So we have this little piece of heaven that we bought about 3 years ago; 100 acres of bushland on the edge of Wollemi NP on the NSW Central Tablelands. We were very lucky as it was a mortgagee sale and after 6 months we were still the only interested party, so we got quite the bargain.
But we haven’t always been country folk. My wife and I married quite young (I was a month short of 20!) and we both dreamt of owning our own acreage out in the country for many years. We both grew up on the edges of the Sydney metro area and had had enough of a taste of country life to know it was for us (and also enough of a taste of crazy suburban life to know it was not!).
After moving around constantly in the rental market and watching the acreage prices go up and up faster than we could possibly save a deposit we eventually realised that we were in a downward spiral and chasing a tail that was getting further and further out of reach each revolution. Then the house we were renting was put on the market so we bit the bullet. We approached the parents of some friends of ours who we knew owned a property out in the bush that had not been lived in for years, on about 2000 acres no less! We weren’t quite sure what to expect but as it turned out they were very keen for us to get out there and make use of the house. So now started the move, which was pretty epic, we had only a ute and about a 400km return trip for each load!
Soon enough though we were settled in and loving it. 30km+ from the nearest (small) town, 2km to the nearest neighbour and a driveway that required hubs locked on the Hilux if it was wet! Even though it wasn’t ours we’d finally realised at least part of our country life dream – even if it meant I was still travelling back and forth to Sydney 3 times a week for work, it was better than nothing. We cleaned up the yard, pruned the old Waratah plantation and even managed to harvest some for a tidy little profit come Spring. We stayed there for about a year before moving on to another property in the area.
After a few years of farm hand and kitchen hand work (yes I gave up the Sydney job after the first six months), and having welcomed our first two children into the world, we managed to scrape together enough savings to buy our first home. It wasn’t our country acreage that we dreamed of and we were back in suburbia, all be it a country town, after about 8 years of renting acreage properties, but it was ours and it was a start. Meanwhile our two friends who’s parents property we had first moved to had also moved out into the big old house with each of their families in tow, and while we’ve made our share of new friends, this is a welcome shot for our social life.
A few years go by and as we’ve watched property prices again go up and up even out here, we’ve almost given up on our dream. That is until one fateful day when a property valuer turns up at the old house we used to live in and asks our friend about the 100 acre block next door, the mortgage for which turns out to have been foreclosed on. Quick thinking from my mate telling him it was pretty much rubbish and a quick phone call to me later and our dream is re-ignited!
After securing some extra cash from family we get our bank to agree to lend us up to $35,000 on a $50,000 purchase, we think we’re pushing it big time with that low a figure, but what the heck, it almost felt like destiny. We meet with the estate agent as soon as we can and put in a ridiculously low offer of $20,000 before the auction date, which the bank holding the property promptly rejects – we were not too suprised. So acution day rolls around and we turn up, nervous as heck, expecting to be out bid by some cashed up Sydney types wanting a holiday block but alas we were the only ones to show! The agent calls us into his office and we double our previous offer, $40k now and we’re hoping they bite, though we know it is still a very low figure.
Long story short (I know, this is one long blog post already!) we to and fro for about 6 more months before we almost give up, again. We put in one final offer, barely over $50k and tell them that is it, they have 2 weeks before we start looking elsewhere. A bluff, but we’re already pushing it as far as our budget is concerned. Our hearts jump at every ring of the phone for the next two weeks, but that most important call never comes. Then, perhaps a week or so after our deadline, I answer the phone and to my utter surprise it’s the estate agent asking if our offer still stands? HELL YEAH IT DOES!
So after about 14 years of marriage, 4 kids and our dreams of owning our own piece of countryside dying and being reborn a few times we finally realise our dream and for a lot less money than we had ever hoped! And to boot it was right next door to our friends place we had moved into when we first went bush!
So if you’re out there, dreaming of your little piece of paradise, don’t give up on it no matter how impossible it might seem at times, you just never know what might be around the corner.