The problem of a roof over your head is one that mainly affects the early phases of life in Australia, because with time you start to become more adept with the right websites and platforms for making the best choice long term. What is important, therefore, is to understand how to limit the initial costs, since it is often the lack of information that makes us spend more money than we need to.
So here is a little advice to follow especially at the start, when you are looking for a house:
Do not sign contracts while you are still in Italy. Those who love planning would, if they could, even choose their grandchildren’s names in advance, and in many aspects of Australian life it is a good attitude to have. But not in this case. There is a strong temptation to arrive in Australia and already have a nice furnished apartment ready to use. If you have not been to Australia before, however, you run the risk of having to honour a contract for several months, and not being able to withdraw from it without paying penalties or having to find a substitute. Are you sure you know the zone? And public transport? What happens if a very tempting work opportunity presents itself a few weeks after your arrival, and the zone where you live is particularly inconvenient? Or you discover that in the Market Place, the apartment next door to yours is available for less than half? Moreover, consider the risk that comes from not being able to inspect the surrounds: the property advertiser might be a skilled photographer and immortalised the more flashy angles so as to make it seem like a certain type of environment, but when you get to the place and you notice details that you don’t like, your signature has already been lodged.
Initially a hostel is perfect. Many people fear that a hostel may prove to be unsafe. There are many types of hostel, and today tools like Tripadvisor and Booking (but there are lots) allow you to read recent experiences of those who have stayed there. This way you will immediately have a base for inspecting houses before signing a contract. Furthermore, you haven’t been in Australia long, and in all probability, you will find your first friends here!
Reflect upon your specific situation before starting your house hunting. The first instinct is to throw yourself onto all the websites and apply for anything that’s within your budget, but remember to consider all your circumstances. The limited budget will push you towards sharing an apartment or room. This means saving a lot of money, given that rents in Australia are not very cheap, but also often renounce independence and privacy? If you’re a nocturnal type, this could cause you problems. Same thing if you are untidy, if you study a lot at home and need silence. In short, by sharing living spaces the savings on rent could be significant, but you will need to adopt a mindset inclined to compromise. If nothing else, this sort of experience will increase your social skills
Research, research, research. Do not limit yourself to consulting just one site, as it often and deliberately will not be the most appropriate, but what the Google algorithm has rewarded thanks to money spent on publicity.
There are three types of resources you can consult: agencies, dedicated websites and Facebook groups. Let’s look at the main agencies. They are good for researching an entire apartment, should your budget allow it. The best way to find an agency is to google ‘Real Estate Agency near me’ and Google will offer you an assortment of different agencies.
Websites and Mobile Apps. Here are the main ones, but there are others.
Facebook groups. Perfect for finding rooms, even for short periods.
Fairy Floss Real Estate
Melbourne Rooms For Rent
Italiani a Sydney | Official since 2013
Italiani in Queensland | Cairns, Sunshine & Gold Coast, Brisbane, Byron Bay
AIA – Associazione Italiani in Australia
Italiani a Melbourne
If it doesn’t add up, ask what’s going on. You found a home but the bureaucratic processes or the landlord’s management leave you in doubt? It’s okay, you haven’t been here long and you still don’t know what is normal and what isn’t. It is likely that everything is ok, and your lack of information makes you see a risk where there isn’t one. But there is also the possibility that someone is trying to exploit your poor language proficiency and familiarity with Australia. The good news is: today you can count on social media to find the opinion of more expert people, us for instance, who serve as a free info point just to reassure you in a moment of bewilderment, and there are bodies like the Tenants Union, protected by the Tenant Protection Act, legislation protecting those who rent. So, my advice: don’t trust blindly, don’t assume harm but simply try to see clearly.
The area influences the price. We have already discussed how the type of home can influence prices. Another factor is the zone. The cost of rent in central districts (and those immediately adjacent to them) of the metropolis, tend to have much higher prices. The most expensive cities of all are Melbourne and Sydney. So, during your research, try to include the ‘public transport’ factor as well. A less central zone but well connected might mean you have found a solution where you don’t necessarily have to even share the room to save money, nor be isolated from the city.