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Monday, 19 October 2009

Renting Those Houses In Virtual London!

Well I was hoping to have a few more events to bring to you, but after sending note cards out to the Virtual London Managers they are taking a while getting back to me, so here is a subject quite close to my heart that I want to talk about - housing in Virtual London, and I would like your views on this too!!

It’s always been a nice idea to be able to live in Virtual London, just like the real London, there are some lovely buildings and you sort of feel like part of what’s going on if you live in the area.

I’ve been looking round the different London sims which all have places of residences to offer, except for Hyde Park, where the brave can camp out under a tree if they don’t mind the great outdoor life!

Shops seem to be a lot more reasonable than houses or apartments, although the prim limit is the thing to consider. Hib and I rent a shop in SL Kensington for L$300 a week, which is really good, but the prim allowance is only 30, which I suppose, for a shop, you can manage if you plan carefully with pictures of the objects for sale instead of the actual items being on display. Prims seem to be the things that are restricted lately and it appears that you pay accordingly to how many prims you have. The way to go with all this, is to shop around for very low prim furniture and I look out for sculptie stuff which lowers the need for prims dramatically in some cases. I have some couches that are one prim each, not the prettiest couches in the world, or the most feminine, but they look ok. You can get things like lighting and tables too which are one prim (sculptie), the only thing that is a bit off putting though, is the fact that sculpties can look odd whilst rezzing, and from different angles after rezzing as well, if your viewer is playing up.

You can rent a beautiful Regency house in SL Kensington for L$999 a week, which gives you 200 prims, now these are pricey but spacious and grand. At the other end of the scale, you can rent a loft there for L$499 a week which will give you 100 prims. Now I liked the lofts a lot, they are glass fronted one-room apartments with floor space that you could manage nicely with that amount of prims. I think there is a need for more of those type places, which more people can afford as times are still hard with the real life money situation.

Over in Knightsbridge there are some excellent terraced houses for L$400 a week which gives you an 80 prim allowance. You would have to plan your furniture very carefully to cover the rooms, but the rent is a good price. You can get a nice big spacious house in Mayfair for L$750 which has 150 prims, if you can afford that little bit extra. A bargain in Mayfair at the moment, is a three story house for L$399 with 80 prims, although covering three floors with 80 prims is still a problem. Chelsea offers some houses for L$700 with 100 prims or there is still the odd houseboat for rent at L$600 with 100 prims. My old apartment in Chelsea is now L$799 for a 100 prims and I would find this very difficult to manage, as the floor space is so large, but they are nicely located and if you are clever at making prims go a long way this may appeal to you.

When I first started this blog, a long time ago it seems, one of my first things I thought about Virtual London was that they needed to coax people in by giving them very reasonable rents for living spaces, and I haven’t changed my mind. From my own point of view, when I was new, I would rather have had a small one room place that I could call my own, for rent as low as L$300, than wander about the streets without a home. If someone new can afford that amount, they will soon look around for something bigger and more expensive as they become established in SL and decide to either buy Linden dollars or start their own SL business.

Whilst it seems a good idea to charge higher rents for less prims to bring the money in to pay for the sim upkeep, it’s time to remember that, with the real life recession and even without it, people do not want to pay what they consider is a lot of money for something virtual when they can simply find a quiet spot in a sim somewhere to change their clothes. But given the option of a small place with a low rent that they can feel at home in, it would make them consider that the outlay is worthwhile. So, in my opinion, it’s better to have a lot of small affordable houses, which are filled and add to the vibrancy of the virtual capital, than to have a large amount of empty properties that look nice but are totally deserted. Maybe even furnished small apartments would suit people too, if they could pick the colour of the furnishings. This would surely make life easier for avatars who have no idea about how to save on prims.

By the way, the last house in the pictures was in Mayfair and for some reason the man who opened to the door to me was not very friendly and I suspect that the house is not for rent. Got a feeling it might have something to do with Halloween though!!!

Janey Bracken

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