02 March 2016

February 2016 - the beginning of something big

Now when I say something big, I mean really big ... about as big as a house!

Earlier this month we made an offer on a section out in Lower Hutt, in a suburb called Wainuiomata. Wainui is sort of to the side of the Hutt, it's a valley that these days is mostly a commuter town, being about 15 minutes drive from the train station and then a 10 minute train ride. It's small, it's far cheaper to buy property than Wellington city, and it sort of reminds me of Invercargill (the flat bit at the bottom that is, not so much the huge hills). Our section is halfway up the hills, with a view over the town and to the hills on the other side. It's big - 1400m2. It's also mostly sloped, with scrubby regenerating native bush, gorse, lots of weeds, and a few nice trees. There is a long flat section, and that is where we plan to fit a house.

As for the house, the plan we are pretty set on is a pre-fab home from a local company called Matrix Homes. We looked at lots of other options, but having a house built on side would have ended up being far out of our budget, and all pre-designed plans from the other companies, whether to be built on site or as a pre-fab in a factory, they were all too wide for the site and we want to do as little in the way of earthworks as possible. The big difference with the company we have chosen is that instead of various house plans they have just three modules, and you can stick them together any way you like. So it's like really big lego...

In the end we will have a long house with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a large open plan living space. There will be lots of floor to ceiling windows looking out over the valley and our wee piece of native bush. Over time we will turn the bank behind the house into a terraced garden for all my flowers (and some herbs and vegetables) and we will turn the messy native scrub into a semi-wild garden of natives, probably with a little bit of terracing and steps so we can maneuver the steeper part of the section. There is another sloped area that will be perfect for a terraced vege garden and a chicken coop, though we may use up half of it with a garage if we can afford it. Which in turn will create shade so maybe my veges won't grow there after all. We'll see. Finally, there is a grassy bit that is actually part of the section on the level below ours - the realtor promised that the owner was keen to offload that big of grass, but now that we are committed with our offer he is of course back-pedalling and saying don't count your chickens, etc. I for one still have my heart set on redefining the boundary and getting that piece of grass - with a big of fill over time it could even nearly be flat, and will be the closest we get to a lawn in this hilly city.

So as you can see it has been a very big month, and things are just getting started. We are halfway through being ready to settle on the land - in fact more than halfway. I have the LIM report, but it's huge so will take awhile to understand. The geotech guy was pretty positive but we need to wait for the test results. We need quotes for earthworks and connecting services, then we need the final quote on the house itself. And we need an estimated valuation. Finally after that we can go unconditional, sign stuff, and become land owners.

It's past my bedtime, I stayed up just for this! And only two days late...

I will add some concept pictures soon, for now I need to go to sleep.

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