You’ve finally made it to Australia, and you are ready to settle down, but need some advice on how to find the right home. Don’t sweat it. You’ll be staying in a place you can call home in no time.
First off, if you are traveling with another person, then I recommend staying in an Airbnb for the cheapest accommodations while you look for a flat. Splitting a room between the two of you will be nicer and hopefully cheaper than a hostel. Plus, if you book the place for a full week you can usually get a small discount.
Surf The Web
There are plenty of websites in Australia to help you find the perfect flat (Flatmate Finders, Easy Roommate, exc.), but Facebook pages work the best BY FAR. There are different Facebook pages for different areas, but people post on them like crazy, and it’s a backpackers best friend because you can find lease breaks and no contract rentals. For Melbourne we used the page Fairy Floss Real Estate. You have to get accepted to the page but shouldn’t take more than a day or two. I cannot stress enough that you have to check this page RELIGIOUSLY. The best flats will be gone the next day. I know because we have our amazing flat after I commented on a post an hour after it was posted, and went to view it the next day. The guy that posted the flat had to take the post down the next morning because he was getting so many messages.
In the US, when you rent a room in an apartment you pay for the room. Doesn’t matter if it’s you, your baby-mama, and your girlfriend staying in that room….even if you have a Jaime and Cersei Lannister situation (if you get this GOT reference, you are my new best friend), the room cost is the same. In Australia they believe in “shared space”. That means that you are not only paying for the cost of the room but a portion of the shared bathroom, kitchen, and living area is also taken into account….and that is where the couple’s rate comes in. If you try to rent a room as a couple, or even two friends sharing a room, you will be expected to pay more because you will taking up more of the shared living space.
Personally, I think this “shared space” thing is something someone invented who had a strong distaste for couples. But I digress, there is a way to get around this.. if you have the extra cash. You have to sign a lease, or take over someone else’s lease, and put up the money for the bond. Bond is usually one month’s rent. Don’t worry, as long as the apartment is in good order when you leave, you will get your full bond back.
What You Can Expect To Pay
As a single person traveling you can expect to pay around $200 AUD a week for a flat. A little less if you’re will to share a room or live in a less-than-ideal flat. A little more if you want something modern and clean. As a couple you can expect to pay around $280 per week, but this really fluctuates.
Rates also get cheaper if you are willing to sign a lease. I definitely recommend that you do if you are a couple, but as a single person it’s not a huge difference. And for those of you wondering about bills costs (I know I would), sometimes bills are included. If they are not it’s about $90 per month for the water, electricity, and sometimes wifi is included in that. However, that all depends on how many people are staying in your flat AND how conscious they are of the utilities they use.
Side note– Keep in mind that furnished apartments are more expensive as well. Usually only slightly, but if you decide to sign the lease and furnish your own there is a website called Gumtree you can buy things second hand. Not to mention there is an IKEA in Melbourne!!
But really.. don’t sweat it. Once you find the place, everything is down hill from there.