Immigrating to Australia: My story

airport at night

So you’ve made it. You were happily greeted by the friendly Customs beagle and you gave up your bunch of bananas, and now you find yourself breathing the fresh airport air. Never mind that, you’re in Australia. Where are you going? Where are you staying? Unless you’ve got friends and family already in Australia, finding a place to live, even temporarily can be difficult. The rental market, especially in Sydney has an almost 0% vacancy rate at the moment, and when you do find something, the rental prices are usually fairly high. It’s not fun.

Our transition back to Australia was an interesting one. My girlfriend already owned a place here. It’s a nice place, though not terribly big. The only issue I had with it was…someone was already living in it. She had it rented out for the time in which we were overseas, and the tenants were still within their lease. Ok, that’s fine. What now?

Before we moved, I had tried to give notice at my job in the Bay Area. Instead of quitting, I found myself with a job that I could keep and was now able to work from home overseas. Hmm, we now need a bigger place to live. It’s time to start looking.

So that’s exactly what we did. We started looking. And looking, and looking. We came up with a list of places that we found interesting.

One of the main real estate websites, at least for the Sydney area is Domain.com.au. It’s a pretty thorough site for individuals looking to buy or rent. This is where we found our place. From overseas. And bought it.

Yep. We bought a place, from overseas. Please, please, please…whatever you do, don’t do this. In the end, it worked out just fine. We love our new place. It’s a fantastic house, with a beautiful yard, and was within our budget. My girlfriends parents lived close to the property so they did a few walkthroughs and took many photos. The stress from buying the house wasn’t from the property itself, but from the fact that we were overseas. The overnighting of paperwork was a never ending process, and the current mortgage crisis made things even more difficult. We had to cancel all outstanding credit card accounts, even though none of them even had a balance, and get each credit card provider to write a letter saying the account was paid off.

Of course, you can’t buy a place in Australia until you’re authorised to live/work here, so that will probably cause you to scramble last minute and find something. Ultimately, it’s probably easier to find a place to rent month to month, and search for a place when you’re already here. Try out realestate.com.au. This is another property bible. It has properties for rent, sale and share accommodation and gives a good comparison for all states, the only problem is that you’ll have to know roughly what area you want to live in, in which case go to whereis.com.au and get a map of the city.

Declining house number stats are expected to force up rents and maintain pressure on inflation and interest rates in the coming months and perhaps years, but there’s no better investment than property, and if you can make the jump into owning your own place, jump. It’s a fantastic endeavor and there’s nothing better than making a house your home, especially in a country you love.

About Stefan
Stefan is the regular writer for Megan & Stefan, and hails originally from San Diego, California. A resident of Australia since 2007, he write about his experiences living abroad, his love of photography, and documenting the process of building a house here in this sunburnt country he calls home. Feel free to drop him a line - he's always up for a chat.

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