Could you move your dream home to a cheaper block of land?
You’ve got two options, millennial friends. You can have a sook about house prices or you can do what Lucy Hersey and her partner Nathan have done: hustle hard.
They’ve renovated two vintage caravans, turning one into a mobile café and the other into a bar. While working full time for three years they ran the businesses, before selling to take on new projects.
‘We figure working hard while we’re young will pay off later in life,’ Lucy says, like their efforts are no biggie. The side gig helped them save for a small patch of land they’ve named Sky Pastures Farm, where they plan to produce specialty goods, pasture-raised beef and flowers. Here they tackled their first build: an off-the-grid shack made of recycled materials.
Lucy, 27, works as a research assistant at Monash University in Clayton. Nathan, 30, is an office manager in Frankston. How have they managed to pull all of this off in a matter of years? The formula’s actually really easy to get right: ‘We live pretty simply and save a lot of our income.’
Landing a historic home with a tiny budget
Their latest venture is a big move. The pair, who currently live on the Mornington Peninsula, were looking for an investment in South Gippsland (where Nathan grew up) and set their sights on Loch, a growing town. ‘We missed out on a house after making a couple of offers and then saw the block and decided to build,’ Lucy explains.
‘Nathan had always loved the idea of rescuing a heritage house so the plan to move something destined for demolition was born,’ she adds. Their 103-year-old home ‘The Windsor Loch’ was saved and transported from Mont Albert in Melbourne’s inner east on a truck a year after they bought the block.
Even with a reno factored in, the land, house, relocation and refurb will have cost them about $340,000 all up. Not too shabby, but it’s that affordable because they’re attempting the whole makeover on their own. ‘We have learned how to use the power tools and made plenty of mistakes so far. I'm sure we will stumble our way through. We have tradie friends we can turn to for advice,’ Lucy says.
Where do you find an old house that no one wants?
Property developers often discard perfectly good properties so they can build their shiny new developments. Depressing as that is, it means period homes are up for grabs – and they’ll go for next to nothing as long as you’re prepared to pay for the relocation. Lucy and Nathan found their ultimate shack through a company called Moving Views.
It wasn’t as simple as cruising down the freeway with the house on a trailer, though. ‘It has been challenging dealing with substantial delays from the moving company. At the moment we’re about four months behind schedule, which is causing a lot of headaches,’ she says.
To people who say it’s too hard to buy property, Lucy counters: ‘Pull your finger out and give it a go. It drives me crazy listening to people talk about the things they wish they could do but never do anything about. If you have a dream, work hard, make the sacrifices you need to and go for it.’