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If you are immigrating to Australia youíll probably be worried about finding accommodation to suit your situation. By this I mean if you are coming alone, as a couple, or a family. Another worry youíll have is how much money to bring with you or if you already have a job offer. Everything will influence the decisions you  make about where you will live and the lifestyle you will lead in Australia.

For new immigrants, we only have one recommendation to make: as soon possible try to buy a property, house or apartment. The reason is simple, buying property is an asset. Paying a monthly rent is more or less on a par with the monthly mortgage of a house (read more about buying property in Australia). Rent money is dead money that will never be recovered, because you are paying for someone elseís house. Buying your own house means that you are paying off something which you will ultimately own.  Home loans are very competitive and there are many options available for first home owners. Interest rates can be fixed or variable, so it is worthwhile checking with banks and credit unions to see who will offer you the best rate.

My recommendation when first arriving in Australia is to stay in a motel or hotel, until you settle in and start looking for a place to live. When we immigrated, we allowed ourselves a month to settle down before we made any decisions. Being a family of 4, we chose to stay in a Motel and without any doubt it was the best option, mainly because it was a 3 bedrooms apartment containing everything we needed. We negotiated a better price for the entire month, and this gave us the time and peace to choose more permanent accommodation. Even for one person or a couple, the motel is still one of the best and most economical options. Of course this tip is for people who do not know the area they want to live in, and how things work in Australia. If you are already familiar with Australian life and the city you will live in, the best option is to go straight for renting or buying a house.

Another option after arriving is to go to a Real Estate or to a Holiday Apartments reception and rent a furnished unit. These apartments are fully furnished and contain everything that you need, however this option can be more expensive than a motel, depending on the location and size. Sometimes you can negotiate a price for a long term stay, but not usually because Real Estate earn commissions. For long-term stays above 3 months, Real Estate Agencies are a good option and they may negotiate a price. Australians are not used to negotiating prices but because many immigrants are coming to Australia, they are getting use to the idea more.

During the time that we stayed in the motel, we started looking for rental properties, which took us about two weeks. It was a little difficult to find one that suited our budget, was 3 bedrooms, and in the location we wanted, but at last we found what we were looking for. After signing the contract, we needed to buy furniture, and we made some mistakes, because we had the wrong information. We bought all brand new household-electric appliances, and spent good money buying second hand furniture. We did not know that are many public auctions, every week in most cities in Australia, and they offer spectacular, new and used things, for half, or even one third of the price. It is easy to find "Auctions" in the local newspaper, and they list everything that is for sale that week. For example: a set of sofas with two armchairs in leather and details in wood, that sell for A$ 3,500.00 in a furniture store can be bought at auction for A$800.00. Everything you need/want to furnish your house to your taste, is available at auction, including brand new and luxurious items! (If you canít find what you are looking for one week, come back the following week and it is sure to be there). Of course there are many things that are not very good value for money to buy, for example televisions, washing machines etc. The reason is because most appliances are very cheap in the store, and at auction, products such as washing machines canít be tested to see if they are in good working order. Auctions do not offer any guarantees of their products. For refrigerators and freezers, you can inspect if it is freezing well, and the conditions of the rubbers (fridge rubbers are very expensive to change in Australia, because of the cost of the workmanship). You can go to the auction the day before to inspect the product and check if they are working well.

Second hand stores also offer a good option for used products. The trader has to be registered and have a license to operate. Many of them get cheap things in auctions, restore them to good working condition, and later resell them to the public. There is a big chain of second hand stores called "Cash Converters" available in most big cities in Australia and they buy used furniture from the public, and resell them at reasonable prices. Some stuff they sell is old, but some has been hardly used. All second hand traders are obliged to give a 30 day guarantee on all products. Why spend A$900 on a new washing machine if in a Second Hand shop you might find it for A$ 300

With some exceptions, kitchen utensils, Manchester and linen are very cheap in the shops.. Garage Sales are usually on Saturdays mornings and are another great option to check if you have spare time, although you need to check many of them and to start very early to find something interesting or what you need (but many of them have only old stuff, but itís also possible for find a great bargain).

When talking about property, there is always that saying ďlocation, location, location! The closer you are to the ocean and shops, facilities, or an ocean view, the more you will pay to lease or buy a property in Australia. But if you do not need to be located close to work, do not care or can not afford to stay in up market areas, new developments around the city offer excellent new houses or apartments, with very attractive prices - well below what you would pay if you rented or bought a similar place in a traditionally good area (the photo in the top of this page is of one of these new developments). Good luck in Australia!

Roger when arrived in Australia went to live in a happy old mansion in the middle of the outback

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