Tuesday 25 November 2014

Good progress

Yesterday the offer on the house went unconditional. We've had the builder's report, an inspection by the gas man, and an inspection by an electrician. There are a few things we need to remedy, but they mostly fall within the ambit of fair wear and tear for a 23 year old house.

We plan to get them attended to before we move in - we have offered the vendor the opportunity to settle early which would give us more time to get these things done by tradesmen who are always busy. But it is over to them - you can see in the photos on the previous post that there is still furniture in the house and this is only one thing for them to be doing in their lives. We are not in any hurry - being at Bruce and Gary's is lovely, and we still have Joe with us - also lovely.

I went to look at wallpaper yesterday and found one that I am pretty sure I will use on a feature wall behind our bed. It will look yummy with the red duvet covers (formerly in the red room at Cherswud B&B).

Here it is

On Saturday we bought a fold down queen-sized bed for the office/spare room - reduced from $4000 to $1000, so definitely a bargain. It comes with two sets of shelves that are not attached to it which will be placed elsewhere in the room. One of the shelving units also has a desk - hopefully that can be David's printer desk, and with one of his large desks for video/film/TV/computers, he should be set!
The fold down bed, folded down. Being delivered in the week after we move in.

The wallpaper search yesterday was originally to find a feature wall paper for behind the fold down bed - our bedroom took precedence though ... I think I may go back to the original idea of painting the wall behind the pull down bed - a deep red appeals.
I liked this, but think it could be a bit overpowering even on one wall in a smallish room.

OK, work to do. I am doing a Post Implementation Review of a project - still some project documentation to read and then three interviews today to prepare for, about 5 tomorrow and one on Friday. Report to be drafted next week. Busy, busy. Not sure I have time to move into the house sooner than 10 December after all ...

Friday 21 November 2014

The new house

Approaching the house down the tree-lined drive.

The north facing aspect - this will be the sunniest side. The dining room and the sunroom open on to the verandah, the kitchen has the 'conservatory' window, and our bedroom window is by the trellis.

The lounge and dining area from the entrance hall. This is a lovely space.

From the other direction. Plenty of room for my china cabinets and dresser ...

The sunroom. Room here for a china cabinet too!

The kitchen could do with a re-furb but is perfectly serviceable; the laundry is through the sliding door

The laundry with the pantry that should be an office ...
Our bedroom which has the wardrobe along the wall on the right. The trellis and its posts need to be replaced, and we'll put a fold down washing line on the other side of it. The back door which is the entrance to the laundry is adjacent to the trellis.

This will be David's office/studio seeing as he cannot be persuaded to the pantry or shed. It'll double as a guest room, so it'll either have a bed settee or a bed that folds up against the wall.

Newish bath and vanity. Window is double glazed as the bathroom is on the south side. All we need to do is replace the shower,  remove the mirror and fit a heated towel rail.

That tree stump will be removed and then we can set up the new table and chairs and the 3 metre cantilevered umbrella ... David wants the shed gone too, I am not so sure.
Every time we see the new house we like it more. Yesterday we took the opportunity to go and see it again with friends, Gary, Joe and Derek, while the agent was there with the man who was doing the gas inspection for us. This time we had a good poke around and I did try very hard to persuade David that we could open up the large pantry off the laundry, remove the wall between it and the hall cupboard, put in a skylight and make that his office/studio. However for some inexplicable reason, he’s not buying that scheme. Nor is he buying the one in which we tidy up the inside of the nice shed outside, get power in to it and make that his office/studio. I cannot understand the latter frankly, although I’m aware the pantry cupboard combination was a bit of a stretch … Imagine the cachet in having a studio in the garden?

We’ve had the building inspection report done yesterday and it was very favourable, however Rudi the gas man tells us we may need to replace the gas water heater at some stage in the next few years and we do need to lengthen the flue for the gas heater in the lounge.

Last thing is the electrician’s certificate – that inspection is scheduled for Monday.

No showstoppers at this stage. YAY!!!

All being well, the offer goes unconditional on Wednesday. And then it’ll be 14 sleeps till it’s ours!

Wednesday 19 November 2014

I still like it!!

On my way back from a meeting in town this morning, after which I collected Joe, we stopped in to look around the section and outside of our prospective new home.

And the good news is that I still like it!

Joe was impressed as we peered in windows and walked around the whole section. As we were coming back up the drive I saw someone next door checking on us, so we went over to introduce ourselves. We ended up having a chat with Jenny and John who will be our new neighbours (well, strictly speaking, we will be their new neighbours as they have been there for 40 years). They know George the vendor very well and are pleased it has sold so quickly. George has moved into a retirement village in Greytown near his daughter.

I have invited Jenny and John over for a glass of wine when we move in, so I think this could be just the right place for us to be ...

Fingers crossed that the building report doesn't throw up anything devastating!

Tomorrow we are meeting Paul the agent there and will show a couple of friends around inside. I will also check with John re the trees that George had planned to get removed or trimmed to let more light in to the house.

Our friends Luke and Diane (surrogate children to make it OK for us not having our own kids in NZ) are planning on coming with chainsaw a couple of days after Xmas. Luke's dad was an arborist, so Luke has some handed-on skills that he can put to good use. As well as that, he is a fabulously talented builder and joiner, so his advice re the kitchen will be required. And somehow I think he may be needed for fencing duties across the back of the section ...

Photos tomorrow, I promise!


So, we moved out of Cherswud on Friday after an extremely busy day of last minute packing and full on cleaning what was an already clean house made grubby by tramping in and out and removal of furniture and appliances that sneakily hid dust balls.

After a tearful good bye with Graeme and Marie McPhee, our neighbours for the last 34 years, David, Joe and I headed up here to Waikanae to stay with our dear friends Bruce and Gary at the beach house – they live during the week in Wellington and the beach house is for weekends … Joe came with us, because after 3 years of living together, none of us were ready to end that yet.
From near the gate
In our beautiful but empty conservatory - lots of great parties have been held in this room!

All that remains are the paint cans

and a few cobwebs which aren't visible in this photo fortunately.

David's first selfie - he looks concerned ...

Joe waiting for us to return from saying goodbye to Graeme and Marie - he'd already said his goodbyes to them

My lovely David

The last few days have been quite stressful for David and me – we’d forgotten that the research shows that moving house is one of the most stressful things in life. Having that pointed out to us helped as we stopped thinking we were doomed relationship-wise!

We have seen a number of houses since arriving up here and feel like we have endlessly flip-flopped on what to do/where to buy/what we liked/what we would bid for. Last night we agreed on a place we wanted to put in a bid for in the next couple of weeks (the dreaded deadline treaty – tender thingy) and then this morning we had a call from one of the agents saying he’d just seen a house that they listed last night, and did we want to see it. Yes, so I got out of bed (it was 10.15am so not a big ask … and David had been up since 6.30am), into the shower, get dressed and off to view. The driveway is flanked by lovely trees (including the biggest cabbage tree I've ever seen) and rhododendrons currently in flower, and the house is in need of some TLC but is a warm welcoming place, with a lovely entrance/lounge/dining and a spacious feel to it. My new outside table will fit around the back in the sunny area, as will the new cantilevered umbrella … Let’s face it, these minor purchases are important!

Deep and meaningful discussion followed to get to a decision, as there was already an offer being prepared from another buyer. A second walk around the place on our own, with more discussion re what would have David be comfortable to proceed (I am easily satisfied, me) and then off to the real estate office to talk size of the offer and conditions to get clear air between us and the other bidder. Then off to the District Council office in Paraparaumu to get the building file, a call to a building inspector to arrange a survey. A call while we were there to come back and sign offer papers, decide on the best offer, and home to Bruce and Gary’s to wait. We both got some work done in the interim – David on Weaving Memories stuff, me writing up some business planning work that I facilitated on Monday for an educational Good Idea with Melanie who joined us on the boat with husband Peter back in August.

While we were having dinner Paul the agent called and his first words were ‘Congratulations, it’s yours.’ He had told us that agents never indulge in introductory small talk in case you change your mind between putting in the offer and the vendor decision … 


So, as long as the building report is satisfactory, we have a house to move into – settlement date is 10 December, and we’ll probably move in on 14 December after getting the carpets shampooed. The first thing to be done on moving in is getting a new washing line fitted, followed by getting rid of the wandering willie (previously known as wandering jew) weed in the back yard under the trees – Rob has already committed to its eradication! When Joe gets back from tattooing in Australia in February-ish, he’ll come and help me with painting inside – room priority order to be determined. We need to get a new oven and rangehood at some stage and probably new cupboard doors in the kitchen to modernise it. There’s a back shed that can go free to a good home, and a back fence to be replaced but neither of those are urgent. I do need to plant a lemon tree, a couple of feijoas plus the rhubarb crown divided from the Cherswud garden, as well as herbs and lettuces in fairly short order.

It is very interesting that this place got the big tick from us, as everything else we’ve been attracted to has not needed any work at all. This one will, by dint of that required effort and personal input end up being ours in a far more comprehensive way than any of the others could have done. It’s exciting.

Photos later - it can be seen on google maps satellite view, but on street view you can only see the driveway and trees. Look if you like: 15 Rata St, Waikanae.


Thursday 13 November 2014

Packing and a party

It is D Day here; well, maybe L Day would be more apposite - L for Leaving.

The house is 99.9% packed, and we have slept the night on a blow up bed (nowhere near as comfy as our tempur mattress, that is for sure!) I am drinking a cup of tea, David is in the shower, Joe is up doing bits in the kitchen and waiting for Reuben to come and collect him in the truck to take his stuff over to his sister's place in Wainuiomata. He will then make his way back here to clean, finish the last minute packing, and come out to Waikanae for the weekend.

I am collecting Janneke at 8.30 (crack of dawn for her) to come and help with house cleaning - she has elected to do bathrooms, Gary is coming on his way to the beach (where David and I are going to stay for the next 2 or 3 weeks) to collect a carful of stuff, Derek is arriving about 10ish with his trailer to load up the rest of the stuff and do a drop off at the storage place and then transport everything else to Bruce and Gary's. I will have a load of stuff in the car as well ...

Last night was the first time since we got the offer on the house that I have cried about leaving. I walked into the empty lounge and just burst into tears, then walked into the conservatory and the flood started. It took a bit of a cuddle from David to calm me down.

More later - David is giving me info re notes for the new owner (for me to email), sorting out how the LIM for a place we are interested in can be collected at Paraparaumu before the council closes at 4 today ...

So up and at 'em, Atom Ant. But boy, my back is sore, my legs are sore, my arms are sore ...

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Yah Boo Sucks

Well, as they say, there is many a slip between cup and lip; and after my bragging about how easy it is to buy a house here in NZ, the slips have occurred. So, as I said above: yah boo sucks.

In the second to last post I was excited about the villa we had an offer accepted on in a retirement village up in Waikanae. All was going fine - I had the furniture positioned, the pictures in place, the cupboards filled, I knew what plants I was taking cuttings of for the garden – all in my forward planning, you understand. Then David told me that our lawyer had suggested he google the owner of the village. Long story short (for a change …) David did so, plus checked the Companies Register and some accounts data, to find that the owner has a checkered history with over 60 companies mainly with him as the sole director, and over 50 of those struck off, a few of which had had liquidation proceedings. That all felt too dodgy for us to be buying into one of his business ventures, so we pulled out.

Off we went looking for a place to buy outright – we are cash buyers essentially, once settlement on Cherswud takes place next Friday. There’s a fair amount of places for sale in Waikanae, and a number of really nice and suitable homes in our price range. The issue we are finding is that real estate agents, after a slow year on the Kapiti Coast last year, have discovered that they can induce a buying frenzy by talking up the desirability of living up there - given the current building of the new expressway which will shorten the travelling time between the coast and Wellington. In order to further inflate the buying frenzy, the agents are now employing an offer process which is actually a tender process. Effectively it’s a multi offer situation, called, of all things, a deadline treaty. Not sure who dreamed that up.

So the process is that anyone who wants to offer on a place puts in their offer (price, conditions) by the deadline, and then the vendor gets to see all offers at the same time. (Sounds extraordinarily like a tender to me …) Apparently, the offers are binding for 5 days from the deadline, so if you want to withdraw your offer you have to do so before the deadline, or you could be committed to buying a house you’ve changed your mind about!

The difficulty for people like David and me is that we don’t deal well with uncertainty or waiting. So it is a right pain having to offer with other people (or not – the agents sure as sh1t won’t reveal if there are no other keen purchasers or what their thinking is re price) and then we have to wait to see if our offer is successful. In the meantime, do we keep looking or do we pin our hopes on one place and, if unsuccessful, repeat in a serially monogamous fashion? AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

We are currently doing the due diligence on a nice place and will put in an offer just before the last day. In the meantime, we are briefing the agents that we do not want to view any other places using the deadline treaty method. We are cash buyers and can pay immediately the due diligence is done, but a multi offer situation sucks for us. (We have also put the word out with a number of people that if they know of anyone thinking of selling to let us know BEFORE they get to an agent.)

Interestingly, I gather from our lovely friend Melita, that the buying situation in Auckland is even worse. If someone sees a place they like and decides to put in an offer, the agent will then set up an auction with a few days’ notice. Then the offerer has to participate in an auction situation. If an auction has already been scheduled and the property is advertised as an auction unless sold prior, the offerer steps into the same trap, the original auction date is brought forward, and there they are competing – no wonder property prices in Auckland are sky rocketing. Melita said that a place she was interested in before she got her house had an offer of $840k which the vendors were happy with, the agent brought forward the auction and the selling price ended up as $1.3m. Another AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

Fortunately that hasn’t yet caught on in the Wellington area.

Still, once we get an offer accepted, the process is the same as I described in a previous post – the accepted offer is the contract and is binding and the deposit paid. So the struggle for us is the uncertainty of whether our offer is acceptable as there’s no feedback until the deadline has passed, and the delay in finding that out. I am sure we are too old to be part of the instant gratification generation, but somehow it’s a gene we both have!

Fortunately we are not without places to stay – we have some lovely kind friends. When we leave here on the 14th, we will be going to stay at Bruce and Gary’s house at Waikanae Beach. Then around early December, we will move up to Otaki Beach to house sit for Derek and Ted who will be on a northern hemisphere adventure.

Meanwhile the packing moves on apace. Joe has done a sterling job of organising the garage with sections for things to go into storage, things to go to various charities. He has also packed up lots of kitchen stuff, all of the laundry, while I have packed my clothing and shoes (into one large tea-chest – not bad, eh?) a lot of china, cups and saucer sets (I have sold about 10 but that leaves about 60), the cow parade, platters, bowls, ramekins, chickens – in other words, as my friend Lesley would describe it: tat. I protest that it is high class and some of it is high price, but she declares it tat regardless. She is a very hard woman. There is more than one tea-chest of it, by the way …

Storage is organised, movers are organised, I have set out surplus books in boxes for the guests at our At Home this Sunday to choose from and take away. Joe and I know what we are cooking as finger food for the party – pulled pork served with bread rolls.

I have been in touch with the new owner and she is coming to meet us tomorrow evening – that is lovely. It’ll be good to meet the person who is taking over the stewardship of this lovely house – it has a history, and for us there is a sense that, like Maori and other indigenous people feel about the land, the house has owned us rather than the other way around, and our job has been to preserve and care for it and pass it forward.

OK, now time for sleep. Another big day of packing tomorrow and clearing so Sandra sees the house in a reasonably preserved and cared for state, instead of the mass of boxes, bubble wrap, and books currently littering most rooms.