10 tips to help you find affordable accommodation in Australia

For students living in Australia, it can be difficult to find affordable accommodation in Australia. The high cost of rent makes it hard for international students to stick within their budget while still enjoying the benefits of socialising and getting involved with student life.

1. Choose your roommates carefully

Roommates can play a huge role in how much you spend on rent every month. To avoid spending more than you need to, look for people who are either willing to share expenses or have budgets that are similar to yours. Also it is always good to have someone around who has rented before and can give you tips on what to look out for.

2. Check your eligibility for discount accommodation

There are lots of different services that provide discounted rates on their rental apartments. These include AIS , YHA , Unipol, UniLodge and more . It is always good to check if you are eligible before signing any tenancy agreements or paying for a bond.

3. Start searching early

Letting agencies and landlords usually receive dozens of applications every week so they will often choose to rent to people who have been fast and turn down tenants who can’t be contacted within the first few weeks. The more time you leave before having to find somewhere new, the greater chance you have of finding a place that is affordable.

4. Use lots of different sources

It can be quite time consuming trying to find somewhere for yourself as an international student but it pays off if you manage to get a good deal. Start searching on Gumtree , Flatmates, Uni Baggage and Housing Connections . It helps to have a variety of places to look at so you can compare the prices and location of each.

5. Make sure it is somewhere safe

By checking out crime statistics on sites like Understanding Society, you can see how safe the area around your potential new home will be . Try to avoid moving into an area where there are many break-ins or assaults, but also make sure you are not moving somewhere too secluded.

6. Ask about the bills

Check if they are included in the rent, or if they will come out of your own budget. Also ask about which bills you will need to pay for directly, like gas and electricity, because some properties treat this differently depending on what state you are in.

7. Ask about the amenities

You don’t want to choose somewhere that is close to campus, but has no parking or has bad internet connection. Check out all of the amenities you can get in your potential property before making your decision on whether or not it’s for you.

8. Rent a flat instead of sharing with friends

Sometimes it can be cheaper to rent your own flat than to pay for accommodation with other people. If you are thinking of moving somewhere on your own, make sure that it is within your budget and also check the location as you will probably need to get public transport or drive everywhere.

9. Make use of discount code services

There are so many discount code services now for everything from your phone to travel. It helps if you choose somewhere that gives you a check in or cleaning service once a week, as not only do these discounts usually come back off the rent but it also means that the place is clean and ready for you when you arrive.

10. Use websites like Uni Baggage

Uni Baggage is a great site that you can use to help find people who are looking for flatshares with international students. You can set up an account and post as many advertisements as you like as well as searching through ads from other students in your area.

Taking these steps will definitely save you money when renting, even if it means you have to sacrifice on the location or size of your property. Make sure you stick to your budget and don’t be afraid to walk away from a deal if it is too over-priced for you.

Source: Written by: Grace de Souza, Editor of SQ Campus Life , an online magazine aimed at international students studying in Australia.

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