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House hunting tips

Ways to take the worry out of house hunting

Preparation and research can be your key to getting the keys. Here is our seven-step guide to securing a great place to live.

Whether you’re moving out of home or arriving in Sydney from abroad, renting can be a little daunting at first. If you’re planning to live off campus, follow these tips to improve your house-hunting skills.

1. Work out what you can afford

Rent will only be one of your expenses but don’t forget gas, electricity, Internet and furniture, as many properties come unfurnished. You’ll also need to pay a bond, which is normally the equivalent of four weeks rent. If your rental isn’t near the university, figure out how much it will cost to travel there over the year.

2. Attend a workshop

At the beginning of each semester, we run house hunting workshops for students. Find out when the next one is being will be held by contacting Student Accommodation Services.

3. Get in quick

Accommodation on campus and in surrounding suburbs is extremely popular and can be booked up fast – especially at the start of semester. Start looking at least two to three months before you want to move in. You need time to check a few places before making a decision.

4. Think outside the box

In addition to the usual flat-share in a privately-owned apartment or house, why not investigate some of the other low-cost accommodation options near campus.

Purpose-built student apartments are a great option if you’re looking to explore Sydney independently, but want to stay close to a student community. Many offer fantastic city views, and quiet places for group work and solo study. Start by checking out:

Student boarding houses are also very common around the inner west of Sydney, offering a similar collegiate experience to living on campus. Most are run by a church or humanitarian group. What’s included in your rent will vary from one place to another. Check out:

5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Write a list of questions and ask the landlord or property manager. Does the rental include utilities or internet access? Are you allowed to have guests? What facilities are shared? (eg, laundry). What about pets, parking, bicycle lockup?

6. Know your legal rights as a tenant

Check out these resources:

7. Look before you pay

Make sure you thoroughly inspect any property before paying a deposit or signing a contract. Never pay money through a funds transfer to someone you don’t know.