Newbie looking to buy a bare block - advice please!

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7 years 4 days ago #532828 by mikikkin
Hi, complete newbie here.

My husband and I are looking to buy 11 acres bare block in Whananaki South and I would love some advice!

We don't exactly want a lifestyle block as such just somewhere secluded and surrounded by nature close to the beach, a space for fruit trees & vege garden and maybe a couple of alpacas and pet pigs to eat up the leftovers - we just really want a bit of a nature playground. I would love horses but don't think we can afford the grazing so they are off the wish list for now.

- The land is mainly a fairly steep slope with a small flat area (approx 1/2 acre) halfway down the slope for the house site.
- There is a small area (about 1/4 acre that is also in grass but is quite steep
- It has some QE2 bush (about 4 acres) the rest of the bush is not under any covenants apparently.
- The sale is subject to survey (although I do have a survey report from the real estate agent that says it expires in 2 weeks)
- It is 45 minutes from Whangarei (including 15 minutes of gravel road) and a 5 minute drive to Whananaki South Beach (big draw card for us!)
- There is a small stream on the property.
- It would need solar as the house site is pretty far from the power down by the gate.
- Asking price is $200, 000

Since I am completely new to this I am not sure what questions I should be asking exactly but my concerns so far is....

- Is it realistically priced?
- Could we find a better (more flat/a little grazing) section for a similar price?
- Is the slope above the house site likely to slip/flood?
- Can we cut down some of the unconvenanted trees (I think they some are native & some macrocarpa) to create more sun on the house site which is north facing but quite shady because of the tall trees - the estate agent said we could cut down 1 acre a year but then also said if it's native you can only do 30%
- If we try to clear too many existing small trees from the hillside and replaced with fruit trees are we creating a potential slip/flooding hazard?
- We'd like to build 2 little cabins to rent out as summer accomodation (with simple outdoor kitchen & bathroom eco style with composting toilet etc) - would we need permission to do this if the buildings are under 10sqm and do not have cooking facilities inside the cabin?

Any advice would be hugely appreciated and I apologize for my naivety in it all - I'm trying to get educated and do my homework before making any decisions!!!

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7 years 4 days ago #532829 by Stikkibeek
Firstly, there are parts of Northland where slipping is guaranteed, so, the first thing you need to determine, is, what is the soil composition. If it is clay, then you will get slips. Is the flat area man-made, or natural? It is probably worth getting a geotech report relating to the soil and suitability to build on. You should also chat with a good lawyer to see if what you propose is feasible.
Can't speculate on the value of the property, but you should inquire as to whether the plot is freehold or leasehold, as big bits of land in the north can be Maori leasehold and subject to different regulations. Are the slopes north facing? and is there water available. Establishing an orchard may be a big task and how about possums in the protected bush. Possums=no fruit. You need to arm yourself with a lexicon worth of questions to ask the real estate agent, as, he is obliged to inform you, but some won't volunteer information unless you ask the right questions. I'm sure others will have more to add and there are some good LSB members up that way who may be better able to fill in some information.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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7 years 4 days ago #532830 by kai
I don't think you would need permission for the cabins, but no doubt if you asked the question, someone at the council will find an old bylaw somewhere saying you do. If you wanted to 100% sure, you could put them on wheels.
However before investing in the buildings I would do your research to see how much income they would generate and how long it would take to get your money back.

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7 years 4 days ago #532833 by kate
It sounds as if you're looking not too far away from us in Helena Bay B) B)

It's a great area but slips are a real risk. You could make any offer subject to a satisfactory geotech survey. The surveyors will usually also be able to advise on the risks of removing trees.

We found Whangarei council really helpful when we built here a few years ago.

The asking price is really difficult to comment on, prices up here are rising and any view or proximity to beaches can add a lot of $$$$

I would advise checking out whether there are any weird covenants on the land such as the size of house you have to build etc. They're becoming more common and they can be a minefield.

Good luck!
Kate

Web Goddess

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7 years 4 days ago #532834 by Hawkspur
If you are doing any plumbing in the cabins, even composting toilets, I believe you will need to get a building consent.

the exemption for under 10m² states:
"(c) does not contain sanitary facilities or facilities for the storage of potable
water; and
(d) does not include sleeping accommodation, unless the building is used in
connection with a dwelling and does not contain any cooking facilities"

Having outdoor cooking facilities for the cabins may also mean the "used in connection with a dwelling" exemption will not apply to your cabins.

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7 years 4 days ago #532839 by mikikkin
Thank you so much for the replies!

I knew a geotech was important but didn't realise they could advise on flooding & slips so that's great to know. And very good point about finding out if that clear area is actually natural or man made.

The slopes are west facing - is that good/bad/otherwise?? The flat house area does not seem wet or boggy but I am still really paranoid about flooding.

I never thought of possums eating the fruit trees! Will they also destroy a vege patch?

The land covenant doesn't seem very restrictive at all apart from not being allowed to build over 6m and the colour of the building has to be from a certain selection - there doesn't seem any other restrictions but I would get a lawyer to check that more closely.

I don't really know what "subject to survey" means since a survey was already done 5 years ago, so how come another needs to be done? -(the real estate agent wasn't particularly forthcoming with details but I guess I was too busy looking at the land to really ask him any good questions)

The vendor has an easement apparently to walk his cattle along the ridge of the property which is not visible from the house site at all - are there potential problems involved with this arrangement?

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7 years 4 days ago #532841 by Hawkspur
A geotech will look at the bearing capacity and stability of the soil, and this includes flow of water across and within your house site, and can advise on potential issues. Ours told us we had chosen the best spot for avoiding slips and why, and the report recommended strategies for minimising future issues with groundwater.

Potential issues are often related to where water might collect and flow from, not just what will land on your site. The way the land faces can affect rainfall, (and sunlight), but whether other areas will drain across your site can be more significant if you are worried about slips and floods. Are you looking to build downslope of a large catchment for example? How deep is the soil and what type? Will the groundwater drain away to deeper levels or will it be kept near the surface by impenetrable rock or a hard pan? The geotech will look at this sort of thing.

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7 years 4 days ago #532846 by LongRidge
Possums might destroy your vegetables. Wrekas and pukekos most certainly will. Vege gardens do not grow well if the preveious crops were native or pasture. Vege species, like every plant species, have their own specific requirements of how much of each chemical it needs. The main ones are nitrate, sulphate, phosphate. calcium, potassium, and the correct acidity.

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7 years 3 days ago #532861 by tonybaker
are there similar properties nearby? If so, go in and ask for information.
Possums are a curse but an enclosed vege garden is possible, fruit trees probably are out of the question. The rate of return on the cabins seems doubtful unless you are a serious DIYer and unless you are close to amenities for AIrBnB'ers.
Have another look around for some flat land nearer to your place of work?.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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7 years 3 days ago #532863 by kate
There is probably a local Landcare group who will be able to help you to control pests like possums. Most people up here manage to grow veggies and fruit despite everything. We have raised veggie beds that have netting to protect them from the various nuisances...including our own cats :unsure:

Given the location you may have kiwi on the block so should undertake pest control to give them a chance to survive. We were out kiwi listening last night and were very happy to hear we still have a nesting pair in our valley :) :)

Cheers
Kate

Web Goddess

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7 years 3 days ago #532865 by Blueberry
Even with active furred and feathered 'neighbours', you can still grow fruit and veges. the secret lies in good fencing.

i was unable to grow veges until we enclosed the vege garden with corrugated iron. quick, easy and oh so effective!

Same goes for the fruit trees - here a narrow wire netting will keep most fleet footed interested parties out. there's still the pukekos and the kererus but, heyl can't have it all!

[;)] Blueberry
treading lightly on mother earth

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7 years 3 days ago #532866 by mikikkin
.

There is probably a local Landcare group who will be able to help you to control pests like possums. Most people up here manage to grow veggies and fruit despite everything.


That's promising! :)

The rate of return on the cabins seems doubtful unless you are a serious DIYer and unless you are close to amenities for AIrBnB'ers.
Have another look around for some flat land nearer to your place of work?.


My husband is a builder so cabins will be very cheap for us to build - perhaps we would be safer building more of a "tiny home" on a trailer though to avoid problems with the council. My husband will only be working 10 weeks a year (to cover our living expenses) and we will be mortgage free so we don't need to really worry about being 'close to work'. I can't seem to find any flat land we can afford and still be mortgage free!

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7 years 3 days ago #532867 by mikikkin
Oh ha ha why do my quotes look so weird!!

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7 years 3 days ago #532868 by mikikkin
We are not really looking to get a massive return on the cabins nor to rely on it as a sole means of income - just a bit of extra income for "pocket money", they will be so cheap for us to build that hopefully they would pay themselves back pretty quickly - I have had a look into the demand for nice accommodation in that area and the rates that could be charged - I also do massage, meditation and yoga so it could be marketed like a retreat style holiday

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7 years 1 day ago #532902 by max2
My husband is a builder so cabins will be very cheap for us to build - perhaps we would be safer building more of a "tiny home" on a trailer though to avoid problems with the council. My husband will only be working 10 weeks a year (to cover our living expenses) and we will be mortgage free so we don't need to really worry about being 'close to work'. I can't seem to find any flat land we can afford and still be mortgage free![/quote]

If its on wheels and you are saying its a movable unit it must have a current WoF and be registered. At least that is the rule with Waikato District Council.

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