In terms of livability, there are certain things that if overlooked when choosing a place to stay, can make your life very uncomfortable.  And if it’s your first time living away from home it’s especially tricky to know what matters.

To prevent renters-regret, here are the questions you must ask yourself to make sure that your new place is totally awesome and comfortable.

Is the area safe?

This can be a tricky one to find out.  Below is where to get crime statistics for suburbs and districts in each state and territory. Myboot.com also has profiles and crime statistics for many Australian suburbs.

VIC | NSW | ACT | QLD | TAS | SA | WA | NT

How close is this place to my institution and what will the cost of transport be?

The daily trip to school or work will have a big impact on your lifestyle, free-time, safety and your budget. For instance, will you have to spend so much on transport tickets or petrol that it outweighs the cost of the rent? Will you be able to get to school easily and get home before it gets too dark? To answer these questions, use Google Maps and/or go to your state’s transport portal to figure out what your commute will be and how much it will cost you.

Transport info for: Adelaide|Brisbane|Canberra|Darwin|Hobart|Melbourne|Perth|Sydney

What’s nearby?

There are many types of places that it helps to have close to your new home. Before you agree to move it, check out the local area and find out if there’s a nearby;

  • Grocery store
  • Laundromat
  • Public park
  • Police station
  • 24-hour convenience store
  • Hospital
  • Shopping centre, cafes, pubs, and bars

Is there adequate heating and cooling?

In Australia, when it’s hot, it’s very hot, and it can also be surprisingly cold sometimes.  Be sure to check if there are adequate heating and air conditioning appliances and if not – ask yourself if you’re prepared to pay for a portable fan/heater.  Also, note the size and aspect of windows and if they’re properly sealed.  For more tips on keeping warm, see our article on how to stay warm in winter on a budget. 

Is it noisy?

We all have different degrees of tolerance when it comes to noise, so whatever place you choose, make sure you’re comfortable with the noise levels.  If you only visit a building once, it can be hard to get a sense of how noisy it will be, say, in the evenings or on the weekend.

The first thing to do is to check what kind of places are on the surrounding streets.  If it’s the main street or there are pubs or bars nearby, that could mean noise in the evenings?  While you’re inside the property, listen carefully; you might be able to hear TV’s, plumbing or even conversations through the walls.

Is the building secure?

Find out what kind of security the exterior of the building has and if it’s in good working condition.  Are there many points of entry or exit that aren’t secured? Are there any security cameras?

Do the important things work:

Things like smoke alarms, security doors, door buzzers, electric garage doors, kitchen appliances, faucets, or light switches should all be in good working condition.  Also, ask the landlord or realtor who does the building and apartment maintenance and if they’re on call 24/7?

 

Looking for more info on accommodation?

There are also many other procedures and regulations you should be aware of when looking for a place to live.  This excellent flowchart from  Consumer Affairs Victoria. explains exactly how to choose and secure your accommodation.  While specific to Victoria, most of the information applies to international students across the country.  For even more info, check out our related articles below.