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About claramanda

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  1. claramanda

    Property for rent in Melbourne (Balwyn North)

    Thanks for the bump! Here is a link to the agent's listing!
  2. Is anyone is looking for a place to rent immediately? We are leaving North Balwyn to move closer to work. This is a detached house with 3 bedrooms + study, massive dining/living area with double doors out to a stone patio and very large north-facing garden (gardener is included in the rent). There is also a double garage and plenty of off-street parking. The house has gas ducted heating throughout and air conditioning in the living room. It's extremely well-positioned in terms of transport - 2 min walk to the no. 48 tram (30-40 min to the CBD via Richmond) and Doncaster Road buses (25-30 min to Fitzroy) or a 5 min drive to the Eastern Freeway. It's also well serviced, with a 5 min walk to Coles (major supermarket) and local village shops (newsagent, bottle shop, fruit and veg, baker, butcher hairdressers, cafes/take-aways and small hardware/pet/boutique clothing shops, etc.). 10 min walk in the other direction there is a huge nature reserve that links up with a city-wide cycle path via the Yarra River. We don't have kids, but we understand that it is in a very good school zone. The area is very clean, safe and family-friendly. $650/week.
  3. We're having the same discussion. Thankfully we're not in a position where we'll likely need to replace things for immediate use so have decided to take whatever we can fit without going over the 20ft container mark. We did a like-for-like comparison of most of our furniture and it certainly came up much cheaper to ship than to replace, especially if you factor in the amount of time and hassle involved in re-furnishing an entire flat/house. I have experience in moving countries before and will certainly welcome the familiarity having OUR stuff arrive - that, to me, is priceless to ease the settling in process! As a first test, we've just had to give away anything alive in our flat as we're both going to be working in the Middle East for the next few months - so the goldfish and the houseplants have all been adopted. The staged deconstruction of the home we've got here has underlined the importance of trying to retain as much of it as possible in this transition! Even if the furniture style doesn't immediately suit the new house - it will suit us just fine to start off with!
  4. We've just had quotes from Clark & Rose (acting for John Masons), Doree Bonner and Crown to ship in May 2012. Here's a summary of the process so far: We arranged all three to come on the same day and gave each the same schpeel about what we were looking for in terms of services and what we were planning on taking with us. We've got a 2-bedroom flat full of personal items and furniture. Most of our furniture can be dismantled with the exception of a tumble dryer, two 3-seater sofas, two double mattresses and we're planning on buying a king-size mattress to take as well. Our expectation was that we'd be looking at a shared container and our online inventory guesses always estimated around 600-650cuft. Each agent came through and spent around 45 minutes with us, discussing our expectations, timescales and their services before going room-by-room to estimate the volume of our shipment. It took around 4 days for all the quotes to come back. They were each quite different in their approach. Clark & Rose (aka John Masons) - Very friendly and professional service. The agent who visited us would be our single point of contact from door to door. Our goods would ship out of Liverpool to Melbourne in around 12-16 weeks and in Australia they hand service over to either Grace or Ridgeways to deal with customs clearance and delivery in Melbourne. The agent made a brief summary list of what we were planning on taking. Her quote doesn't provide an estimated volume. Instead she's quoted us £3,250 for up to 700cuft (shared container) or £3,825 for sole use of a 20-foot container. This does not include AQIS (anywhere from $250 to $450 AUD), port charges (where required) or insurance (quoted at 3% of value plus tax). Doree Bonner - Quite an outgoing chap, but he turned up late and seemed keen on playing down the services offered by competing companies. Again, he would be the main point of contact from door to door. Our goods would go to their warehouse in Edinburgh and then ship from Dartford in 12-16 weeks (though he did offer to delay it 'in transit' at their facility Edinburgh to suit our timescales and save us on storage in Australia). Although they would also hand over to Grace in Australia, it is their sister company so they have integrated systems / communications / etc. He took more time than JM when looking at what we were planning on taking and quoted £2,769 for an estimated 580cuft. This does not include AQIS (anywhere from $250 to $450 AUD), port charges (where required) or insurance (quoted at 2.75% of value plus tax). Crown - Really relaxed guy offering a straight-forward service. Crown has offices in the UK and Australia, so it would be the same company on both sides. I forgot to write down where they ship from, but it would take between 10-12 weeks and we can track our goods on their website. He left us with the names and bios of the agents we would be dealing with in Scotland and Melbourne as well as a lot of really useful info they've been putting together with inputs from customers and customs, etc. He took the most time compiling a detailed inventory list on his iPad, going room by room and checking to see what could be dismantled to save on space. Dismantling/assembly is included in their removals service. Based on this he quoted us £3381 for an estimated 674cuft, including $400AUD for AQIS. The quote doesn't include port charges (where required) or insurance (quoted at 2.8% of value plus tax for standard or 3% plus tax for premium). It's worth noting these are all estimates to deliver within 50km / 30 miles of Melbourne and that each is subject to change as a result of freight increases in March. We're going to have another look at what we're shipping and whether it would be more cost-effective to buy some things on arrival. All three companies have said we can revise the inventory as much as we want and they will revise their costs accordingly. At this point we're leaning toward Crown - biggest selling points for us are the fact that we'd only need to deal with a single company, can track our shipment online and they actually came out the cheapest per cuft. We were a bit surprised at the low estimated volume by Doree Bonner and kind of figure it's a tactic to come in as the lowest quote overall and then revise the volume later on which seemed a bit sneaky. I've gotten a lot out of other people's experiences summarised on here, so thought I'd return the favour. Hope this helps someone else!
  5. claramanda

    176 Visa Granted!

    Our 176 was granted on 25 August, just 2 days after completing our medicals in Edinburgh! I'd been checking my emails religiously rather than using the online system...we could have been celebrating all weekend! Oh well, it's a great way to start this Monday instead. Whooooop!! Thanks to everyone on here who has given such invaluable advice, support and re-assurance. It will never be a stress-free process, but we certainly could not have gotten through everything so quickly and relatively painlessly without you.

    <p>Hi sorry I haven't gotten back to you sooner - I've been working in the Middle East all summer and haven't had time to do anything fun.</p>

    <p> </p>

    <p>Well done getting your visa in - hopefully by now you're most of the way through the process. Ours was really fast! </p>

    <p> </p>

    <p>Our visa stuff was pretty much on hold the whole time I was away, but we did our medicals on Monday at Spire, Shawfair - yeah £290 each for not very much. I think I've had more invasive procedures at the airport! Anyway, when I checked the progress of our app yesterday everything has now been met! Just waiting on the official approval to come through with that all-important validation date. </p>

    <p> </p>

    <p>Been keeping in touch with some of my friends who have already moved to Oz and they say this is the easy part over. We started to plan out all that needs to get done to actually move ourselves and our worldly possessions down under and it's a bit daunting. But so exciting - we're both mentally ready to go!</p>


  7. claramanda

    What happens once my visa is approved?

    Thanks, Lee! Is it just to London and back again by courier?
  8. claramanda

    What happens once my visa is approved?

    Tell me about it! I've started building all plans off of the premise that if it can take longer or get lost, it probably will. I think that's why we've been so surprised by how quickly things have gone so far. Thanks for this - hopefully we can get everything out and back (including ourselves) without a hitch.
  9. Things are moving really quickly with our 176 - CO assigned in 2 weeks and now only have PCs and medicals outstanding. As I'm abroad for the duration of the summer for work, we have booked our medicals for late August and would expect to be approved shortly thereafter. This might sound daft, but what happens then? Do we immediately have to send our passports away to get the visas inserted? How long does that take? We're meant to be going on holiday in Sept/Oct and I need to renew my UK visa because we won't be ready to move to Australia before it expires, so it would be good to plan ahead for any periods of time where I will have to be without passport!
  10. claramanda

    Australian Police Clearance Question

    That's a relief! I'm posting mine off tomorrow with a draft from Bank of Scotland. Here's to a speedy return. Good luck with the rest of your journey!
  11. claramanda

    Australian Police Clearance Question

    Can I ask which bank you're with? None of the Aus banks will deal with me unless I'm an existing customer and I'm with HBOS which isn't Australian-affiliated? Does it really matter as long as the fee is in AUD?? This seems such an archaic system of payment in a world full of credit cards, PayPal, BPay, etc...
  12. claramanda

    American Police Checks

    Have you managed to sort this out yet? I'm getting my fingerprints taken by the police in Edinburgh on Thursday (£25) and sending off my application for a Criminal Background Check to the FBI on Friday. Does it really take 3 months for them to return it? On the FBI website it says up to six weeks...
  13. claramanda

    176 timeline

    I submitted online on the 13th May and just got the email confirming I have a case officer and asking me to do medicals/police checks...so that's been 2 working weeks! And I'm not a tradey!
  14. claramanda

    Category 2's - Where are you now?

    Name: claramanda Date of Visa application: (online) 13.5.11 Nationality: American High/Low Risk: Low Trade/profession: Urban and Regional Planner Visa type: 176 State Sponsored Which State Sponsored: Victoria Date of SMP Applications: 12.2.11 Date of SMP Granted: 13.5.11 Onshore/offshore: Offshore Pre-November 2010 Category: 2 Medicals submitted: Police check submitted: Date CO assigned: 30.5.11 Date of employment verification (If applicable): Date visa granted:
  15. claramanda

    Town Planning jobs?

    Any luck? I'm a planner, now sponsored by Victoria and have just lodged my 176. Impression I got from speaking with a few recruitment reps is that it's impossible for them to find work for people without local experience because companies come to them for a quick-fix (i.e. they want someone who can already do the job). In their experience people who move over have no trouble finding permanent positions as employers are more willing to invest in training up people who are going to be around for the long term. Definitely a recognition of the transferability of skills, but need to get to grips with the local legislative and policy frameworks!