As a white Canadian male (who also has British citizenship), I get asked where I'm from on a fairly regular basis.I also feel as though I occasionally get mistaken for a tourist when out in Central London.This can be seen in the growing popularity of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and fringe groups such as the English Defence League (EDL) and British National Party (BNP).
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If you can stand some uncertainty, it's probably better to pick a place once you're actually in London so that you can get a feel for different areas.
I would strongly advise against buying a place until you have a good feel for an area, as buying and selling property is both expensive and time consuming and it's worth getting right the first time.
While Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and nationals from certain other countries can usually enter the UK visa-free as tourists, this does not give you the right to work.
If you're caught working without the correct visa, you'll likely be removed from the country and you could barred from re-entering the UK for up to 10 years.
The classic way to think about London is either North vs South or East vs West.
Generally speaking, West and North London are seen as more desirable areas than East or South London.
Most people I meet are more interested in complaining about the weather, talking about where they live, moaning about housing prices, or any of the million-and-one other things that people talk and complain about here that have nothing to do with immigration.
Basically, if you come to London from abroad to work, expect: to be asked about your home country a lot, to be teased occasionally about your vocabulary/pronunciation of certain words, to meet tons of amazing people, to have loads of amazing experiences, and to pay more for accommodation than you ever thought possible.
If you fail to get the correct paperwork, you are breaking the law and you should expect consequences if you're caught.