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Home Hunting

HOUSE IT GOING? Homework is essential before taking the property plunge in Sydney.

When you are new to a city it’s difficult to immediately know where to live (regardless of whether you are BUYING or RENTING), so we reasoned the key to finding the right place was determining how to live.

Sydney has been described to me as “50 disparate communities all co-existing – often without contact with each other”.  Given the difficult geographically nature of the wider city, it’s hard to disagree. That’s why we firmly believe the key to living in Sydney is to live where your lifestyle leads you – beach bunnies and surfer dudes should be near the waves, party fiends should be near entertainment quarters and so on. If you spend a great deal of time working in the CBD, live close by or handy to public transport or the major arterial routes.

Plus – and this is vitally important – we have ended up living close to one of the few families we knew before migrating…and their support and advice has been invaluable.

So, do your homework well. Talk to the locals and get a feel for various suburbs, what amenities they have, how close they are to public transport and whether there are ‘hidden’ drawbacks to being there (such as traffic volumes, crime or increased exposure to extreme climatic conditions).

These sites are a good front step before opening the housing door:

www.housing.nsw.gov.au

www.domain.com.au

www.realestate.com.au

BUYING

The Home Purchase Advisory Service provides free information (including free publications such as The A-Z of Home Purchase and Financing Your Home Purchase), advice and referrals on home buying, building and obtaining housing finance. Call on 1800 806 653 or email: advisory@housing.nsw.gov.au.

RENTING

The big days for rental properties being advertised in newspapers are Wednesdays and Saturdays, but www.domain.com.au was our chief tool. Be sure to keep on top of the real estate agents because they are tardy in getting back to you. Have your 100 points worth of ID sorted (passport, driver’s licence, etc), have your Tenancy Application forms ready to go and be prepared to move fast to beat off your competition.

FYI, you’ll generally be asked to pay one month rent in advance, as well as a rental bond (generally a month’s rent) which is lodged with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority and returned when you leave the property in good shape without damage.

The ‘Help With Housing’ section of www.housing.nsw.gov.au is a useful guide, you can direct queries to the Department of Housing on 1800 629 212 or the Tenants’ Union hotline on 1800 251 101. The Office of Fair Trading has a great site – http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/Tenants_and_home_owners.html – including access to ‘The Renting Guide’ brochure.

SUBURB TRACKER

During the renting process we constantly wished we knew a Sydney suburb’s Auckland equivalent. Is Balmain the Ponsonby of this city? Is Roseville Sydney’s answer to Meadowbank? Now, imagine Londoners and New Yorkers being able to compare suburbs when they shift here, as well as newbies from Shanghai, Mumbai and Dubai. If you know of such a suburb tracker or think you can create the code to enable online comparisons between suburbs in different cities, drop us a line.

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