Sunday, November 13, 2016

Everything Is Negotiable In Australia?

I learned that almost everything is negotiable in Australia and is this a good thing? I personally don't like it because it requires you do extra homework before you make a deal.

The trick is you need to "SHOP AROUND". What you really need to do is don't go to the shop you really want to make a deal with first, shop around to get the cheapest price and finally only go to that shop for final negotiation. This usually goes like this:

  • What is the cheapest you can give me? If the given price is cheaper than the cheapest price that you have in another shop, it is clearly you don't do enough homework (this usually won't happen).
  • Tell them that you get this price from another shop (show them the proof), what you can offer? If they offer the same price, ask them again if it is the same, why do I need to buy from you? Then, they will usually give you lower price again.
  • Ultimately if you repeat the above steps couple of times, then you will definitely get the cheapest offer.

Utility bill is the one I did it recently which I did not aware it all until I was told. Can you imagine utility bill also can be negotiated? The highest discount among all my friends is 18%. So I gave them a call and start negotiating. At the end, we got 23% discount but with condition of 1 year contract.

  • They first offered me 15%, then I told them that all my friends get 18% from another company, then they offered me 18% with a contract. 
  • I responded no. I don't want to tight to any contract with a discount. Then, the person in charge can't make the decision and need to escalate this to his/her manager. This is the crucial steps and make sure you go beyond this step. 
  • After the manager's approval, they offer me 23% discount with 1 year contract which then we had accepted the offer. I believe there was still room for negotiation but we didn't proceed it further (e.g. we can hang up and use this as baseline to negotiate again with another utility company) 

This is really applicable to also everything which includes electronic stuff, car insurance, car, home loan, utility bills, lawyer fees and etc. Can you imagine it is really almost everything? If you don't negotiate, they won't specifically offer you. Take the utility bill example above, I have saved 23% by just giving them a call.

I don't really like this system and it is simply waste of time. It doesn't have standardization too. However, if you really want to save, do your homework and remember to get the proof to support your negotiation. I guarantee that you will get a lot more cheaper price than normal people get because majority of people here don't negotiate. Good luck!

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Conveyancing Solicitors in Sydney Is Worst Than In Malaysia

I'm so surprise that conveyancing solicitors that we have met so far in Sydney are actually worst than the one we know in Malaysia. They're not just bad but simply unprofessional. It is almost like anyone can be a solicitor...

We have been changing our solicitors for 3 times and eventually find a acceptable one with the drawback that the legal fee is 4 to 5 times higher.

Why I say so? Here are few incidents that I faced:

First Property

  • Missed the important letter about DA approval final date is delayed. This was extremely important because this basically tells you that you have the right to rescind the contract.
  • Did not understand the right of purchaser to rescind the contract and gave the wrong information that the right to rescind the contract is the developer when a DA approval final date is not met. 
At the end, we rescinded this contract but this delayed us for more than 6 months because of missing to inform us when the DA approval was delayed.

Second Property
  • Did not read the contract at all. During contract briefing which was less than 10 minutes, he did not highlight the most important clause in the contract that the GST was excluded from the property price. There were also some other unacceptable clauses that required us to pay more were not being explained at all.
This solicitor was from Malaysia and also the worst solicitor that I had ever met in my life. Although we chatted like a Malaysian, but his service was totally unacceptable to me. Technically no legal service was provided at all, just a normal chit-chat Malaysian style service...

We ended up didn't buy this property because of GST exclusion which we found out ourselves.

Third Property

  • Kept missing email from seller's solicitor and did not want to admit and address that. Our agent had to request the email to forward to us every time and we passed it to our solicitor.
  • Too many errors in the contract and said that is basically okay without a proper reason given. Many of our concerns on the contract were not addressed at all and kept saying that "this is how it was done".  The obvious one is many clauses mentioned in the contract were basically missing and can't be found anywhere in the contract, this is okay and this is how it was done? Oh my god..
  • Push us to sign the contract before addressing our concerns. This is the worst part and obviously he did not stand on our side.

We ended up change this solicitor to another one which was better but of course the legal fee is a lot higher too. There are few clauses that do not side us at all were not explained by our previous solicitor.

The whole contract was being rewritten but the legal fee went to the seller directly. We signed the contract eventually and waiting for the settlement date at this moment.

Key Learnings

  • Getting a right conveyancing solicitor is like shopping but we need to keep in mind that we're the customer and we have the rights to change our solicitor if we think that he doesn't represent us well.
  • Depends on how complicated of your contract. If you're buying sub-sale off-the plan property, those kind of contract is the most complicated one (which is our case in third property above), then my advice is you must get a good solicitor. 
  • However, if you're buying off the plan property from a reliable developer directly, the contract is the same for everyone. In that case, you do not need to worry that much about the contract. You can take risk to go for cheaper legal fee option provided you're comfortable with it

I think what I experienced here is simply because the property market in Sydney is spoiled. The property market is too hot that nobody cares about the contract. If you care, you missed the opportunity to buy. People just sign and go ahead without thinking much. Many solicitors just copy and paste from their previous contract and apply one contract to every thing. That explains why there are so many irrelevant clauses and mistakes in the contract.

If you're lucky, everything goes smoothly. If you're not, you could end up trouble to pay GST that you're not supposed to pay (which is the biggest trap in my opinion) or many other issues.

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