Foxes Grand Designs
Some very, very exciting news happening at Foxes HQ! Aside from regaining some of the blogging mojo (hooray! This in itself, is a small miracle) I am also beginning the journey of not only buying my first home, but building my own place! I have officially made the decision to move out of Auckland to our own slice of New Zealand that I can soon call my own. Grand designs for Foxes HQ!
Now, this wasn’t a decision that I ever thought that I would make; I love Auckland, I grew up here, I moved back here from the UK and I never thought I would leave — and I didn’t want to. It’s a decision that has been pretty big (and scary) but really exciting at the same time. Home ownership in Auckland is next to impossible for those in my generation, and if you are on a self employed, single income like myself? You can kiss that idea goodbye and get ready to become BFF’s with your landlord, which is also causing issues for the housing Auckland market. Luckily my landlord is actually amazing, but I really do know how lucky I am and they are an exception.
So how did this all begin? I got angry about the market. I got a bit sad at the thought of never being settled in my own place for myself and G. But then I gave myself a pep-talk and figured I should come up with solutions, not more problems. I punched in a few numbers to my banks online mortgage calculator to see what I could (potentially) afford. Then I got sad again at what it revealed (one bedroom apartment in deepest south or north Auckland anyone?). But, when I don’t have much to work with, like anything, I get really creative.
My first thought was, do I really need to live in Auckland? Well, not really. How long would I be willing to travel to come in for a single meeting? 1-2 hours perhaps. I began looking at locations like Tauranga, Cambridge and Keri-Keri where I knew friends or family lived, but these were all a little too far away when it came to the knitty-gritty and practically running my business. I really needed to be within an hour of Auckland to make this crazy idea work.
In looking at these locations, I discovered that buying a section and building a new home was a really affordable possibility and actually better than buying something existing. Hmmmmm. Sections in these places were still about a 3rd of what the total cost would be to complete the build, and this made a lot of financial sense, much to the delight of my internal designer and homewares obsessed self! So, locations, I’d worked out I needed to be about 1-1.15 hours away from Auckland. Enter Mangawhai to the conversation.
Over Christmas, I went away with my (then) boyfriend to Mangawhai, it was such a beautiful and friendly place, and only an hour and ten minutes away from Auckland. I felt that the drive was a short enough distance to work in with my life and not leave me to feel as isolated. I could get to Takapuna, or visit my parents within an hour, have a few meetings in the city, and still be home in time for the 3pm school pick up. There were lots of good sized sections in my rule of thirds budget and things were looking good!
It took a little while, but I finally found a really great section for what I wanted to do; it was in a beautiful area, it was close to the village, the school and it was within my snug budget. But, I’d been pipped at the post before; having put in offers on sections that had been on the market for several months, only to have people come out of nowhere and trump me (grrr) at the last hurdle. I put in an offer as fast as I could, and it was accepted. I had the land, which felt like the hardest part and I had a little cry of relief.
Everything lined up from there really; my finance came through (hooray!), I’d been speaking with an amazing building company who out of the 3 quotes I had gotten, they were well priced, well specified and the most flexible with the design changes I wanted to make. So this was all happening in amongst a lot of sleepless nights and tear filled calls to my parents. And then I had to do the Auckland Fair and it felt like my brain was about to explode. Luckily, it didn’t, and the Fair was insanely successful and couldn’t have gone better.
So now, I’m working on the plans with the building company so we can submit them to council for approval, at which point I will have a completion date which will be some point early 2016 and can plan moving into our very own home!
While I’m still in the early stages and still have a long way to go, it’s very exciting and I absolutely can’t wait. If you are like me, there is hope! Think outside the box, work with what you have and explore any possibility; even the slightly crazy ones, because you could end up with something perfect.
Now, where are those paint swatches! Stay tuned for more updates on my journey in amongst all the usual goodness…
Image: Mangawhai estuary across to the dunes, about 10 minutes drive from the village.