Finding Our New Home in Sydney

Finally, I had the opportunity to write something personal since we have moved here in Sydney, or more appropriately, New South Wales. I must say that I have slowly adjusted to this new life we have here. I am finally able to manage my time, learn the household chores (which I'd like to write about too, soon) and master the art of being a stay at home mom to Leon. There are a lot of new things I'd like to share, hence the birth of my facebook page, The Mommy Roves to dish out all the new things happening.


Anyways, among the new things I'd like to share, let me start with our house hunting story. I have already posted a video about it a couple of weeks back on The Mommy Roves but there are still a lot of things I'd like to write about - the hunt, the emotions, the confusion, the decision making in finding and getting our house.
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We were fortunate to have a couple of good friends, Mr and Mrs Williams to be exact who helped us on our first few weeks here in Sydney. They welcomed us in their house while we looked for our own. It was not easy finding a place to live here in Sydney and having a family who welcomed us and let us stay in their house for free was a big help. More than that, they also helped us in house inspections, furniture and appliance purchases, groceries, among many others. We basically owe them our life here in Australia. (They were also the ones who influenced us to move here.)
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So back to our house hinting story. Two things - Expensive and difficult. It may be true that the you may earn a bit higher here in Australia but the cost of living is extremely high. So let me share with you some of the learning we gained as we found our new home.
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BUDGET 
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For start-ups like us, renting our leasing is the best option. Mind you, rentals here in NSW could really hurt the pocket. Prior to moving here, Paolo and I have been lurking on www.domain.com.au and realestate.com.au to scout on the possible locations we have moved in. From those websites, we already gauged the rental amount of a property in a given suburb. As expected, properties near Sydney, the Central Business District are way expensive. As you go far from the city, rent becomes cheaper. A 2-Bedroom apartment in the city ranges from 800-1000 AUD per week, while a 1-bedroom ranges from 600-800 AUD per week. Moreover, the newer the apartment, the more expensive the rent is. In suburbs 30-40 minutes from the CBD (like in our suburb, Parramatta) a 1-bedroom apartment can range to 300-450 per week, depending on how old or new the building is. A 2-bedroom apartment ranges from 420-600 per week. 

HOUSE TYPE
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From a studio apartment, to a furnished 2BR apartment, a townhouse or a huge house, you can basically rent any of those here in NSW. Initially, Paolo and I were considering to rent a house for 450AUD/week in a Suburb an hour away from the city (via train). However, we came to realize that we might not be ready to maintain a big house, now that we are still adjusting to this new life. Having to experience to live in our friend's house in Seven Hills, made us realize the challenge of living in a huge house. It was hard for me to look after Leon while I do chores due to the house's huge size. We also got intimidated on the fact that we have to mow the lawn, clean the roof and all other responsibilities we feel we're not ready for - yet. Hence, we came to our decision to just look for an apartment.

PROXIMITY TO THE CITY / ACCESSIBILITY
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With our limited budget, Paolo and I decided to settle for a budget of 350-450 AUD weekly rent. Hence, we can only choose apartments on suburbs a bit far from Sydney. The suburbs that topped our choices were Parramatta, Macquarie Park and West Ryde -- where the average rent was within our budget. More than the budget, those suburbs have a direct train line to the city, which usually takes 40-50 minutes. The good thing here in NSW is that they have a very efficient transportartion system that when youo live close to a train tation and a bus stop, you are assured that you can get to work on time. More than the buses and trains, it was also an important consideration for us if there are nearby supermarkets, malls, schools or parks that are accessible, especially that we have a son that stays at home. 

APARTMENT FACILITIES
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What I find amazing on properties here in NSW is the fact that most of them have a built in dishwasher, dryer, stovetop, oven and aircon. The more facilities a unit has, the more expensive the cost of rent is. Likewise, the newer the apartment, the more facilities it has. The older, the lesser but more affordable.  When Paolo and I were doing our inspection (which was really quick and on time), we have noticed that the 2-BR units within our budget were mostly old. They have no lifts (elevators), no air-conditioning and even no dishwasher. However, when we looked on 1-BR units, we started seeing units that have facilities that were kid friendly, like a lift, for example.
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FINDING THE RIGHT ONE
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Inspecting units was really hard. We are grateful that our friend, Pen helped us in each step of the way. I remember Paolo and I getting really depressed after inspecting multiple units in a different suburbs. Because we have a very limited budget, we saw old (and smelly) 2-BR apartment units without elevators. Fortunately for me, Paolo wanted to provide us a fine looking house, hence he looked for better options.
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Fortunately, we are referred by a friend directly to an owner of a 1-BR apartment in Parramatta. The apartment building was less than a year old and looked really new. It has a dishwasher, dryer, oven, stove, aircon, a balcony and most importantly, a lift (yey!). It was a very spacious, open plan one-bedroom unit perfect for a starting family like us. The bus stopa and the train station is just a minute walk away, a playground is just around the corner, and the supermarket and restaurants is a 5-minute walk from the apartment. We were also blessed cause we were talking direct to our landlords -- no agents, no additional requirements before getting approved to rent. In NSW, most of the real estate agents require lessors to provide with a lot of financial documents to prove capacity to rent. Hence, a payslip, a bank statement, and certificate of employment are just some of the documents required.
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Now, we're just happy and relaxed that we have finally secured our home here in NSW. We live a bit far from CBD but I don't mind at all. Currentlu, we are very pleased to stay in a house that is in a peaceful area. Leon and I enjoy going to the playground next block, or even walk to the nearby woolies to buy our apple juice. We also don't mind walking to the bus stop, riding for 8minutes to the big mall or the library. My husband enjoys his 50-minute, stress free travel to the city. 

There are still a lot of stories to share but let me end it for now. I hope my entry was helpful, especially for those who plan to migrate here in Australia. Til my next post1
xx,
THE MOMMY ROVES

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