Saturday, 11 November 2017

Why are good rentals so hard to find and why is it even harder to be accepted on one?

The photos of the property on the internet were very promising. It was clear that a wide angled lens had been used to make the rooms look larger and it was a slight worry that there were no kitchen or bathroom shots but it had the right number of bedrooms, seemed light and bright and seemed reasonably priced. The open for inspection was a 5.30pm right in the middle of peak traffic but off I drove leaving enough time to be able to be one of the first to get through in the 15 minute allocated time slot. I was wrong. As I drove past the home a line had already formed outside the rental and with 15 minutes to go before the agent let people through, a parking spot was hard to find. I observed the opposition with interest. The first in line were a couple who were openly smoking as they leant against the wall. On the whole landlords are not keen on smokers. Couple two was a colorful pair sporting tattoos further drawn to attention by the short skirt in one case and the shorts and vest in the others. Property managers often read tattoos to mean wild parties: best to cover up for the viewing. Sadly, the other nine parties in front of me looked fine contenders for the Excellent Tenant’ award and even more sadly of the 12 parties  going through, only one was going to be offered a tenancy.

So why is there so much competition for good rental properties? There are many reasons why and one of the most obvious is that our population is expanding.  Our cities can not keep pace with the number of newcomers who need accommodation and the shortage of quality tradesmen means that our construction of new dwellings is lagging behind the demand. In addition property prices have been at an all time high so many landlords have taken the opportunity to sell their property when it comes to the end of a lease, this depleting the pool of rental properties available. A substantial number of these properties are left vacant rather than being rented out. Many who decide to put their home on the market choose to rent while the wait for the bubble to burst, again putting strain on the rental market and some young singles, couples and families simply can not afford to buy into the inflated market. Next we are in uncertain times and therefore Australians who are usually willing to travel overseas to take a job are sitting firmly where they are and so the usual lovely properties which would become vacant while the owner is being an expat are now not becoming available.

So all in all it is a tough market with Sydney being also one of the most expensive rental markets in the world and Melbourne having a vacancy rate of around 1.1% which is extremely tight. If you are looking for a rental property you need to put your best foot forward and be prepared to make a shortlist rather than assuming you will get the first property you apply for.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Is it worth moving everything with you?

We are wonderful accumulators of 'stuff' and when you are moving interstate or overseas that ‘stuff’ can cost you dearly. Years ago when companies were more generous with removals allowances there was little thought about what you would bring with you on a corporate relocation but now when household removals are so expensive and it is relatively easy to purchase items online or from companies such as IKEA it is becoming less common to ship everything.

Industry Trends which is published by AMSA noted that in 2016 shipment totals were down by 5.2%, a decline that has been progressively noticeable since 2013. Meanwhile the  Corporate Account sector represents a greater decline at 6.7% less annually.

It is not only the cost of the shipment itself which is expensive but the cost of the insurance which if your goods are valuable can be extremely expensive. Whenever you are moving goods in a container from one place to another there is likely to be some damage: these items were not made to withstand being hauled from country to country squashed between other items which push against them.

Before you decide to take your things overseas have a really good think about what you are not likely to use ever again and either sell or donate those items. Rarely used items will be expensive to move and limit where you are able to live at the other end. Moving is an opportunity to take a serious look at your wardrobe, your book shelf, unused wedding presents and duplicates of kitchen items you brought along with you when you first shared a home! Have a quick look online to see what new sofas and the larger furniture items would cost you and how much you might reasonably sell these for secondhand.

Sometimes your things can take 12 weeks to cross the seas and get cleared by customs and in that time you are either paying for serviced accommodation or renting furniture: by this time you would have saved a fortune to have bought new. Certain electrical items and whitegoods are not suitable for travel and do not work well in the new country so this is something it is not worth bringing with you.

Starting afresh is a liberating experience and not as difficult as it may seem these days: it also allows you to choose furniture suitable for the place you decide to move into rather than choosing the place you live in based on what is coming from where you lived last!

Monday, 16 May 2016

The Newcomer’s Guide to Australia: Innovative Ways to Spend Your Time

Oftentimes, when you move somewhere new you have a grace period before starting your new job. In the meantime, you’re trying to settle in and acclimate to your new surroundings.

I’m dealing with this now; I arrived in Melbourne three months ago and I’m looking for my next job, so I totally understand your dilemma! The worst thing is to sit in your room and stress about all the things you have to do, or that you don’t have anything to do. The best remedy for this anxiety is to get moving and involved in interesting events and classes in your area as well as finding positive creative outlets for yourself.

Here are some ideas, for newcomers of all ages, on keeping busy and finding your grounding during the first few weeks in your new home!  

Finding a job:
This task can feel most overwhelming of all, especially when you move somewhere with no personal connections. Fear no more! There are a number of very helpful websites to get you started on a clear and active job search. You can do a highly specific search on jobs in your area, in your field of expertise and the type of contract or hours you prefer. Here’s a list of great job-finding websites:


Ps. Here are two more ways to make an income before work starts:

Uber:  becoming an Uber driver is a great way to make some money until your new job is settled. For more details visit

Grants: Have an amazing new business idea? You can now apply for grants for innovative business ideas. Check out this article for more information:

What to do until work begins:
You have so many options! Read on…

If you choose so, you will never be bored in Australia. No matter where you live, there are countless activities for kids, teens and adults. I live in Melbourne, and I haven’t had one quiet weekend since I moved in! Here are some ideas to keep you busy no matter where you’re living, then I’ll give you a list of some adventures and events throughout Australia.

Volunteer work: great for all ages; a way to give back and connect to your new community and make friends

Babysitting: teens! this is a great way for you to make some money and keep busy when you first arrive. It could also be a good way to meet people and new friends in your neighbourhood

Tutoring: this is a great job opportunity for teens and allows them to give back to the community and make new connections

Blogs: writing a blog about your experiences is a great creative outlet and allows you to connect with friends back home. You can include photos, cafes and bars you enjoyed and stories about your first impressions of your new home.

Social groups/  joining and other local social groups is a fantastic way to make friends and connections. Events in practically every category are available (arts, sports, hiking, film, writing, etc.)

Workshops: Signing up for a workshop is a great creative outlet and a perfect way to meet other likeminded people. You can easily find workshops in writing, art, and more.

Short courses: Your little pocket of free time could be the perfect time to take a course in something you’ve always wanted to learn more about.  Many of the universities throughout Australia offer short or single courses in a wide variety of subjects. Here are just a few options:
Arts and crafts: Another fun activity is to get involved with arts and crafts. You can find local classes, art groups and great art stores. Check out for art groups and workshops

Shopping: for your new home (and maybe a little something for yourself...)
You just moved into your new place, so I’m assuming you’ll need to pick up a few things to make your new home feel like home. And perhaps you need to do a little bit of shopping before you start your new job. Here are some great sites for incredible deals:

1.      Trade Secret – you can find this store all throughout Australia. It offers incredible deals on clothing, home décor and more.

2.      50 Best Online Shopping Sites – perfect for when you’re too busy (or exhausted!) to leave your couch to go shopping. Tons of brands just a click away.

3. – shop for everything from furniture to clothing to electronics. Its all here and you can be sure you’ll find some great deals.

4.      IKEA – you can pretty much never go wrong with IKEA. I’ve furnished full apartments with IKEA furniture and it looks great. Affordable and beautiful. Plus, you can buy lovely wine glasses for under $10...  Relax and browse:

5.      My Furniture Store – great discount prices on every type of furniture.

6.      Buy furniture online – 17 places to buy furniture online:

7.      Sell Buy Swap – this is a great site to sell, buy and swap furniture and more. Definitely worth a look!

Events for you… and the Kids!
Don’t forget about the kids while you’re enjoying your online shopping and catching up on long forgotten art courses! There are tons of activities you can do with your kids before starting work. Here are some awesome events and activities for everyone: 


Kids Activities and Classes:
Trampoline Park:
200 Things for Kids and Families to do in Melbourne:
20 Things to do in Melbourne with Kids:


Daily Ideas for Sydney Mums:
Kids events and classes:

Kids Events and Classes:


Kids Events and Classes:


Kids Events and Classes:


Kids Events and Classes:


Kids Events and Classes:

Kids Events and Classes:
· -- Drama classes

I hope these tips help you fill your newfound free time, keep you thinking positive and allow you to enjoy your new home. I wish you the best of luck on settling in, exploring the city, and of course, finding the perfect furniture. Adventure on!

Elite Cultural Discovery assists you with every aspect of your move to a different country where you will live like a local with all the support or as little support as you need to fit right in.

As a world traveler from birth, Rahel has been sharing her experiences through photography, creative writing, poetry and film. Originally from Vancouver, BC, Rahel has moved to three countries on her own and hopes to inspire others to travel and learn about themselves and others in the process. Rahel currently lives in Melbourne, Australia. 

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Melbourne: Day 1

For Elite 

So, the flight is long. Really long. You try to sleep on the plane, chat with strangers, eat whatever you can find in the airport, and pretend to read your huge book. Then you get to that dream-like space where you’re so tired you’re just wandering around the airport until your next flight, purely running on fuel.

In this unreal state, I kept imagining myself landing in Melbourne, groggily enduring the cab ride to the hotel and with the last of my strength, crawling into bed never to wake again.

When I got off the plane and through the huge customs line, I grabbed my bags and rolled out into the arrivals area. I thought I would be grumpy, exhausted, just ready to get out of there. But much to my surprise, I was just happy. Beaming, in fact. The energy in the air was so fresh and warm, people were hugging and pushing babies and drinking expensive airport coffee.

The driver who was arranged to pick me up was about an hour late, but I was ok! I was just so happy to be here. All my anxieties and tears about moving again seemed to suddenly disappear. I just had this reassuring feeling that everything was going to be great here.

Of course, because I needed to beat the jetlag (19 hours from Vancouver, Canada!) I forced myself to stay away from the incredibly tempting hotel bed.

I stayed in CBD (Central Business District) for my first week in Melbourne and just explored on foot every day. My first day, jetlagged and dreamy, I explored for hours. Discovering the most amazing street art and graffiti, hidden shops and café’s, friendly people and live music on the streets.

Melbourne is alive. There is always something going on, no matter what you’re looking for. Incredible food, coffee, music, art, kids events and more. I have found the people here to be so kind and welcoming, inviting me to sit with their friends, strangers making me feel comfortable in my new home.

I knew from my first day here that I wanted to stay. At least for a little while, or maybe a bit of a longer while... I guess we’ll see!

Welcome home,


Monday, 20 July 2015

Doing Business in Australia

This week our business Elite Executive Services became one of the winners in the Telstra Business Awards.  

The win was a win for our remarkable team and was a huge validation of the work we do supporting  companies, their  employees and individuals in the world of relocation. 

The Telstra Business Awards are a marathon for any business but a huge learning exercise. The entry covers every aspect of business, challenges any complacency but most importantly makes you feel very good when you confirm that you have been doing things well! 

There were thousands of entries in each state and each entrant received a business health check to learn from: that means that many thousands of businesses have been given solid advice about where they stand and how they can improve. 

This is a sensational initiative and even if a small proportion of those who entered take on the advice it will lead to an upturn in their fortunes. Very Australian: giving people a fair go.  It led me to think about the advantages of starting a business in Australia compared to many other countries around the globe. Business owners are given a tremendous amount of support compared to many other countries. Government initiatives, grants and advice are available and other business owners are almost always supportive. There are numerous networks and if people see that you are doing what you do well, no matter what size you are, they will support you!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Elite Executive Services Shortlisted for Best Family Support, Destination Provider of the Year and Most Innovative Use of Technology in FEM Awards

Elite Executive Services  have been shortlisted for awards which recognise the assistance with and ongoing support they provide for relocating families as well as for their app Applocation Australia.

The Elite Executive Services Team has been shortlisted for the Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM) Expatriate Management and Mobility Award (EMMA) for Best Family Support Programme,,Destination Service Provider of the Year and Most Innovative Use of Technology in Global Mobility

The FEM Awards recognise excellence in global mobility, with winners announced at the dazzling  Awards Dinner on 14th October  2014 at the Orchard Hotel in Singapore.  Shortlisting in these three award categories highlights Elite Executive Services’ outstanding team and their commitment to ensure every relocation is smooth and the transition is stress-free. Relocating with Elite Executive Services not only means that the executive can concentrate on work rather than the challenge of finding homes, school and networks while Elite Executive Services provides the support introductions into a new community.

Elite Executive Services has its own consultants throughout Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, UK, South Africa, , Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji.