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What real estate London surprises Russians

How to make an apartment with a 2.4 meter ceiling is bright and spacious, is it possible to live comfortably below ground level and why studio buyers are not entitled to a parking space … An expert of the British real estate market shares details that seem strange to you. But only at first glance…

Yegor Shishkovsky

About the author: Egor Shishkovsky, founder and managing director of, lives in London.

Of course, property buyers from around the world have their own specifics. Russians and immigrants from other countries of the former USSR are no exception.

When they decide to buy property in London, they are faced with the peculiarities of the local market, many of which surprise them. This is due, on the one hand, to stereotypes, and on the other, to the lifestyle adopted in their home country.

Ceiling height
This is especially true for new buildings in London. If in historical buildings there is a chance to find an apartment with a ceiling of 3.5 and even 4 meters, then in new houses the ceilings are usually not more than 2.5 meters.
When a Russian client finds out about this feature of new British projects, it is disheartening to him. Many can not even imagine how it looks.

Moreover, if buyers still decide to view the apartment, the ceilings do not seem to them so very low. In many ways, this is the merit of finishing residential facilities. It is performed, as a rule, in neutral tones, which creates a feeling of openness and light. The role of glazing is also great: here it is customary to make floor-to-ceiling windows.

In fairness, I must say that there are new buildings, where the height of the ceilings is 2.6-2.7 meters. This is considered an excellent indicator. Developers and realtors, like us, will certainly write about it in their booklets, demonstrating such an important advantage of the object.

Exception – penthouses, where the ceilings can reach 3 meters or more.

After acquiring an apartment, Russian buyers of British new buildings quickly become accustomed to the ceiling height. And they realize the advantages of new buildings – excellent energy saving, low maintenance and repair costs, additional amenities in the form of a concierge, parking, fitness, swimming pool, etc. This is not to be found in the old fund.

Typical apartment in London

London’s Classic Apartment Finishing Project

Basement floors
Another feature of British real estate, which initially shocks Russian clients, is the so-called lower ground floor, that is, a floor below ground level. In Russia, it is called the basement.

Russian people in general do not understand how you can live “in the dungeon.” At the same time in London a lot of houses of this kind. As a rule, these are buildings of the Victorian and Post-Victorian era. However, such planning decisions are also found in new buildings.

The property on the ground floors has a number of excellent features (Russian clients will learn about this only if they become familiar with the proposals). First, the excellent layout of the apartments, by the way, with high ceilings, and secondly, access to the garden, which is located directly near the windows or the front door.

Apartment in london

The interior of one of the apartments located on the ground floor

Lack of parking
The subject of great surprise for Russians, especially those who are looking for housing in the very center of London (but not only), is the lack of parking. New buildings usually have parking, but not at all and not for all types of apartments.

So, if you became the owner of a studio or a one-room apartment (in the Russian sense), you will not be able to buy parking in the building for any money. She has the right to purchase only those who own a house with two or more bedrooms.

And another nuance – if you do not buy a place for cars in the new building, you will not be able to park anywhere in the surrounding streets. To leave the car near the house, you will need to find paid parking or rent a place from someone.

In this case, buying an apartment in the “old” building in central London, you will receive a license from the municipality in the form of a sticker on the windshield, which allows you to park in the surrounding streets.

In the rules related to parking, the following logic: new buildings are, of course, apartment buildings with a large number of residents. If the person did not pay for the underground parking and decides to put the car in front of the house, then the neighboring streets will be crowded with cars.

The principal difference in the perception of this issue is that the Russian people do not understand how to live without parking, and the British believe that it is not needed.

For example, I live in London for 25 years, and I have never had a car. Despite the fact that I am engaged in real estate activities and during the day I have a lot of meetings, it is much more convenient for me to use a black cab or Uber, drive with a professional driver who takes you to your destination.

In this case, I do not have to deal with parking, to bear the costs associated with the entrance to the city center, to monitor the time that has passed since my arrival somewhere, so that the car is not evacuated.


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