Sometimes buying doesn’t mean owning

Holy shit. What a two weeks.

First out of the ranks, I’d interviewed for TWO jobs (you many have read my saga here already) before we went out to Rengaru, so I was feeling rather buoyant about the outcome. One was really quite awesome, and the other was ok – but I was sure that I’d get offered at least one of them this time – which is kind of hilarious since this isn’t the first time I’ve been in this situation – and lo and behold… I bloody got neither AGAIN!!

The one I really really wanted got back to my email follow-up with a ‘sorry, no’ (but be sure to apply if you think that you see anything else you’d be a good fit for!!!) and the other one never bothered to let me know at all – even after I chased them! (I just CANNOT get my head around this rudeness and inefficiency, particularly after an actual interview… so if you’re reading this and are guilty of similar behaviour – UP YOUR BLOODY GAME!).

That was strike one. I now had no job secured (or any prospects), and only had 20 working days to find one, which again, was hilarious as I’ve been trying to find one for a year so far… but ever the optimist, I was sure that it would be ok.

Then came strike two. The budget.

Here were our initial calculations to get a ball park feel when we first did the math:

Basic house – $225,000 (Nearly $15,000 more than Waikato FYI!) (Oh, and transportable not an option thanks to two stonking big trees either side of entryway)

Solar – $40,000

Natural Flow waste water – $14,000 (turned out being double what we expected!)

Water tanks – $14,000

Legal – $1,500

Consents – $10,000

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Even more hilarious than expecting to get a job!!! The build price came in at $390,000 (not including solar) – and that was with several TBC’s as the builder didn’t think that it would be a very easy site to build on, and we would have needed additional engineering reports (on top of the ones they’d already quoted), possibly with retaining walls (I did not think this would be the case, but builder threw it in there anyhow!!) and he was pretty sure that it would cost at least another $50,000 more that quoted!! People, that was getting into the million dollar realm…. what are we..Aucklanders?? (Yes actually, but the ones that can’t afford to spend $1,000,000 on a house!)

The salesman was also very un-salesy and said that he’s gonna try and talk us out of this one as he thinks this project will be a lot more than we could afford… and although it had a nice view, it was ultimately just a metal road up to a paddock. And there would be others just like it, for hopefully less – and with at least power to the boundary!!


And then Mark had a builder come through for some treatment and he had a few home truths too:

  1. Don’t build if you don’t have a buffer (he wasn’t very specific about what that should be… I’m assuming our 3% wasn’t going to cut it though)
  2. He’s never worked on a build that DIDN’T go over
  3. He no longer commits to a buffer as it’s completely impossible to guesstimate a build cost at the moment
  4. The shortage on building materials is very real – and getting worse! (12% increase on supplies recently)
  5. Don’t fret – something else would come up that would likely be better!

So when I showed Mark what the builders had provided – on top of a very long (very old) geotech report, easements and convenants – and no flat building platform with dodgy sand…. we both looked at each other and saw the dream of Rengaru disappear like smoke before our very eyes.

And it was heartbreaking. 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

But on the plus side, Mark slept like a log for the first time in 2 weeks so… #winning.

So. The dream has met its first speed bump. Not all negative as it was a massive learning curve and we learnt a lot, have a really good idea of what to ask now, and a much more accurate idea of what it costs to get set-up off the grid – and most importantly, an even bigger desire to make it happen…. if only to make use of the insane new build rates that ASB has just released!!

Key takeaways:

Polished concrete floors are substantially more expensive than carpet – even when part of a concrete foundation!

Building an energy efficient house costs a bloody fortune – and basically out of the realms of normal budgets

Soil type makes a big difference on a Geotech report – and if you see the word ‘engineering’ anywhere – you’re up for a shit load of extra dollars

I wish I had more builders and engineers in my life!

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