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Big account settled!

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Exactly after a couple of days after boosting with Mr.H about my strong immunity Iam down with severe cold and cough over the weekend. Lying in the couch with box of tissues all around on a cloudy winter monday all alone at home is even sickening. As the sunsets the cold kicked in, my visit to the loo made me interact with the mirror. I looked shabby i definitely need a good steamy bath.

Just then gets a call from Mr.H about the last show of ‘Eega’ in our town today evening and yes he booked us in. Thats even good reason to dressup!

Chose the dress for the evening, accessories and all set to kick start the pamper bath…asked siri to play my S.P’s playlist, lit up the new lavendar candle and entered the shower trying hard to smell the fragrance with my blocked nose, i can’t smell it still blaming my nose and myself for not using it for a long time after i bought, while trying harder my hands did the right thing turned on the shower andddd that minute the coldest water was all over my body eeerrrr…the notice i noticed a couple of days back in the lift that said the hot water being turned off on so and so day for so and so time bla bla just flashed in front of my eyes S**T!!

Shivering but thought why dont i finish it off somehow…pumped out a little liquid soap and something just flew and fell into my eye, oh god its burning (i never knew soap can fly so high) turned on the shower and the cold cold water is all over again, thats it iam done!

Came out of the shower, dressed up …the lipgloss, kohl and mascara are on, sprayed the juicy couture.

Came back to my couch with a neater happy self thinking about the phrase that grandma used to say sin of the past life come back as ill health in the present life and then i thought further the cold water bath and the rest was a extension of settling a bigger account of my sins (hope fully) as i wiped my watering left eye after soap splash and now i have a white tissue for the nose and a black (from the mascara) tissue for my eye 🙂

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Display houses and undisplayed facts!

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Signage with list of builders at the display homes

Paid the first month rent to our rental agent and took a deep breath reinforcing our first achievement (renting a house).  as we thought about the coming weekend …got a call from a friend asking if I (architect in me) can help in their search for buying a house in Melbourne. To start we planned to visit the 70 Display houses in the northern most suburb called craigieburn to assess the choice in the current market.

Here the concept of Display houses is similar to model flat / house made by majority builders in their large scale projects in India to impression the buyer about the property they are going to build at the site.

But the difference here is the display houses are made by different leading builders next to each other in one locality than at a exact project site and the choosen prototype can be built for the buyer in any approriate plot they (the builder) offer in the city under ‘Land and home package’ or the plot the buyer owns.

Diplay homes with builder’s sales desk at the entry

We looked at the array of houses and what ever caught our eye, we decided to enter  the respective builders office to be greeted by a sales rep and be handed over by the brochure and then be directed to the entry (yes thats how they keep a tap on the prospective buyers) of the display house. As we walk into each display house we were literally swept off our feet. The interiors and the settings in each space were done to a great standard and quality. Any buyer will have to be impressed with one or the other display house as they are so competitively displayed!!

The first disappointing fact is that if you go to the builder and say I like this ‘display house’ Iam ready to pay the advertised price on the brochure…we will be stopped right there saying the price is only for the ‘bare shell’ (Iam going do a seperate post on this  one!!) that is just basic wall and floor without any finishes. The buyer is trapped by this display facia into buying just a bare shell 😦 Back in India we atleast get some basics to start living like kitchen counter, toilet fittings, flooring tiles, paints and finishes.

when we sat down with one of the reputed builder’s sales manager to gather some information, the first answer our friend had to give was my budegt is max. 500k , 4 bedrooms, 3 toilets, double garage.

Then the sales manager pulled up a few ‘floorplan options’ which are supposed to fit the bill. All flooplans have ‘names’ sometimes strange ones like ‘Banksia’, ‘Tussane’ , ‘Soho’ etc. Then the Sales manager talks in a measure unit called the ‘squares’ it took a while for me to understand that when he said the house is 35 squares in area it means simple 3500 square feet which then sounded familiar for me. Wiki tells that Squares is a unit historically used only in Australia. 

After that he showed a range of ‘designer’ facade / elevation looks to choose from, which can be snapped on to any floorplan choosen by us for a big ticket again! sadly it sounded more like a mix and match fashion trend than a dream home approach! The display houses are a selected few from these mix and matches.

Few design flaws that effeortlessly showed for my eye are in  99% of  display houses the master bedrooms, the most private space being the first to be seen when one enters the house (i really want to know why they do that, when privacy is of at most importance here),  the other bedrooms are also very compartmentlised in location and the sizes are also compromised so much that it is hard to call them bedrooms, not even a single display house had a bath/ wet area in the groundfloor (in a dual level unit) what if aged people live in these houses? The builders even discouraged saying its an expensive affair to add one, but how while spending 500k?

When I had a look at the floorplans option I was first confused with the difference in terminology for room names. so a quick guide with indian terms-

‘Alfresco’ is an  outdoor dining area additional to an indoor dining,

‘Lounge/ Living/ sitting’ is like drawing room,

‘Family’ is like a living room,

‘Rumpus’ is like a partying room and for what ever reason all or most of the above spaces are located together in the groundfloor. Are these duplicated spaces for a country with a avg family size of 2.6 increase or decrease personal interaction? This is what I call undisplayed outcome !!

Renting a house – the first achievement

First thing on the to do list for any migrant like me to find a house and settle down.

Coming from India, what I would do ideally is go around a few townships/neighbourhoods , check the rentals available (to-lets), go around leasing offices,  see the available places, check rates and once I like it I will head to leasing office give the identity proofs , have the instant credit check done, sign the lease and thats NOT good to go DOWN HERE !

Once you trip to Oz is confirmed, suggestion to book a hotel/serviced apartment or crash a friends place ( don’t worry they will accomadate as they went through the same at some point of time) .

What next? The most tricky thing is figuring out where to stay (city or suburbs). Both have their own advantage and disadvantages.

1. City Living: Rents are higher. But you can save on the monthly public transport pass as all offices are usually walk able . There is also an option to sub let the car park. You dont need a car as melbourne has excellent public transport system in place. There is also a free city cirle tram which you can use to get around. Apartments are smaller in the city. Groceries are expensive. The biggest vegetable market queen Victoria market is just next door.

2. Suburb Living: Rents are low compared to city. Choice of large size apartments to villa kind of houses. However need to pay for transport and also spend couple of hours per day in commuting.

We decided to stay in city for a year or so.

House Search:  Go to realestate.com.au ( go to rent page) search for houses in docklands and CBD . Call the AGENT ( he is the current fate maker ) of your short list properties and ask for time to inspect the house. Memorise the 15 min time given by him on particular date perfectly ( they don’t stay 1 min beyond the time alloted) take the passport along as it will come handy for some proof are the other. Take notepad, write the details of the property you saw as you will be seeing many more like that… Even if the apartment seemed ok just put down the application (you need a bank account , passport etc )  its easy to do it online If you have scans of your docs ! Generally agent expects passport, bank statement, employement letter, pay slip, previous rental receipts if any. Most agents accept online application and the link to online application can be found in the realestate.com.au portal.

Inform the agent once you apply and ask when they will get back about the luck by chance to get that house for rent ! Repeat the process and one fine day that call will come announcing the first achievement here under 🙂

 

Australia…how are we here?

Mr Bean:

I am a Telecom Consultant based out of Melbourne working with XXX Australia right now. I moved to Australia (Oz) in Dec 2011.

Before that I was with Oracle in Hyderabad. Prior to that I worked with TCS & Infosys where I had a chance to work in different locations in India as well as UK, France and United States.

Being in India, working in an MNC  made more sense to me with better work life balance. However being from services background, services was more exciting to me given the learning curve (dont mistake me to be a workaholic, but I prefer atleast some learning )and exposure you get working with various clients.

I started looking for job opportunities outside my current MNC company and started looking at various opportunities in Hyd. All my work experience has been in Telecom domain and there were not many options within Hyderabad.

We do have some Indian Companies- however they may not match the pay of MNCs and the work life balance gets worser.  What I can do is join an Indian IT firm and then go on long term onsite, but we will have the uncertainty of returning back once the project ends and with a family it gets tough. Also to go to US, you need to spend an year to get a L1 visa.

So I started looking at other options like CISCO, Nokia Siemens where there were a few product management openings, but I need to move to Bangalore. Being a hyderabadi, I thought it makes more sense to stick to Hyd or if at all I go out of Hyderabad, why not move out of country if there are better options.

Thats when I started looking at Europe as an option. Meanwhile  got to know of some opportunites in XXX Australia for a permanent position based out of Melbourne. Thanks to some of my ex-colleagues who helped to get my CV to the right person and within no time my interview was done & had offer letter in hand.

that’s how I landed up with a job offer in Melbourne.

I landed in melbourne on 17th December and will be summing up my observations & experience in australia in the coming posts.

Miss Green:

I am an Architect, Urban Planner – worked in India & US and also ran a professional firm (www.greenarchitects.in) for the last couple of years in Hydearbad.

A few years back my hubby wanted to stay long term in US , but since i was on a dependent visa and my attempts to kiss the luck  of getting a H1 visa failed (yes its a lottery system with 65k visas cap) , we came to India so that I can pursue my career in my field of interest.

Happily settled in India for 3 years, home, family, friends, career everything steady, stable and fun!!!

When I first heard of Australia offer it was a mixed feeling, USP by hubby is that I can also work in Australia without anything like H1 blues. shifting to Australia felt a bit exciting as the google search showed that as per The Economist’s World’s Most Liveable Cities 2011 Melbourne topped!! 

Decided to support my hubby career this time and move to Melbourne, Australia!

The saddest tradeoff for us was leaving our little Cheese behind (wait for our future posts to follow on who this character is).