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.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

What is DA approval in Off The Plan Property?

The interesting thing about property sale person is they won't tell you everything unless you ask. We learned a lot along the process of buying a property in Australia. One of the very most importing things is "DA Approval, it stands for "Development Application Approval"that we didn't aware of.

All off the plan properties require DA approval before the developer can start building a property and usually the major factor of delaying a property completion is due to this DA approval. All off the plan property contracts protect developer for this DA approval delay. That means if the DA approval is delayed, they have the rights to delay the sunset date (i.e. worst case date of property completion).

If you ever want to buy an off the plan property, the first question that you want to ask is, have this property already got DA approval? If yes, the risk of delaying the property completion is low (assuming this is a reliable developer) or otherwise is high.

This is also another way of probing how well the sale person understand the property that he or she is selling. If he/she doesn't know the answer, it basically tells he/she is not knowing the property enough.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Bad Experience With AirAsia

This is the first time I have a very bad experience with AirAsia and my conclusion is their customer services and web interface is really bad!

Useless Live Chat

  • It always error out multiple times when we try to add-on meal. We need to attempt couple of times. Not sure about you guys but this has been happening to me in the past too.
  • Internet banking payment is so buggy. It worked for us for increasing luggage weight but not on add-on meal. It worked in the past but not this round unfortunately. There were no confirmation message but it had been charged. So this ended up we paid twice for nothing. So we needed them to address this ASAP.
  • Live chat is completely useless. We waited for one hour since it was out of working office hour and the response was just fill up the e-form. We told them that we need immediate attention and the response was they can't do anything other that filling up the e-form and wait for the reply. So why you need live chat at all if you can not address the problem live? 
  • We filled up the form with the proof of internet banking transaction. The automated e-form reply says it can take up to 14 days to response. What? So I had no choice but waited until tomorrow to call their call center during working hours.

Useless Call Center
  • The representative person that we talked to had no common sense at all. He said he didn't see payment from his side and ask me to pay again. I told him, I've already paid twice and there were no record, what makes you think the third payment works? I insisted I"m not going to try that again because I knew the result is going to be same and I wanted the refund. He responded for the refund, I have to wait for the response from the e-form which takes up of 14 days. Oh my god... 
  • I kept proposing options (looks like I need to solve the problem myself) - cancelling the add-on meal is not an option too because is not allowed (such a stupid system) and not paying is not an option too because we can't board the flight if there is still a pending payment. It ended up the solution was I paid using another method (i.e. credit cards) and they will deal with my refund later.

Refund Process Is Screwed
  • After 1 week+, I'm still in the refund process but I can't stop blogging about it. During this process, my booking balance has negative value (due to the refund amount value) and this causes me can't make any modification on my booking. Speechless...


Now I finally understand why some people complain so badly about AirAsia and don't want to take it anymore. It is their customer services especially when thing goes wrong. Also, what is the use of twitter and live chat if you can't provide instant support? Please remove it completely. 

Having said so I have to remind myself, it is a low-cost airline. You pay for what you get. So I can't complain much. I very likely still take AirAsia flights because of $ :( but I do hope AirAsia customer services can be improved one day.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Tips To Get An Australian Job Offer Before Permanently Move

Before I migrated to Australia, the general impression that I got is "it is quite easy to get a job in Australia". This is due to the fact that they are lacking of professional talents and that is the reason why they have the immigration policy to attract global talents. Really? Demand is more than supply and it is definitely an employee market, isn't that common sense? Not at all...

If you ask anyone who has already landed here in Australia, I guarantee that 99% of them will tell you that it is very hard to get a job in Australia. Since it is so hard to get a job, 99.9% of them will tell you almost impossible for you get a job remotely in Australia because the chance is very close to 0%. So forget about demand and supply, it is an illusion. I will cover the demand and supply topic in my next post on this which is kind of interesting. 

This post is really to share with you my personal experience on how I got an Aussie job offer remotely from Malaysia before I permanently landed here in Australia.  However, please do keep in mind that, I still do not recommend what I did because the chances is really very low as most people said. I still consider what happened to me was a "luck". Yes, it was really lucky! What you can do is give a try first. If it doesn't work out, it is still better for you to migrate first,  then only look for a job. This increases your chances of getting an interview.

Tips start now...

Resume Writing

I assume you already have a good resume and what I cover here is what I did differently to increase the chance of the recruiters calling me. 

  • Don't put Malaysia's phone in your resume. What I did is register a Skype phone with Australian number (yes, you need to pay a bit for that) and put your Skype phone in your resume.  Your Skype phone should starts with +61 and this basically you can't really tell the difference from normal Australian phone. 
  • Don't put Malaysia's address in your resume too. Putting address in your resume is not a requirement. You don't really have to do that. I wouldn't recommend to put an Australian address too (e.g. your friend's address in Australia) because technically you're not staying in Australia. That is like a cheating. You may ask isn't that using Skype phone cheating too? Not really, you can explain that the Skype phone is easier for recruiter to call you instead of calling an international phone which incur charges for them! 
  • Indicate you already have an Australian PR VISA in your resume which proves that you already have rights to work in Australia. Most recruiters won't sponsor you a VISA and assume you already have the working rights.
The first 2 tips above are extremely important because you don't want to miss the opportunity for them to call you. I recruit people before so I understand. Every time I see an outstation address or phone, it is very unlikely I will call them. 

Making Use of Your Initial Landing

When you receive your PR approval, within a year you need to do your initial landing. Initial landing means you need to touch down in Australia but you are not required to permanently stay in Australia yet.  So I made use of this initial landing and got my first interview (which is by luck too). 
  • Decide a date for your initial landing. The best date in my opinion is Q4 (around the end of November or early of December)  or Q1 (around the end of February or early of March). Q1 has the most active recruitment activity but it is also known to everybody. This means you have a lot of competitions too. Q4 is a good timing (in my opinion of course) because of less competition. People usually don't change job in this time frame and some companies already have hiring budget for the following year. So I definitely recommend Q4 but just make sure it is not too close to Christmas. I got my job offer in Q4 but I don't really aim for Q4 because I didn't know all these by that time, it was just purely by coincident. 
  • Once you have decided the date, start the job hunting when it is close to the date. Maybe around 2 months before your initial landing. Do it aggressively until when you have chance, inform them the date that you will be in Australia for face to face interview. If you still can't get an interview, don't give up because you can still do it during your initial landing. You can contact them (either phone or email) that you're already here and ready for an face to face interview and hopefully you can secure an interview. I was so lucky at that time that I got only one interview. Yes, luck again which I have mentioned many times. 

Hope this is helpful! This is the most common question people ask me many times and basically this is how I did it. Yes and I still believe it is luck because I din't get many interviews. I almost lost this chance because they contacted me very late, just 2 days before I flew back to Malaysia. 

Hopefully you are as lucky as I am. If not, you can still do the conventional way which most people do, move first and look for a job later. However, I would recommend you to have 1 year of expenses fund (around $60k - see my previous post here) and secure a job first before your entire family move over. Good luck! 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

2015 Expenses Update in Sydney

Previously I posted "living expenses in Sydney for 2 adults" is around $54.7K might not be completely correct due 2 adults expenses only started actually in May. So, my 2015 expenses may be more accurate for 2 adults instead.

My expenses in 2015 was $67K, it is about 22.5% increase as compared to my expenses in 2014. If we converted to MYR, it is about RM 200K per year. So instead of RM150K that I mentioned previously, you need RM 200k per year to survive in Sydney.

Here is the breakdown:

We travel quite often and back to Malaysia twice a year. That contributes quite high number of expenses (i.e. > 20% of our expenses). Hopefully this information is useful especially for those who plan to migrate to Australia. It is not cheap, so be prepared. Good luck!

Note: FYI - The breakdown is not as accurate as in my previous 2014 expenses breakdown because I no longer track every single detailed item but overall spending is still accurate. You should refer to my 2014 expenses for more accurate breakdown data if you're interested.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

2016 Resolutions and Review

Wow, time flies. I have migrated here in Australia for 2 years. It has been 2 years I don't have a resolution. Now I think it is time to start for 2016! Before that, let's do some reviews.

What happened in 2013 & 2014?

  • Still have a job luckily but fail to get another job offer with higher pay. I have been looking for maybe almost a year. :( Few key things I learn during this process:
    • For experience hiring, most recruiter look for "direct matching" experience that you have. If you don't have a direct matching skills and experience, your chance will be low. Maybe close to zero?
    • Programming test and aptitude screening test is extremely hard. I failed most of these tests. They're not expecting you score >80% mark but maybe more than that? This is especially true for certain industry (i.e. financial market trading). I only managed to pass maybe 1 out of 5 of these tests, then my phone interview failed. The hiring process usually goes like this, screen test, phone interview, then face to face interview with another round of technical test.
    • Unlike in Malaysia that I know, most of them don't have pressure to hire. They set a bar, whoever pass the bar, they will hire. So their positions are always open. This is just my guess only. I think is true especially for those larger companies.  
  • Still manage to save more than 50% of our combined income. Thanks to my wife who is capable enough to earn higher than I do. I hope she can earn more and more and yes, I don't mind eat "soft rice"! 
  • Traveled to so many places within Australia. I have been Tasmania twice, Uluru, Canberra, Adelaide, places within NSWs(e.g Parkes for satellite dish, Young for cherry picking, bush walking, beaches and more). Thanks to my wife again who loves travelling and plan almost all travels that we have.
  • Bought an off the plan apartment but it is only ready in early of 2018. Maybe a wrong move? We initially wanted to buy a property that we can move in immediately. Maybe this is good too, because loan application needs to look at your credit record which I don't have. So I can take times to build up my credit record here.
  • Back to work again, I got promoted to Senior but with very little increment (i.e. less than 5%). It was still a great achievement but now is kind of in a comfort zone already.
  • Had a posture problem that cause various health issue. Maybe that's the symptoms of getting old. :(
  • Created one Android game but only have 10+ download. :) Well, this is my third app.  I guess this is something that I want to focus in 2016.

2016 Resolutions
  • Fix posture problem, sleep, sit and walk properly. Now I only realize posture is so important, Measure of success: No headache more than twice in a year
  • Develop more Android games or app. Need to focus on this because this is something that I really like and can also create more job opportunities in furture. So I need to develop some skills. Measure of success: 5 apps and at least 1 app hits >5000 downloads
  • Experience in AirBnB (Stretch goal). Since I'm getting old, need to start thinking of how to build a second income that do need so much effort from my physical body. Measure of success: Move out existing place and have 3 tenants. 
Yes, 3 resolutions only and I think it is good enough. In fact, these 3 goals are already very hard to me. :D Maybe one more unwritten resolution is update this blog.  I don't want this blog dead. The other blogs that I have is fine but not this one. Okay, at least 2 posts per quarter. I hope this is not so hard.

Good luck and happy near year!

Didn't find what you want? Use Google Search Engine below: