Thursday, April 28, 2011

You can take that to the bank.... NOT!!!

Ok, I think I have had enough fair share of banking frustration over the last couple of months, that I just need to say something in this post.

I know that I'm inexperienced when it comes to the construction of our home let alone understanding mortgage process and finances but seriously though, the people or the organisation who is funding this construction should have known this better than I am and explain to me in details when I asked the question.

That's right this is about you ANZ.

First, it was the land settlement that got us running around like headless chuck in the city chasing and getting people to sign and witness our mortgage document.  Yes that was all processed on the day and we managed to slip in to the settlement just in time before we got the penalties from the sale contract.  However this didn't come with "our" sacrifice.  It was a working day and I had to slip out of work in between my meetings and my boss did called me whilst on my way to hand back the mortgage document to Perpetual.  Even then we were treated cynically by the reception as it was nearly 5pm.

Where was the courtesy to at least let us know that our loan application was expired and needed to be refreshed?!?  Where was the communication to the client??

I understand that everyone made mistakes but twice in a row?  I thought by now the bank should learn that they need to improve communication to the client.

The second time was just more chaos and more frustration.

This time we needed an Authority to Commence Construction (ACC) letter that Metricon needed before everything can be submitted to the construction department.  So I rang my broker to find out where can I get my hand on this kind of letter.

As this is also the first construction loan application request from us, our broker for obvious reason, tried to get some more information on how to obtain this letter from the bank.

After quite some time there were no response or reply back from the bank.  I asked my broker if she learned anything from the bank and she said no.  So a couple of weeks ago, I tried to call the mortgage department of ANZ customer service myself.

Skipping all the obvious phone hospitality of customer service people, I was told that I needed to submit a few more document to the bank but this can only be done via the broker as our loan was originated from there.

I gave this update to my broker and she said to leave it with her and she will chase everything up.  I stressed to her that our tender was due to expire in 17 April and I need the letter before that date to avoid getting more penalty or price increase from Metricon.

When I told her the update, there was still a good couple of weeks left before the 17 April and I honestly thought that we should be able to get the letter before then.

A week gone by and finally my broker rang to tell me that my loan application needed to be refreshed again!!!  To which I find quite hard to believe as it is still less than 3 months since our last refresh.  But ANZ was adamant that our application needed to be settled by 30 March.  However we can't really do anything during that time as we only received our council approval on 1 April.

So here we go again with the payslips, wifey income statement and future tax return and loan application form all over again.  At this stage this has gone past the 17 April deadline of going to construction.

And to make it worst, as this was at the Easter period, there is little chance that this can all be done before then.  Then right after the Easter break, I got a call from my broker telling me that ANZ credit assessor wasn't impressed because we didn't need to submit the loan application refresh again as our loan won't expire until the end of this month.  I am not quite happy as this was requested by ANZ initially when they advised that our loan has expired and needed to be refreshed!

She told me I need to ring the customer service line so that they can mail or fax the ACC letter to me as a matter of priority.

Ok, so I rang the customer service line again.  Again skipping the all necessities of customer service phone etiquette, I was told that they can only send this ACC letter after we settle or make our first draw down from the bank.  Honestly I went off at him because what he was saying doesn't make any sense at all!!  I mean really how can I send them the first progress payment instruction without any Authority to Commence Construction letter from the bank?!?!?!?!?  Hence the name of the letter "Authority to Commence Construction" for crying out loud.

He was still adamant that the bank doesn't send this type of letter and also said that the bank should have sent everything we need in our mortgage pack which include the progress payment instruction form.  I did receive this pack and there was a progress payment instruction form included in that pack.  So he advised that the form was all I need to submit to Metricon.

So after I gave the update to my broker, I forwarded this to our CSO at Metricon only for her to tell me that this wasn't the letter that they were looking for.  However it does suggest that the bank is ready to make the payment.  Our CSO offered her help and asked if I have the number of our banking rep at ANZ.  Well as I went through a broker, I didn't have a banking rep at ANZ so I gave the customer service line instead and my broker details.

At this stage, I was becoming more and more agitated.  I rang our broker and told her that this is NOT the letter they wanted.  She said that she will ring her contact again to chase up the letter.  At the same time I also said that I will ring ANZ customer service again.

I honestly can't remember how many times that I have rang ANZ mortgage customer service line that day but again skipping all the greeting necessities, this time I got a customer service rep that advised me that the initial advise that the first rep gave me was completely and utterly wrong!!!

Imagine the growing frustration that I now have with ANZ!!

After all the necessary identification process, I learned that our file was still empty and all the documents required for them to make the so called" Builder's Pack" which include the ACC letter is no where to be seen!!!

I really like to explode here but I tried to be wise with the words that I chose and told the rep I had sent these documents couple of weeks ago to my broker because it was required by the credit assessor.

She explained that it might be still on the way to them for issuance of the pack.

At this point of time, I got some news from our CSO at Metricon saying that she had rang ANZ and escalated the matter to the supervisor and have the pack send to us as soon as possible.  Our broker did the same and escalated the matter to the so called higher management.

Finally today, I got a text message two in fact, believe it or not, from ANZ bank saying that the construction loan pack has been sent to our mailing address and they need another documentation which is the Builder's insurance certificate and Public Liability document, to which my broker liaised with our CSO at Metricon.

So after wasting a good 3 hours of my working time and ringing a dozen number of people varying from broker, Metricon and ANZ, that finally I got an answer that I wanted and ANZ really did let us know that it is coming?!?!?!?

I've had delays with the council approval and the last thing I need was more delays from the bank.  I did got what I needed to give to Metricon but honestly I'm still not happy with ANZ.

I mean how do you expect to believe someone if they can't even answer a simple question that I have like "how to obtain the ACC letter?" where they were supposed to be the expert and they are the funder to my construction loan.

I did ask a simple question didn't I?

However from this experience I can only thank our CSO at Metricon for all the help that she has provided so far.  I suppose this is one of the term we called "Going the Distance"...

Having said that, we still haven't got our final construction drawing, which is the last piece of the puzzle before going to construction.  I know that it's coming but I wish it was sooner.

I just hope I can use this as my case to argue about the price increase...

Well enough raving from me and thank you for reading this far.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My first landscape job!

Ok so I'm not very good at gardening or anything to do with backyard, front yard, plants or anything that relates to gardening.  As a matter of fact, I've tried to look after an indoor type but even that I failed miserably. But hey, everyone need to start somewhere right?

So this is my first time to actually do a gardening job.  I have done some garden maintenance in the past but it's only limited to lawn mowing and watering the plants.

Anyway on with the topic.

As part of our contract agreement with Metricon, we need to clear our land of any obstacles that might hinder the construction process.  That includes trees, debris, long grass, rubish, etc.  I think in one of my entires, I've mentioned about a tree that is impeding the construction of the driveway that connects our driveway to the street.

In the council submission that Metricon provided, it was proposed that the tree was to be repositioned by ourselves.  So I did just that last Sunday 10 April, with the help from a friend of course.  Here are some picture evidence of my effort:

I am feeling quite proud of myself that I just moved a tree and did my first landscape job and was still standing when I left it.  However upon visiting our land again yesterday, I discovered that the tree that I moved last Sunday had fallen to the ground.  Apparently I accidently cut off the roots of the tree during my attempt to dug it out.  So with the strong wind conditions for the past week or so, the tree that I just moved will not stand a chance against the harsh environment.  I was told that the tree will die as a result of that.

I've also noticed that there is a block across from us that the council tree has been completely removed from where it used to be!  They must've fall under the same situation that we are in.  I didn't bother trying to plant the tree again as the wind conditions hasn't changed much and also I didn't bring my tools anyway.  Might do more work on it later during the break.

I thought to myself that it was too good to be true that I can gardening on my own.  However I will keep trying and learning.  This is fun!  Also I wanted the house and it's surrounding to look nice when we move in.  I learned that a good landscape has also it's benefits.  Not only it will add some tranquility to your lifestyle but can also add more value to your home.  Check out this site if you like to find out more.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Council Approval

After nearly 60 days of waiting, biting nails and getting frustrated at the council for taking their time with our document. we finally received our approval document on this day.  To be exact the time taken for the council to send our development approval to us was 57 days or 1 month and 29 days.  But hey, who's counting? :)

I might add that on this day happened to be the April's fool day also.  Talking about getting a present on this day, makes me think twice whether this is actually happening.

Nevertheless we got our council approval document via our CSO at Metricon today and the hard copy is on it's way via the mail.
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