Thinking about making the move to Australia or just landed?
We surveyed over 2,000 expats living in Australia and 33.6% said that finding a place to live was one of the top challenges of moving and establishing life in Australia.
Get your bearings and settle into your new corner of the earth a little faster with our helpful hints on renting, buying and getting your utilities connected.
1.Choose the area you want to call home
First things first – We recommend doing some research about the areas you might like to live.
Elements you might like to keep in mind are: How will you travel to work? Do you want to be near the beach or closer to the city? How much space do you need?
The prices of different suburbs can vary greatly, so make sure you know the lay of the land. Staying in an Airbnb rental for the first couple of weeks can help you get orientated in your new city. The flexibility of the platform means you could switch suburbs every week or so if you wanted to get a feel for a few different areas and chat to hosts about average rental prices and tips about the area. Don’t forget, the site also hosts useful suburb guides to get a feel for different neighbourhoods.
2.Renting, buying and where to start the search
People with families will find Realestate.com.au and Domain helpful as these sites are the most popular for finding properties to purchase and rent. These sites also have suburb guides for those looking for an indication of median house prices, lifestyle and demographic guides, school catchments and indications of distance from CBD and an overview of the supply and demand in terms of competition. See the guides here and here.
Sitchu is also another interesting guide for people thinking about moving to Sydney. With in-depth suburb profiles and lifestyle guides, you’ll get a real feel for the plethora of suburbs around Australia’s largest city.
To apply for a rental property, the real estate agent will usually require proof of income and references. Common lease terms are 6 and 12 months, but these are usually extended if everything works out.
You also need to keep in mind that most rental prices are expressed as a weekly rate in Australia however your rent might be arranged to be paid weekly, fortnightly or every calendar month, depending on the preference of your landlord.
If you’re moving by yourself you might want to consider a room in an established sharehouse. This often proves to be the more affordable option. Try Flatmate Finders and Flatmates.com.au. The Australian Gumtree site is also good place to find a home or housemate quickly. The weekly rent price and bills should be advertised and you will usually have to go to an ‘interview’ to meet your prospective co-habitants.
Other forms of social living are house swaps and house sitting. Some good sources for looking at house sitting include
You may have to pay to become a sitter, so compare which platform you use. This option is great if you like looking after animals.
Finally, rooms often come up on dedicated Facebook groups. Just type ‘housemates’ and your city into Facebook search. These groups are usually closed, so an admin will have to ‘accept’ you before you can participate.
3.Setting up your connections
Australia has various broadband options, including ADSL, cable, naked DSL, mobile broadband and NBN. Your speed and data options will vary between these, depending on your location. The NBN (National Broadband Network) is the fastest connection possible, but is currently in the process of being rolled out across the country, so you’ll need to check if it is available where you live.
When choosing your provider and connection type, you will need to consider modem price, router, data usage and contract terms.
If you’re already choosing a mobile plan, you might want to bundle it with your home internet. There are also multiple no contract options, if you don’t know how long you will stay. Try a comparison site like Canstar Blue, iSelect or Whistleout to choose the best option for you.
Same goes for your utilities. Generally speaking, if you live in an apartment, you will only need to pay for electricity and gas, if you have a gas stove or heating. In a house, however, you will also cover your water bill. The government can help you get started, offering options based on how you’d like to pay, your likely average usage and more. You can find cheap rates on GoSwitch or Mozo; or, you can opt to make an ethical choice via Ethical Switch. You can also connect all of your services at once using Direct Connect, when you move into your new home.
— mozo.com.au (@mozo_au) November 9, 2016
4.Master the exchange rate
Don’t use your credit card or bank to move money to Australia or pay for deposits or bonds for your residence– it will lock you into your bank’s exchange rate at the time of payment, which is unpredictable and can work against you.
World First are international money transfer specialists that can help you with better exchange rates and seamless bank-to-bank transfers so you know the exchange rate you are getting and what you’ll receive at the other end. We’re also one of the few 5-star rated Australian providers awarded ‘Outstanding Value in International Money Transfers’ by CANSTAR, Australasia’s leading consumer finance ratings company.
— World First AU (@World_First_Au) November 15, 2016
With a dedicated currency specialist that can assist you through the transfer process and competitive exchange rates, you can make the most of your moving fund for a more comfortable start in Australia and easily manage any transfer of funds once you settle in.
These comments are the views and opinions of the author and should not be construed as advice. You should act using your own information and judgement. Whilst information has been obtained from and is based upon multiple sources the author believes to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy and it may be incomplete or condensed.
All opinions and estimates constitute the author’s own judgement as of the date of the briefing and are subject to change without notice.
Please consider FX derivatives are high risk, provide volatile returns and do not guarantee profits.
We have no commercial affiliation or commercial interest regarding the businesses mentioned in this article. The information is only provided as gathered and should be verified before, using your own judgement.