The Purchase

Ben Ohau.jpg

In June 2017 Dave said to me, "We should look at buying some land up near Twizel as an investment, while it's still cheap"

ARE YOU FREAKING SERIOUS! Don't you love it when they turn your idea around and make it theirs? I had been saying the same for a few years by this stage and always felt like we would regret not buying up there for the rest of our lives if we didn't because of the opportunity and growth in the area.

To be fair, we didn't have the cash, cashflow or bank support when I suggested it so it was actually timed perfectly. 


Afghan Street, Pleasant Point

Afghan Street, Pleasant Point

From day one I said hell yes while really wanting to be able to keep our little, old investment property in Pleasant Point and borrow against it. That plan was pipped at the post, the banks said no way as we only had 40% equity and to borrow against it we needed 60%. Not only that but we didn't feel it was a property with high growth potential given that it was already 115 years old!

Looking back on my phone, it was the 25th of June 2017 that we first went up to Twizel to look at the lifestyle blocks under the Ben Ohau Range. We first had our mind set on a section a few properties down but our first two offers weren't accepted and as far as we were concerned - the owners were dreaming. From memory, I believe they were looking for over $130,000 for 2.6Ha of unserviced land that had a CV of $60,000.


We were initially quite disappointed and you will find when dealing with property sales and purchases that it is often stressful with many setbacks as you go!

A few hundred metres up the road there was another section for sale, a fair bit bigger with a lower asking price. It had a shared driveway next to it which we weren't keen on as we didn't understand who's it was but we decided to take a better look.

We contacted the agent who directed us over the phone where the boundary was and we put an offer in very soon after. The first time it was turned down, the second offer was accepted!

We now had six weeks to sell our Pleasant Point house - CRAP, no pressure! We pulled it off in the nick of time.

Don't forget this is bare and unserviced land. No power, no water, no septic system. There ain't no 20% deposit option, our only option was coming up with 50% deposit so we knew we had to get the land for a good price. Rarely to people include real figures so I'm going to with the idea that it gives you some hope and helps your to think outside the box.



Here are some stats:

  • We brought the Pleasant Point house in March 2015 FOR $188,000 needing a 20% deposit of $37,000. This was a big stretch for us and couldn't have been done without a small top up from both my parents and Dave's boss at the time. (Note we were living 'rent free' on farm - this is how it was possible for us)
  • We spent $20,000 renovating our little place in Pleasant Point then sold it for $232,500 in September 2017 meaning we made a nice profit in two years of $24,000
  • We then brought the 4.65Ha in Twizel for $95,450 meaning we had to front up with $47,725.
  • We had this and more from the sale so was able to both purchase the land, spend $13,000 drilling down 29 metres for a bore.
  • We brought a 40ft shipping container which Dave painted black, welded in a ranchslider and we trucked it to Ohau for storage and 'camping'. (Dave also pulled the 'but I work so much I deserve it' and spent $3000 on an immaculate 45 year old boat)


I hope that was somewhat helpful. You will see we are dealing with very low value but personally convenient and desirable property to get onto the property ladder. This model  certainly isn't made for town jobs and Auckland property.

We realised early on that without a family farm to step on to, we had to start from the bottom and residential property was certainly the way to go for us as opposed to leasing farm land or similar as local lease land that we could service is too expensive and we are often time poor given high input jobs and other commitments.



The next steps for us after purchase were:

Water divining

  • Get quotes to drill the water bore. We settled on Barber Drilling from Geraldine. They were fantastic to deal with. This was nerve wracking as if they didn't hit water, you'd still have to pay and that would have killed our plans before they had begun. A property up the road went down 70m and never found water!
  • Start clearing the 1000+ wilding pine trees from seedling size to 15ft. We now have around 50 ginormous ones left standing.
  • Choose an architect and builder.
  • Choose driveway position and scope out diggers and gravel.
  • Stay there, have fun and learn the movements of the sun for house position.




So this doesn't get super long, I'll close off there and next I will talk you through the architect process, council consenting, the building quotes and decisions and the progress we have made. I'll also be taking you through the building process as it happens!! <3

We know this type of land and location isn't for everyone but hopefully it inspires you to aim for your version of paradise.

Stay tuned!

The Barber Drilling team

The Barber Drilling team

Drone view of a weekend burning dead wilding pines

Drone view of a weekend burning dead wilding pines

Our playground, 2km away - Lake Ohau.

Our playground, 2km away - Lake Ohau.