Friday, April 22, 2011

A fresh start but still in the hills

We have moved. It was a hard, emotionally draining time moving out. Moving a large family is not easy. Nor is cleaning (and finishing off) a 60 square house! Part of our contract of sale was that certain things be completed. Fair enough too. I think Darren just underestimated exactly how much work there was to do and how long it would take. The last few days of our ownership were full on work, dawn till dusk, just to have the house up to expectations. Even then we had to leave a few things as we simply ran out of time. The new owner wasn't that pleased but Darren went over in the next few days and got it all done. It was very stressful.
It's funny though, neither of us were that sad about moving on. We certainly weren't sad to say goodbye to the years of increasing debt and financial juggling we have had!

What is sad is that our financial situation is rather grave. After paying all our debts which included a huge mortgage, numerous borrowings from family, credit cards, years of tax debt and bills we had just had to put off, we don't have much left. Not even enough for a decent deposit on another house. We have lost most of the equity we had in our property.
This is very hard to come to terms with. I personally feel very embarrassed. I feel reckless and stupid. I don't know what we were thinking when we started this project. Looking back, how did we think we could actually build such a huge, complex, expensive house, live with little to no income while we were doing it and support a family of eight? And we thought we could just kind of wing it! We didn't do detailed costings, we didn't really have much of a plan at all. We were very naive.
Still, have we learnt a lot! We are quite amazed now that we got through it. We actually did finish it and get a good price. Unfortunately our debts were also huge but at least we have come out of it with something. We have some money to put aside and build on. Darren has got plenty of work (thank you God) and we hope to buy after a year or so. We have also learnt so much about faith, about how God works and how He doesn't. He doesn't just continually save us from the consequences of our own bad decisions, our own bad management of our lives and resources. Eventually, we need to face these consequences. But He is there to face them with us. He is there with forgiveness, wisdom and hope. He helps us through and gives us the strength to put our mistakes behind us and press on to what is ahead for us. And He blesses us along the journey.
It was very hard looking for rentals. We put in about four or five applications and had a few rejections (not nice!). Whenever we went to an open, there were heaps of other people looking and applying. It was very disheartening. We began to joke that we might have to move into some friends' garage!
Then, we got one! And it was the nicest one! It was in the Hills that we love! There is a picture at the top of this post. It is on half an acre and is really beautiful, right on the edge of the forest. The view from the back deck is magical. We love it!
It is smaller than we've had for a while and it gets a bit noisy when we are all upstairs in the one open plan living area. Still, we do spend more time together and are not off in 8 different corners of the house! There is a rumpus room under the house where the big boys have set up their "den" as they call it. They have a TV and the Playstation, guitars, drums, etc. down there. It is not connected internally to the house so they have to go outside and round the house to get there but they don't really care. The garden is lovely (and there is a gardener as part of the rent). There is a cubby and a sand pit and even real life echidnas burrowing! I really believe God gave us this house. It is really lovely to live in. I am truly blessed to see His hand was still upon us despite our mistakes.
So, a new start for us. Our debts are gone. We have no responsibilities except our monthly rent and bills. We hope to get back to being thrifty and saving. I intend to do a proper budget and get back to the basics of financial wisdom and planning. I am actually looking forward to it.

Love and blessings to you all, Jodie.

Friday, December 10, 2010

On the market!

The time has finally come where our beautiful house is on the market! It has been a long and stressful road to get it to this point. It has cost LOTS and LOTS of money! Still, we are thrilled with the finished product. It is an amazing house to live in and I'm so thankful I get to spend a few months enjoying it in all its glory. Darren may not agree! He's still working on it, finishing the garden, the garage downstairs (plastering ceiling) etc. My part inside is completely done!
I don't feel really sad to sell the house. We simply couldn't afford to stay here with what it has cost. We are hoping to get a decent price, pay off our debt (which is HUGE) and relax for a while. We might rent somewhere or we might buy if we find the right place at the right price. Whatever we do, it will be nice to have the financial strain over and be able to enjoy life more. It is hard not to look at what else is on the market but we really need to wait until we have sold and even until we get our deposit released before we are in a good position to start the search. I've already fallen in love with a gorgeous house that has just sold today! I don't want to get heartbroken too much!
Anyway, I'm uploading some photos of our beautiful, finished, home. I'll also put the whole album on Facebook so you can have a sticky beak if you want. It takes too long to upload them all here. My Facebook page is here.
Hope everyone reading has a wonderful, fun and joyful Christmas season. Have fun buying those pressies! I will, it's one of my favourite things to do!

Friday, June 18, 2010

My house is a MESS!

Today, there are 3 tradesmen here and 6 kids! The painter has been working all week, finishing off all the timberwork - doors, windows, skirtings, architraves etc. and then doing a final coat on the walls as well. Everything has had to be moved into the centre of the rooms so he can work. It's not every room, just the ones unfinished which are the lower lounge, guest room, dining room, hallways, kitchen and rumpus room. The laundry is also empty as it needs painting and the benchtops have been finished. I can still use the machines but can't have any clothes or piles in there. So my bedroom has become my folding and sorting area!! I'm not complaining, I'm very happy it is all happening. I just think if someone were to pop in for a visit they would get a bit of a shock at the state of the place!
Here are some photos taken today so you can see what I mean!!
The lovely dining room!
The staircase is done, just needs lacquering and caps on all the posts! Very grand!!
The rumpus room!
At least the floorboards are all laid.
Here is Amber watching a movie in the lounge.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Busy house today!!

Floorboards being laid in the Rumpus Room.
The deck is now finished.

The staircase is coming along. I can't work out how to turn the picture around so you'll have to look at it sideways!

The painter is also here today finishing off all our timberwork downstairs and giving some walls another coat. So, things are happening!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's been a long time!

Wow, I just looked at the date of my last post...October 2009! It has been a while!
Life in the hills has been chugging on as normal since then. Normal for us is lots of stressful times but lots of fun times as well. We've had Christmas, birthdays and holidays. I've started working again (2 days a week). Darren has had to be a bit more of a Mr Mum which he hasn't really enjoyed (with the stress of all the work still to do on the house!). We have gone through a time of real uncertainty and instability as we have tried to balance finishing the house with earning enough money for our ever increasing mortgage. We have finally made the decision we need to sell up. This house has just cost way too much, way more than we ever estimated. We cannot afford to keep it. It seems like this would be very sad for us but really, we are "over it"! We need to move on to the next stage of our life. We need a home that is complete that we can pour ourselves into, put all our things away and know they can stay there forever. We need less stress. We need less pressure especially financially. We are actually looking forward to the journey ahead.
We have just borrowed a last amount of money and have determined to have the house on the market by the end of June. Darren is working full time on it and we've got some other tradesmen in to help. We have got enough money to get everything we need to finish the job and live in the meantime.
Things left to do are; upstairs bathrooms finished, second staircase and stairs down to garage, lots of painting inside and out, carpet in guest room and "green" loungeroom and the rumpus room floor. As we speak, the back deck is being done and it is going to be beautiful! We really wanted a great outdoor entertaining space that would give the extra "Wow factor"! We also need to landscape and plant and mulch some garden beds.
Please don't be sad for us! We have learnt so much and we have created a beautiful home! We hope to get a good price for it which will enable us to buy something more normal and live comfortably. We've also thought a lot about what we'd like in our next house, the things we want that we don't have here (like more flat land to kick a footy and ride bikes) and the things here that we don't really need.
That all said, here are some new photos.
The second staircase coming down into the entrance hall has begun to take shape. The lower half will be made out of the blackwood timber cut down on the block.
Our new back deck!

The undercover BBQ part.
The view from the dining room.
My fabulous laundry!
The beautiful entrance hall. I love the wallpaper.

Our ensuite, we used the same wallpaper on a small wall between the bathroom and the walk-in robes. I love the shower, it is so luxurious.
Our bedroom.
Slab in lower garage.
Slab in upper garage.