People usually are the happiest at home- William Shakespeare
I don’t know about you, but to me it’s always comforting to come home to a place that I can call my own at the end of a hectic day. My house is probably the place where I spend most of my time in, and thus it’s the most important thing to me.
House hunting is a B****! Period.
Like many other international students, I settled my accommodation before I arrived in Melbourne. I’ve heard the countless advice:
1) Do NOT sign any agreement without physically being there to view the place. Photos are deceptive! I cannot reiterate this enough, photos are really REALLY deceiving.
2) It is advisable for first time students to stay in the hostels before moving out.
3) UniLodge is probably not your best choice. ( I will explain this in another post)
4) Refer to rule number 1 again.
After about 5 days of research, it was ‘Information Overload’ for me, I got so tired and frustrated, I just wanted to settle my housing ASAP.
I must say, despite hearing the above 4 rules, I didn’t follow a single one of them. Well, I did try. I applied for a place in International House, ( one of the many on campus hostels in the university) and well, I got it. But I did not end up residing there ( I will get to that in a bit).
Firstly let me state the pros of staying in a hostel.
1) Food is taken care of.
2) You get to know ALOT people.
3) Residential tutors are available for assignment consultations
4) You feel as if you’re in a community, there are more activities
5) Every night is a party! (Alcohol and more alcohol)
And the downside,
1) It’s more expensive than living outside
2) Walls are REALLY thin (You hear the hanky panky, whether you like it or not)
3) The majority of the bathrooms are not en suite.
So I declined my place at International House simply because there was no en suite bathrooms and I’m embarrassed to say this but I’m afraid of showering alone at night! Besides that, I felt that for the same price, I could get a bigger place.
If you ask me now, a part of me probably regretted declining the offer. Because a community is indeed important especially for someone who is alone and in a foreign country. And the people I know living on campus sure seem to be having a lot of fun!
There are a couple of off campus student accommodation as well if living on campus is not your kind of thing. Well there’s not much of a difference between on campus and off campus lodging. Off campus hostels probably have more rooms with en suite bathrooms though and even though there are activities organized for the community, it is not as close knitted as compared to those in the university campus.
A few off campus student accommodation are
2) Student Housing Australia (SHA)
3) College Square by YMCA
4) Merlin Properties
Base on reviews from friends, College square is the best out of the 4. SHA seems to be decent with popular apartments like Micasa8 and other new developments. As for UniLodge I have had a bad experience with them (which I will share in another post) so it wouldn’t be fair for me to state my opinion because it would be biased.
In the event that you decide to stay off campus, I advice you to come about 2 weeks earlier to actually attend an inspection of the place. A good real estate websites to search for housing is http://www.realestate.com.au/rent
The thing about real estate agents in Melbourne is that each agent is assigned to a particular building or buildings unlike in countries whereby an agent is in charge of many properties in different locations. I personally found this frustrating because I couldn’t just say to my agent ‘ Okay do you have anymore properties elsewhere?’ thus it is highly important to do your own research. You need to know the name of the apartment that you want to inspect before you can actually get an agent to help you.
A lot of the apartments open for inspection are actually listed on the realtor’s website itself. A few of the realtor’s that handle quite a lot of apartments in the CBD are:
1) Melcorp Property
2) Hocking Stuart
3) Dingle Partners
For those looking for a roommate/share a house, gumtree.au is a good place to start. Gumtree.au actually offers one of the cheapest rentals I have seen. All in all, I’ve inspected about close to 10 apartments before I finally signed on the dotted line.
A few apartments to check out :
1) A’beckett Towers
2) 8 Franklin Street
3) Zen Apartments
4) 43 Therry Street
Most of the apartments listed above comes with gym and/or pool facilitates.
A studio, fully furnished goes between $350-$410/week, a one bedroom can be anything up to $450 and a 2 bedroom can go for anything between $550-$610/week. Of course there are cheaper options but base on my research, city living is quite expensive.
There are a lot of apartments close to the university and any apartments close to Elizabeth’s or Swanston will definitely be convenient. Public transport in Melbourne is quite efficient and getting around is not a problem at all! I’ve had people warning me from staying on Lygon because of safety concerns at night but I’ve no idea how true that is.
After about a week of house hunting and viewing of more than 10 properties, I finally settled for a tiny apartment with a stunning view!
Sometimes I feel as if half of my rent goes to paying for air space! And with that I hope this post provided informative information for those looking for a place to stay and I wish you the best of luck!