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Considering a move to lifestyle block

Considering a move to lifestyle block

Old Jun 25th 2018, 11:46 pm
  #1  
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Default Considering a move to lifestyle block

A visit to some friends who have just moved from Cannons Creek to Carterton, and a couple of hours spend in their parents' paddock helping them chop wood, has got us both thinking about moving over that way and looking for a lifestyle block.
We're in a position where we can afford to pay a mortgage to buy land out there then look at building in a few years when we've saved a bit of money to make a start.

We have a quarter acre section in Tawa at the moment with chickens, bunnies, cats and dogs, but the idea of more space, views, farther away neighbours etc really appeals.

I've had the urge for a while to be somewhere less built-up but I wasn't sure until now if the wife felt the same way. We don't want to move right now as we've both recently started good jobs that we like and finally seem to have things under control so we can actually save some money.

What are people's thoughts? I know a few of you have built your own places. What do we need to consider?
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Old Jun 26th 2018, 10:43 am
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Default Re: Considering a move to lifestyle block

OMG the list of things to consider are huge.
First things first you need to consider how it'll work from a logistical point of view - ie thinking about where you both work, how will you commute, how long will it take you, likely costs and overheads. Do you need to consider childcare as theres way less options when you are living rural or in a small community. What about nipping to the shop and school for any kids etc

We considered with the idea for ages and more or less discounted it as crazy and that it would be way too stressful and cost way too much. We were basically priced out of buying what we wanted in suburbia so the buy a section and build appealed as it meant we could possibly afford the house we wanted on a larger section. We got completely hooked up in the challenge to get more of what we wanted with less compromises so went for it even though there was a chance it could all be too much.
We still ended up paying the same money - possibly more, but what we have is so much better and is worth so much more. It worked for us but it was a huge challenge and was very stressful. These build companies offer a service but trying to get them to understand your vision is difficult.
Costs for materials and labour have risen sharply over the past year or so and you'll be lucky to build for $1800 / SQM now and that's for middle of the road quality. There are also so many hidden costs when building rural :-
Getting title - don't buy a section without it. Let the seller bear this cost.
Access - how long is the driveway. How many culverts will you need. Ours was 55 Metres x 3.3 Metres with 1 x concrete and 1 x plastic culvert $17k and just used metal.
Build site - how big, how difficult to prepare etc. Ours around 450 SQM $13k.
Septic system minimum $19k.
Water tank system etc $?
Storm water & drainage $?
Power to site - could be $25k
Copper wire / fibre etc for phone/Internet $?

this is just the tip of the iceberg. All has to be considered and costed before you decide if you can even afford to build and that's at today's prices not the ones in a couple years time. You also need to consider covenants on the land and local council bylaws and resource consents. How much is it going to cost to get engineering drawings then get through council consent.
The rural build process certainly opened our eyes. We built a 240 SQM house for $400k at mid range and that included a lot but when you get in to earthworks and utilities and all that jazz the costs just spiral. Even with flat land and easy access earthworks will be $25k.
Not trying to put you off. Far from it. Really glad we did it but unless you build a really modern style house (glorified shed) it is an expensive option.
Also don't underestimate how much time and effort it takes to look after a big section. We have just over an acre with 8 Avo trees a 50M x 3M x 3M feijoa bush plus a Macadamia tree that all need looking after plus all the grass and other trees. It is an endless task......neighbour always asking me how I'm getting on with my life sentence property as opposed to lifestyle.
It's bloody hard work but we love it.
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Old Jun 26th 2018, 8:11 pm
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Default Re: Considering a move to lifestyle block

Wow that's a lot to think about, thanks so much for the info.
We're still in the thinking stages and might talk ourselves out of it. But it is a very appealing idea.
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Old Jun 27th 2018, 7:46 am
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Default Re: Considering a move to lifestyle block

Wow, talk about over thinking things.

Its just a lifestyle block, not a trip to the moon.

Everywhere I've lived there have been lifestyle blocks within a 5 minute drive. Lifestyle doesn't have to mean living in the middle of nowhere.
culverts, driveways etc etc will depend on the section and building costs are what they are and will vary depending on the house and its placement on the section
if you want to do it and can afford it then its not a big deal

Last edited by Justcol; Jun 27th 2018 at 7:59 am.
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Old Jun 27th 2018, 10:17 am
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Default Re: Considering a move to lifestyle block

we've had a lifestyle block here and back in Wales.
The one thing I'd say is it's not a lifestyle it's a life sentence.......now that may be fine, you may well enjoy the 'life' and it won't be a sentence......or you may be three years into it and realise it is.
The thing to be aware of is it never - ever stops, and you'll be hand in pocket from the start.
But on the flip side....we loved it, every second of it......but hated never having a spare cent or minute.
Take the rose tinted off and have a real hard think.
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Old Jun 27th 2018, 10:47 am
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Default Re: Considering a move to lifestyle block

Originally Posted by cym View Post
we've had a lifestyle block here and back in Wales.
The one thing I'd say is it's not a lifestyle it's a life sentence.......now that may be fine, you may well enjoy the 'life' and it won't be a sentence......or you may be three years into it and realise it is.
The thing to be aware of is it never - ever stops, and you'll be hand in pocket from the start.
But on the flip side....we loved it, every second of it......but hated never having a spare cent or minute.
Take the rose tinted off and have a real hard think.
Sure when people in NZ talk about lifestyle blocks, how much land do they actually mean, or what is considered a lifestyle block? According to info's, it seems to be anything from half acre to 100 acres. I live in Ireland and we have just below an acre now, but I wouldn't say it's a lot of work .You have enough space to grow your fruit and veg, so saves money and just suits our lifestyle, but of course if you had 100 acres with 50 horses that's a different story?
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Old Jun 27th 2018, 1:11 pm
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Default Re: Considering a move to lifestyle block

I live in a rural place in Australia. Much, much smaller place than Carterton. City dwellers think that living rurally means quiet, simple and uncomplicated. It is anything but! Agree with the others that costs could (will?) easily blow out and there's heaps to consider and think about.

Like for instance electricity. If you want to be connected to mains power, fine - if you're too far away from the grid they will put in the poles to connect you. Here in Australia you have to pay for the poles though and they run - at an absolute basic minimum - $5,000 a pop!

We are 16 km from town but it's a tiny town. A trip to a proper supermarket is a 90 km round-trip. If there's a problem with one of your cars it's an incredible pain in the rear.

Crime and drugs are also problems in the country. A lot of city dwellers think crime and drugs are only a big-city thing and they're trading that for a bucolic life. It's not and they are not.

I like small towns but I'm wired this way. Those who are doing the "escape to the country" thing generally pack up and leave pretty quickly and end up basically just tossing a big pile of money down the storm drain. The local realtors have a constant cycle of property on the market from that.

Carterton to Wellington is 84 km one-way. That's about what my wife does every day to get to her work place. She hates the commute, but doesn't want to leave where we are. She also works in a small town so there's no traffic when she arrives. You will be 84 km + Wellington traffic if that's where you work. Remember that night driving is dangerous driving in the country.

Can you afford to rent for a year, before making a commitment? It will either fit you like a glove or you will be desperate to get out after 2-3 years like another poster said.
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Old Jun 27th 2018, 8:23 pm
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Default Re: Considering a move to lifestyle block

Also think very carefully about what you intend to do as a lifestyle block. Think quality of land and water supply/rainfall as it is difficult to change and is it fenced (expensive). We had 24 acres in Golden Bay and ran cattle and a few sheep, with chicken/ducks for fun. Great fun and we lived very well, but not enough land to run at a profit. We now have 5 acres mostly lawn and garden which is beautiful but quite a lot of work. What I am trying to say is don't underestimate the work involved in a lifestyle block, it is a great way of life, but if you are both working, it can become a chore and a moneypit.
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Old Jun 29th 2018, 10:59 pm
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Default Re: Considering a move to lifestyle block

Originally Posted by Justcol View Post
Wow, talk about over thinking things.

Its just a lifestyle block, not a trip to the moon.

Everywhere I've lived there have been lifestyle blocks within a 5 minute drive. Lifestyle doesn't have to mean living in the middle of nowhere.
culverts, driveways etc etc will depend on the section and building costs are what they are and will vary depending on the house and its placement on the section
if you want to do it and can afford it then its not a big deal
Ha Ha....and that's exactly as I looked at it when I first spotted the advert on TradeMe for the rural section.
I went down and met with the agent, had a walk around the site etc and thought this place is awesome. Sold!!!
All pretty straightforward until I had to tell the wife, then sh1t got real and the list of things to consider with 2 young kids went on a trip to the moon.
Correct. Lifestyle doesn't have to mean living in the middle of nowhere, and we are lucky in that respect as we're only 1 Km to SH2 which allows us to be in our village in a few minutes, only another 5 minutes to Bethlehem then only another 5 mins in to Tauranga CBD.
The OP is talking about Carterton though. If you don't live on SH2 or close to it you're more or less in the middle of nowhere. It is fairly remote farming country around that neck of the woods with a spattering of lifestylers and everything you need to do will be a car trip.
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Old Jun 30th 2018, 11:31 am
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Default Re: Considering a move to lifestyle block

It has a population of over 5000. That's 10 times more than where I am, that's almost a metropolis....!!
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Old Jun 30th 2018, 8:00 pm
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Default Re: Considering a move to lifestyle block

i agree. it totally depends on what you are going to do with the land. I've always said that next time, see there might be a next time, it's going to be trees. sod livestock....it's going to be trees for firewood!
We had 3 acres in wales and then 5.5 here and then leapt up to 35! 35 acres of fencing wire cost a lot!
"Hooray I've just sold 5 cows, and now I'm going to spend all that money on more fencing wire! " - that happened more than once.
Someone else mentioned crime.....yes crime happens in the country, and because it's more remote the chances are they will never be caught. Someone one bright sunny day entered our barn and took everything, that's everything, with an engine! Never caught.
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Old Jul 2nd 2018, 3:52 am
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Default Re: Considering a move to lifestyle block

Originally Posted by cym View Post
i agree. it totally depends on what you are going to do with the land. I've always said that next time, see there might be a next time, it's going to be trees. sod livestock....it's going to be trees for firewood!
We had 3 acres in wales and then 5.5 here and then leapt up to 35! 35 acres of fencing wire cost a lot!
"Hooray I've just sold 5 cows, and now I'm going to spend all that money on more fencing wire! " - that happened more than once.
Someone else mentioned crime.....yes crime happens in the country, and because it's more remote the chances are they will never be caught. Someone one bright sunny day entered our barn and took everything, that's everything, with an engine! Never caught.
Yeah - and storms and other things that damage fences. There is insurance for that sort of thing but that's another added cost.

Rustling still happens, and recently where I live, people have been breaking into gun cabinets and taking firearms. For what purpose? Nobody has been able to figure out. Sure you can put good locks on the fence and have security cameras but you can't cover everything. You also may just have three or four police officers in a huge territory . . . some of whom may resent being posted to the country and not the comforts of the city, and may not be that motivated to do anything but pull people over for going 8 kph over the speed limit.

This isn't to put RobClubley off, but the key as you said is to know what you want to do with the land beforehand, and have the foreknowledge to have appropriate expertise check it out to see if what you want to do is viable with it. It is possible to lease land out to farmers but the small size of the block OP is talking about, that isn't viable.

On five acres you could run a small number of sheep. Not commercially viable but it's something, and the exact number of sheep would depend on a lot of variables with the land. OP would need someone with expertise to inspect the land and advise and not just say "I've just bought a lifestyle block, let me put a random number, based on my gut instinct and some light Internet surfing, of sheep on it." Depending on soil and climate he could also put in a small private vineyard - though as many "escape to the country" types find out that is also a huge amount of work.

A friend of mine is on 5 acres - and is spending her entire two-week holiday just maintaining it. Clearing out overgrowth etc. Five acres is a lot of land to keep and people can easily find they can't use all that but still have to maintain it.

From an agricultural perspective - it can be a travesty. A lot of retiring farmers in Australia broke up their sizable farms into smaller lots, that were sold to "lifestylers," who didn't know what to do with the land, and so some of Australia's best farming land is just sitting idle.
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Old Jul 2nd 2018, 3:57 am
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Default Re: Considering a move to lifestyle block

Let me just clarify that post was not intended to be negative - but to highlight that you should have a plan for what you want to do with the land, that has been vetted by a professional or an expert first, or else this could become a massive burden.
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Old Jul 5th 2018, 12:04 am
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Default Re: Considering a move to lifestyle block

Some of our friends moved to a lifestyle block (5 acres I think) about a year ago. Some of the downsides from talking to them over the past year:

> They forgot to factor in the cost of a ride on lawn mower. Their kids were at high school and needing laptops at the same time so they had no money to buy one! They go for around $3000-5000.
> They didn't consider fencing to be an issue. They thought they had fenced all they needed to fence until the neighbours sheep kept getting into their property (and eating hundreds of dollars of their new trees/shrubs due to be planted). When they phoned the local council to see what could be done, they were told that because both them and the neighbours hadn't adequately fenced the property that there's nothing they could do. More money to build more fencing to keep neighbours sheep out.
> Tidying up the front part of their property including getting rid of dirt mounds from digging foundations was bloody expensive, much higher than they thought so they were stuck with dirt mounds for about a year until they could remove them.
> Putting a shed up to store vehicles was more expensive than anticipated

That's about all I can think of at the moment. Added to that was the stress of the actual build but I guess you would get that no matter where you build. They admit that some of their issues were poor financial planning and they could have predicted things better than they did!
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Old Jul 5th 2018, 12:15 am
  #15  
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Default Re: Considering a move to lifestyle block

I'm starting to think that looking for somewhere to move to with a house already there would be a much less stressful option.
I like the idea of building but is it really worth the stress?
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