Category: moving

How Google streetview can help you

Our real estate office
Our real estate office

We are finally on the map. Well actually Google had us on the map a long time ago, but now Canada has been included on Google’s streetview.

For those who don’t know, this is an added feature of Google maps that shows you 360° view of the street. You can zoom around, and travel up and down the street.

Like most people the first thing I did was look for my house. It was there, with my car parked in front of the neighbours. (Don’t ask me why!)

Next step was to look at my office. This was for two reasons. Firstly it is my office. But secondly I happened to have been standing outside the office when the Google streetcar came by. I waved. Perhaps that is why I am not in the photo.

Apart from satisfying my ego, Google streetview does have some more important uses.

Firstly you can get a pretty good idea of an area just by looking at the street scenes. Nothing is hidden apart from some fuzzed out faces and license plates. That can save you some nasty surprises.

Preview our rental on West 4th St, North Vancouver
Preview our rental on West 4th St, North Vancouver

For instance, one of our clients last year booked their initial furnished rental off a web site. It turned out that the apartment was pretty good inside, but the area was noisy, busy and frankly not what they wanted. Had they been able to look at the streetview then perhaps they would have found this out before they booked. As it was we were able to find them somewhere quiet on a tree-lined street and still in a convenient area for them. So streetview helps you see beyond the glossy advert.

Same goes for a house you are considering buying. Why not have a spin around the neighbourhood from your armchair? Could save you the trip.

You could look at the streets around the schools you are interested in. Or check out the shops, restaurants and so on in the area.

Streetview does not cover everywhere and it is not a substitute for local knowledge, but it is always good to be able to find out as much as possible before you come.

Driving you nuts

Learn to drive - AGAIN?
Learn to drive - AGAIN?

Moving countries is pretty stressful, right? Sure you have to plan everything like a military mission. And it is frustrating that so many things are out of your control. You can’t get your home sold by willpower alone. You can’t make the dollar exchange rate what you want it to be, even though FX brokers like TTT Moneycorp do help. You can’t make Canadian employers take your excellent non-Canadian experience seriously.

With all these frustrations, it is still the stupid requirement to re-take your driving test that gets people annoyed. Yes, unless you are coming from one of the few countries (U.S., Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea) that allows a straight swap of your driving licence then you are going to have to go through the whole thing again.

That means hitting the books before hitting the road. Well at least studying the Knowledge Test. You can take the practice tests online. Then you get to do the test at one of the ICBC test centres. Tip for this is to skip questions if you are not sure of the answer. With luck you will hit your pass mark before having to go back and answer them.

Once you’ve done the knowledge test you can book your road test. The wait list can be quite long. As you only have 90 days from the date you become resident in BC to get your new licence, this can be another frustrating thing. If time is running out for you then you can apply for a cancellation. Best time to look for this is at 7pm (online) when their database is updated (so we were told).

If you fail your road test you will get a Learner’s permit – this means you can only drive with a fully licensed driver in the vehicle. And they will have taken away your overseas driving licence so you can’t cheat. Many people argue about this and unfortunately most fail – ICBC rules.

Get a lesson or two so that you are familiar with the test area and the tricky spots (school zones particularly) that seem to be where the examiners like to take you. With these lessons and a calm attitude you will be OK.

Advice on shipping household goods to Canada

This article comes from Anglo Pacific and who better to advise on what is involved in planning and preparing for moving your household goods to Canada. Their details are at the end of the article.

WHEN SHOULD I CONTACT OVERSEAS REMOVAL COMPANIES?

It is never too early to make a start. In an ideal world we would recommend you commence your search for a specialist international mover two to three months in advance, to allow yourself sufficient time to obtain competitive quotations, finalise your shipping and/or storage requirements and make all the necessary arrangements.

The home survey should be free of charge and without obligation. The sales consultants can discuss when you wish to move, what you are taking with you and what you may need to store. He or she will advise on what may or may not be practical to transport and assess any special packing requirements for the safe removal of your goods.

HOW DO I PREPARE?

It’s never too early to make a start. It is a good idea to start sorting out the essentials well in advance. Attics, cellars, garages, sheds all need to be cleared, and appliances need disconnecting and fixtures and fittings dismantling. Try to have a clear picture in your mind of those possessions you wish to move.

HOW DO YOU CALCULATE THE REMOVAL COSTS?

Sea freight charges are calculated on the overall volume of goods for packing and shipment. Volume is generally expressed in cubic feet.

WHAT SHOULD THE REMOVAL QUOTATION INCLUDE?

The quotation should be for a door to door service including full export packing service, labour, freight and delivery costs to your new home in Canada. Needless to say, no two moves are alike and quotations will be tailored to your specific requirements. The quotation will exclude storage at origin or destination, import duties & taxes.

WHAT ITEMS ARE PROHIBITED FROM SHIPMENT?

Certain items cannot be accepted for storage or transportation under general conditions of carriage and terms of insurance. For example: food, cash, bonds, jewelry, alcohol, ammunition or firearms, scuba cylinders, gas cylinders, aerosol cans and other hazardous items. It is also advisable to exclude liquids, which could leak in transit causing extensive damage.

HOW MUCH NOTICE SHOULD I GIVE TO BOOK MY REMOVAL?

The moving date can be governed by a number of factors; typically completion of a home sale, the commencement of a new job and the end of the school term, etc. We suggest you give as much notice as possible and, if practical, try to avoid moving on a Friday – everyone’s favourite!

WHAT HAPPENS ON ARRIVAL AT DESTINATION?

When your consignment arrives an appointed representative will contact you to arrange customs and agriculture clearance, storage (if required) and a suitable date for delivery.

When your household effects arrive in Canada they will be inspected by:

Canadian Border Services Agency

Customs will be inspecting your consignment for items which duty and/or GST is payable, as well as for prohibited items or any goods that are subject to import controls – you will be required to complete a B4 Personal Effects Accounting Document. Please note you will be required to present yourself at your local Canadian Boarder Services Agency (customs) and make a personal declaration at the time of clearance.

This article was kindly submitted by Hayden Hills at Anglo Pacific World Movers; you can contact them for a free information pack, a quote or survey by clicking here.

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