It seems appropriate to use My Ten Cents of Rant to blog about the lack of progress with our house – because I want to rant, a LOT. So, let me start at the beginning, and then you can follow along.
Step 1: Wants and needs
Back in November 2016, we were half-heartedly looking at houses, but knowing we could never find one which would really match our needs.
- I need somewhere with plenty of sunlight and fresh air.
- The other person (OP) needs darkness and quiet. Our first flat had shared a wall with horrible people who played loud, bass music all day and night, and now bass noises trigger massive migranes and extreme stress. We can’t stop people making that noise, so we need a bunker to ward against it.
- After thirteen years of living in a tiny space, where one person often has to move out of the way before the other can get through a room, I want a space where there is room to move.
- My yarn needs a room. Possibly a big room.
- And we need a room for the books. Possibly many rooms for the books. I’ve always wanted a library.
So we drove around and looked at houses that might be in our price range. And we drove past a few sections. Empty sections, for building a new house on. Interesting.
Step 2: Buy the land
We were looking at a section just down the road from our current flat. A very interesting section where you’d have to hang the house down the side of a cliff, pretty much. It would be an engineering dream (or maybe nightmare). But when we rang the real estate agent to ask about looking on-site, they said someone else was in the process of buying it. However, there was another section on that same road which was about to come up for sale, if we’d be interested in looking at it. Given that it was a dead-end road, we were.
And so we found ourselves scrabbling up a bank off the side of the road, to look out at that view in the picture. Wow! The section slopes away from the bank, down towards a bush reserve. There is no chance that the neighbours can build any more on the spaces, because of the covenants out there. And there’s a bank between us and the road. It was perfect!
So we then ran around, trying various banks, until we got a mortgage, and became the proud owners of a patch of land with some trees.
Step 3: Plan the house.
This was really easy! Because of the shape of the land, and the side facing the sun, we’ve known what we wanted on the site since the first couple of times we visited it. I sketched, and so did OP (though their house included ramparts, alligators in the moat, and a dragon roost – none of which the Council approves of).
I have a friend a who is an architect, and she begged me to be allowed to design the house. This was our first big hiccup, because we knew what we wanted, but it turned out that she had other ideas. After about 6 months trying to get her design to match what we wanted, and both sides getting increasingly frustrated with the other, we decided to go our seperate ways.
So then we had to find architects who would listen. Oh, and we had a meeting with the council to discover what we needed to get Resource Consent. And we’ve been working on that ever since. Yup, 18 months of collecting data, commissioning reports, all of which cost $3,000, which seems to be the only number various people know.
We now have:
- An Ecological Report – saying that we’ve chosen the right part of the section to build in, that the trees which we will have to take down are okay, and that we’ll need to be careful of birds and lizards.
- A Geotech Report – saying that the land we want to build on is as stable as anything you can find in Auckland, and we’re good to go.
- An Arborist Report – saying that the trees we will have to take down are okay, and that we’ll need a replanting plan.
- A Traffic something oruther report – saying we can have a driveway on to the road. This is still in progress, and waiting on people who have gone AWOL.
- A TownPlanner, who is working on rallying all these things together.
- A Replanting Report – saying “look at all the pretty natives you can plant” – lovely plants recommended.
We also have a house plan, which is mostly what we want, though there are a few bits of walls which will need reworking. Also, as of about a month ago, our architects have stopped responding. So now what?
We’re currently waiting on something to happen, so we can finalise the Traffic Impact report and put all of this through the Council. I’m still half hoping that we’ll beat the Christmas rush, but as this is coming up to the third Christmas, I’m not holding my breath.