Finding a home in Australia
Finding a home in Australia and a perfect place to call home is never easy. Between flats that look nothing like their photos online to complicated agency procedures, the process can feel endless. This is particularly true if you are new to Australia and doing it all for the first time. Luckily, however, if you know a few local tricks to help you find a home in Australia, the entire process can be much easier.
Ready to find your dream home in Australia? Let’s walk through a few crucial things you need to know before you sign that contract.
Get to Know the Area
As much as you can get done online, nothing replaces the process of actually putting your feet on the ground and getting to know an area. Of course, this means you will need to rent temporary accommodation on arrival. While that can be pricey, there is just no way to safely find a place from outside of Australia.
To find a place to call home, walk around a few different neighbourhoods and get to know the atmosphere. Even in our modern internet age, you will find plenty of agents hanging posters up with photos and pricing. It’s a good way to gauge the prices in more specific areas of neighbourhoods.
While you walk around, do keep your eyes and ears open. What are the local amenities? If you drive, will it be easy to park? Is it loud? If you are looking to move to the city in a place you will have a lot of neighbours nearby, it can certainly be worth visiting potential places again during the weekend or evening. Some areas, especially in the heart of the city, can be frustratingly noisy.
When finding a home in Australia all of the real action happens online. Real estate websites like Rent, RealEstate and Domain are popular picks. Classified sites like Gumtree, and Craigslist can be good options as well. Ultimately, you can find great options but unfortunately occasional scams on any of them. Search far and wide but then be careful to research before you sign or pay anything.
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Plan Some Days Off
Being available during the week is a major factor in your ability to find a home in Australia. Too many people focus on trying to find a rental in Australia… during the nights and weekends only. Naturally, agents don’t want to set up countless appointments after office hours.
When you attend showings outside of office hours, they are more likely to be group showings. Viewing a place with 30 other people is certainly not what you want if you can avoid it.
Be strategic in planning a couple of days off then try to see as many places as possible during that time. In many cases, agents may ask you to visit the property the very next day or even the same day. Try to contact as many options as you can to create a jam-packed schedule.
If you are moving to a city, you are going to need to be persistent. Most places are managed by agencies and those agencies can be quite busy. They get flooded with emails so calling can give you an advantage. If you don’t get through, keep trying and send emails over to follow up.
There is no need to feel self-conscious about getting persistent. If an agent is annoyed with your mountain of message and calls, they will resolve it by scheduling a showing with you. It is competitive marketing and sometimes you have to shout to get attention.
It is also important to realise the other renters send messages to far too many places then end up declining invitations to showings. That’s why it’s important to let the agent know that you are 100% legitimate in your interest.
Prepare Your Checklist
Write down what is important to find in your future home. Create a list of questions that you can ask the agent. Have a few things written down that you want to look for when you are actually there in person. Add to the list for each specific property as you are viewing photos. Sometimes pictures leave a few question marks that you will want to plan to check in-person.
Viewings can go quicker than you might expect. On top of that, having an agent there with you can be a bit distracting and it’s easy to miss details. If the agent is nearby, ask if you can snap a few pictures to help you remember it better.
If you are exploring solo, don’t be shy to take a few shots. This will make it far easier to remember places, especially if you are checking out several options.
The Application Process
For ex-pats who are figuring out the best way to approach finding a home in Australia, the application is often the hardest part. In most cases, new arrivals won’t have local references and will have only been on the job for a very short period of time. Unfortunately, there is not much that you can do about this.
Be aware that you may be asked to pay a higher deposit simply because you have no local references and no history of stability in the country. Plan for it and don’t take it personally. Everyone from every country has been there at some stage.
Do try to provide more reassurance if you can. Offer previous (translated to English if necessarily) references from your old landlords. If you own a property abroad, provide proof. On the job for ten years back at home? Provide evidence of this. Even if it is not quite what they are asking for, having an organised portfolio illustrating your stability and responsibility is a bonus.
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