Rental market is a bit like a job application over here, especially if you don’t know how to find an apartment in Sydney. When you found a good deal chances are that there will be competition. Having said that, don’t be disheartened, if you prepare yourself it’s going to be easier than you think. Believe it or not, I only viewed one apartment; it was cheap, right in the city centre, spacious and I still live here. Here are 5 tips that will help you to get the crib of your dreams.

TIP #1 Design your dream home

This guide will help you with how to find an apartment in Sydney, but firstly, you need to start thinking about your expectations and priorities. Designing your dream home to the last detail will help you find a crib without wasting time. Think about these questions;
Would you like to live alone or with other people? Which areas would you live in? (Use our area guide for help) Do you want a bath tub or a shower cabin would do? Does it have a balcony? In house gym? Dishwasher? How much are you willing to pay per week? How long is the contract? Are pets allowed? Think about everything that’s important for you.

TIP #2 Decide on your priorities

Start thinking about which features of your dream home you insist and what are you willing to compromise. It’s time to decide on the price range and your priorities; pick the 3 features that are most important for you; location, garden, pool in the building, it can be anything. Add these into your searches and even look at places that doesn’t tick all 3 boxes. You don’t need to give up on any of these, there are enough apartments and if you use this guide on how to find an apartment in Sydney you will find one you love sooner rather than later. Finally, as much as you need to be adamant on your top 3, be flexible with all the other features you listed but are less important. If you follow these steps, you will not miss a good deal when you see one.

TIP #3 Do your research

Most places are available to move in within a few days, but you should start your research 2-3 month before you land. Download the most popular housing apps (Domain and realestate.com.au), set up some saved searches. Check new listings every day and slowly you will start having a realistic idea of what can you expect from your budget.

TIP #4 Make sure you stand out

It’s not only about how to find an apartment in Sydney, but also about how to secure one. You finally found the apartment that meets 98% of your criteria and you wouldn’t even need to spend half of your salary on rent, so how do you convince the letting agent to pick you out of the other 30 people at the viewing competing for his attention. There are a few ways you can stand out;

  • Start the application process before the viewing

    When you find a place you really like, give a call to the rental agent and tell them how much you love place and you would like to arrange a viewing earlier than the scheduled day. Also tell them, that you are so sure about this place that you would like to start the application process already. Most likely they will say no to all this, but they will know who you are before the viewing even started. If they say yes, you can always stop the process if you don’t like the place when you see it. You have nothing to lose until you paid deposit.

  • Have the deposit ready

    One way to secure a place is to tell the agent that you are interested in renting the place and offer to proceed with the deposit immediately. Again, most agencies won’t not accept this, but it shows the agent that you are serious about your intentions.

  • Write a motivation letter

    A good and non-pushy way to stand out is to enclose a motivation letter. In the end of the day the landlord will decide on who gets the apartment based on what the agents tell them. A motivation letter is a fantastic way to show something about your personality directly the owner. To give you an example I love cooking, my apartment has an open kitchen and I wrote about how I see myself making dinner for my friends in this place.

TIP #5 Have your papers ready and take them to the viewing

You will need a list of documents you need to include in your rental application. This is an essential part of how to find an apartment in Sydney. Documents are weighted by points and you need to have at least a 100 to start an application. The exact point allocation varies by agency, but they are more or less the same. Below is a list of documents you need to collect and a sample point allocation.

Tenancy ledger (last 4 tenancy receipts or bank statement showing rental payments) 50 points
2x Photo ID (passport, national ID, driver’s licence, 18+ card) 40 points
Proof of income (employment contract) 30 points
Medicare card 25 points
Reference from previous landlord 20 points
Utility and phone bills 10 points
Visa 10 points
Recommendation from employer 10 points
Motivation letter to the landlord 1000 brownie points

Having these ready when you start searching will speed up the process and also helps you stand out.

Good luck with finding your dream home! Read more about Accommodation in Sydney.

Orsi – moving countries 5 times Orsi is now an expert on how to settle into a new place. Now she is based in Sydney blogging about life down under.

LIVING GUIDE FOR SYDNEY |The e-book expats wish existed when they moved

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  • What documents do I need for renting?
  • How much tax do I pay in Australia?
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