When you look for a flatshare in London, be prepared that it’s going to be quite a bit different to finding a flat in the rest of the UK. But if you know these three tips, you’ll be well on the way to moving into the flat of your dreams.

1.Things Move Fast. Real Fast.

Thinking of moving down just before Uni classes begin? So you should start looking around June, right? Wrong.

Compared to the rest of the country, you’re going to have to play a game of chicken where the expense of overlapping contracts is weighed against the risk of not having a home for a week or two between contracts.

The market is so fast that most flats are advertised only a few weeks in advance of when the current contract runs out. If you’re just starting to think about moving to a new area, the chances are that the flat you’ll move into isn’t even on the market yet. So hold your nerve for the smoothest, cheapest move.

2.There are bargains to be found

Everyone knows London is way above the national average rent. But the sheer thousands of properties out there means that there are plenty of great deals to be found – particularly in flatshares. So don’t lose hope.

It also means that – even if you have to compromise on price – it’s much more likely that someone out there will have your ideal dates, room specs, and flatmate requirements. Only in London can you be pretty confident that there will be a double room in a house with a balcony, two 25-35-year-old gay guys and one cat available between August and January.

3.Districts are less poorly defined

Let’s take students for example. Yes, there are areas that students prefer, such as Camberwell, Holloway Road, and Kennington, but compared to Manchester’s Fallowfield or Newcastle’s Jesmond, these are positively swarming with yuppies and retirees.

It’s an old saying but a true one: London is like a collection of overgrown, imbricated towns. Like every town, each will have its cheap boozers and upmarket bars, its Waitrose and its Iceland. So pay as much attention to your micro-location as to your general postcode to make sure you find a place perfect for your needs.