Questions about rural living, Al from Auckland =)

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8 years 10 months ago #35694 by alanpyc
Hi everyone! I am Al. Recently married to my lovely wife and we are now looking into buying our first home =).

Curently renting in Albany and have been looking around for the last 6 months. We are not particularly keen on paying 800k for a small house on the North Shore. Plus we would love to have a land to drive my 4wd, maybe a dirt bike :) , and have a little chicken farm =)

So looking into sections / lifestyle blocks that are not too far away from Albany, something less than 15 minutes drive to motorway and with 4-5+ acres of land. Doesn't really mind the housen new or old, as long as it is solid.

We've always lived in suburban houses, so other than the usual gardening I've never done farm works on a rural property. Handyman skill only limited to simple nailing / painting and changing oil for my car...etc :)

Budget is around 800k to 900k all up at this stage, depending on bank's approval.

My question for the experience owner out there is :
  • Will something like this require a lot of work? I understand that it can varie depending on the type of property, but in example, say a 5 acre land with a small house, and mostly flat land- would this be hard to keep up for couples that works 5 days / week and doesn't mind some elbow grease in the weekend?
  • Are there certain parts of land around the North Shore we need to watch out for ? e.g. soil / swamp. We looked at a few places around Dairy Flat and just find the airfield unflattering, and wife was worried that plane might fall down :D . For some reason the grass around the kumeu feels much greener compared to Daiy Flat, but a shame Kumeu is a bit too far
  • What is your opinion on buying a section then build a house? Not after anything expensive but something simple and we can buy off the plan. Would this end up costing a lot more
Thanks for your help in advance =) If you are around the area we would love to meet you and have a chat=) Coffee is on us

Al

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8 years 10 months ago #467302 by Ruth
Hello Al. I'm not sure how many willing prospective neighbours you'll get answering someone who wants to drive machinery around a property for entertainment. Noise like that is something which causes many rural people a great deal of distress. Most on here have headed out into the country to escape such disturbance! :)

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8 years 10 months ago #467307 by eelcat
Agree with Ruth about noise.
We own 6 acres and lease another 14. We both work off-farm full time - the commute adds about 3 hours to our day, but yes it is possible most definitely but you have to be prepared to work very hard. The benefits make it all worthwhile. Growing your own food is great.
On a small place I think the regs for poultry farming (if that is what you mean) would put me off, but we do run about 25 hens free ranging and sell the eggs.

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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8 years 10 months ago #467309 by max2
It depends on what sort of life you want to lead and what animals you keep.
I know of one couple on an LSB who don't get out of bed until very late morning and their place looks like a rubbish tip.

Others love gardening and/or keep animals and will be up at the crack of dawn to enjoy the day.

I too wouldn't be very impressed if you wanted to drive your 4wd on a track around an adjoining 5 acre property. Dust, fuel fumes, noise all for the neighbours to enjoy.
You will probably find your council already has laws in place to prevent you driving a set track on semi rural property. I recall Franklin council had them in place a few years ago.

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8 years 10 months ago #467313 by muri
Yes I agree with the others, the last thing we need is more people riding dirt bikes etc in the quiet countryside.
We have Woodhill Forest set up for just this purpose where people are able to ride their bikes
You will probably find you wont get much for your $800k in the area you are looking, especially around Kumeu, unless its under a pylon

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8 years 10 months ago #467319 by max2
Something else to consider when buying something larger than a section, is the ongoing costs of maintaining it. For instance are you happy to mow a considerable amount of grass by hand mower or will you want a ride on or small tractor?

Planting a garden? its not like a section where you might buy a couple of the same plant and it looks effective, on a larger property the amount you might buy (or grow) for a section will look completely lost.

What water resources are available? Will you potentially be looking at buying in water during dry summer months (check your current consumption amounts and work out how much storage you might need to support your current way of life) or if your planned supply (tank?) gets contaminated. Not cheap.

Stuff like that. I'm not trying to put you off as I love my rural way of life, but it is full on depending on the choices you make for the life you want to live.

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8 years 10 months ago #467337 by carlyjean
If you want to avoid high prices and do whatever you want on your property- move to Northland!!! You can grow pretty much anything all year round, beautiful coastline, cheap land and no neighbours!!!
Otherwise I agree with the others that a LSB is a lot of work. I work at a rural store and these people make up a huge percentage of our customers. The one thing I hear over and over again is- we never thought it would be so much work or so much money involved! However personally I love it- and I don't work full time (and have no TV!) and couldn't bear any other way of life. I like nothing more than getting up at dawn to feed the horses/cows/chickens/cats/dogs/ before having my own breakfast. If you enjoy hard work and reaping the rewards of this then go for it! Its not for everyone. And don't think that it will be easy;)

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8 years 10 months ago #467340 by Ruth
Gee, all those neighbours everyone else in Northland doesn't have must be living on my boundaries then!

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8 years 10 months ago #467349 by alanpyc
Hi everyone, thanks for all your input. :) I take that anything noisy is not particularly welcoming for lifestyle blocks [;)] So none of that then!

Yea the 800k seems to only get you 3-4 acres of uneven land around dairy flat in the current market.

We thought about going up further north but only thing is that we have to work in Albany so travel is an issue. We're looking at Puhoi at the moment. Anyone live there and travel to Auckland to work? What are your thoughts? Google map tells me it only takes 30 minutes one way but does the tunnel jam often? Also the cost of toll does add up I guess.

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8 years 10 months ago #467404 by kiwilassee
Hi Alan

We recently bought 1.25 acres in Manukau. We both work full time and find that this is still quite a bit of maintenance. We have 2 cows, 6 chooks, a dog and a cat. We are out there every weekend doing things, although can also get away for the occasional weekend too.

To be fair, the property was in pretty bad nick so we have spent a lot of time fixing things up, putting in fencing, water etc and removing the endless weeds! We both grew up on dairy farms and hubby is very handy. And we have spent a lot of money on it so far!

But we love it. We are so happy and a year into it, we still wake up every morning, look outside and have huge smiles on our faces. We love our animals and they make us so happy (but we'll still eat Rocky come November!) and there's nothing better than getting so many fresh eggs (our family and friends love our endless gifting of eggs!).

Perhaps one of the smaller blocks will be a good 'stepping stone' for you? Our plan is to stay on this 'stepping stone' for five or so years and then hopefully buy a larger block. From what I've read/seen on this forum, it's very difficult to 'make money' from lifestyle blocks anyway, so a smaller one may be just what you're after now?

Good luck with whatever you choose :-)

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8 years 9 months ago #469566 by RLD Landscapes
Hey Al,
It can be as time consuming as you want or as relaxing as the land will let you be!
When claiming your childhood dream of a colonial existence in the elysian fields, remember it takes time and it involves hard work or lots of money to get others to do it. If you want a playground then go with a small block if you want to make a living don't settle for less than 4 hectares !
Soil conditions are a big consideration for LSB's, particularly since they make up the bulk of your rural environment and dictate almost all that can can be sustained in the longterm. Generally speaking don't by a hillside (unless you want to build a slide), as the soils are generally very thin, don't buy a hollow - it'll fill up! Look for Northwest to Northeast facing sloping to flat land . Observe the grass and weeds growing there and if it's full of buttercup, it'll be wet. Trees are good to have and soak up a lot of water and provide shelter from those gnarly SW and S winds.
If you're worried about travel, make it a really nice purchase so you can relax at the end of everyday, knowing the 40m minute trip was all worth it.
Dirt bikes need at least 50 hectares so you don't annoy neighbours and 4-wheel drives are best at Muriwai or Woodhill, unless you have a landrover and they're the best anyway, anywhere!!

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8 years 9 months ago #469670 by Del
Hi Al, 5 acres is actually quite a bit. We both work full time, and find staying on top of ours which is less than half that quite a mission. If you and your lovely wife are planning on having kids at some stage, you should also factor in the difficulties that brings with time - you can't both just roll up your sleeves and get stuck in for the day. I don't mean to put you off, we absolutely love it and wouldn't have it any other way! I just love coming home after work and sitting outside soaking it all up, watching and hearing the animals, collecting eggs and selecting veggies for dinner, etc.

Building our own is great, in that you get what you want, but it may cost more, once you factor in landscaping, (BTW, you need waaaay more plants than you'd ever imagine), and all the "little stuff" like washing line, mailbox, gate, shelves in the garage, etc... Oh, and I recommend you don't have too much land not being grazed... There's an awful lot of hours (and petrol) you'll be spending trundling around on a ride on otherwise!

Might be worth going and having a look at a few smaller blocks that are already developed just to get an idea of size and what you can fit in - you may find you don't need as much land as you think to get the lifestyle you're after... Or not!

Good luck on your adventure!

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