The Ausly House: An affordable & sustainable house made from Australian products. Part 2: The Plan
Updated: May 10
Follow the journey of designing & building The Ausly, from idea to completion.
Now we've covered the dream & the driver in Part 1. Now it's time to explore the plan.
Long Term Plan
Treating the project as an investment from the outset, not just a holiday house or a home means that opportunities and decisions can be tested against these criteria first. The long term plan is to gain equity from the property to buy & build another, rent this one as a holiday let, that is neutral or positively geared.
Choosing the area
Non-negotiables for the area included:
Affordable = under 450k total house and land cost
Near a wine region = within 30 min drive to several cellar doors
Near a swimming beach = within 3 blocks of beach access
In an area that has an established tourist market
Large enough population to support work opportunities
The next step was to gather research data on demographics, property prices, holiday lets, vacancy rates (from places like Airdna & AlltheRooms), travel distances to amenities & airport on several suburbs that we're shortlisted from the criteria above. This research was largely from, online resources, previous travel experiences and word of mouth suggestions.
The shortlist consisted of; Newcastle NSW, Port Macquarie NSW and McLaren Vale SA.
I live in Newcastle NSW (in a rental), near the Hunter Valley wine region and near some stunning beaches. I love the lifestyle. For me, it's not affordable to buy the type of property I've defined above. I'd either have to wait 10 more years to save a deposit to buy in a neighbourhood that fits the bill here or move to a neighbourhood that does not have the potential for the type of property I would like to invest in.
The same goes for Port Macquarie, properties are beautiful, and lifestyle is great, but out of my price range, and did not have a large enough population to support work opportunities.
That left McLaren Vale - happy with that, what a magnificent place!
Defining the timing, budget & scope
The land must be on a Torrens title - a freehold investment, free from body corporate incumbrances.
The land must have room for a three-bedroom house with a single garage and a modest yard. (undecided if single or double-storey)
Area to be relatively flat and not in hazard zone (i.e. bushfire, flood, earthquake-prone land) to moderate building costs
Mortgage repayments on the finished land and house value would be able to be covered by potential holiday let earnings including estimated vacancy schedule
Minimum return on investment for the house and land at the time of occupancy= 20%
Total project cost to be under 450k
Timing - allowed roughly 12 months for the project, broken up in approximate stages
3 months to find the property
4 months for settlement & planning
5 months for construction
After more due diligence online including
Detailed demographics from Microburbs, Onthehouse and general searches. (I uncovered the fact that Maslin Beach is a nudist beach for instance)
The average per square meter land cost (I did the rough maths on recent sales data)
Research into new development and infrastructure projects, (are they building a school, bunnings, train station etc near this suburb?) How will this impact property prices? For instance, at the time of writing, they are building a new motorway that connects the North and South of Adelaide - good for prices in McLaren Vale.
Research into local planning laws and statutory development costs
Detailed Google maps detective work (locating potential undesirables like waste disposal sites, nurseries, quarries) & using street view to check out the look and feel of the neighbourhoods.
Now time to plan an in-person visit to these shortlisted suburbs:
*In my next post, I'll teach you how to define what you want out of a specific site.*
Holly is an accredited building designer, director of Holly & Co. a building and interior design studio based in Newcastle NSW.