Sunday, May 2, 2010

Our first piece of Australia!

Since arriving here in Australia nearly 16 year ago, I never would've thought of owning a house let alone a block of land! And it all seemed like a dream for me.  For some reason I thought I can never afford one.  Especially last year when the whole GFC thing happened and the entire nation economy went into the state of recess.

I guess I was just a silly little boy back then without a care in the world (isn't that what boys normally do? :)).  Anyway, things has changed since then.  I got married and I was blessed with a beautiful wife and two beautiful children.  A boy, who at the time of this writing is 3.5 years old, and a baby girl, who is 10 months old.

As our little family is growing, my wife and I quickly realised that we needed a bigger place for our kids and also for our future.  The only obstacle in achieving this goal was the price of houses are ridiculously high in the area that we wanted, which is not far from the CBD and also where we have been living for the last several years or so.  So we needed to look further away from the CBD and instead of a house, we'll compromise with something less as we won't be able to afford it.

To cut a long story short, around April last year we found ourselves an off the plan three bedroom townhouse in the western suburbs of Sydney, which was near it's last stage of completion.  However the deal didn't go as planned as the builder / owner gone bankrupt due to gambling problems!!  We felt that we have wasted our time and felt really betrayed so we decided to cancel the contract.  As it has been overdue for over 12 months, in fact it has been 13 months, we can cancel the contract without any penalties.  Our conveyancer was going to serve the notice but didn't follow up with us, so I may need to give her a call and find out where is she up to.

So we are back to square one, where can we find a bigger place for our kids or even our future?  After a few discussion with a friend of mine, he suggested for me to look out in the area of The Ponds where there are new land releases.  My wife and I never actually thought about living in the area before.  Couple of reasons that came to mind includes it's far and it's really really far.  It will be a big change to our lifestyle.  But we decided to go and checked it out anyway.  We went to the sales office and got some information on the area, went to the builder display village, which was hardly open as it was the Easter long weekend so that's quite understandable, to check out some home designs.  They were really made to attract people, really.

Our first impression was the land price was affordable.  It wasn't overly expensive and it seems like a nice area to grow a family.  We asked about the average people who purchased a block of land and the majority seemed to be on the same age group as we are.  So we thought that was good, at least there are people who would understand our generation and what it's like to grow a family :).

The lady who was in the sales office at the time advised us that there is going to be another land release in the near future and she did also said that there will be a queue in front of this sales office because she is selling these block of lands like hotcakes.  We were also told that with the past land releases, people camped in front of the sales office for a week!  We weren't very keen on doing that, honestly.  I know it's probably the great Australian dream, but camping out in front of the sales office for days wasn't exactly what I had in mind.

So we waited for the next land release just to open ourselves with some options before making a decision to completely move there.  The time came and gone so quickly but we never found ourselves going back to The Ponds sales office to make a purchase.  We did went back a couple of times to check out the home design by the builders in the area.  It was really nice and we wished we were living in one!  We did our calculation and to get a block of land plus getting a house build on the land will cost us a lot of money.  It would mean that we will need to sell our unit instead of leasing it.

It wasn't until two land releases that we were invited by the friend who introduced us to The Ponds to Kalina Estate, which is also at The Ponds itself but I was told that it is build by another property group called the Allam Property Group.

He told me that he had already put a deposit on a house and land package with them and that their house is due to finish on November of this year.  The advantage of this is he doesn't need to worry about anything else.  He just need to get the key and move straight in.

So, ok, we decided to go and check the estate out and see the houses for ourselves.  This time it's a bit different than the few previous trips that we did to The Ponds.  My father-in-law, my wife's dad (who would've thought :)), came along with us on this trip and inspect the Kalina estate together.  It was already late in the afternoon that we finally get to Kalina and obviously was greeted by our friend and the sales person who has patiently waited for us (we were very late for our appointment :)).

We were given a tour to a few houses that is already near completion and all they had to do was to put some tiles in and that's it, all done.  We felt like the design looks similar to the house next door.  I guess being in an estate, that is not surprisingly weird.  But one thing about the design and the plan that we didn't like was we felt that the house was too narrow.  Even for a passage way, we felt that we were being crammed inside.  My father in law felt the same way and my wife just nodded in an agreement.

So we parted ways with our friend and my father-in-law asked that if we could go and check out The Ponds.  I told him that there was a new land release that day and that was the Waterfall 9, so I said sure, let's go and check it out.

By the time we get to the sales office it was nearly 5pm, which is the closing time.  So there we are finding ourselves wandering back into the sales office for the second time.  This time I had my 3 years old son with me so my father-in-law did much of the talking and asking questions.  My wife actually waited in the car when we went into the sales office so she doesn't have any idea what was my father-in-law asking or even thinking, to this effect so am I.  There were still a group of people in the sales office that sort of asking questions about the area in general or the new land release that day.

At that time I wasn't actually thinking of getting any land there as when I saw the price list that was sent to me few days back, I wasn't too keen.  It is a bit more than the other land releases but I can understand why as it is quite centralised in the area and it is a good location for the block as well.

So after the questioning session, we discovered that out of 21 block of land releases that day, only 1 block of land left for sale.  It is getting late and the office is already closed, so we then started walking back to the car and  IT IS during this time that my father-in-law suddenly popped out a question "Do you want this land?".  I can not believe what I was hearing so I asked him to repeat it and it is the "question".  Well, I responded yes and he took out his wallet and pulled out his credit card.  Again, I can't believe what I am seeing?? Is it really true? Are we going for this block of land?  We were joined by my wife soon after and he did asked the question again.  He also confirmed this by having his credit card really handy and it doesn't just stop there.  The receptionist, whom he asked a bunch of question with, walked out of the sales office in an attempt to go home.  He stopped her and asked her "can I get this land now?".  I am still in a state of shock and the next thing I knew was finding myself back inside the sales office talking to the lady, that we first met, about getting THE LAND.

We never imagined or even planned that we will be purchasing a land that day; but yet, there we are sitting in her office paying our $300 of holding deposit money to take the land of the market.  Ouw, by this time, I actually used my credit card as the sales office didn't accept American Express card.  My father-in-law didn't know about this as he was preoccupied with my son's activity.  I guess as the land is going to be in our names anyway, might as well use my own credit card to pay for it.  And I was brave enough to do it too, which can be rather strange because I really am a type of conservative investor.

There you are, our first piece of Australia.  Who would have thought that we would be achieving the impossible (well the first step anyway, we still need to settle on the land first :)).

This actually reminds me of a motto that someone I used to admire that goes like:

All our DREAMS can
come true, if we have
the COURAGE to

by: Walt Disney

Ironically, how true is that :)

I guess it's project home now and we'll definitely be sharing our journey from start to finish such as this.  Thank you for taking the time to read this far.


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