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EmilyVio

Move to Sydney with children this year - rental/school/shipping queries!

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My husband and I are planning a move from London to Sydney with our three young children and will arrive in early Sept.  Our plan is to move into an Airbnb for a couple of weeks which I am hoping will give us time to find a house to rent, and then we will put our children into the local school, based on catchment.  They'll probably start mid term.

Has anyone done this recently and if so, would you be happy to share your experience?  And how long it took to find a rental/get into schools etc.

We are also planning on shipping our stuff over which I am told will take up to 5 months ... has anyone had shorter/longer timeframes?!

Many thanks in advance!

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Posted (edited)

I didn't do the kid bit but we recently did the move over and found a place to rent.

It took 5 weeks, and we could go anywhere, in any size of property and had a very healthy budget ($1250 week) we could go to. 

So I imagine with you needing a bigger property and it in a decent catchment area your choice will be more limited.

Have you already got jobs? If not don't expect any realtor to take your rental offer seriously until you do or unless you put down many months of advance rent. (Note legally they can't ask for this the most they can legally ask for is the month deposit and two weeks rent in advance, but you can offer and they can accept)

 

Unless you lived through the rental boom of somewhere like Islington in the very early 2000s (where you had to know a real estate agent personally to even get to see a property) you will never have had a comparative experience of just how competitive and difficult the Sydney housing market is right now.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/apr/30/my-daughter-couldnt-start-school-sydney-family-rejected-for-35-rental-homes-despite-1000-a-week-budget

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/may/07/ive-never-felt-this-vulnerable-guardian-readers-share-their-rental-crisis-horror-stories

The story of the family that couldn't get a rental until they contracted their own agent to find properties sounds far fetched, but I can tell you it isn't, we traipsed round loads of places, some getting 60+ people through the door in the 15 minute viewing window for that week. Most had pre-applications already lodged so even if you applied straight after viewing you weren't first in the queue.

After 20 years of house ownership in the UK and being landlords ourselves back home the whole process was awful, we won't rent again after this one ends, buying as soon as we find the right place. 

 

Edited by Ausvisitor
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Hi there,

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to me.  That is totally mental and also pretty stressful.  Helpful though as has managed my expectations (!) and now think it might make sense to stagger our arrival.  

My husband will have a job but think I'm not going to get one until we have house and school sorted.  Not really sure how we could both have jobs with no school and househunting which is sounding like a full time job in itself!

Another question from me ... what is the standard lease length over there?  

Thanks

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Posted (edited)

Are you coming on a permanent visa or a 482? If the latter then you will be paying $5k+ for each child at school and for temporary residents the catchment area does  not apply although you may be offered a place at your local school if you are lucky.  

If you have PR then schools won't be an issue as long as you have a lease which will demonstrate your long term address. Don't rush to get your kids into school until you've got a rental, you don't want to be chopping and changing schools. Nobody is going to mind if they're out of school for a few months while you get settled. As long as you are in the priority enrolment area they are obliged to find a place for them and you can rock up any day of the week and technically they can start straight away but they may ask you to wait a couple of days so they can get things organised. 

Edited by Quoll

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4 hours ago, EmilyVio said:

Hi there,

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to me.  That is totally mental and also pretty stressful.  Helpful though as has managed my expectations (!) and now think it might make sense to stagger our arrival.  

My husband will have a job but think I'm not going to get one until we have house and school sorted.  Not really sure how we could both have jobs with no school and househunting which is sounding like a full time job in itself!

Another question from me ... what is the standard lease length over there?  

Thanks

Just as an aside the thing we found harder than rental was getting a car.

Like the UK the new car market is a disaster due to the global shortage. Almost everywhere had a minimum 3 months wait for a new car (and then you were choosing from on order stock not your own colour/model choice) and the second hand market is going for near new prices if you can find a car in good condition.

Getting a car we were happy with was more problematic than the rental.

 

Basically, it's great once you are setup, the setting up is a right royal pain in the bum...

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5 hours ago, EmilyVio said:

Another question from me ... what is the standard lease length over there?  

In Sydney, the standard lease is 6 months or 12 months.


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband granted UK spouse visa March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

My new novel, A Dance With Danger, due out August 2022

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, EmilyVio said:

...... househunting which is sounding like a full time job in itself!

Not really, as the great majority of "open for inspections"  are on Saturday.  Occasionally they'll open on a weekday evening, but if they're getting plenty of interest on the Saturday, they won't bother.  Most agents won't agree to give you a private inspection, either. So it's a case of organising your Saturday like a military operation to sprint from one Open to the next.   That's why it takes so long to find something, because how many properties can you see on just one day a week?

The big advantage of a staggered move is that it takes the pressure off.  If it takes two months to find a home, you're only paying for a studio or 1-bedroom AirBnB rather than a family-sized one.  

The idea of using a renter's agent is well-established in Sydney. I would use a specialist agency rather than a real estate agent.

https://sydneyrentalsearch.com/

Edited by Marisawright

Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband granted UK spouse visa March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

My new novel, A Dance With Danger, due out August 2022

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We moved to Perth last September, and despite the crazy rental market did in fact find a rental in a week or so, so it can happen.  You do have to be ready to compromise though, or indeed accept a longer time in the airBnb.

Another thing worth noting is that the good public senior schools we were looking for all required a 12 month lease in the catchment to enrol a child.  Primary schools were ok with 6 months.


PR (100) moved to Perth September 2021

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@EmilyVio, in the interests of "managing expectations", I read the article which Ausvisitor linked to.

I had to laugh when I read the statement that "$1000 a week is a healthy budget".   It's not.  The couple ended up paying $1300 a week for a house in Lindfield and that's what I would expect.  In fact, I woudln't have found that figure surprising even when I lived in Sydney 6 years ago.

The thing is, Sydney is like London in that only young people, DINKS (double income no kids) and couples with a new baby live in the inner suburbs. As soon as the children get older, most families move to the middle and outer suburbs to find an affordable home.   

New arrivals feel that, especially coming from London, they should be able to afford to live closer to work, but it's not true and anyway, it's not necessarily a good idea.  After all, wouldn't you rather live where other families live?  

If you want to stay close to the coast, which most new arrivals do, then don't overlook the south (my favourite place in the south is Oatley, which feels almost like a village--however if your children are primary school age you might struggle to get something there, as competition to get into the school is fierce).  

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband granted UK spouse visa March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

My new novel, A Dance With Danger, due out August 2022

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13 hours ago, Marisawright said:

In Sydney, the standard lease is 6 months or 12 months.

thanks, really helpful.  We would really want one for 2 years, do you think that would give us the edge when bidding on properties or would landlords prefer to stick to the 6-12 month term?

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5 hours ago, Marisawright said:

@EmilyVio, in the interests of "managing expectations", I read the article which Ausvisitor linked to.

I had to laugh when I read the statement that "$1000 a week is a healthy budget".   It's not.  The couple ended up paying $1300 a week for a house in Lindfield and that's what I would expect.  In fact, I woudln't have found that figure surprising even when I lived in Sydney 6 years ago.

The thing is, Sydney is like London in that only young people, DINKS (double income no kids) and couples with a new baby live in the inner suburbs. As soon as the children get older, most families move to the middle and outer suburbs to find an affordable home.   

New arrivals feel that, especially coming from London, they should be able to afford to live closer to work, but it's not true and anyway, it's not necessarily a good idea.  After all, wouldn't you rather live where other families live?  

If you want to stay close to the coast, which most new arrivals do, then don't overlook the south (my favourite place in the south is Oatley, which feels almost like a village--however if your children are primary school age you might struggle to get something there, as competition to get into the school is fierce).  

this is really funny as didn't realise we were such a cliché! Yes, our plan so far has been to find something close to beach and close to work to minimise the commute!  thanks for the tip on Oatley, I will look it up for sure. 

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12 hours ago, Marisawright said:

Not really, as the great majority of "open for inspections"  are on Saturday.  Occasionally they'll open on a weekday evening, but if they're getting plenty of interest on the Saturday, they won't bother.  Most agents won't agree to give you a private inspection, either. So it's a case of organising your Saturday like a military operation to sprint from one Open to the next.   That's why it takes so long to find something, because how many properties can you see on just one day a week?

The big advantage of a staggered move is that it takes the pressure off.  If it takes two months to find a home, you're only paying for a studio or 1-bedroom AirBnB rather than a family-sized one.  

The idea of using a renter's agent is well-established in Sydney. I would use a specialist agency rather than a real estate agent.

https://sydneyrentalsearch.com/

 

12 hours ago, Marisawright said:

Not really, as the great majority of "open for inspections"  are on Saturday.  Occasionally they'll open on a weekday evening, but if they're getting plenty of interest on the Saturday, they won't bother.  Most agents won't agree to give you a private inspection, either. So it's a case of organising your Saturday like a military operation to sprint from one Open to the next.   That's why it takes so long to find something, because how many properties can you see on just one day a week?

The big advantage of a staggered move is that it takes the pressure off.  If it takes two months to find a home, you're only paying for a studio or 1-bedroom AirBnB rather than a family-sized one.  

The idea of using a renter's agent is well-established in Sydney. I would use a specialist agency rather than a real estate agent.

https://sydneyrentalsearch.com/

yes, i think the staggered arrival is making more and more sense, the more i think about it.  Now we just need to debate who will be flying solo with our 18 month old!!!  and thanks for this renter's agent link.  will check it out

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14 hours ago, Quoll said:

Are you coming on a permanent visa or a 482? If the latter then you will be paying $5k+ for each child at school and for temporary residents the catchment area does  not apply although you may be offered a place at your local school if you are lucky.  

If you have PR then schools won't be an issue as long as you have a lease which will demonstrate your long term address. Don't rush to get your kids into school until you've got a rental, you don't want to be chopping and changing schools. Nobody is going to mind if they're out of school for a few months while you get settled. As long as you are in the priority enrolment area they are obliged to find a place for them and you can rock up any day of the week and technically they can start straight away but they may ask you to wait a couple of days so they can get things organised. 

We are coming on a permanent visa and I am pretty relaxed about them having a bit of time out of school until we find a house.  Think they'll have enough upheaval as it is so wouldn't want they to be starting a school and then having to move to another.

This Sydney school system seems nicer than the London one as here, the catchment changes year on year depending on the number of applicants and if you are just outside the catchment of your closest school, you can end up in another school miles away

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14 hours ago, Ausvisitor said:

Just as an aside the thing we found harder than rental was getting a car.

Like the UK the new car market is a disaster due to the global shortage. Almost everywhere had a minimum 3 months wait for a new car (and then you were choosing from on order stock not your own colour/model choice) and the second hand market is going for near new prices if you can find a car in good condition.

Getting a car we were happy with was more problematic than the rental.

 

Basically, it's great once you are setup, the setting up is a right royal pain in the bum...

ok, so this is the first I have heard of this car timeframe! We don't arrive until late August so I might see if we can buy one now from London and collect on arrival, do you think this would work?

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I'm not sure, you might be able to from a broker but unlikely from a dealer, I had to go and sign in person.

It will also depend if you need finance to buy it, you won't get finance without proof of an AUS income and residential address

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, EmilyVio said:

ok, so this is the first I have heard of this car timeframe! We don't arrive until late August so I might see if we can buy one now from London and collect on arrival, do you think this would work?

Similar timeframes for most new cars in the UK at the moment too, in England Audi are 18 month waiting list for a number of models (and not just the rate ones some of the standard A3 models)

 

In Aus we looked at a Corolla and told nothing not already sold coming into the country before July and there is a waiting list for those

Edited by Ausvisitor

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11 hours ago, EmilyVio said:

thanks, really helpful.  We would really want one for 2 years, do you think that would give us the edge when bidding on properties or would landlords prefer to stick to the 6-12 month term?

My tenants are pretty much always initially put on a six-month  lease - simply as, if they turn out to be not that great it's easier to end a lease than to try and get them thrown out - works for the tenants too; if your house turns out to be a lemon or the landlord is not good you can get out without having to break lease.  After that I let the tenants choose what term, most of them elect for a year.

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14 hours ago, EmilyVio said:

thanks, really helpful.  We would really want one for 2 years, do you think that would give us the edge when bidding on properties or would landlords prefer to stick to the 6-12 month term?

No, Australian landlords hate long leases.  


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband granted UK spouse visa March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

My new novel, A Dance With Danger, due out August 2022

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, EmilyVio said:

this is really funny as didn't realise we were such a cliché! Yes, our plan so far has been to find something close to beach and close to work to minimise the commute!  thanks for the tip on Oatley, I will look it up for sure. 

Oatley is lovely, it even has a village green and a clock tower.  Watch out for the train line when viewing houses as there are coal trains that travel at night along Sydney rail lines.  Of course the train line also means you're in town in 40 minutes!

Gymea is another nice suburb with a train station. If you don't mind being farther from a train station, there are lots of nice areas around that part of the world.  Visit the Como Pleasure Grounds while you're there and don't miss the Como Hotel.

Many outer suburbs of Sydney are soulless with no high street and no atmosphere, so it can be a slog trying to find the ones that have some character.

Edited by Marisawright

Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband granted UK spouse visa March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

My new novel, A Dance With Danger, due out August 2022

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14 hours ago, Ausvisitor said:

Similar timeframes for most new cars in the UK at the moment too, in England Audi are 18 month waiting list for a number of models (and not just the rate ones some of the standard A3 models)

 

In Aus we looked at a Corolla and told nothing not already sold coming into the country before July and there is a waiting list for those

It is really worth considering importing your car in this environment.  We did and haven't regretted the 5Kgbp it cost for a second.  Cars are crazy expensive here!


PR (100) moved to Perth September 2021

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1 hour ago, Jon the Hat said:

It is really worth considering importing your car in this environment.  We did and haven't regretted the 5Kgbp it cost for a second.  Cars are crazy expensive here!

What sort of car did you bring over? It would be an issue if the model is not sold here and you will struggle to get replacement parts.

For expensive cars it might be worthwhile given the Luxury Car Tax payable here on new cars over $70,000. However this 33% tax may still be payable if you import the car yourself.


Buy a man eat fish. The Day, Teach Man, to lifetime.      - Joe Biden.

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34 minutes ago, Parley said:

What sort of car did you bring over? It would be an issue if the model is not sold here and you will struggle to get replacement parts.

For expensive cars it might be worthwhile given the Luxury Car Tax payable here on new cars over $70,000. However this 33% tax may still be payable if you import the car yourself.

Most mainstream UK cars are the same as here now I think, although of course there are exceptions.  We imported a Landrover Discovery 4, probably saved ourselves $10k on the equivalent car, and more than that on not buying a newer one with house money burning a hole in my pocket!  The only change on our car was the speedo facia for about $200.  All parts the same etc and plenty of main dealer and independent support.  

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PR (100) moved to Perth September 2021

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On 18/05/2022 at 13:18, Marisawright said:

No, Australian landlords hate long leases.  

We had the opposite experience. We were upfront about only wanting to rent for a year as we were intending to buy, thinking that would be attractive for landlords who similarly wanted flexibility. That turned out to be a turn-off for a lot of landlords. What we found is that the rental market for suburban houses was quite different to inner city flats: often the suburban house was the owners' biggest asset and they were really emotionally invested in it. They didn't want the stress of finding new tenants. They want stability and a family tenant who would keep renewing year after year for at least a couple of years and preferably indefinitely. So I think if the OP is renting a family home, definitely err on the side of overstating how long you intend to rent for.

We were in work-provided service apartments for a month and found it barely enough to find a house to rent.

I second Oatley, it's lovely and really popular with expats/returnees for good reason. The schools are great, and you have easy access to water and greenery. I wouldn't live any further south though - south of the river the commute is longer and it's much harder to get to the rest of Sydney by road.

OP, I would suggest considering the Inner West as well, for transportational convenience. There are some lovely spots. If waterfront access is important to you, areas such as Mortlake, Russell Lea and Rodd Point are great for families. Several of our friends who moved from the UK live in this area. If you don't mind being further from water, places like Croydon, Concord, Homebush South, Summer Hill, Petersham or northern Marrickville are also great family-friendly areas. 

If you are intending to use the local public school, you really need to mind the catchment lines. https://www.schoolcatchment.com.au/ is an invaluable resource for that. We were looking at Concord West at one stage, and realised that the new school in that suburb (Victoria Avenue) performed far worse than all of the surrounding, established schools. And you could easily end up there if you lived on the wrong side of a particular street. The good thing though is you are guaranteed a place if you are within catchment, any time of the year.

5 months for shipping sounds about right. I would suggest spending a bit of your budget on shipping essential-but-not-too-essential things by air, to manage the risk of things being delayed even further.

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Can totally agree with the above poster, northern Marrickville is really nice, a little noisy due to the planes, but that's a problem in most if the Sydney area

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