Should I Stay or Should I Go
May 29, 2011 4:29 PM   Subscribe

Should I stay in my current place and feeling trapped or move out and risk getting something worse?

Okay turning to metafilter because I’m sort of paralyzed and need some perspective. This will be long, and a bit self-indulgent.

For a variety of reasons I’m wondering whether I should stay on in my current flat. What started this all off was a rent increase on my current place, going from the very reasonable 433 per calendar month to the still reasonable 473 per calendar month. It’s a four bed flat in South Camden, London (that’s ridiculously central for those that don’t know London) and it’s genuinely a nice place.

Of my current flatmates, all great people, only one other would be staying on in this place. For the other two, one is leaving the country and the other does not want to live in this flat any more: he would be looking for something in a different area of London to move a bit and would be looking for a nicer place.

I completely get where he’s coming from and that’s part of my conundrum: I want to move. I want to move but I am very much aware that my current place is a real deal and that I may well end up paying as much as I would with the rent increase for somewhere that’s further out and not necessarily better.

I feel like this partly because of my current situation: been living in this place for two years now, one year as a student, one trying to find decent employment. I’m in a bit of a rut (that I’m already a bit out off thanks to a 8 to 5 I’m starting next week-had been freelancing+part timing+bar working till now) and I’m worried that staying here will be stagnating and not really breaking out of the student mindset. Add to that that there will be different set of people (all people that I like mind and I know who I would live with if I stayed here) and it may feel like a corpse of a flat, a gutted out version of the past one.

I also know that movement in itself is no solution and that moving for the sake of moving is a form of displacement, particularly when it’s in essentially the same place. I’m butting my head against the wall because I’m worried I’ll feel trapped in my current flat (even though I like it) but also worried that I’ll end up with something objectively worse if I move and all because of a, somewhat puerile, impulse.

tldr: stay in current flat that is guaranteed to be a good deal but may feel like a confinement or risk moving, satisfy urge to be somewhere different, and potentially end up in some far out shit hole.

My question is two-fold:
-For those who know the London real estate market (got to be some reading this) is it optimistic to be looking for a 4 bed that would be around, maybe even less than, 433/per calendar month/person? Especially if we’d be looking for one that’d be central-ish?

-For those who’ve made it this far (HI!): am I being pigheaded about this? One in the hand worth two in the bush, etc…

I've phrased this in the first person, but I am talking this over with the people I'd be living with. They'll sort of follow what I do because we're all in the same boat. I just need to get my head straight first.
posted by litleozy to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
OH hell, you have to be kidding me I missed out a 'risk' in my description. It's meant to be 'Should I stay in my current place and risk feeling trapped'. Smoooth.
posted by litleozy at 4:48 PM on May 29, 2011

I totally get the idea of being trapped in the student mindset by a location.

One idea you might consider is staying in the flat, but moving into a different room, and possibly getting some new furniture/wall art/etc. It might give you that exciting, just-moved feeling without actually having to move. I once swapped rooms with my sister in this way, and we both found it very refreshing.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:58 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't know that you really need to make a decision BEFORE looking around for a better option. Why not start looking, and get a better idea of what else is out there and what the pros and cons of moving out would be? If you happen to find something awesome at an affordable price, then go ahead. If you don't, no loss. Stay where you are.
posted by lollusc at 5:04 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

If your roommates and neighbors and neighborhood will not make it hard to hold down an 8-to-5 job, absolutely stay. If you move and end up in a surprisingly loud, unsafe, or depressing place with no reliable friends nearby, you will have trouble putting your energy towards adjusting to work.
posted by Several Unnamed Sources at 5:07 PM on May 29, 2011

If you like the flat itself, and the location, and the people you will live with, and it is a good deal, I think you should stay. Even with a lease, if you truly feel trapped, you can get out of it (though likely to be some costs). Maybe budget a 'I need to get out of here' amount into your monthly budget and put it away in a savings account.

To make it feel like a change, spruce up the place. Perhaps do the room swap as suggested above, and put some effort into revamping the place a bit. You can do this without a lot of money - try ebay or thrift shops or even Ikea (selectively!). Even just rearranging furniture and adding some stuff like rugs, lamps, plants and art. The answers in this question and something like the Apartment Therapy cure might help.

But your question is hard because you are weighing hypotheticals - why would you end up in a far away shithole if you moved? If that is truly the option, I would look for other ways to make it feel like you are moving on in life (other than moving). If you can find other options that make you feel excited, I would consider those. Think about what is important to you and maximise that in your choice - do you want a short commute, do you like to go out in a certain area, do you want space for a garden?
posted by AnnaRat at 5:41 PM on May 29, 2011


Rent the other rooms out to new folks who share your goals and aren't in the student mindset.

Maybe swap rooms, too, just to shake things up a bit.
posted by jbenben at 1:09 AM on May 30, 2011

Is the 473 your share of the total rent? If so you will be able to move somewhere gorgeous (and cheaper) if you jump on the 277 bus and head over to the East side. I live in on the border of Bethnal Green/Hackney, it's still very central, totally rocks and shared houses, even around London fields are cheaper than you're currently paying.

However, if it's 473 for the whole flat you clearly have a mad bargain on your hands, even with the increase, and should probably stay put if it's at the top of your budget.
posted by freya_lamb at 9:11 AM on May 30, 2011

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