You bought what? How did you find vacant land on the Northern Beaches?
Gav has been talking about wanting to build a passive house ever since our first date. How and where to find land on which to build occasionally came up, but I didn’t hold out much hope of finding something locally, especially after Gav showed me the only block of vacant land he’d seen that had been on the market for ages. It was way up the peninsula and had an inclinator! I said no to that one, and realised that there aren’t many options for vacant land around here. I also (half jokingly) said I didn’t want to go further North of Manly than Freshwater! The journey to purchasing the block we are now building on was a roller coaster ride, but has some nice moments of serendipity. For the first few months of the conversation about building a passive house we weren’t in a financial position to do much about purchasing land anyway, so it was something Gav mostly chatted and dreamed about.
A few months later Gav knew he would soon be in a position to buy something. Wanting to get his head around what the market was doing Gav met up with a real estate agent he’d worked with previously for a coffee. At the end of the conversation he said “If I had a magic wand I could wave I’d ask for 200sqm of land on the Northern Beaches where I can build something clever”. Two days later Gav is updating me on his conversation and his closing wish. Next thing I know he’s opening up the laptop saying “I’m just going to have a quick look, and see what’s out there”. We were slightly incredulous when the first thing in the search list was 200sqm of land in Freshwater listed only 4 hours earlier! The sale of land included approved plans for an architecturally designed house and was scheduled for auction in 5 weeks. We swung by the next day to have a look and then jumped into action contacting the agent, applying for a loan and pouring over the house plans.
What to offer?
200sqm is tiny. It’s smaller than some people’s back yard and vacant lots are rare – so we had no idea what to offer. None. We pulled numbers out of the air and tried to imagine if the block was worth it.Whilst discussing the opportunity and conundrum with friends over dinner. Gav flippantly said “I don’t suppose you know any land valuers?” It tuned out my friend did and offered to ask them to take a look. The next few days were busy with getting loan approved and wondering what to offer trying to contact agent and waiting to hear from our friend’s contact on a land value. It felt like quite a hectic time as there was another party interested and making an offer. Phone calls to and fro – we offered to match their offer plus the 20k extra the vendor apparently asked for. We were literally making the offer at the same time the text from my friend arrived with their estimate of the value. The estimate and and our offer were way more than I’d ever imagined 200 sqm of land could cost. I was only able to sleep that night knowing that our offer was in line with the valuation our friend has sourced.
Off and back on
On the Friday before the October long weekend Gav called me to tell me another offer had been accepted 😞 and we were out of the picture.
Gav checked the ad on the website *quite a few* times over the long weekend – waiting for an ‘under offer’ or ‘sold’ notice to go up. By Tuesday morning with nothing added to the website Gav texted the agent to see if it had sold. The agent called pretty much straight away to say it hadn’t gone through. We were back on – re stated our offer and then had to contact the bank etc to make it all happen.
Good or bad timing?
Amongst all of this Gav’s best friend was in palliative care and we knew there wasn’t long to go. I was worried Gav wasn’t thinking straight in amongst the grief, he assured me he was. The agent took our offer to the vendor while Gav was the MC at his best friends funeral. After the service Gav took a call from the agent that our offer had been accepted. Some very happy news on very a sad day. We now owned 200 sqm of land right where we wanted – ready to build a clever home on 🙂 Although we actually ‘found’ the block on the usual real estate website – it felt like there were various serendipitous events that helped get us to where we wanted to be. Not least wondering if Gav’s best friend pulled some strings for us from beyond to help Gav realise a dream.