How to find a place to live in Australia

Have you always dreamed of living in a bustling, cosmopolitan city? Maybe waking up by a world-class beach each day? From tropical forests to sandy deserts, busy metropolises to quaint country towns, Australia has something for everyone. With so many choices though, it’s worth doing your homework. That way you can find the perfect place to live while staying within your budget.

Where do you start?

The good news is you can start researching where to live in Australia long before you arrive. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy, several Australian property websites feature up-to-date suburb profiles and details for individual property listings –CommBank’s own Property Search can get you started with searching for a property to buy. 

Naturally you’ll want to consider some essentials of where you’re looking to live, such as transport and education options, local amenities and reputation of the area. You can find out more about the schools in each suburb on the Australian government’s My School website. Australia also has several universities ranked in the top 100 worldwide, as well as extensive Technical and Further Education (TAFE) systems in each state.

What will it cost?

This ultimately depends on where you want to live. Like many countries, our major cities are not cheap, but they offer a lot in terms of lifestyle and variety.

Our budget planner can help you get an understanding of what you’ll be able to afford when you’re here in terms of rent, food, going out and so on.

Renting can be a good way to get a feel for a certain suburb or area before you decide to buy property there (or not). Just keep in mind that there will always be competition for good rental properties especially in our cities. If possible, inspect a rental viewing mid-week rather than on a Saturday, which inevitably will be a lot more popular.

How long should your lease be?

Australian landlords generally expect you to sign a lease for one year, but it is not uncommon to find leases for a 6 month term. If you need to find somewhere to stay while looking for your ideal rental property, you can often find short-term, furnished accommodation options online and through real estate agents. Rentals are also available for students, either on campus or in shared accommodation.

Rental properties in Australia typically come unfurnished, so if you’ve found a property and are waiting for furniture to be shipped from your home country, you may wish to consider renting furniture until yours arrives.

Applying for a rental property

Bringing copies of all necessary documents with you to a rental property viewing means you can complete an application on the spot if that’s an option. While the exact requirements differ between agencies, it’s worth having copies of:

  • Photo ID (for example, a driver’s license or passport)
  • Proof of employment and income
  • A letter from your bank to prove you have an Australian bank account
  • A bank statement that shows your balance
  • A letter of reference from a previous landlord
  • One or two character references

Alternatively, there are apps you can download that save your application and all relevant documentation on file so it’s ready to send to the agent as soon as you leave the inspection. 

Ready to buy?

If you’re ready to buy a place, our hub for buying your first home will help you move in with confidence. And this step-by-step guide will help you get a better understanding of the process of securing a home loan in Australia.

You can download the CommBank Property app to work out how affordable a property could be, search for properties and inspection times, and access a property’s estimated market price.

Our Home Lending Specialists can also help you with personalised reports on the property and suburb you’re interested in.

Speak to us before you arrive

You can open an Australian bank account online up to three months before you travel to Australia, so you can have funds ready and waiting for when you arrive. Contact our International Banking team to speak with somebody who can help you out with this in a range of different languages. 

Contact our International Banking Team

Things you should know

The advice on this website has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of that, you should, before acting on the advice, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances. Please view our Financial Services Guide (PDF 68KB). Full terms and conditions for the transaction and savings accounts (PDF 660KB) mentioned and Electronic Banking are available here or from any branch of the Commonwealth Bank.