for an apartment if you have not established credit with one of the banks. If you’re planning on moving to London after your graduation from university, and you haven’t lived in the city before, you’re in exactly the same boat as the thousands of expats moving to the UK each year. Consider getting professional help to make the adjustment easier and to get you firmly on the road to work and life in a new city.
For Americans moving to London you may not especially love the area you are living in when you arrive and may be looking for something after you arrival that is more suitable. This is where having a relocation services company is such a good idea. They know what it is like to be an expat in a foreign city and not know which are of city that you’ll love. If you need to move after your relocation, you should get a professional to guide you, if you don’t know the city very well.
Friday November 11th, 2011
You’ve got the job in London that you always dreamed about and your employer is going to pay for a London relocation services company to help you move. With planning and determination your relocation to London will go off without a hitch. You can even get your London relocation agents to open a bank account for you before you arrive. Sounds idyllic right?
What about when you want to make a purchase of a cell phone contract, open a store account or buy something on credit? It is important to start establishing a good credit record as soon as possible after you have arrived in London. It’s not enough to show that you have a good credit rating in your country of origin; if you’re moving to London you’ll have to start over. Getting credit at a store for hire purchase purchases or a cell phone contract is difficult for foreigners and you’ll want to get established as soon as possible if your relocation to London is going to be for more than a year.
Opening a UK bank account is the all important first step. If you’re going to be using a relocation services company to help you find accommodation then ask them to help you set up your banking before you arrive. A record of paying bills regularly is the fastest way to establish a sound credit record in the UK. Council taxes, television licenses, rental agreements. Use them all to establish your reputation as a creditworthy person.
Maintain your bank account extremely cautiously for at least six months if you want to apply for credit. Many companies will ask for copies of your bank statements for at least three months and you don’t want to show that you’ve dipped into your overdraft facility. Try to keep a minimum balance of at least £100 in your account at all times. This will show your bank and potential lenders that you are a responsible and acceptable credit risk.
Without a credit history you may even struggle to find a rental when you arrive. Using reputable relocation agents to negotiate a lease agreement for your new rental is the fastest way of establishing credit in the eyes of your new bank.
Thursday November 10th, 2011
Your relocation to London may have been weeks or even months in the planning. Eventually though, you will be winging your way to a new life in a new city. When you are planning your international relocation it is important to plan your agenda for the first couple of weeks. Arriving in a foreign country can be daunting even if they do speak the same language.
Many people choose to use the services of one of the professional London relocation services companies that help people move and settle into London. If you have done your planning, they will have a list of properties for you to view within hours of you arriving at Heathrow. Finding accommodation is a very important part of your first weeks in London. You won’t really feel as if you have completed your relocation to London unless you are able to move into your own home.
If you are staying at a hotel or in corporate accommodation supplied by your employer, you’ll want to get settled as fast as possible. Ask your London relocation agents to show you as wide a range of properties as possible. You need to get out and explore the city as soon as possible and seeing apartments is a rather good way to combine a bit of sightseeing while you are en route.
If you see an apartment that you like, just take a couple of hours to get a sense of the neighborhood. Have lunch at a neighborhood restaurant, check out the tube station and walk around for a while to get a quick glimpse of what could be your new home for a couple of years.
Even if you’re not going to move in right away, you’ll have a weight off your shoulders as soon as you sign the lease. Many other aspects of your relocation will fall into place as soon as you have found an apartment or house. You can register with the council, open a bank account and register at your local doctor just as soon as you have signed your lease.
Wednesday November 9th, 2011
Planning your relocation to London will seem simple when faced with the herculean task of deciding what to pack for your move. Deciding what comes with you on the airplane and what gets shipped can be difficult. How will you know what clothes to bring with you? Do you need an adapter for your PC or cell phone? Part of your relocation to London planning should include thinking about what to pack when you’re ready to move.
Getting professional help from one of the London relocation services that has experience in Americans moving to London is going to be the fastest, easiest and least stressful way of moving to London.
Winter Wardrobe: You don’t need to bring as many clothes as you think you do. Your entire wardrobe is too much to bring with you when you’re moving. People are not that concerned with what you’re wearing. Unless you already live in the great white north, you can buy a decent coat when you get here that will help you through the winter months. It’ll be far cheaper to purchase winter clothes after your relocation that it will be to bring them with you.
Appliance Science: Bring a few USA to UK plug adapters with you for any electronic items that you want to use. Computers and other electronic equipment are a lot more expensive in the UK than in the States so you may want to consider shipping your PC over. Appliances on the other hand, are quite cheap. Don’t bother shipping your appliances, they won’t fit into your new apartment at all. Your cute Victorian walk-up won’t take modern American appliances.
The best thing that you can do when you’re starting to plan your relocation is to make a list of your requirements, and hand it over to your relocation agents who will be able to tell you what to bring with you and what you can purchase once you get here.
Wednesday November 9th, 2011
If you’ve got your heart set on a quaint Victorian home on a cobbled street in the center of London after your relocation to London, you may want to update your reading list. Housing and accommodation run the gamut from ultra modern warehouse style apartments on the docks to small Victorian apartments that are the size of a closet and have no closets. Your relocation to London will only be complete once you have found a flat or apartment to rent for the duration of your stay. If you’re going to be moving to London for a few years then you should be planning your move with the help of a professional London relocation services company. It’s the only way to get it done efficiently, quickly and with the least amount of stress. Finding an apartment can be stressful in London and if you don’t know the city, and are a foreigner, you may find that your international relocation adventure will quickly turn into a nightmare. The rental industry in London is highly competitive, so if you are going it alone then you’re going to have to be prepared to move fast on any rentals that become available.
Many properties are owned by individuals and advertised privately or through an estate agent. It is important that you find a rental agent who is prepared to deal with foreigners and the intricacies of an international relocation before you start. Having rental agent on your side who is experienced in the process of relocation from your home country could be the difference between a smooth transition and a stormy sea. It might seem a bit more expensive to use relocation agents but when you are still looking for a suitable flat three months after your arrival, you might just wish that you’d a professional from the start. If you’re looking at prices of flats before you arrive, be aware that most flats are advertised with a weekly rate and not monthly. If you want to work out how much you’ll be paying per month you can multiply the weekly rent by 52 and divide it by 12 to get a final figure. Dealing with estate agents in a foreign country can be a challenge, even if you do speak the same language. It’s always wise to take advice from people who know what you want and where you are coming from when you are planning your relocation.
Tuesday November 8th, 2011
While you’re busy dealing with the administration of moving to London you’re also going to have to deal with the emotional aspects surrounding an international relocation to London. Don’t think that you won’t have to deal with culture shock: It’s a very different culture in the UK!
It may be slightly easier if you’re moving to London and you speak English as your native tongue, but there are many differences that you’ll have to accept, get over, or deal with, so be kind to yourself during the first few months and know that what you’re feeling is normal.
London is a multi-cultural which makes it easier to find people who are going through the same thing that you are. There are over 350 foreign languages spoken in London alone, so you’re bound to find someone from home to help ease you through the caverns of culture shock.
It’s important though, not to only make friends with other expats. You may just be missing out on the opportunity to make new friends and speed up your immersion into the culture and the excitement of living here. Try to make an effort to become a part of your community.
Get out and participate in activities and hobbies in your neighborhood. It might be daunting to walk into your local pub and make friends over a pint of bitter, but you can join your local gym or take a class at your community center that interest you. Get involved with work events and activities and show that you’ll willing to try new and different aspects of life. The British are friendly, welcoming and will go out of their way to make you feel at home if you have the right attitude.
It can be hard for an accompanying spouse to make new friends if they don’t have the advantage of a relocation jobs package. You need to make an effort to get out and meet people on a daily basis after your relocation to try to adjust to culture shock. Get out, go shopping, learn as much as you can about your community, and your neighborhood. Ask people for help about classes and groups. One of the best ways of getting out and into your community is to volunteer at a charity after your relocation to London.
Tuesday November 8th, 2011
When you are starting to plan your relocation to London you need to have a good idea of what your monthly expenses could be in the first few months after you arrive. An international relocation is quite different to making a move within your home country. There are additional expenses that can take a substantial chunk out of your finances. You need to think about approaching your employer for a specific relocation jobs allowance to help you get settled.
Relocation to London – Comparing the cost of living
You can get a general comparison of the cost of living between different cities at Numbeo, and you’ll notice that while London is a bit lower than say, New York or even Sydney, if you’re moving from a smaller town and not getting any increase in your salary, you may struggle to make ends meet, especially in the first couple of months.
When you speak to your London relocation agents, get a quote on what you will be expected to pay when you sign the lease on your new home. You cannot make a direct comparison between rentals in New York and the equivalent in London because you might be expected to pay a holding deposit and a month’s rental in advance on top of your first month’s rental. You will also have to pay additional fees to get your utilities ‘turned on’, and pay an amount towards your council tax.
Relocation to London – Expenses you can expect in the First Month
- Double rental and perhaps a deposit. The best way to minimize your initial rental outlay is to source your accommodation through a reputable London relocation services agent. They really do understand the challenge of an international relocation and will make sure you know upfront what your costs will be.
- Council tax: You will have to register at the council and make arrangements to pay your yearly tax amount by direct debit order.
- Utilities: Your water, gas and electricity all may require a deposit to get them turned on and registered in your name.
- Television Licence: If you have a television, even if you only watch TV via your computer, you have to pay an annual TV licence.
- Internet connection/Telephone: You will have to pay to get connected to the World Wide Web and the world at large.
You will only be able to organize many of these expenses and bills if you have a UK bank account, so talk to your relocation agent about getting a bank account set up for you even before you arrive.
Monday November 7th, 2011
If this is your first time abroad and you’re getting excited about the opportunity of relocation you need to make sure that you’ve got your finances nailed down with your employer before you start packing.
We’ve developed a short list of items that you ought to ask as part of your negotiation and as a general guide to the cost of an international relocation:
Moving to London: Financial Checklist
- Salary – Will the salary offered as part of your relocation jobs package cover the cost of living in London?
- Housing/Accommodation: Will your employer help you with relocation to London housing costs?
- London relocation agents: Ask your employer if they can provide you with a third party London relocation services agent to help you find accommodation quickly. They will also be able to help you with smaller details that could become a big issue if you do it alone.
- Transportation Allowance: Does your employer have a transport scheme? This could have a big impact on where you are able to live and how long it takes to get to work each day.
- Visas: Will your employer pay for your visas and handle the submission and paperwork or will you be expected to do this yourself? Is your employer going to submit the paperwork on behalf of your spouse/partner?
- Moving costs: If you are keeping items in storage will you employers cover those costs? Do they have a limit on the amount that they are prepared to pay to ship your furniture and personal belongings to the UK?
- Will they pay all moving costs or just the transatlantic cost of moving?
- Are you eligible for a repatriation bonus to help you get settled?
- Taxes: Does your employer have a good package to handle taxes of Americans moving to London? Can they recommend a good international tax attorney to handle the issue of double taxation?
These are just a few of the issues that you need to raise with your employer when you are moving to London. Tomorrow we will discuss a list of typical expenses that you can expect to pay in the first two months of your relocation.
Monday November 7th, 2011
Many London relocation services agents will tell you that the very FIRST aspect of your move to London is to negotiate a great expat package with your employer. The chance to live and work in one of the most famous, fascinating and fabulous cities in the world could be decidedly dreary if you’re not paying attention to your salary and the package offered to you by your employer.
If you’re moving to London as part of an international relocation jobs program, your employer will likely have some experience of moving people around the world on secondment, but you still need to sit down and make sure you’re going to have enough money to cover your move and all that it entails.
Living in London is expensive, so you need to make sure that your new salary is a) market related, according to other jobs in the city of London and b) enough to sustain you in a comparable lifestyle. For many Americans moving to London this will mean a big increase, but before you get excited, the cost of living is much higher in London than in many American cities, so you need to do a bit of research before you sign the contract.
London Relocation Agents
If you are able to, try and negotiate that your employer makes use of professional relocation agents to help you with the challenge of finding an apartment. A good agent will have you into your new apartment in a day. If you’re going it alone you could spend months trying to find a landlord who will rent to foreigners and the credit rating from a British bank to cover your lease agreement.
You need to be very sure on the subject of tax when you are planning your relocation. You will be paying double taxes while you are living outside of the USA and you need to make sure that your package covers this. Your finances will form a big part of where you are going to be able to live and before agreeing to anything, you may want to do some research on your expected monthly expenses before you start. Consult with one of the professional relocation agents to get a better idea of what you should be asking for when you are negotiating your relocation jobs package.
Friday November 4th, 2011
There are many extra expenses that you’ll have to cover after your relocation to London. Living in London is expensive. Living in London after an international relocation is doubly expensive. You need to make sure that you are able to manage your expat budget for a couple of months, while you get used to paying for things in a new currency and are handling a host of additional “moving” expenses that will crop up.
Ask your relocation agent to give you a list of the most common expenses that you’ll have to budget for after your relocation to London so you’re prepared. When you’re moving to London you’ll have all sorts of expenses in the first few months that may leave you a little strapped for cash after paying for new furniture, London rental deposits, and connecting your home to the outside world. Many people who are living here use discount vouchers, or coupons to stretch their budgets a little bit further at the end of the month.
There are massive savings that can be had, especially on eating out, and tourist attractions. Most restaurants have some kind of discount special offer plan and if you spend a little time on the internet you can get a great deal from some of the best restaurants. If you’re thinking of eating out, or even ordering in, you can find some quite remarkable discounts, especially if you look at the local listings in your neighborhood.
Shopping is also made easier with many stores offering discount coupons for your shopping experience. Take a look at the websites of shops on your high street and take advantage of the great sales and coupons that many of them offer at different times of the year. If you are living here, then the best way to get fashion and clothing at a big discount is to go to the end of the season sales that most of the high street chain stores offer. Their stock is usually marked down by quite a large amount to make way for the next season’s items.
If you’re stuck for something to do on a weekend and have to get out of your apartment, then use discount vouchers for some of the tourist attractions. Apart from the huge amount of free attractions and museums, you can get fantastic special offers on the paid-for attractions as well. If you book online and make use of the discount codes available for many of the top attractions, you can save yourself a fortune after your relocation.