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xizzles May 23rd 2020 7:14 am

Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 
Hello everyone. I hope everyone is keeping safe and staying sane in these crazy times.



My wife and I are finally planning the permanent move over to Sydney come 2021/22. We’ve been extremely lucky in the sense that we’ve gotten our (old) 175 renewed more times than I care to shake a stick at, over the past 15 odd years. Initially, it was quite a straight forward 5-yearly extension, but of late, we’ve only gotten the annual extension.



As we have always planned to retire in Sydney, we didn’t want to chance DIMA suddenly wising up to these chronic RRV-runners, and boot us off the boat for good. We’re not sprightly spring chooks anymore – I’m coming up to my half ton at the crease, and as I’m a gentleman, Her Majesty’s vintage shall forever remain a mystery. Better do it now, before the ship sails for good, eh?



A little bit of background: I was an expat (now citizen) in Singapore, and my wife is local Singaporean. So, we’ll be moving across from Singapore. We’re also somewhat fortunate, as we got our foot in the property ladder Down Under before the crazy prices made even a run-down hovel in the middle of Redfern unattainable (though, with COVID-19, that might change somewhat), so we’ll be moving back into our house in the Inner West after the tenant vacates in 2021 (we’ll take back the lease from the present tenant).



I was hoping for pointers and advice from people who’ve successfully made the move on some of the logistical issues that I expect to face. Do we ship, or do we sell & buy anew? How long does shipping take, normally? What are some of the practical issues of using a relocation specialist? Will they clear customs and unpack and re-arrange the furniture for us, for example? Or, does their duty end upon the container arriving at port? We’re looking to renovate our house and would also like to ask about your experience regarding renovation works and tradies?



Are there any other issues that we might have overlooked? Any tips, pointers, advice would be much appreciated!

carcajou May 23rd 2020 8:30 am

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 
Xizzles, wow. I remember you from way back when.

I guess the ship or buy anew depends on the quality of what you have, and how attached you are to it. Our shipping was fairly minimal and went via Emirates Cargo. It has been some years now but I do not remember customs being a hassle. I do not think a relocation consultant is necessary.

I would live in the house for a year and during that time, do due diligence on the tradies with the local knowledge you acquire, rather than plunging in right from the start.
.

xizzles May 23rd 2020 2:52 pm

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 
Hello carcajou! Wow... it’s like meeting old friends! Thank you for the quick reply!

Part of the plan of getting the renovations started was so we’ll end up having a ready home to move in by the time they are done. My wife was concerned about living in our house for a bit, only to have to move the furniture etc ...

anyway, I’ll keep an open mind and I’m sure of other comments and other sharing of their experiences.

its an exciting time!

Beoz May 24th 2020 12:13 am

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 

Originally Posted by xizzles (Post 12856945)
Hello carcajou! Wow... it’s like meeting old friends! Thank you for the quick reply!

Part of the plan of getting the renovations started was so we’ll end up having a ready home to move in by the time they are done. My wife was concerned about living in our house for a bit, only to have to move the furniture etc ...

anyway, I’ll keep an open mind and I’m sure of other comments and other sharing of their experiences.

its an exciting time!

Annandale if I remember correctly? On the renovation front, I haven't met a single person who has had a renovation go smoothly. It seems every builder out their is shifty, always looking to never complete a job probably but always want full price. It seems builders are willing to let the final payment go and leave you with a number of final fix ups outstanding. It's far more lucrative to move the team onto the next big job and let that final payment go.

It's always good to live in a house for a while to figure out what you really need. I know my plans have changed a little over the years. I have been doing lots of little bits of renovating but I have reached a point where I need council approval for some major renovations and I have just appointed a designer for that.

Good luck with it. It's a pain in the butt renovating in Sydney. Too many people wanting a piece of your $$$$$$$

Wol May 24th 2020 8:24 am

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 

Originally Posted by Beoz (Post 12857136)
Annandale if I remember correctly? On the renovation front, I haven't met a single person who has had a renovation go smoothly. It seems every builder out their is shifty, always looking to never complete a job probably but always want full price. It seems builders are willing to let the final payment go and leave you with a number of final fix ups outstanding. It's far more lucrative to move the team onto the next big job and let that final payment go.

It's always good to live in a house for a while to figure out what you really need. I know my plans have changed a little over the years. I have been doing lots of little bits of renovating but I have reached a point where I need council approval for some major renovations and I have just appointed a designer for that.

Good luck with it. It's a pain in the butt renovating in Sydney. Too many people wanting a piece of your $$$$$$$

I'll second that.
There ARE good tradesmen, but finding them takes time. It's easy to say ask around, but if you are new to the area that's not straightforward since you don't know too many people.
If you have good furniture and like it then bring it: most of the stuff you find in Oz is Chinese made now - even Moran is. And it can take an age to actually get delivery - we bought sofas from David Jones in December and they were delivered 5 months later.

rammygirl May 24th 2020 9:13 am

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 
I would honestly get a spruce up on the house, depending on how it is. Then move in and see .
We moved into a rental when we returned and left tenants in our home while we settled. We kept the rental for a few weeks whils we assessed the house. We replaced all the carpets and blinds and painted throughout. Moved in and over the next few years had kitchen, en suite and main bath done.

Beoz May 24th 2020 1:19 pm

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 

Originally Posted by Wol (Post 12857213)
I'll second that.
There ARE good tradesmen, but finding them takes time. It's easy to say ask around, but if you are new to the area that's not straightforward since you don't know too many people.
If you have good furniture and like it then bring it: most of the stuff you find in Oz is Chinese made now - even Moran is. And it can take an age to actually get delivery - we bought sofas from David Jones in December and they were delivered 5 months later.

Finding them takes an incredible amount of time. And the cost variation is amazing. I have had quotes for some fire place cabinetry ranging from $2000 to $13000. Even at $2000 It's a bit rich given what a built in wardrobe costs. Apparently my walls aren't straight. So what, it's a 100 year old house, surely you just do best fit and fill the gaps with a bit of filler.

spouse of scouse May 24th 2020 1:43 pm

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 

Originally Posted by xizzles (Post 12856780)
What are some of the practical issues of using a relocation specialist? Will they clear customs and unpack and re-arrange the furniture for us, for example? Or, does their duty end upon the container arriving at port?

You don't need a relocation specialist to ship your furniture etc over, just a removal company. They have different levels of service, you can get them to pack your goods and arrange all shipping, customs clearance, transport your goods to you home, unpack and take the boxes away. Shop around and get recommendations if you can. Just over a year ago we had a full service removal with everything above included from the UK to Perth Australia, the cost was £3,000 but I had quotes up to £7,000.


Dreamy May 24th 2020 10:44 pm

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 

Originally Posted by Beoz (Post 12857257)
Finding them takes an incredible amount of time. And the cost variation is amazing. I have had quotes for some fire place cabinetry ranging from $2000 to $13000. Even at $2000 It's a bit rich given what a built in wardrobe costs. Apparently my walls aren't straight. So what, it's a 100 year old house, surely you just do best fit and fill the gaps with a bit of filler.

Generally, if there are quotes that are thousands of dollars more than the others, they don't really want the work, but don't want to say that. So they quote something ridiculous and you put them in the box of "robbing bastards" and never consider them for anything else (or so said the bloke who came out to look at our roof, was unable to do the work himself and warned us to make sure we had plenty of quotes).

Xixxles, as Spouse says, you can pay for your removalists to fully pack and unpack at both ends, or just pack at one end, or just unpack at the other.

xizzles May 25th 2020 4:10 am

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 
Thanks for the great tips ... and Beoz, you have a fantastic memory. Yes, it'll be the Annandale place we are looking to move back into - but after a good 5 years or so of it being tenanted, I reckon it'll need some work done before it's even semi-habitable. This is, of course, the opinion of my better half (with whom I've learnt never to disagree, for the most part). In the last couple of days since I first posted, I've had a chance to go through the "must bring with me", "would be nice to bring along" & "why on earth did we even buy it in the first place" list of things in the house. And it seems that there's quite a huge pile of belongings that belong in the 3rd category... sigh.

However, I have hundreds of assembled Lego kits - ranging from a Fred Flintstone homage to the Death Star from Return of the Jedi - that are both sentimental and extremely delicate. That, I foresee, will be the source of much consternation and headache for me. The wife's saying "just buy the lot again and re-assemble them in Sydney ... you'll have hours to kill anyway, now that you'll be retired", but (1) half of them are limited edition collectibles (pfft, the little she knows) and (2) my back/eyes/fingers/joints would give way if I had to fiddle with them blasted bricks at my age. So, whilst I'm potty/house/husband-trained to defer to her better judgement, when it comes to my Lego sets, I'll dig in and figure out a way.

Back to the looming renovation migraine... I can see both sides of the argument: move in, get a feel for things & then get cracking on the work vs. get the dust/grime/arguments out of the way before moving in once & for all.

The issue with the former approach is the expected noise, hacking and the constant ingress/egress expected from various work-people, and all this while we're physically in the residence. Of course, us being there might be helpful in pointing out blatant faults/mistakes or shortcuts that might otherwise be missed/plastered over. And, adding on to that, it would seem that the generous consensus amongst the kind souls who've replied is that "you'd be hard pressed to trust a tradie any further than you can throw him".

Oh, if this is already shaping up to be quite the headache, I can't imagine the actual move itself!

Thanks again for chipping in your thoughts and comments.... and it's good to be back on the forum!

rammygirl May 25th 2020 5:18 am

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 
I would get the agent to take some pics and give you an opinion. Ours asked us if we planned on replacing carpets for example as after 9 years of tenants....., we did so the exiting tenant did not need to have them cleaned. We did paint, carpets and window blinds before moving in.
interestingly we have just had the 3 way bathroom knocked into one big bathroom. The guy who did it did our en suite last year. We had planned on being in Thailand for the messy demolition and main rebuild then back for final fit out. Obviously did not go on hols and glad as some misunderstanding had occurred re our requests and we were around to correct them. This is a guy we had used and trusted but if we hadn’t been here we would have returned to something we did not want and too late to easily fix.
If you hate the building work whilst you are around then organise it all at once and move out for a month but visit to check.

Beoz May 25th 2020 7:06 am

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 

Originally Posted by xizzles (Post 12857493)
And, adding on to that, it would seem that the generous consensus amongst the kind souls who've replied is that "you'd be hard pressed to trust a tradie any further than you can throw him".

And a good builder mate of mine who charges for quotes says. "If they want a detailed quote, some advice, and my time, they must pay and I always tell them I will take the cost of the quote off the final price, which I don't, I just add more to the quote"

Or a plumber mate of mine says. "If its a jewish customer, I always add on 20% because I know they are going to haggle, and it makes them feel good if they feel like they got 20% off"

Beoz May 25th 2020 7:09 am

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 

Originally Posted by Dreamy (Post 12857435)
Generally, if there are quotes that are thousands of dollars more than the others, they don't really want the work, but don't want to say that. So they quote something ridiculous and you put them in the box of "robbing bastards" and never consider them for anything else (or so said the bloke who came out to look at our roof, was unable to do the work himself and warned us to make sure we had plenty of quotes).

Xixxles, as Spouse says, you can pay for your removalists to fully pack and unpack at both ends, or just pack at one end, or just unpack at the other.

Yep, I know there is plenty of that, weirdly the guys that gave the really expensive quotes kept chasing up, so it was a bit weird. Perhaps they thought they could do this job and not work again for the rest of the month.

Kooky. May 25th 2020 8:58 pm

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 
Apologies I haven't read all the responses but here's my two penneth:

We moved from Singapore to Sydney in 2008, our shipping took a month door to door. We moved everything we valued, that would fit in a 20ft container (which meant getting rid of large sofas and outdoor furniture - in our case the additional cost of a 40ft was not worth it and we were moving into a smaller rental too). We had full service packing and unpacking, it's so worth it.

We had a relocation agent provided but TBH as you have a home and know Sydney, it's a waste of money. (I actually found the rental we ended up in, not the agent.)

We did some major renovations last year to our apartment and, on the whole, it was an OK experience. I can tell you some joiners I would never use again (they were arranged by the designer, who obviously got his cut) but I was happy with everyone else. Let me know if you'd like recommendations privately. We moved into an AirBnB for 6 weeks, the place wasn't finished when we had to move back in but we had working bathrooms if not kitchen, so we managed. (We couldn't extend the rental, my husband moved to Seattle around that time and I followed him as soon as the place was finished. Long story.)

I packed and unpacked so many times last year it seemed like a full-time job. I think it would be less stressful if you could move into a furnished rental while your container is on the high seas, get the work done on your house, and then move in when it's absolutely ready for you. It's better for the tradies too and, in theory, doesn't slow them down like having to work around you does. I really do recommend being in the country and accessible to make decisions and address problems as and when. We had to make last minute changes to taps, etc., because designs had to be changed when they got into the walls. We had to line up trades months in advance so it would be good to visit and make plans before you move.

Do you have pets? Be aware the Sydney quarantine facility closed down some time ago, they now have to go to Melbourne for 10 days. Hopefully by 2021 this won't be the issue it can be at the moment.

A Singapore citizen, eh? That's a big decision! I only know two others that have made it.


Amazulu May 26th 2020 12:56 pm

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 

Originally Posted by Kooky. (Post 12857799)
A Singapore citizen, eh? That's a big decision! I only know two others that have made it.

Eh? There's shit tons of Singaporeans living in Australia. Perth has loads of them and I can imagine it's the same in the other capitals. They seem to do very well here

Amazulu May 26th 2020 1:01 pm

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 
A top tip in life - make friends with a builder/plumber/tiler/electrician etc. If you move in social circles that don't include tradies, find one that does. Even if the friendship precludes them doing work for you, they'll know someone who can

Kooky. May 26th 2020 4:37 pm

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 

Originally Posted by Amazulu (Post 12858021)
Eh? There's shit tons of Singaporeans living in Australia. Perth has loads of them and I can imagine it's the same in the other capitals. They seem to do very well here

I meant taking citizenship, which involves giving up original citizenship.

Beoz May 26th 2020 9:20 pm

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 

Originally Posted by Amazulu (Post 12858022)
A top tip in life - make friends with a builder/plumber/tiler/electrician etc. If you move in social circles that don't include tradies, find one that does. Even if the friendship precludes them doing work for you, they'll know someone who can

This is a good point. I am lacking a sparky mate, but the sparky I have seems fair. My plumber mate is a rip off, but not as bad as other plumbers I have had quote. My plumber mate does me a flat $100 per hour which is a rip off but cheaper than most others and charges cost price for materials. I would hate to be without a plumber mate. I also have a builder mate who only does the waterfront mansions and charges accordingly. I never use him, too expensive, and he even says as much, but he is great for advice.

xizzles May 28th 2020 12:58 pm

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 

Originally Posted by Kooky. (Post 12858130)
I meant taking citizenship, which involves giving up original citizenship.

Well, at the risk of sideswiping and derailing the original topic of conversation, I guess I should say that it wasn't an entirely difficult decision for me. I've not been back to Blighty for some 30 years, apart from the biennial visit to my remaining family in Liverpool (I don't even sound like a Scouser). My parents have both passed on, so it's just the couple of nephews and nieces and my cousins, with whom we still have an uncommonly close relationship - cheaper for us to fly to Liverpool than for the whole brood to fly down to Singapore. Essentially, my working life was in Singapore - it pays well, the taxes are ridiculously low, my wife is Singaporean - and I can do a very passable Singlish accent!

I don't get involved in the local politics - in fact, I can't be arsed about politics anywhere, period. The sun's great (but I hate the humidity), the connectivity beyond reproach and did I mention that the taxes are ridiculously non-existent? Oh, I did? Well, it's worth mentioning again.

The missus and I did have a discussion about moving back to the UK - but Brexit was a disappointment to her. For some reason, it made her feel decidedly unwanted - moreover, she wasn't entirely happy with the idea of being so many miles away from her family in Singapore and Malaysia, as much as she loves our nephews and nieces in the UK. So, an acceptable compromise was to move to Sydney - where both of us have family. Singapore's great (with low taxes and all - oops, I did it again), but it's not exactly a place I can contemplate retiring. Once my economic potential is spent, Singapore will chew me up, spit me out and leave me to wilt and wither in her unrelenting sun with that horrible humidity.

Having said that, the benefits of a Singaporean passport cannot be understated - visa-free travel is a given to more countries than I care to visit, and it was necessary for me to become naturalized as we wanted to keep our investment properties in Singapore, whilst living in "landed residence" (the latter which could only be purchased by Singaporeans). After decades of paying income taxes and CPF (the Singaporean version of a private pension fund) as a permanent resident, it made economic and financial sense to become a Singaporean and reap some of the benefits of the system.

Anyway, all that's water under the bridge now. What has been done cannot be undone - but as it stands, I have no regrets (yet). I've not tried before, but some of my mates have successfully gone on to obtain Australian citizenship while still keeping their Singaporean passports on the quiet. And, if for whatever reason I were that desperate, I could call up the Home Office and beg/steal/borrow any excuse to get my passport back.

Kooky. May 28th 2020 4:23 pm

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 

Originally Posted by xizzles (Post 12858899)
...Having said that, the benefits of a Singaporean passport cannot be understated ...

This is true. IIRC it's welcome more places than a UK one and, these days, the retiring to Spain thing is no longer going to be a thing.

I know all about those taxes! Though you pay for it in other ways. We gave up our PR and got our CPF out; I was really glad when I got my Oz passport and SIN immigration stopped looking in my UK one, scowling at me, and referring to this as if I was a traitor :rofl:

It's an expensive place to retire. I have older friends setting up Plan B in Malaysia. Anyway - let us know how yours to Sydney progresses. We'll be back there sometime too, this US thing is just an adventure.


Beoz May 29th 2020 3:00 am

Re: Advice &/or tips on upcoming Sydney move in 2021
 

Originally Posted by xizzles (Post 12858899)
(with low taxes and all - oops, I did it again), .

Yeah but your salaries are crap. Pretty much the reason I base my team out of Singapore. I can drag in immigrants from all over Asia, show them the bright lights, and pay them bugger all. I have no care for what their income tax is. I just need to make sure they can pay their exuberant rent, put food on the table, get an Air Asia flight back to the Philippines every so often, yet keep a car and the tax it costs in owning one in Singapore, a luxurious dream.


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