Finding a place to live abroad is a bit tricky. It needs patience and a factor named ‘luck’. Because when you have this demand, it needs a ‘perfect timing’ in order to match with the supply that suitable to your demand.
I myself more preferred to live in a shared house than in apartment or shared apartment. And, I don’t fancy to live with people from my country. Not that I’m arrogant or anything, but… what’s the point of living abroad if we stay with people with same nationality? Well, it depends on your objective living abroad though. Mine is to get to know and make friends with people from all over the world. It would be sooo much interesting if we can live with different people from different countries. Of course I still be friends with people from my countries but doesn’t mean we have to live under one roof, right?
How to Find the House (in Australia)?
1. Facebook Group
Facebook as a digital universe has lots of group based on interest, activity or demography. I found it very useful when you live abroad, because any kind of information can be shared easily. Including available space to live. Try to search the group with the most closest keyword like : ‘House Rent Perth’, or ‘Room Rent Sydney’, or ‘Shared House Adelaide’ and join them.
Flatmates.com.au also become a reliable choice to find a house. But the weakness of this site is you only can reach the advertiser through private message on the website. So it takes a bit long to get the response and become a barrier to communicate, especially if you have many questions regarding the room/house. My suggestion is, give your contact number together with the message you send to advertiser, and ask them to contact you directly through that number.
Considering Gumtree is the most popular site in Australia for classified ads. So, I also recommend to find on Gumtree-Roomshare/Houseshare. Since its free and whoever can put their ads here, sometimes you can get good ads (complete information about the house/room), sometimes you get the rubbish one (incomplete information, no picture, etc). So yeah, just be patient to dig/scroll a little deeper, you might find a gem here!
Things that Should be Considered in Finding the Right House
Housemates is the most significant factor to choose the house. Because they are the people you’re going to live and share almost everything with. As for me, age and gender are matters. Living with people that are too young or too old certainly will cause a communication gap, which is not cool. I don’t mind living with guys, as long there is a balance number of each gender. Well, I don’t wanna stay in a house where there are only 2 girls and 5 guys in the house, especially when I don’t know them at all. Nawww!
2. Rent Fee
Find a house that rent price is make sense to your income. And make sure if it’s including bills (water, internet, etc) or not. I’d prefer all them are included, so I don’t need to pay additional bills at the end of period – which sometimes make me feel like : damn… why I have to pay again? I’ve shared estimated shared house rent fee in my previous post (Cost of Living in Perth & Cost of Living in Sydney)
3. Public Transportation Facility
Since I have no transportation on my own, so this thing is very-very important. The closer the house to the train station or bus shelter, the most likely I will choose that house. I don’t wanna walk more than 10 minutes to catch the train or the bus every day, don’t wanna get tired even before I do my activity. And If I happen to come home late at night, I certainly don’t wanna walk too long either.
4. Distance to Activity Place
I always live in a suburb. And most of my activity goes in the city (downtown). The ideal distance from suburb to downtown shouldn’t be more than 30 minutes (less than 10 train station stops to the city) Trust me, it really helps if someday you are in a rush.
My Experience in Finding a Shared House
My first house in Perth was in East Victoria Park. Found it on Perth Backpacker (Facebook Group). It was a big house consist of 5 rooms. Other than me and Nataya, there were 1 couple, 2 girls, and 1 guy living in that house. All of them are Australian. Many shared-house drama happened in here. From someone who always delaying to wash the dishes until they get very dirty, another one who often take someone’s stuff without permission, suing each other in a group chat, etc. Maybe because most of them were still really young? Their age are still around early 20. To be honest I enjoyed the drama they make though. So immature yet entertaining. But lesson learned, next time finding a house – I will consider the age range of the people who live in that house.
When I first moved to Sydney, on the 1st month I lived in a pretty old house in Croydon Suburb – 20 mins from city. I found this house from this Facebook Group. I was looking for a short term place since I was not sure enough whether I will stay longer in Sydney or not. And at that very time, someone advertised her room to be rented in short period while she was away to somewhere for a month. Such a fate, wasn’t it? I contacted her, and what she explained about the house really fit to what I wanted. Mid until late-twenties member, affordable rent, close to the station, etc. So we had a deal. Apparently, the house is very lovely, I fell in love with the room at the first time I saw it, and the people? Ahmayzing! All of them are Aussies and kinda cool artsy people. An actress, a musician, and a therapist! Such a cool combination, hey!? The fact that they are super nice and fun made me and Nataya hard to leave the house at the end. But we had to! I will always remember that time when we spontaneously went to swim at night in a secret beach, those afternoons listening to our musician housemate played her piano, and those movie nights we shared. We’re really glad that we ever lived in the house, even only for a month!
Housemate night out – watching Sarah’s gig
Then I moved to my second house in Sydney that I found from Flatmates. This house managed by a kindhearted guy in Banksia Suburb – 20 mins from city. He always try to provide us the best service. I also liked this house from the first I saw it. Though it doesn’t have a good look from outside, but inside it feels so homey and convenient. Plus, it is located only 3 minutes from train station! There are 4 rooms in the house, each consist of 2 girls. Yes, this is girls-only house! which is good! The rent is still affordable for a facility that we get (proper room with good furniture and separator for each bed, also internet + bills included)
What I love most from this house is the multi cultural people! There are 8 girls in the house right now, an Indonesian (me!), a Nepali, a Colombian, a Taiwanese, an Indian, an Ecuador, a Vietnamese, and an Italian. 8 different nationalities – 8 different languages live under one roof! Uber cool, right? And the girls are really fun to be with! They are super nice despite different background we have.
I had lived with Aussies in the previous houses, and now turn to multi-cultural housemates. What a perfect combination of experience! My living abroad adventure to live with people with various background is completed now! Yay!!