Saturday, 15 December 2012


Something different tonight! It will be brief but I'd like to touch on it as it has a bit to do with the home we are building and it might give those of you who don't know us personally, a better idea of who we are. Who is Cody Drysdale, other than a homeone forum and blogspot username? Well, Drysdale is the house design we are building, and Cody is the name of a very special girl we lost a few months ago. I am an only child, and in 1999 I was 17 and our family was out to get a new dog. We went to the RSPCA and had a look at the puppies available. The parents insisted on getting a female and the only female in the litter was the Codester. So we were stuck with her! I was a quiet kid, and she was my best friend. We referred to her as my 'sister'. Even now at 30 I can confidently say she was my best friend, my favourite person. She knew everything about me whether she knew it or not and she was my world. We had 13 1/2 awesome years together before she started to feel her age and I had to make the toughest decision of my life. One month after she passed I dreamt that she was with me on a bare patch of Earth. I woke up really happy, interpreting it as Oran Park. So glad I can remember my dreams :)

Stephen had previously mentioned (when we still had Cody, he knew her for the last two years of life) that he wanted to name our theatre room after her. It would unofficially be known as the Cody SchliEgan Theatre Room (she had a couple of dozen nicknames). If I get my way, I want Becca to do a portrait for me. I've been in touch and can get a digital copy of the artwork for about $150. I'm happy with that when the cost of a printed and shipped artwork would be $400+ for a large size. I'm thinking it would look nice on a feature wall in the theatre, but we'll figure that out when we actually have the theatre room! So we'll have a happy, funky artwork to remember a very inspirational pup who was full of nothing but love (and the ability to be a real ratbag when she wanted!!). xxx

Colour Samples

Not very good quality, but these are our colour selections:
  • We've gone with a dark grey colorbond roof, in monument.
  • The bricks are mocha, in the standard range for our package. We were going to go with a darker one but that was more of a want than a need. 
  • The garage and much of the house will be in surfmist. 
  • We forgot to look at the render colour, but we will be going with Stone Drab. We hadn't seen it until yesterday but it was the favourite for both of us.
  • I did want a red door, but we decided it could look a bit out of place, so have gone for a reddish stain instead (upgrade). The door itself has three large panes of glass. In a standard size door this would look a bit squarish but ours will look like this. The translucent glass is also an upgrade.

 Next up is internal paint! There are standard shades, so just because they say Taubmans Endure, don't go to Bunnings and find a colour you love unless you're willing to pay for it. You can probably see a past post where I've got a swatch of Grey Fog. Well its not standard. The standard shades only require two coats of paint. The one we've chosen instead is the closest to what we liked.

Kitchen stuff! We haven't had our appointment yet, kitchen and electrical are on Monday however we have chosen the colours we like. 
  • On the left side are the colours we are using for the ensuite. New Cairo essastone is standard. The door colour is from polytec and that's something we'll change after handover. In the interim we will use what EBH can provide and hopefully Blackened Linewood is a standard colour!
  • In the centre is the kitchen. Sorbet stone (not standard) and possibly either Blackened Linewood from laminex or Amerind Ebony Fineline Gloss. We had a look at Stephens work showroom today and we both like a type of fingerpull system that may not be possible with laminex or Amerind. If all else fails we might just do a really dark colour and put a feature panel on the back of the island bench.
  • On the right is the main bathroom. This should compliment our main tile well. Piazza stone upgrade, and chalky teak laminex, which is standard. We actually like chalky teak, so this one might stay!
Oh and we just got our carpet quote back. I was only $100 off so I'm happy! For 4 bedrooms, robes and theatre and the $8/sqm underlay, we'll be looking at around $2700.

Colour Appointment #1 - a success!

Yesterday we had day one of our colour appointment days. We came prepared and with a fair idea of what we wanted, and I think that has made the experience MUCH easier. First we went upstairs at HOG and met with out Colour Consultant, Rikelle. She was great. The others in the Home Options Gallery sounded just lovely as well, but Rikelle made everything so easy. She offered honest and useful advice and was very helpful. I will add photos of the colours later today or tomorrow.
We finished with Rikelle early, so while a couple of other people were delayed, we were moved in to see Nicole from Abbey blinds. Again we had a vague idea of what we were after (just wanted to get a quote for shutters for our main facade), so that made her job a lot easier too I'm sure. Again, lovely consultant! You're going to see a trend here :) She seemed to know her job very well and offered some good suggestions and assured us of the quality of the product. At this stage I'm thinking that it may be worthwhile to get their shutters for the front, and a couple of translucent (??) rollers for wardrobe and ensuite. We used blinds online for the last place and I think if there's a big price difference, if they offer very similar products, we will probably just go with them. As long as we can sort something out for the main and secondary facade windows, we'll make do. There are a few things that are a higher priority than blinds for bedrooms not in use (fridge etc!). Quote should come through next week.

Next up, we went to Jenni from Outback Landscaping to discuss driveways. We went in thinking there was NO WAY we would get pavers. Weeds, buckling, yuck! But she talked us into it within a couple of minutes. Less maintenance, less major problems to deal with in future. As long as we don't put the removalist truck on the driveway, there would be no issues! They've got some fencing contacts too, which will be useful when it comes time to fence. Being a corner block, we'll be needing some contacts! Oh, did I mention Jenni was lovely!? All the staff we saw really had our trust.

Our next visit was to Cooks Plumbing (all these people so far are in the same building). We sat down with Dana (South African I think? LOVE that accent! Anyway back to what I was saying...), and discussed a few things. Didn't have to worry about much as the kitchen appliances were taken out. She explained what was standard, and we were happy with the range. We're in the Lifestyle range and upgraded to the Living Essentials package. Water filters were explained - the prices weren't too bad but it's not something we need, so we opted not to add one. The only thing I wanted to take out were soap dishes in the bathrooms. We don't need it if we have a niche, and if you could see my current soap dish, you would understand why I'm not a fan! So we used the credit for that, to get a hand towel rail in ensuite and bathroom. We need to add a further $29.55 to our bill. Shouldn't break the bank! That was the extent of our bathroom/kitchen upgrades. Dana knew her stuff and showed us examples in the showroom wherever possible.

By this point we were running two hours early. People must come into these appointments with literally NO idea!? Headed to Castle Towers for a bite to eat and be annoyed by crappy carparks.

At 2:30 we had our appointment at DiLorenzo with Ann. Turns out she was the first woman we spoke to at DiLorenzo. She made a great first impression and I am SO glad we got her yesterday. Most of our choices were in the builders range, we just need to pay a few surcharges. Some of our extra costs will be:
  • Approx $38 for the nicer floor waste, below (2 per bathroom, 1 in laundry)
  • Cost for laying tiles over standard size
  • Cost for laying mosaic feature tile
We're also getting a quote to get the external tiles (same as internal, but with grip) post-handover. 

Also if you are planning on doing a splashback yourself, apparently we need to have this mentioned on a PCV so DiLorenzo can cover their asses. We are looking into this at the moment. Hoping it's not an additional cost. Paying $500 for a PCV for a tiling credit that would probably be minimal kind of defeats the purpose. So we'll see what the go is there.

So here's the placement of the house on the land. Oran Park have unusual fencing guidelines, just to make exposed fences look more appealing. You can go down 1/3 of the property, step it in a metre, then continue to halfway. It does look good, but to be honest it pi$$es me off a little bit. My interest in the corner block is the added yard space, and natural light, I just wish the yard space didn't end up in the front yard. At the end of the day, I think it will still look great. We also moved our water tank. The architect had put it up near bedroom four, which I have crossed out. We want it near the garage. We added extra space to the house (shaded areas) so the space near the garage seems to make the most sense. When we get a shed, it will go up near the crossed out water tank. Air con and clothesline along the back wall.

We made very small changes, other than the added space throughout the house. Took out a wall in the kitchen near the fridge, and we made the study into a wardrobe. Storage shouldn't be a problem in this house!

So that's it! All up we have spent $750 on upgrades - mostly on the front door (but we don't have the tiling details yet uh-oh!). Colours will be added when I've got more time :)

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Tile choices

Unless we change our mind. But then we'd have to look at everything again :-/
Floor tiles:

Ensuite Tiles:

Main Bathroom Tiles / Laundry Tiles:


If I only see DiLorenzo one more time in my life, I will be happy (but I think it will be more). We went there again today to match our kitchen and stone samples with tiles. I've touched on some of this before, but we got some better photos and have a much better idea of what we're after. Anyway, here are some images of what we hope to do, and what we have decided on. This is some idea of what the house will look like (not our facade but close enough, and the colours are an estimate). Thanks to Kerith for finding this: 

The colours we are keen on:
Walls - Grey Fog
Theatre Room feature wall - One of these purples?
Kitchen Feature wall - Braidwood

Couple of ideas...not sure how well they will work but we're thinking that with the greys, whites and blacks, we may need a couple of bright colours throughout. I don't know if the red door will still work with Mocha, we will deal with that when the house is built I guess. The greens below are ideas for the kitchen splashback.

This, is probably the thing that has been most frustrating to date. The top two stone colours, are the two 'standard' stones, when you upgrade to a package with stone benchtops in the kitchen. That's it. We're doing this:
Kitchen - Sorbet (upgrade of about $950).
Ensuite - New Cairo. We think this colour is generally hideous (in comparison to the rest of the options available), but it should work with what we plan on doing.
Main Bathroom - Piazza (not sure how much the upgrade will be)

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Colours: pre-appointment

Colour Appointments apparently don't include the landscape plan. Our plans will be forwarded to a landscape architect who will be in touch with us to discuss the plan - most will be done over email or phone (read as 'email' to have proof of all correspondence!!).

So, for anyone interested, heres what Day 1 of the big appointments ought to involve a 9am meeting which should go for about 6 hours and cover these areas:
  • External colours (brick, roofing, garage door, gutter, fascia and cladding)
  • Driveway - I believe they offer stencilcrete, paving or a simple coloured driveway. We'll likely go the coloured concrete. 
  • Front Door style
  • Internal doors
  • Door handles
  • Internal paint colours
  • Kitchen and vanity design and colour (For this we have an allowance regarding the vanities, and we're pretty sure we are going to upgrade to a nicer stone benchtop in the kitchen. We took out our kitchen appliances. We got less than $1000 credit. Over the weekend we went to Masters where we saw them selling Venini of which would cost more than the amount we are getting back. But we can't complain too much. At least we are getting something. For the price they asked for, to upgrade to Baumatic, we weren't won over by the quality. Stephen has a few contacts at work (he does kitchens) who can hook him up with some cheaper appliances. At least by buying direct we will save on some of the mark ups.)
  • Sinks and basins  
  • Tap ware and accessories - I just want to avoid chrome soapdishes. I cannot stand those things (when they age and get the scratchy black surface on them)
  • Toilets  
  • Wardrobe fitouts (This should be unnecessary for us. Stephen is going to build our wardrobes, wardrobe doors, kitchen pantry etc)
  • Free measure and quote from Abbey Blinds.As much as we like shutters, it may be in our best interests to order through blinds online. We used them for the last house, and the quality was good (we only bought a set of verticals, metal venetians and a few rollers), but as long as you get the measurements correct, it's too easy. They will send out samples too.
  • Apparently on the day we will meet with someone from Kitchen Culture. I feel bad for this person already. Stephen's going to rip them apart. Having worked in shopfitting/kitchens for so long, he's pretty anal about getting things done right. Which is a good thing. We're going to get whatever is standard and he'll sort out the rest later on. Overhead cupboards are not standard. Neither are pot drawers. He'll do these after handover for a fraction of the cost.
Day 2.
  • Tiling and Carpet. Oh...Hello cornstarch carpet. Would you like to come home with us (in 10-12 months time)?
  • Electrical - lighting, powerpoints, phone points.
  • Optional: fencing and water storage
I think day 2 is going to be an expensive day. Everything that is nice, is an upgrade. You want a downlight? Decent underlay? Another powerpoint? Our hope is that we can get just a couple of downlights installed in the main living area, then Stephen and his dad can get around to adding in the rest. If we are looking at having a couple of dozen throughout the house, at over $100 a pop, I don't think it's worth having them install them. We'll see what they think at the appointment I suppose.

Tender accepted - Was there ever any doubt?

Firstly, we accepted the tender on Monday 19th. $2,500.00 later and its time to get the ball rolling. Basically there's three weeks between tender acceptance and the drawing up of the plans and contract. The plans will be sent to us a few days before our contract signing in early December. We have since made a few changes, such as an upgraded brick being downgraded again to one in the standard range. I always liked 'mocha', we just LOVED chocolatto and I don't think we can justify $2000 being spent on brick colour - regardless of its awesomeness. Plus there's the potential issue of the bricks chipping and the natural colour underneath being exposed. I know the slurry stuff is somehow baked onto the brick, but do they make a kind of touch up paint for bricks in case they do chip? The mocha is the same colour throughout. Either way, not the end of the world, but there are other places I would rather put the money. We made up our mind on the weekend after another visit to PGH, to speak to Lyndal. She has been great. A real credit to the company.

As soon as we accepted the tender, we made an appointment to sign the contract, as well as our colour appointments at Home Option Gallery (H.O.G). For the colours etc, you need to put aside two whole days. Thank goodness for flexi time at work! They don't offer weekend appointments unfortunately. It is recommended that people visit PGH and dilorenzo before these appointments. After this coming weekend we will have been to dilorenzo 3 times, and PGH 4.

Oh...this is (more or less) the house. The study will be closed off to form another wardrobe ;)

Saturday, 17 November 2012


Yesterday we were supposed to accept our tender, however due to a couple of amounts still missing, we have been given until Tuesday to decide if we are going to accept. For anyone interested in Eden Brae, the $5,000.00 rebate will continue until the end of the month.

At present we are grateful we did not go with the builder we were certain we would build with. I believe ProCorp has brought in administrators (I'm not quite sure how it all works) but people on the homeone forum have mentioned (and we have seen in Oran Park) homes incomplete, with fencing and portaloos removed. Very sad to see. 

This (a builder going under) was one of my fears at the beginning of our journey. How do you know how well a company are doing? How can you trust people you don't know, to be completely honest with you? Would they even be aware if the company was doing poorly? The HIA website offers media releases. One which may be of some interest, is located here

The info that may be useful:

Today we went via Home Options Gallery and DiLorenzo to have another look at the tiles and carpet we are keen on. We're pretty sure we have made the right decision.

For the main bathroom (and grey tile to go in laundry also): 
 For the ensuite:

After DiLorenzo we visited Oran Park as the latest release went on sale today. Sales staff said about 20 or so lots were sold. We also noticed that all but 2 or 3 lots in our release have been sold. In exciting news, they are starting to work on services in our area. Gas, NBN, Water etc. Plus we noticed some additional pegs in the soil. Not sure what that's all about but any progress is exciting for us.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Tender Presentation

Today we travelled to Norwest for our Tender Presentation with Eden Brae.We've been assigned someone we've read about on other blogs - all positive feedback from others and we were very impressed as well. It seems like she went over everything very thoroughly (we probably forgot to add a few things which we will confirm over coming days). She read through every piece of information in the tender ensuring we understood what was meant by each part. If she saw something she didn't think was correct, she would follow it up (within a 2 hour appointment, she was in touch with all the people she needed an answer from. If we didn't get an answer, it was because we were waiting to hear back from others). Based on our experience so far, we would definitely recommend this company. We have been lucky to work with two very professional staff so far and I hope this trend continues.

We have one week to confirm we're going with Eden Brae and pay $2,500.00, and three weeks after that to sign the contracts after making final changes. We left with a bunch of brochures for the companies that are contracted to work on Eden Brae homes. There are so many things to consider.

Some interesting points from today:
Upgrade of bricks is approx $2000 from standard to Group F (Vino, Espresso, Chocolatto). Yowser! The standard bricks are ok, but we like the colour schemes we can work with, with the upgrades. (Plus if we want a coloured door it will suit a darker brick). 

There is currently a $5000 Eden Brae New Home sale. $5K rebate for building with them but they are trying to wind it down so if you're keen to take advantage, better look into it.

I think we'll probably cop it when it comes to floor coverings.The carpet we like is an additional $30/sq with a 25yr guarantee, and $8/sq underlay. And I just added it all up >.< I've entered all the costs into a spreadsheet to try to keep track of where we can save money here or there. Hopefully it helps us save money and prioritise the things we should do now, as opposed to things we can do ourselves (read "Stephen" :-/ ) later.

Overall a very exciting day and at this point I think we should come in around our budget (however I haven't looked at tile pricing yet! :'( )

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Colour Selections (pre-tender)

Today we were out of the house for 9 hours because of 'house stuff'. First we had to meet with a solicitor to complete some paperwork for the NSW New Home Grant. $5K that will take some of the sting out of Stamp Duty. Looking forward to getting the first of a few rebates!

As we were already almost an hour away from home (and have our tender presentation next week), we figured we would look at the companies Eden Brae works with, to view their selections. The first was the (PGH Bricks) CSR Display Centre at Schofields. The moment we walked in the door we were welcomed (are these blogs going to be about customer service or will they provide any useful info!?!). The lady that helped us was great. She asked who we were building with and after handing us a list explained which bricks came as standard for Eden Brae. It has become increasingly obvious that the 'standard' will almost always be a really crappy option (In our opinion)! 

We have found an upgraded brick that we really like however we are so far unaware of how much it would cost to upgrade. The 'standard' we can tolerate is Mocha. However we do like a few others, which are painted. Chocolatto, Espresso and Vino. Only problem with these is that if you chip it or go nuts with the Gerni a few too many times, you will reveal the natural colour of the brick. If we went with Mocha for example, it's the same all through. If you chipped it, you wouldn't know any better. With the painted bricks you also need to get a mortar finish, that will ensure the natural colour of the (inside of the) painted brick, is not exposed. You'd bring the mortar right up to the edge of the brick. Naturally, this is not standard :) Standard colour mortar is 'natural' which tends to have a slight greying tint to it. You can pay more for off-white or a yellowish tint. After seeing the three, I'm surprised the yellow is not the standard!! CSR let you take samples home with you. Don't be fooled, taking home a free brick is actually exciting. We took home Mocha, Gravel  (before we saw a house in gravel and decided we hated it) and Chocolatto.

While at CSR the staff member gave us a better idea of the colour schemes we could use to go with Mocha or Chocolatto. You need to consider the colour of the tiles or colorbond roof, gutter, fascia, eaves, garage door, porch, downpipes, water tank, side reticulation/portico, window frames and driveway. She wrote down the two schemes we liked, and attached samples to take home with us. Just great customer service. We spent over an hour here. They will also give you a list of houses in the colours you select, so you can see for yourself what they will look like. We were lucky enough to find a house in Oran Park that has the facade we lke in more or less the same colours we like. I think we creeped out the guy living there when we drove past. We gawk at peoples facades, gardens, fences. Be careful of that when you get to this stage! 

Next up we visited the Home Option Gallery. People have raved about this place (It's more or less opposite Hillsong at Norwest). We only saw what they had downstairs. Looked good but I wasn't overwhelmed. Maybe we missed out on the 'good stuff'? Will write more about it when we are presented with our tender. Let's just say there is a very good chance we will be upgrading the stone benchtop in our kitchen. The standard New Cairo is fine but when you surround it with dozens of more aesthetic stones, and you want to do something funky with the kitchen doors, it doesn't seem like the right option. Budget will dictate I suppose. We were in and out in ten minutes.

Lastly we went to DiLorenzo  for tiles and carpets. We had no expectations as we had seen several negative reviews online. Our experience here was very positive. The first lady we spoke to explained how it worked-what was standard for EBH, to look for the 'yellow dot' which indicated our builder, and explained a few of the surcharges. Feature tiles will cost more as they are trickier to lay. Large tiles will cost more as they are trickier to lay. We found a few variations we liked. Glady, we managed to cut it back to three preferences for bathrooms, and the overall floor tile colour (a lot of the floor tiles are also available in an exterior finish, with greater grip). We are planning to do tiles everywhere other than the home theatre and bedrooms. 

bella vista

We had a look at the carpets, the standard builders range. It is pretty ordinary to say the least. I could have made do with it until we were advised the stuff might last you 5 years if you're lucky. She also advised us on the underlays. Ranging from an additional $5m2 to $8m2 (before the builder mark up I suppose?), if you feel this product (top of the range), you will want to get it. It's amazing to feel the difference. Stephen asked what you would get if you went up a range in price. We were shown a range between $40-$55m2. They had one carpet I fell in love with. Now normally I don't care for carpet this much, but this was an environmentally friendly carpet without stain resistant products, it has corn starch in it to keep it clean. The carpet is amazing. You don't need chemicals to clean it, just some soapy water. It's suitable for heavy use, has a lifetime (25yr) warranty, and is so soft. Plus it's Australian made. I will not rest until I have the corn carpet.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Finding a Builder

This has been the hardest part of it all so far. Before we picked a block we had been casually looking at builders for up to six months. We've changed our minds 4 times I think. So far.  Our "must haves" were an alfresco, home theatre, walk in pantry (being vego I have a few appliances that need to find a home!).
After an hour or two, all the houses look the same. You remember things you liked, but where were they? For me (Kristen), and this might sound silly to some, but part of the difficulty had to do with finding a salesperson that:
a) knew their stuff
b) was not an arrogant douchebag who refused to make eye contact with the female (me) in the room.

There was one who topped them all. We met him twice. The first time 3 months ago. After we viewed the homes, we sat down to chat. We were there for maybe an hour. From the start you could almost see the arrogance ooze from him. He referred to me as the missus; implied that Stephen had to do whatever made me happy (I took it that he was getting me a house?) and I was demanding, needing a wardrobe for all my shopping purchases, and a decent sized kitchen. It was painful. I don't know how you reveal that you are sexist and racist to strangers so quickly, but this guy did it. "Nah you don't want to live out that way. Too many Indians. And what about all the Asians!". Just because we have 'aussie' accents, doesn't mean we are bogan racists. 

We saw him again a few weeks ago-he did not remember us. This time around I was referred to as the little lady who would get up early to make Stephen his bacon and eggs. At this point I could have put on my best houso and told him to 'get f*****d'. He also made the assumption this is our first home and after we told him we had bought land in OP he scrunched his face up and proceeded to tell us another nearby suburb was the place to buy. He told us OP would be too big, and that works on Camden Valley Way hadn't begun yet (then why are there trees cut down all along the side of the road?). Pray tell, what would be the difference between living in OP, or anywhere else nearby, if you STILL have to use that road to get to work?! Sometimes you have to wonder how people get their job - and keep it. All other staff we have come across from this company have been a great help and very professional.

Anyway this is who we were looking at:

1. Beechwood. Beautiful houses!
2. Allworth (awesome sales rep who worked for them/Package Central! He taught us a lot but then had to leave the company. We are still in touch with him occasionally). When you're at the early stages of looking at homes, these guys give you a good idea of how much you'd need to pay for upgrades to take the house from the base model, to the one on display.
3. ProCorp. They have some lovely and very practical houses. We were going to go with Monash Caprice. We got to the point of drafting up a tender but at the last minute we panicked a little and bailed.The best thing about ProCorp, other than having stunning and unusual looking houses (raked ceiling) and them taking care of everything from the fences to the letterbox, turf and clothesline...was their sales team. The team at Oran Park were absolutely brilliant. Nothing was too much trouble and they kept in touch with us all along even if only to touch base.
4. Eden Brae. All along Eden Brae have probably had some of the most well finished homes. They were all very impressive, but our concern was that they had too many living spaces (especially for two people!). The gentleman we are dealing with has been very helpful to date. We have our eye on one of them and I hope we stick with them!

Holding Deposit Taken

In August, we got serious about finding a block. The house had been sold and we had a few weeks to move out. On September 1st we took a spin out to Vantage Point, Elderslie (lovely!), before heading to Oran Park, knowing that a couple of weeks earlier they released a new stage. We didn't go with intentions to buy. We had done this many times before...go to the sales office, take a look at their computers to get an idea of price and see which lots are selling quickly etc. 

In the time that we had been (seriously) looking at land, we had a better idea of what we wanted. I wanted a decent yard, but I also wanted a light-filled house. I didn't want to pay an insane amount of money for land, and because of our requirements, corner blocks came into play. They seemed fairly reasonably priced as well - works for me. So we spoke to Craig in the sales office and he took us out to see the 3-4 blocks we were interested to see. We were pleasantly surprised to see these blocks were quite flat. One of them was without retaining wall, sewer, substations...the stuff we wanted to avoid but wouldn't ruin us otherwise. Here's the street we were looking at:

Oran Park Town Centre (Sales Office) in distance.

That evening we talked about little other than the block we preferred. This stage of Oran Park seemed to be selling fairly quickly so if we wanted it we would have to make a move soon. We decided we'd wake up early on Fathers Day and put down the holding deposit. For Oran Park they take a non-refundable $500 deposit which gives you three days to change the block if you decide you prefer another, and I think thirty days to sign the contract to purchase the land. (And they give you a couple of golf umbrellas. Who doesn't need those!?) I always liked stickers as a kid but this sticker is probably the best I've come across:

The contract for the land may as well have been written in Spanish. There were many parts that were incomprehensible. Get yourself a good lawyer who knows which parts of the contract are most important!

In The Beginning...

It all started out as a bit of fun.

We noticed the abundance of new display home villages not too far from where we were living. As children, our mothers took us through Display Homes (think Masterton at Warwick Farm in the 90's). You remember how exciting it was..."this is my room!" in every single house. We thought we'd take a look, just for fun. The two of us had just spent a decent amount of money updating the gardens and some of the interior of the old house so we had no intention of moving any time soon. The excitement of display homes and the frequency of 'dodgy' activities (and some unsavoury characters) in the area we lived, were enough motivation for us to get things done. Besides, this was Stephens house, and it didn't feel like 'home' to me.

One thing led to another and we were talking to someone from LoanMarket to see how much we could borrow from the bank. Once we had that sorted, we found ourselves a good real estate agent to get things under way.We had already looked around at the areas under development. There are two major growth areas in Sydney at present. South West (out past Campbelltown/Liverpool) and North West. We started by signing up to the regions websites to obtain land price lists.

Gledswood Hills
Gregory Hills

Oran Park
Spring Farm

Gledswood Hills was not ideal location wise, and was not serviced by public transport. I will need a bus to get to work so this was never going to work. If I recall correctly we weren't too keen on the pricing either. It didn't help that my biggest priority has always been to get a decent sized yard for dogs and future kids to play in.

Gregory Hills was actually pretty good. We loved the elevation and the lots weren't bad, it just didn't impress me the way Oran Park did. Basically all these places looked good, but for me OP ticked all the boxes. I want to be near trees, parks, and close to amenities.

Right away we fell in love with Oran Park. So much promise for the future, and aside from being so large, it looks as though it will have a great community feel. We were worried however that it may prove too expensive. Forgetting that Oran Park, unlike many other estates, offered $10,000 worth of rebates (based on meeting landscaping and design guidelines).

Initially we felt Spring Farm offered the best value for money. The Development company I work for has done a lot of work on Spring Farm, and for some reason that seemed to turn me off wanting to buy there (is that weird?). I was also a little unsure of the nearby tip, substations and amount of fill in the blocks. The land we were looking at also had a lot of fall. We hoped to find a block that was relatively flat.

Entrance to Oran Park