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Finding an Apartment in Sydney Without Knowing the City

When we arrived in Sydney we had no idea where to begin looking for an apartment.

In fact, I didn’t even realize that rentals are listed by weekly rent, not monthly. Imagine my shock when that $650 per month was really $650 per week. Whole new ball game.

As part of our relocation package from the company that hired my husband, we had only two weeks at a hotel paid for, after that we were on our own.

That meant two weeks to get to know the city, figure out what suburb we wanted to live in, finding an apartment in that suburb that we liked and then go out and buy things to tide us over until our shipment arrived.

It felt like we were competing in some challenge on a reality show. Everything turned out alright in the end though there were a couple of snags along the way.

To make the process easier for you (and hopefully less stressful) I thought I would break it down into different parts plus include tips that helped us out along the way. As they say hindsight is 20/20.

Start Your Rental Search Before You Leave Home.

There one thing you can do before you arrive to speed up your search for when you are actually in Sydney.

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Narrow down what suburb in Sydney you want to live in

Sydney is a large expansive city and narrowing down your search of what suburb you want to live in will cut down on your time. This might be hard if you are not that familiar with the city.

As I mentioned previously, we had never been to Australia before moving here so I completely understand. To narrow down what Sydney suburbs we wanted to look at we simple took a look at the train routes then decide that we wanted to be no more than a 15 minute walk to the station.

From there we looked at several blogs and came across 52 Suburbs. If you visit this site scroll down and you will see a list of all the suburbs of Sydney on the left sidebar.

52 Suburbs has a ton of photos and a brief description of each suburb.

Pay attention to the commute to and from the suburb.

For example, getting to Balmain people usually take the ferry which is a great way to commute every morning as you get an amazing view of the harbour and arrive at Circular Quay where you can take the train to just about anywhere in the city.

The bus to Balmain is also pretty quick. It really is not that far from the city’s downtown area but it feels more secluded than say Kirribilli, just across the Sydney Harbour Bridge from Circular Quay.

The farther you get away from the central downtown area the less expensive rents get which makes sense. The caveat is the farther west you go the less you feel like you’re in Sydney.

After you’ve done some research on Sydney suburbs and have pick the areas you want to look at when you arrive, do your best to stick to those areas.

Looking all over the city is just too much to take on especially if you are relying on public transportation and on a deadline.

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Temporary or short-term rentals in Sydney

What should you do if you can’t find an apartment and you’re running out of time? Worst case scenario, look into a short term rental.

There are many to choose from, available in a wide range of prices. You should have no problem find one you can afford.

If you are relocating on a temporary business visa you might want to consider staying at a holiday rental instead of a hotel, especially if you are relocating with kids.

When talking with your new employer and visa sponsor in Australia, try to get a temporary furnished apartment instead of a hotel.

Update: You can get $80AUD off a short term rental with Airbnb. Click here and start searching for rentals now. You can also set up a wishlist on Airbnb to save rentals you like but are not sure of your exact dates.

House Sitting in Sydney

We also recently posted an article about house sitting as a way of cutting cost on accommodations in Sydney. Check it out.

Update: is now offering SMG readers 25% off housesitting memberships. Use promo code “sydneymovingguide”.