Another Aucklander Un-wannabe

12 years 3 months ago #28529 by **~Chippeee~**

My name is **~Chippeee~** (not my real name :p) and I have a tendency to rattle on especially if I have lots of things to say/ask, so my apologies in advance! :D

My partner and I currently live in Auckland Suburbialand and we both work in broadcasting. We’re both quite into the sustainable ‘philosophy’ but our rented unit means our practice is pretty limited. That said, we have our own veggie garden that consists of 3 raised beds, a compost bin, a worm farm and one single potted mandarinquat (which I am excited to announce that it’s my first ever fruit tree! Alas, I didn’t realise it’d take awhile to grow and flower so I’ll have to put off my fantasies of picking succulent golden globes for another year [:I]). The garden has been running for 3 years with my partner building most things while I do the planting/maintenance/harvest. And yes, we were complete beginners to start with and are astounded to see how far we’ve come and how exciting it still is to learn and explore new things! I’ve also gotten into making preserves like jams, pickles and chutneys.

But yes, I’d say we’re far from being self-sustainable and our practice is more like a hobby, a very satisfying and practical one too! Over the last few years we’ve been talking about moving out of Auckland and chasing our dream: We want to live in the rural, raise a family and have a humble home/property where we can, eventually, be completely self-sustainable (eg. Growing own veggies/fruits, raising pigs/goats/chickens, preserving/harvesting/smoking, marketing/selling extras).

Recently we’ve been feeling that our lives and work in Auckland have run its course, and we’re now wanting to turn our glassy-eyed-aww-shucks-fantasy into something practical…….but where do we start??? We’re wanting to move (possible Spring next year) down to Southland not only to be closer to his family but also because land/property down there is incredibly affordable. Being a South East Asian, I’m not keen on the cold though! But I’ve been promised that good insulation would be number one on the priority list! :)

Anyway, yes, where do we start? It’s been easy talking and thinking about it but now that we’re wanting to make it a reality, we’re feeling a little lost and anxious. So, I’m guessing that there are some of you that have been through all this and would be kind enough to impart on some wisdom please?

Here are some questions/enquiries that have been churning through our heads: Is it actually possible to have a lifestyle block where you and your family can be completely self-sufficient? Or do most of you have ‘outside’ jobs to supplement income? And if it is possible, how do some of you do it? How did you achieve it? For someone like us, where weren't born and raised on farms, how do we learn the skills we need? What skills do we need? Would you recommend taking courses and workshops offered by the community or educational centres like Telford? If so, what courses would be good to start with?

Sorry to introduce myself and bombarding everyone with so many questions [8)] but I guess I’m getting quite excited about the possibility of living our dream and would just love to hear and learn from others who have experienced the move too!

Cheers kindly :)

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12 years 3 months ago #389881 by eelcat

Where to start answering?

I came from a completely townie background until we bought our block in 2006. We have learned and learned and learned, much from this site, and some from reading books, magazines, Lifestyle Block is great, and trolling the internet. We have also met lots of people from this site who share in the learning process. You will make mistakes as you go, but that's all part of the learning. Ask questions - someone will always have an answer for you.

Good luck, it is a fantastic life, but mighty hard work but very satisfying. There is always something to be done, but take baby steps and keep lots of photos to remind yourselves how far you have come.

1 Border collie, 1 Huntaway, 2 Lhasa Apsos, Suffolk and arapawa ewe crosses, an Arapawa ram,an East Friesian ewe , 5 cats, 42 ducks , 1 rooster and 30 hens, 5 geese, 12 goats, 2 donkeys, 2 house cows, one heifer calf, one bull calf, 3 rabbits and lots and lots and lots of fruit trees...

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12 years 3 months ago #389972 by **~Chippeee~**
Thanks for your reply, eelcat! Yes, I guess the move will involve lots of trials and errors, as with most things, but it's great to hear a little about your experience and am keen to hear from others too. :)

I had a look at your weblinks and it's nice to see that just after 4 years you already have quite a good little business established from your block. Just out of curiosity, did you already have previous business related skills from when you were a townie or was it something that you've just learnt over time? It's also great that you've opened up your block to public visits...would be handy for beginners like us to see how a block is run...shame we're not in your area though!


p/s: your signature made me laugh and towards the end, i found myself reading it with "the 12 days of christmas" tune in my head!

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12 years 2 months ago #390152 by thevarneys
Hi Chippee and welcome to this cool site. There was a thread on here not long ago talking about how you couldn't really make money on a lsb - hardly break even[;)][:0] :D , but I think people do it for the lifestyle. All I can say is - GO FOR IT! And it is the best place to bring up kids. Making your own stuff from scratch is cheaper, healthier, (time consuming[}:)]).
My hubby works, and I think a lot of people on here have jobs or part time jobs, and fit in lsb around that. Unless you had no mortgage I think it would be hard to make enough money to pay all expenses without working at a job elsewhere (from what we have experienced and what I have read on here). Good luck :D

Some people are so poor, all they have is money.

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12 years 2 months ago #392769 by dj_fitzm
Hi Chippee,
Another Auckland transportee... I am from South East Asia myself and we are negotiating on some land right now, fingers crossed, we are at that 'GST inclusive or exclusive' stage. As a fellow newbie, pls be aware of that when you buy a LSB. We are looking at Canterbury so I supposed we are both southbound. I just went on the internet and looked really...

I have some 'criteria' I need to fufill, kids schooling etc and I am perfectly happy to live in the middle of nowhere but I think the reality is more full-on than perception so I guess for me, a bit closer to town than country and maybe in a few years times, we can move further away. We have also done all the things that you have done in Auckland and just feel like we need to move on. Only thing for me is support as both my husband and I are not kiwis (though we are now) and that can be quite crucial sometimes.

I am not sure if the reality of making a living is possible on a LSB but I think I will just go with my gut instinct and go with the flow. You should be pretty good at it seeing that you are already doing your veggies etc and that should stand you in good stead. I refer to Hugh Fernley-Whittingsall books all the time and that's about the experience I have at the moment with animals!

Also double-glazing is compulsory when building a new home now so I should think that can help with the cold...

Good luck and hopefully we will both move to our dream LSB :)

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12 years 2 months ago #392778 by stephclark
hi chippeee
good on you and welcome to the site..i am ex city dweller too, we were out in the middle of nowhere when we bought in 1984, but town has moved abit closer is a great lifestyle.. but from experience, its hard work to get by on 10 acres without some sort of actual income... in the economic downturn of the late 80's and early 90's.. both partner and i were out of work for 4 years.. so we milked cows, raised calves, grew veg, made all our food etc.. we were lucky enough to be able to trade excess veg and milk for other things we didnt grow..
but you will still need something coming in that pays $$.. councils tend not to want 1/2 side of beef in lieu of rates payments,.. gas for the car, repairs and then if you want to set up the property or do any maintenance, you need $$ to buy materials..
even supplementing with my selling knitware and doing odd cleaning jobs and OH picking fruit and baling hay.. all it took was one bad storm to wipe out a years worth of 'savings'..
i wouldnt change it for the world.. it was the happiest time of my life.. loved every minute of it.. and if we had the saftey net of a nest egg ( emergency fund ) i would do it again in a heart beat..
good luck with your endeavours...its worth it

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12 years 2 months ago #394421 by **~Chippeee~**
Thanks so much for all your encouraging yet realistic replies! :) It certainly seems that most people live/work on lsbs more out of love for the lifestyle and philosophy rather than for profit making...which is perfectly fine with us!

I'm anticipating a lot of hard work, especially in the setting up stages, but I know the rewards will be well worth it: I may likely be going to sleep everynight, utterly exhausted and aching all over from a day's work on our lsb but I know that's much better than falling to bed, feeling lethargic from not doing much except sitting in front of monitors, fingers a-clicking, keeping the Machine oiled and ticking...[xx(]

My partner and I have talked somemore, and I think our idea is that he will be working full time whilst I'll be running our lsb, with his help on weekends. Money will be short for sure and I know there will be days where we'll be missing our comfortable and predictable suburbia but I know once we wander outside into our "own" land and breath in the view and serenity around us, I know we'll be right and reminded that this is what we want, this is our happiness.

And it's so nice to hear that we are not alone. So thanks again for everyone's advice so far! :)

p/s: dj_fitzm, may be a silly question but what is the "GST inclusive/exclusive stage" you advised us to be aware of?

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12 years 2 months ago #394433 by dj_fitzm
Hi Chippeee,

Basically most LSB are advertised as excluding GST, as traditionally, LSB are run as business entities, ie. making money off the land. As such, you will obviously have to pay tax to the IRD and thus, have GST as an expense that can be taken off (expensed) etc. Sometimes, I have read comments here saying it is also a form of marketing ploy from the real estate agent, as then the price is obviously lower. So if eg. you see a piece of land that is 300K (and it says excludes GST), then the total you have to pay to the seller is actually 300K + 15% (our GST) rate now, which is 45K. So the total is actually 345K.

At one stage in our negotiation, the seller was actually trying to increase our price by 5K increments, and that is just the land price, without the GST. So we kept having to pay more and more GST and this is really no our concern except we are being slowly 'wrung out to dry' so to speak :) After advice with our lawyer, we were told just to offer a price to the seller that is the 'all in' price so that it is then on him to come back to us saying if this offer covers the worth of his land and what the GST portion of that will be. Seems to be plain sailing after that...

So don't make the mistake like us and always make sure to find out if the advertised price already has the 15% GST on it or not cos you do end up paying a lot more. There are conflicting advice about registering a business to claim this GST back from the IRD (and the real estate agent will be the first to say that, obviously wanting to close a sale) but it is actually easier said than done.

I have learnt so much from trying to purchase this land and we are finally at settlement stage. As the land is in Canterbury, it is a busy time for all there, so we are a little held up, but we have an extension, so fingers crossed everything will sort itself out in the next 2 weeks. Also another valuable lesson I learned is that sometimes, your bank being cautious and wanting lots of paperwork is better for you. You may grumbled as you have to get more done and spend more money but they are actually protecting your interests at heart.

Good luck, let me know if you have found your dream piece of land and have other queries during buying. I have certainly learnt lots on that too!

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12 years 1 month ago #394967 by The Gardna
To ANYONE thinking about a lifestyle block (particularly professionals and work a holics )

Consider the mental energy you currently put into your job.....apply that same amount to your block and you will be succesful.

You all know you are at a plateau in your work place (mentally and physically) and getting a block will reinvigorate your whole demenour(sp?)...particularly "life long learners".

How long have you got left on this long are you prepared to put up with your current situation at the expense of your dream

..and the mental energy thing again,sure it will be a learning curve...but remember you are more "on to it" than the average bear so you will ask on the button questions and with the power of the net get expert answers..

Better to regret something you did do rather than something you didnt do.

Your on a planet hurtling thru space (which should put your problems in perspective..are they really that important???)

Buy a piece of the planet

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12 years 1 month ago #394968 by Hawkspur
And if you are worried about the cold weather:
Insulate the house
have good heating like an efficient woodburner using dry wood
and invest in some lovely long merino underwear.
[;)] :D :D

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