I have been out for many months for personal reasons. I am sorry for my absence. Now that i am back i will make posts regularly.
In the last post i have changed cars. I decided to buy a used mini and till now i went to the car service 2 times, one because of the tensioner and another because of the O2 sensor .
Fortunately i was smart enough to buy it in a place that gives me 6 month warranty, so no costs so far (max £1000 ) . So my advice is get a used car with at least 6 month warranty because usually the problems appears 2- 3 months later.
But when buying a new car you have to make some investments like paying for new car insurance. I have seen several insurances and the contracts are very identical. You will pay a lot in the first year, around £600 pounds in my situation that have license since 1997. I went for all risk insurance, the difference was not that much and i am more secure. It is interesting because if you want only one that secures you for third-party it can be more expensive that the all risk ones.
I used this website to find my insurance:
The road tax also has to be payed , in 6 month , or 12 month payment, i payed for the mini, more or less 70 pounds . For me it is much less from what i payed in the Netherlands.
So, if you remember from my previous posts i moved in to Hemel Hempstead , to the worst place ever in Hemel and fortunately i recently moved to a place that is far from what i expected, it is very calm, with a lot of green around and good neighbours.
I stayed 5 months in Hemel Hempstead and this is short resume of what me and my wife went through.
We were expecting to rent a one bedroom apartment and when we arrived in Hemel what we had waiting for us was a small studio. With my wife sitting outside on top of our furnisher and boxes with our 3 dogs i went to the agency ask what the hell that was, i was treated rudely and putted against the wall to make a choice of staying in that apartment or staying in the street
Well, it was not easy, we moved in, left some things outside and rented a council garage to store many things that did not fit inside. We made a complaint against the agency to and agency mediator (still ongoing).
So, not a really good start, but in life you have 2 options, or take the blows and stay down or you get up and move forward and for me is always forward.
Next, after a while i find that my next door neighbour saled drugs, lots of noises of confrontations on his door and people going in and back. Resuming, i made complaints to the police several times, to the council because of the noise and after 3 months fighting to have peace and my wife receiving threats we had the peace for some time. This site can be used to assist you if ou have problems with neighbours. See help on this site http://www.problemneighbours.co.uk/
We met personally a police detective that went to our home to give advice and to explain us what the situation was. Because the noise returned after a while the council asked the neighbour to move out in a short while.
For what i could understand we went to the worst area of Hemel where there are many people receiving help from the social security etc.
Finally we were close to the 6 month and we were able to move out. We started to look in sites like www.zoopla.co.uk , www.rightmove.co.uk and what i can say , the experience of looking for a house in UK is bad, very bad i did not had any pleasure on it. Because i come from a country like Portugal i can say that the service is rude and stay away from the big rental companies they will ask you to pay £££££ of pounds in fees. Many houses did not look like the pictures in the websites, a lot older etc. Remember the council tax you have to pay every month also.
Some advice always ask upfront what are the fees involved, always ask for a dummy contract to see what they will demand from you . (i will make a future post all around renting).
After seeing many many houses and losing some before we were able to see them we found one that we consider lucky to have found.
What can i say regarding England in this 6 months, the good and bad:
a) Very bad customer service, not all but most of the customer service people are rude they say that they will call you back with never doing that. Here is an article of BBC regarding this issue http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12123463.
b) Violence i ear in the radio, some cities are very violent so have a look when renting how your area is.
c) Weather. I come in winter so i am waiting for spring and summer but for now is always raining, a lot of floods and wind.
d) Very high cost in public transport
a) Work environment where i work.
b) You can get anything by mail even food from your Country (Portuguese grocery store in London).
c) Well payed work, You have the opportunity to make some money.
d) For me who come from Netherlands, lower taxes.
e) Beautiful places to visit.
So it can be hard the start in UK, but stay along and do not give up and for my experience in moving around it is always hard and most of the times you do not like it. That is what happened to me but now i can say that i enjoy being here.
Next posts i will talk more regarding the house renting / living price / recycling ( one of them). If you have any questions regarding UK let me know.
Hi Sergio just having a catch up myself on your page. Interesting read a good rule of thumb for looking for an area to stay in is OFSTED reports. OFSTED report on school performance, the better the school, generally the better the area. Its a bit of an abstract approach but can be effective when looking for a home. The areas with better schools however do come at a premium price. Having said that I lived in Brixton London during the riots in the 80ts and could have been considered one of the worst places to live in England. I must admit I really liked the place it had an odd community feel to it. Only people who lived there during the time would understand. The irony is I was offered a flat for £40k in 85 just after the last riot. They are now worth £450k how things change.
Hi Philip , that is a good tip. Know I am living in a house in a village close to Milton Keynes and I can say that I have a lot of piece and quiet and a lot of green fields to walk my dogs. There is not much to do in the village but with a car I can go anywhere . The first place we end up to was horrible, but now is part of the past . I like to go to London because of culture mainly , but is too rushing for me to live. It is good to go back to piece and quiet after a hard day work .