30 April 2016

April 2016 - becoming landowners

April has been a very big month. After multiple delays on the land purchase, it finally went through on 15 April. We have the photo to prove it. I posted it on Facebook and everybody asked where is the house - well the house is a few months away yet and our next step is resource and building consent. Need to begin that process today actually. But anyway, first of all, just so you know what you are looking at below - the long flat bit of grass behind us in the first photo is where our house will be. It will be a long narrow house, because the less we dig into the slope the better. In the second photo you can see a whole lot of trees, with some toi-toi sticking up between a gap in the trees. In a few months our house will be sitting in front of the toi-toi, in amongst the native bush. The land was cleared at some point so it is quite low, scrubby native bush at the moment, with a lot of kanuka and ferns. In the bottom picture you can see the aerial photo of the land. It's 1400 square metres.

So we have had our contract with the prefab company sorted since March and have now made our first payment to them, so their first step is to get the building consent for building it in their factory in Upper Hutt. On top of that we need building consent for the actual house site in Lower Hutt, and resource consent because even though we are doing very minor site development (mostly just a site scrape), we are in a hill residential area, so every little thing needs resource consent. Luckily, it will be non-notified so it should only take a couple of weeks to sort. The build may already have started, or if not it will start very soon, as they can do the first stages in their factory before the building consent has come through. We will go to see it when the framework is up, and probably every couple of weeks after that - as often as they will let us. You can see below the house plans, so you have some idea of how big the land is. Of course, almost everything that is not being covered by the house is sloped, so we won't have a big yard or anything like that. Loads of space for creative gardens though. We want a garage but it will have to wait a couple of years. The house will be three bedrooms, with a large open living space (that's going to be in the middle where the two modules join together, and the 'L' shape is the kitchen).

Since the sale went through we've being going out there for a few hours on the weekend and getting into the scrub and weeds. We are working on the triangle off to the right in the picture, as there is no point doing work around the house site until after all the big trucks have been through and the house is actually there. We thought that the other part was lumpy, filled in ground, but it turns out that when the land was cleared in the first place, instead of disposing of the trees that they cut, they just dumped them down the slope. As you do. So what we have found is a whole lot of old bits of tree, maybe they are branches off of the same tree or maybe lots of small trees, grown over with climbing weeds so it's impossible to know if you're about to step onto the ground or a void. There's also lots of top soil there, so I'd say that when it was cleared they dumped the tree branches down there, then scraped the land and dumped that on top. So we're working on getting down to ground level so we can see the lay of the land properly. When we do our site scrape we will probably put the soil down there too, then work on forming a terraced vegetable garden. There's already a peach tree there to get me started on growing food. And the neighbours had cleared a small patch where there is a gap in their fence and planted a pumpkin patch there! Before our sale went through they picked their pumpkins, pulled up all the vines and dumped them off to the side, in amongst all the other weeds and compost that they've clearly been dumping there for years! How rude. I will definitely be building a fence there!

On the other side, around the house site, is the native bush area. There's a bit of a bare patch directly to the left of the house, where our bedroom window will look out to, so that will be where we start planting. Around there edges there is kanuka and some broadleaf trees, lots of ferns, and some stuff that I don't think is native. We don't want to de-stabilise the slope so we won't clear it, we'll just slowly replace the trees we don't like with nicer natives, ones with nice flowers and berries to attract birds. There's a bit of gorse to be taken care of as well. Up behind the house, at the top of the pictures above, is a steep bank that eventually we will terrace and dig some steps into, and we will make it into a cute little patio area, as that is the north side so will get good sun.

Finally there is that pizza wedge cut out of the property, which belongs to the old fella down below. The real estate agent indicated right from the start that the guy was keen to get rid of that bit of land, as it is way above the rest of his property, probably by about 5 metres. So we've met him, and we'll be friendly, and eventually the topic will come up and we'll see what happens.

So that's all the big stuff that's been keeping us busy. Work has just been same old. I've been to some conference/symposium things and I did some training courses. The weather here is still quite warm and dry, but it's much colder in the afternoons so I've pulled out all my warm winter clothes. We have to start going through all our cupboards and getting rid of stuff, we don't want to move all our clutter and junk with us! There's a big list of things I want but we might not be able to afford new things. We will need to buy a fridge, and probably a lawn mower right away, but things like new couches and dining set will probably have to wait. I need to make curtains, choosing fabric for that should be fun. It would be nice to have new stuff in the kitchen, stuff that matches, but that can wait as well. Right now we need to be as careful with money as possible, as we are already paying the mortgage as well as rent, and we will have some very big bills coming up for the consents and the site works. Which means that my plan to visit Invercargill for a weekend in the middle of the year is probably cancelled. People will just have to come up here to visit us instead. The same will probably apply to Christmas. But we will have a house, and it will be nice, so we will definitely be keen for visitors!