How to Find and Rent your first New York Apartment without a Credit History

Possibly the greatest expat challenge for Australians moving to New York is finding their first home: Until now!

The Australian Community is a 501(c)(3) public charity who provides assistance to  Australians moving to America.  For Australians moving to New York, finding an apartment or buying a home, without a credit history, can be their greatest challenge.

Recent changes to New York law now prohibits Landlords asking for six or twelve months of rent in advance as a security deposit, in lieu of a good credit score.  As a result, many Australian executives in a strong cash position are no longer able to leverage this strategy when negotiating a lease with a Landlord.

The Challenge:

Finding the perfect New York apartment in your price range is a dream for many Australians moving to New York. However, unless you can meet the Landlord's strict financial and credit score prerequisites, your lease application will be rejected.

To add insult to injury, each rejected lease application comes with a hard credit enquiry against your Social Security Number.  Too many credit enquiries will negatively effect your overall credit score.

Often Australian executives are left with no other choice than a sublet, sometimes without the Landlord's knowledge, finding a friend to act as a Guarantor, or an expensive short term rental.

Moreover, many Real Estate Brokers do not want to work with newly arrived expats due to the additional overhead, and perceived risk that they many not qualify for a lease.

The Solution:

The Australian Community, working with a team of New York Real Estate professionals, Lease Guarantee companies and HSBC's expat banking solutions can offer a three part solution: 

  1. Finding an apartment,
  2. Securing a lease, and
  3. Quickly building a credit history for your lease renewal.

Building good credit in the twelve months before your lease renews eliminates the need for a second lease guarantee policy.  It is also essential before leasing your second apartment, or buying your first U.S. home. 

Lease Guarantor companies eliminate the need of finding a suitable co-signer as they act as the Guarantor.  The cost of the policy is dependent on an individual's financial circumstances; i.e. income, cash on hand, assets etc.. The cost of a 12 month policy can vary between c.80% and c.120% of the monthly rent.

Approval is generally within an hour or so.  The Guaranty is normally issued to the Landlord within a day.

Before your first lease is up for renewal in 12 months, you can use this period to build your credit score and meet the Landlord's credit requirement.  It is also possible to take a second lease guarantee if required.

If you are looking to purchase a property in the U.S. immediately after you arrive, and you do not have a credit history, HSBC's expat mortgage services are geared to assisting Australian expats get a home loan.

Ultimately we can connect you to the right professionals to assist your due diligence process in finding your first home in New York, whether it is a rental or a purchase.

Before you Arrive:

Assisting our members overcome the challenges for Australians living in the USA is core to our Mission.  This has, and always will be a priority for our non-profit organization

Step 1: Open a Bank Account.

Through HSBC, Australians arriving in the U.S. can immediately open Bank accounts.  Equally important, they can access credit cards without a credit score, or social security number.

You can use the form below to be contacted by a HSBC Senior Relationship Manager.

Step 2: Sign Up for a Preferred Rate on FOREX.

Most Australians after opening a bank account, will transfer some amount of money from Australia.  Paying a bank upwards of 3.5% commission can equate to hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Our members transfer millions of dollars each year and based on that rate we have negotiated a preferred rate with OFX. The Australian Community's preferred rate outperforms Australian Banks and the leading online FOREX service.

Click here to access the Australian Community's Preferred FOREX Rate.

Step 3: Connect with a Real Estate Professional

Under this member offering, you can be connected with a Real Estate Professional who will begin your search for an apartment, and in some circumstances, you may also be pre-approved for a lease before you arrive in New York!

This solution is only possible through our Australian professional network, and the trust we have built as an organization working with Global financial institutions since our inception in 2011.

Please complete the form below to be contacted by an "Australian Friendly" Real Estate Professional in New York who is familiar with this initiative and the expat needs of Australians.

Your Privacy is our Priority.  You can read our privacy policy here before submitting the form.

Community Job Fair v2.8: Now Accepting Applicants!

If you are an Australian in New York, and you are seeking full time employment, we may have good news!

Our Community Job Fair has seen its first upgrade for 2020: From v2.5 to v2.8. This is part of the twelve point plan outlined in our recent article. The article highlights the new challenges facing Australian Job Seekers when Congress passes Legislation that will remove Australia’s exclusive access to the E-3 visa.

The goal of our Community Job Fair is to increase the number of Australians who successfully apply for E-3 visas. The more Australians taking up unused E-3 visas, the less impact the new Legislation will have on Australians.

By extending components of our Community Job Fair, we can raise the number of Australians who successfully find work. In doing so, we reduce the number of E-3 visas that go unused.

Continue reading “Community Job Fair v2.8: Now Accepting Applicants!”

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 18

The E-3Dad

More and more we are seeing Australians relocating their families to New York and other major U.S. cities, where the wife is the E-3 visa holder. As a result, The Australian Community has observed a growing demographic:The E-3Dad.

Many E-3D visa holders are Dads who suddenly find themselves as the primary caregiver to young children and infants. Whether it is a temporary, part-time or more permanent arrangement, the E-3Dad faces a unique set of challenges.

The challenges for the E-3Dad such as finding time for the job hunt are less if the children are in school. However, for those with children under four years of age, there are some short to medium term challenges that need to be understood.

The Economic Reality:

What seems to be the catalyst in this equation, are the career opportunities for female Australian executives. The lure of $US six figure salaries (boosted by a weak $AU) is often the incentive for Australian families to make the decision to uproot the family and transplant to a major U.S. city.

What comes as a shock to many Australian families, in New York especially, is the cost of child care. A Nanny can cost on average US$20 to US$25 per hour, and a Nanny (or Manny) working 8:00AM to 6:00PM, Monday to Friday is upwards of $1,200 per week.

Additional considerations include, ensuring the legal work status of the Nanny, liability Insurance, tax withholding and other paperwork that needs to be in place before you effectively hand over your child to a stranger. Day Care centers simplify much of the paperwork, but can cost upwards of $10,000 to $20,000 per child for just the school year!

Therefore the decision is often made that Dad has to at least initially for economic reasons, become the primary care giver. Even if employment is found, it still may be economically prohibitive if Dad’s after tax wages are about the same as the cost of child care.

Notwithstanding the economic considerations, it is currently taking up to six months wait time for the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to be processed. Therefore, the E-3Dad is going to find a considerable amount of time at home looking after the kids while Mum is working.

Isolation is Real:

It will become obvious to any Australian parent that organizing a Play Date often has little to do with children, especially new mothers. The Play Date is often an opportunity for mothers to get together socially with someone who understands the challenges of being a mother. Unfortunately E-3Dads do not possess the credentials to gain admission to this club.

Albeit Australians have a reputation for being friendly, approaching a female in a public place and staring up a friendly conversation is often misinterpreted – even if both your children are playing together just a few feet away. The E-3Dad will often find himself on the outside at the local playground for no other reason than being male.

The rookie mistake is thinking that you have a better shot striking up a conversation with a third party: The Nanny.  Often you will see groups of these caregivers at public playgrounds, but don’t think that you can just walk up and start a conversation.  The Nanny Club is more exclusive than you think, and they literally circle the wagons (strollers), to keep others at bay.

Even if you were able to be accepted by your local playground mothers after weeks of showing up and being a perfect parent, do not expect a Play Date invitation.

For members of our private Yammer Network, you can always find a sympathetic Australian parent in our Family Friendly group. You may not immediately find an invitation for a champagne Play Date, but you are guaranteed to connect with others who understand your situation.

Be Prepared to be Judged:

Aside from the risk being viewed as a philanderer should you attempt a casual conversation with another parent who just happens to be female, be prepared to have your parenting skills under constant scrutiny.

Unless your child is impeccably dressed, face free of any organic material, and your child has perfected his or her social skills as soon as they can walk, be prepared to be judged. In a society that prides itself on tolerance and equality, the simple reality is that men are not considered equal when it comes to parenting.

The prejudging is not limited to males’ parenting skills, the assumption is often that if you are male, you do not need assistance. If you find yourself on a subway holding a screaming child, there is little chance of a passenger offering a seat to a woman, let alone a man. Similarly, if you are staring at a set of stairs on the subway, do not expect that someone is going to offer help with your stroller.

For any parent living in New York who has experienced the luxury of an Australian shopping center change room, be prepared to be disappointed. Finding a fold down table in the Ladies bathroom can be hit and miss at best, and you can forget finding a change table in the men’s room.

Dads, you are going to need a strategy to gain access to the Ladies bathroom, or at least be proficient at changing a daiper in a stroller if you are goint to venture any distance outside of your apartment.

Texting while strolling is going to have you judged in a New York minute – and is dangerous. There is always a rabid Citi Bike rider running late for an appointment, or a skate board rider doing a Crazy Ivan directly in front of you that will test your reflexes, so be constantly aware of your surroundings.

Remain Disciplined when Looking for Work:

They say that finding work can be a full time job in itself. Adding baby to the mix and your organizational skill are going to be tested. Children are not the only ones who need to be on a strict routine. It is often a cliché, but caring for a baby may be the most challenging role of your life. Not only do you have to help get your spouse out the door, but once junior wakes, your day is completely absorbed until nap time.

Hopefully nap time runs somewhere between 11:00am and 1:00pm, because this short window must be spent on the job hunt. Having a check list is essential. Time needs to be spent sending off resumes, following up with recruiters and making coffee appointments with sponsors who can assist with introductions to key company personnel.

Being outside on a walk can be a productive time for follow up calls. Armed with the latest earbud technology, you can be an effective multitasker, speaking on a phone “while walking to your next appointment”. That meeting may be at the local playground, but the sounds of New York in the background are not going to raise suspicion, even the sounds of a baby!

Many executives go online or log into their LinkedIn accounts after dinner. So, after children are asleep, or your spouse has taken over parenting duties, rather than relax, spend the hours between 7:30pm and 9:30pm being productive with follow up emails and messaging.

Keep Healthy

In your new role as an E-3Dad, you can be so focussed on looking after the health of others and finding work, that you can forget your own health. Food, Exercise and Sleep are essential to a healthy lifestyle. Strolling baby twenty blocks to your favorite fast food restaurant may be a compromise, but sleep deparavation is going to be a roadblock in the interview process. Be sure to get as much sleep as possible.

Also focus on the health of your relationship. Finding the time to let you spouse know that they are loved is going to relieve many of the pressures of living in a large U.S. city, especially for a family in New York.

So the next time you are strolling past your local Bodega selling a dozen roses for $10, make the investment. It will surely pay dividends in what can be an uncertain market for the E-3Dad.

About The Australian Community

The Australian Community is a 501(c)(3) Public Charity and its Mission is to connect Australian living in the United States through social, professional and charitable initiatives.

All contributions are fully tax deductible under Section 170 of the IRS Code. The Australian Community is also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under section 2055, 2106 or 2522 of the Code.

Is the “E-3 Hopeful” Australian Job Seeker an Endangered Species?

In 2018, Legislation that would allow citizens of Ireland to take up any unused E-3 visas was unanimously passed by the United States House of Representatives. However, it failed by only one vote in the Senate.  In 2019 the Legislation was reintroduced as H.R. 2877

When this Legislation becomes law, it will be a major blow to any E-3 Hopeful Australian considering a career move to the United States.

Pundits argue that the legislation preserves the annual 10,500 E-3 visas for Australians, therefore there is no downside to Aussies.  However, a deeper analysis of Immigration data reveals that like Neanderthal, the Australian E-3 Hopeful may be facing extinction, displaced by a more sophisticated species who is better adapted to finding work.

Continue reading “Is the “E-3 Hopeful” Australian Job Seeker an Endangered Species?”

Aussie Businesses in NYC – and where to find them: Joe Bananas

There are literally dozens of Australian businesses who have opened shop in New York.  Some we know well, and others not so well.

We want our readers to learn about these businesses, where they are located, as well as share the personal stories of their owners.

We spoke with owner and designer Evan Sturrock, to learn more about the Joe Bananas’ 943 Madison Avenue location. Continue reading “Aussie Businesses in NYC – and where to find them: Joe Bananas”

A Coffee and a Conversation with an Australian living in New York: Nathan Subramaniam

The Australian Community has always recognized the unique challenges faced by Australian living and working in New York, so it has recorded a Podcast series where our members discuss their personal experiences.

Below are excerpts from our conversation with Nathan.

Continue reading “A Coffee and a Conversation with an Australian living in New York: Nathan Subramaniam”

Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 17

Explaining the E-3 Visa to an Employer.

In any given year there are more than 200,000 applications for 65,000 available H-1B visas. For many employers this lengthy and expensive process fails to produce a work visa. As most employers’ experience when hiring non U.S. citizens is the H-1B visa, explaining why the E-3 visa is vastly different is best explained by an Immigration professional.

Continue reading “Moving to the US for Aussies: Chapter 17”

A Coffee and a Conversation with an Australian living in New York: Kathleen Simmonds

The Australian community has always recognized the unique challenges faced by our women members, and has recorded a Podcast series discussing some of those challenges. 

Below are excerpts from our conversation with Kathleen.

Kathleen Simmonds is an Actor and Producer, and joins us for a coffee and a conversation in New York.
Continue reading “A Coffee and a Conversation with an Australian living in New York: Kathleen Simmonds”

#KoalaGiving: Spreading the #SlipSlopSlap Message

The latest published CDC data shows that 8,882 new Melanoma cases were reported in NYC and Long Island, of whom, 1,015 died.  In 2019 The Australian Community is working to encourage New Yorkers to get screened for Skin Cancer.

#KoalaGiving is The Australian Community’s charitable initiative where Australians have the opportunity to give back to the broader New York community.  Since its inception, it has help raise thousands of dollars for other charities including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, The Bowery Mission and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

For the past four years #KoalaGiving has raised money for MSKCC through Cycle for Survival.  C4S has also served as a platform for The Australian Community to raise awareness of skin cancer.   However, as C4S now focusses on funding rare cancers, and skin cancer is not a rare cancer, in 2019 we are raising money to directly fund our own #SlipSlopSlap campaign.

May is Skin Cancer Prevention Month and major Hospitals and clinics including MSKCC, Cornell, Columbia and Presbyterian Hospitals are providing free skin cancer screenings to the public. The more people who know of these free screenings, and the need to get screened, the more lives that potentially can be saved.

According to the CDC, there were a total of 8,882 annual new cases of Melanoma diagnosed in NYC and Long Island, of whom, 1,015 died.

Continue reading “#KoalaGiving: Spreading the #SlipSlopSlap Message”

Purchase Tickets for the University of Queensland Rugby Benefit Dinner featuring Mark, Gary and Glen Ella

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the University of Queensland Benefit Dinner,  and they have a special rugby treat…the amazing Ella brothers. Yes, all three…Mark, Gary and Glen will be amongst the featured legends!

During the 80s, the Ellas’ mesmerizing combination of skill and ability was arguably the most exciting thing to ever come to club, state and international rugby.  Mark, Gary and Glen had honed their years of backyard footy in the inner suburbs of Sydney into a magical formula that saw them all represent Australia at both schoolboy and senior Wallaby level. Continue reading “Purchase Tickets for the University of Queensland Rugby Benefit Dinner featuring Mark, Gary and Glen Ella”

10 Tips for Australian Job Seekers in New York

The fact is that finding work in one of the most competitive cities on the planet is going to be a challenge for most Australians.

Landing in a US city with a freshly minted J-1 or Green Card is only a ticket to the big league.  If you go into the game without understanding the rules or having a game plan, you will quickly start to accumulate some very unnecessary scar tissue.

Continue reading “10 Tips for Australian Job Seekers in New York”

Our first networking event of 2017 included a private shopping experience on Fifth Avenue, NYC!

It was a packed house with members attending an exclusive networking event and private shopping experience at Microsoft’s Flagship Store on Fifth Avenue.

In January 2016, The Australian Community officially launched its Private Enterprise Social Network powered by Yammer at the Microsoft Store.  Since then, our Yammer Network has grown to the largest Australian private network in North America and contains a searchable knowledgebase built on the experiences of over 5,000 members who have connected with our organization since 2011.

Continue reading “Our first networking event of 2017 included a private shopping experience on Fifth Avenue, NYC!”

Announcing Community Job Fair v2.5

If you are an Australian in New York City and you are seeking full time employment, we may have good news!

After our recent article on the challenges Australian Job Seekers would have faced if H.R. 7164 passed the Senate, a decision has been made to broaden our existing Community Job Fair to include ALL Australians who are seeking work in NYC.

H.R. 7164 was Legislation that would have allowed Irish citizens to access any unused E-3 visas in the following year.  It was unanimously passed by the Lower House, but failed to pass solely on one Senator’s concerns.  The challenge for Australia is that n E-3 Hopefuls is that there would have been will be the flood of new Irish job seekers, especially into NYC, who would be competing for the same ex-pat jobs as Australians, on the same visa.

As the article outlines, the Irish are far better adapted to finding work, and may well displace thousands of Australian job seekers each year.

Due to the limited personnel and financial resources of our non-profit, our current Job Fair (Version 2.0) is only open to members of our organization.  However, by extending some of its components to all Australian job seekers in NYC, we can raise the number of Australians who successfully find work, and thereby mitigate the number of E-3 visas that go unused.

New E-3 visas have peaked in recent years at less than 6,000, leaving 4,500 E-3 available to Irish citizens if the Legislation passes.

In spite of receiving zero financial aid from the Australian Government, our non-profit provides expat services to tens of thousands of Australian citizens here in the U.S.  Our new website has received more than 100,000 visits in the past year alone.  It is only through the support of handful of sponsors and volunteers, and the small amount of funding we raise through memberships, that we can continue our Mission to assist Australians living in the U.S.

As there is no available budget for v3.0, a scaled down Community Job Fair v2.5 will be funded by a percentage of money we raise at our #OzDayNYC Black Tie Awards on January 26, 2019, as well as combining employment initiatives with scheduled member professional events.

v2.5 will launch early in the New Year so that all Australians in New York will be given the best opportunity in finding work through support of our non-profit organization.

The first step in the process will be registering with our Employment Database through a new form on our website.  Job seekers will submit basic information including a link to their LinkedIn profile.  Fields will include Industry so that we can quickly connect “Australian Friendly” recruiters and employers with lists of prospective candidates.

In addition to our quarterly Networking events, The Australian Community will be hosting regular employment seminars in Midtown where Subject Matter Experts on finding work will be invited to share end-to-end knowledge from resume writing to the E-3 process itself.  Internal and external recruiters will be invited to these meetings.

Even after finding work, thousands of Australians have had an E-3 visa denied, many, simply due to bad paperwork.

For members of our private Yammer social network, we will also be proactively approaching internal recruiters and corporations who have Australian employees, and allowing them to directly post jobs to our Employment group.  Videos and content from our seminars will also be posted to the Employment Group, for those who may not be able to attend, and to preserve knowledge for new members.

Our private social network works like all public social media.  You can ask questions, post comments, Like, add #hashtags and there is even an instant message feature where you can connect with other members; but all member information and resources are private.

Finding work ultimately depends on your experience, your resume and how quickly you build relationships with recruiters and individuals who will make introductions to employers on your behalf.  Understanding the interview process in the U.S. is also a challenge for many Australians, and we can assist with that as well.

The statistics tell us that there are more than enough Australian job seekers in the U.S. to fill the 10,500 annual E-3 quota, they just need to be better at finding work –  and our Community Job Fair v2.5 is designed to do exactly that.

We can provide great resources and tools for Australians who are looking for work, but these resources only account for a percentage of the effort required to find employment:  It is ultimately up to the individual and her or his motivation to seek work on a daily basis.

As soon as our Community Job Fair v2.5 is launched in early 2019, we will be posting the registration link on our Facebook page, Twitter and our LinkedIn company page.

We are confident that this charitable initiative will assist more Australian pursue their dream of living and working in the U.S.  Expanding this initiative to other major cities in California, Illinois, Texas, Massachusetts and Florida is simply a question of funding.

NY and CA lead the states with the most number of E-3 workers, with TX, WA, IL, FL (and MA) also representing significant numbers.

If you are not a member of The Australian Community, you can click here to learn more about our member services.

About The Australian Community  

The Australian Community is a 501(c)(3) Public Charity and its Mission is to connect Australian living in the United States through social. professional and charitable initiatives.

All contributions are fully tax deductible under Section 170 of the IRS Code. The Australian Community is also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under section 2055, 2106 or 2522 of the Code.