Saturday, 29 January 2011

Let's start at the very beginning ...

... a very good place to start. (100 meaningless points for nothing if you can name that tune!)

I kind of jumped the gun a bit by starting this story with buying the block. Buying the block was about stage 27 of the whole 'building a new nest' thing so I thought I'd go back and start again from scratch.

The idea of moving had raised its head several times over the previous few years (coincidentally, it always seemed to be when we were having other issues in our lives) but we finally decided to start seriously investigating our options back in November of 2009. We went looking at established houses because neither one of us really wanted to build again (we built our first shoebox house straight after we got married) as we didn't want to go through the whole building down to a budget thing and leaving so much stuff not done due to having no money and even less time.

When we realised that the best we were going to be able to afford in the established house market was actually a step down in size from our current home, we did our usual trick of giving up on the idea of moving for the time being. This has been a pattern of ours for our entire married life ... you'd think we would have learned by now!

In January 2010, I was bored one weekend and suggested that we go look at one of the local display home villages as they had just opened one of the houses that was being advertised at a very good price ... The Provincial by Celebration Homes.

As we both liked the house (I know, wonders will never cease!), we went a step further by contacting a finance guy to see if we could afford to build it. He gave us a whole heap of information on a relatively new loan product that would enable us to stay in our current house while we built the new one. This sounded perfect to me as I hated the idea of moving twice in twelve months (and paying rent!) but once Peter found out what the total loan amount would be, he just about passed out before declaring it a no-go zone too.

Disappointed, I gave up on trying to talk him round but continued to look at display homes on the weekends, just for something to do. (Housework doesn't count as 'something to do' on the weekends!) That was when I found the Floreat by Scott Park Homes. I played around with it a bit and was really happy with the result, but when I showed Peter, he didn't like it at all. I put it away in my 'one-day' file hoping he would change his mind.

I also continued to look at land for sale, just in case the Universe decided to be kind. I even managed to talk Peter into coming along several times where we found another house we both thought could work for us: the Colorado by New Generation Homes.

The sales rep in this house told us we were going about things the wrong way. Due to the land shortage in and around Perth, we were better off to secure a block and then find the house that best suited our needs that would fit on that block. After explaining that we had been trying to find a block with no luck, he suggested we look a bit further afield in Byford.

As I said in the previous post, my initial response was "No way, Jose!", especially after looking at the state of some of the different estates and the lack of infrastructure in the immediate area. Then we found The Glades, which was being developed in a totally different way to the other estates.

Instead of just dividing available land up into teeny-tiny lots, all roughly the same size as each other and plonking the required green space anywhere they could fit it, these developers are trying to build a new 'greener' community and are being sympathetic to the existing environment. The creek is not being filled in; it's being incorporated into the parks that weave through the whole estate creating a natural corridor for wildlife (and children!). There will be a small village shops by the time we have finished building and something like 85%of the blocks have the correct orientation to enable passive solar design principles to be easily incorporated into new houses.

After finding out about all this, I was almost sold so we went out to take a better look at the area and I realised it's a lot closer to everything than I thought it was. Once the highway extension goes through, it will be even closer. Not literally closer of course, but it will be easier and quicker to access all the old haunts, so I was well and truly coming around to the whole idea.

It was at this point (May 2010) that we visited the land sales office and found our block. We then started playing around with the Colorado plan, trying to make it work. We needed to flip the front of the house to enable us to add extra garage space for Peter and to put the master bedroom on the south side of the house. After two weeks of playing around , we resigned ourselves to the fact that it just wasn't going to work and started looking at other plans.

I would go out and look at houses on the weekends and show Peter the plans when he came home from work. All the plans were kept in the same folder and one day, Peter found my much drawn on copy of the Floreat (the one that he didn't like at all remember!) and asked if it was on display anywhere. It wasn't but a very similar house was at ... wait for it ... The Glades in Byford! Co-inky-dink? I think not!

Stay tuned for the next thrilling instalment (and house plans!) coming soon ....

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