Our choice of suburb in South Australia (SA)
Mawson Lakes – that’s where we decided to live. I wanted it all – bus and train lines, low crime rates, good schools, a Crossfit box in the area and a >30 minute train ride into the city.
And ooh, I wanted a suburb that was diverse. The folks on Expat Forum would talk about living in suburbs that had a high Indian population – while I have nothing against our own kind, why would you travel 4852 miles away for the same feel?
We didn’t just want to live in another country, we wanted to get to know their people too – and the large number of Asians, Greeks, and Italians! Sure, there may be some discomfort initially but the only way to embrace the Australian life is to give it a shot.
The first thing Andy had to do was look for a house. We decided on Mawson Lakes only after he’d moved to SA, and now Andy had to make his way from Woodcroft to Mawson Lakes to house hunt. I’ll tell you this – it wasn’t a joy ride. 3 buses and 1.5 hours later, Andy would find himself in Mawson Lakes.
He called me when he set foot in Mawson Lakes and told me I’d love it – it had a gated community feel and beautiful man-made lakes all over the suburb. Mawson Lakes clearly had money – beautiful houses with a style every different from other suburbs (we’d learn that only later).
The process of finding a house:
1. Almost all rentals are managed by real estate agents via realestate.com.au or domain.com.au. There are a few private ones (managed by the landlord) – I recommend you research the pros and cons of each.
2. Each listing will have a set of Inspection dates and 15-minute time slots. Assuming that IST will work will get you no where, so be on time. You may need to book or confirm your desire to inspect the house in advance.
3. If you like the house, you’ll need to fill an application. This includes providing identification and details like referees in Australia. This can be a tough one if you don’t know anyone – but even a friend who’s interstate will help. The application will also ask for your employment details. Andy learnt that in the absence of a job, you need to submit your bank statement and demonstrate that you have enough of a bank balance to rent.
4. The real estate agent sends the application to the landlord who chooses one – Andy’s first application was declined. We had no idea if finding a house would be tough but it turns out it wasn’t. We got the next one we applied for. Living in Mawson Lakes meant that most of the houses we saw were in good condition. We had a tougher time finding something we liked when we moved to Melbourne though.
5. You will need to have a month’s rent for the deposit aka bond and pay two weeks rent in advance. Depending on where you live and the laws of that state, these terms can vary slightly.
6. Once you get a house, you are responsible for setting up your water and electricity – these are some things we take for granted back in India. and oh, gas too. Gas is used for either cooking, water heaters or heaters in the house, and no we don’t need to call our Gas company, order a cylinder and be at their mercy waiting for it.
The process may seem overwhelming the first time but it is quite seamless and quick.
Setting up home:
Once you have found a place, it’s likely you are setting up home from scratch. When we left India, we left with a suitcase each and Ethan’s drum kit. We came to this new country with nothing more and Andy set up home for us from scratch.
He did multiple trips to IKEA, taking a couple of buses each time. I remember Andy calling me and telling me how long each piece of IKEA furniture took to assemble. After a couple of days, he had a bad back but kept at it.
Target proved to reasonably priced for basic kitchen and linen. You may also want to check out Cheap as Chips and The Reject Shop for much lower-priced stuff, especially if you are still looking for a job but need to set up home.
So eventually, was Mawson Lakes the right choice?
It sure was and you’ll read more about the 2 years we spent there.
Before I sign off, I’ve got a pre-requisite for you before my next post. Keep watching this space to know more!