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  1. #1
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    Default Real Estate: And why I want to shoot myself

    So the quest for a home to buy has started. The original plan was to buy land and build, but circumstances require that I have something to live in faster than that. Two cuties spotted over the Internet. I'm an old hand at this though so I know how much photo's lie. Every house looks amaaazing over the net. When you stand in front of it though.....

    #1 Country town - pop 500, bluestone cottage 100yrs old in original but well kept condition. 30mins to major rural centre, 45mins to city and 2.5hrs from major city. Location is great, lots of green rolling hills, quiet area, picturesque town with heritage homes. The cottage is pretty too. But the employment catchment of this location is very attractive. I would have lots of options.

    Evils revealed by Google Maps - the house is situated backwards on the block, no street appeal and no chance to change it. It has a vacant lot next door which is clearly about to become a building site. The internal layout is functional but old fashioned and as the walls are masonry it will cost a bomb to knock any of them down or widen a door.

    Pluses revealed by Google Maps - it is situated down a laneway so otherwise will be very quiet and secluded location. It has one of my favourite tree's on the lot which is probably already 100yrs old. It's a stone cottage and by the looks of it the roof is reasonably new and has a nice fancy solar water heater. It's a heritage home of the variety most people sell a kidney to acquire. But it's also south facing (southern hemisphere) which will make it like an ice cave in winter.

    #2 Country town pop 400, weatherboard cottage, 100yrs old in recently reno'd condition and done up in chic country style. 30mins to major rural town. 1.5hrs to city & major city. Neighbours both sides so no building lots. Bags of street appeal but smaller lot. These cottages have zero insulation. Not a problem when they're in the subtropics but this one is in one of the colder temperate zones with sharp winters. The mployment catchment however isn't very good because it would be a 90min commute in any direction unless I wanted to work a casual job at 10hrs a week locally. This house is north facing, so better orientation than the other one.

    Evils revealed by Google Maps - none really other than the town looks a bit rundown and not as nice as the other one. Asking about $30k more than it's worth though. House next door on larger lot, same number of bedrooms and comparable appearance sold for 30k less just 2 months ago.

    Pluses revealed by Google Maps - the last time a photo of this house was taken it looked ready to fall down. Which explains why the present owners purchased it for half its current asking price. I can pretty much say everything in this house is new and internal walls have been knocked out to make it flow better. Nothing more to do basically except garden.

    Why is it that when you just want to buy a reasonable house for a reasonable price you are only presented with oddball options, that make you stop and think the whole process is a waste of time? I'm going to see both of them tomorrow, 2hrs of flying and about 5hrs of driving involved. So expensive, I really hope I don't come back thinking it was a giant waste of money.

  2. #2
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    I made an offer on the first property this morning after a mammoth trip to go and visit it. Turns out the aspect of that house is much better in person. It has lovely valley views and offers a lot of privacy. The house itself is quite small in dimensions which suits my minimalist lifestyle and actually the layout could work really well. If I am incredibly lucky, behind the boarded up kitchen hearth will be a vintage combustion stove, as these homes were almost always fitted with one and most people never bother to remove them. If not, I will buy a restored one to place in there.

    The town was also much more lively and nicer than I expected too. Host to a good farmers market, lots of local commerce considering the population size there and a community interest in gardens and restoration of local architecture. Nice town. Even has two posh cafes in town. Fingers crossed on this one.
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  3. #3
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    And offer accepted. Now on the legal merry-go-round where large sums of money change hands and I mostly keep my eye's shut and just pray everything will work out okay.

  4. #4
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Wow, congratulations! From the sound of your OP the first house sounded like a better bet. Glad you went with it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    build a yurt on the land of the house and live in that while the house is being built, that's what my brother did.
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so

  6. #6
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    I am actually starting to get excited now. This is my dream incarnate, I've always wanted to find a good fixer-upper of the cutesy cottage variety and restore it. It's on half an acre in the middle of a very cute town that seems to take pride in it's heritage. One of only three bluestone buildings in town. It needs some iron lace restored, hopefully the chimney's are still good, a new roof in on the cards in the next 12 months (didn't I mention photo's lie?) but the rest is cosmetic plus landscaping.

    It has hardwood flooring in the 1880's section, slab foundation in the newer extension. The bathroom/laundry is actually a good size with a clawfoot bath, original laundry tub still on site too. Has a single lockup garage, old quince tree on the property. All windows are original with wrap around verandahs that look out over the town. Fully restored versions of these homes sell in this area for about $70k more than I am paying for this one. As long as there aren't any major issues good chance for capital appreciation on the restoration.

    For the kitchen I'm going for timber in simple shaker style, butler sink, limewashed in robins egg blue with copper benchtops. Vinyl flooring in black and white checkerboard. Very appropriate for the 1920's section of the home. Whatever combustion stove I put in there will be cream and robins egg blue enamelled. These stoves are iconic here and can be found everywhere in both restored and unrestored condition. Here's hoping the kitchen actually gifts me one.

    The local antique store actually sells all the old light fittings that have been removed from various homes in the district. Lots of 1920's pendant lamps in marbled glass which will be perfect for the home. I can't wait to start this project. Building inspection next week, lets hope nothing major is turned up then.
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  7. #7
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    Fully restored. My home will look like these.

    The image below is the shape and layout of the house. Although that one is weatherboard rather than brick and stone.

    https://plus.google.com/photos/11106...72849980216017

    These cottages show the stone and detailing around the windows as well as the style of windows.

    http://www.weekendnotes.com/im/001/0...del6681121.jpg

    This kind of heritage architecture is my absolute passion and sadly we are losing these homes to unsympathetic renovations and knockdowns. They are small homes, always were built small that doesn't suit most people's idea's of a modern life. So typically the backend of them gets torn apart to make way for a living area that resembles a school gymnasium. Finding one of these in untouched condition is getting hard but still achievable. I am living next to one right now that is having the school gym put on the back. It's a terrible renovation but the owners think it's great. At least they didn't ruin the roofline, but the extension is larger than the original house and it has an awful modern garage on the back of it.

  8. #8
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    So here is a good example of the style of kitchen I want to create. Pretty much a duplicate of this, although I'd like the blue in a paler limewash. My plan to keep costs down is to source a 2nd hand kitchen off eBay, lots of wooden kitchens being removed from homes right now as they are out of fashion, so getting one could be as cheap as a few hundred dollars plus a day of my time to remove it and truck it back to my home. My kitchen space is relatively small (about 20sqm) and it's a galley style so finding a suitable one 2nd hand will be quite easy. Then i will sand back the doors, limewash them myself and do the copper benchtop myself as well. I have two options there...

    Buy sheet copper used for ship keels and epoxy it onto the existing laminate benchtop. Lots of people have done this on DIY blogs and it looks great, costing a pittance of getting one manufactured. Or cheaper still I can use copper leaf to cover the existing benchtop then seal it with resin. Same great look, very simple and relatively cheap process. IKEA sell those sinks for around $400 for a double sink version and $280 for a single. One quick trip into town fixes that.

    How to create a Shaker-style kitchen

  9. #9
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    Very happy for you!
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
    Eleanor Roosevelt


    "When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad."
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  10. #10
    The Typing Tabby grey_beard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chthonic View Post
    So here is a good example of the style of kitchen I want to create. Pretty much a duplicate of this, although I'd like the blue in a paler limewash. My plan to keep costs down is to source a 2nd hand kitchen off eBay, lots of wooden kitchens being removed from homes right now as they are out of fashion, so getting one could be as cheap as a few hundred dollars plus a day of my time to remove it and truck it back to my home. My kitchen space is relatively small (about 20sqm) and it's a galley style so finding a suitable one 2nd hand will be quite easy. Then i will sand back the doors, limewash them myself and do the copper benchtop myself as well. I have two options there...

    Buy sheet copper used for ship keels and epoxy it onto the existing laminate benchtop. Lots of people have done this on DIY blogs and it looks great, costing a pittance of getting one manufactured. Or cheaper still I can use copper leaf to cover the existing benchtop then seal it with resin. Same great look, very simple and relatively cheap process. IKEA sell those sinks for around $400 for a double sink version and $280 for a single. One quick trip into town fixes that.

    How to create a Shaker-style kitchen
    You know, if you keep up like this, pretty soon you might find yourself actually having to cheer up...
    and then you'd need a new avatar.

    Congrats to ya!
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    Likes Chthonic liked this post

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