Get­ting into the game

Your Home and Garden - - Homes -

Jes­sica Whit­ing’s jour­ney to home own­er­ship has been any­thing but av­er­age. While liv­ing in a small rental home on Auck­land’s North Shore with her daugh­ter, Grace, Jes­sica watched her dream of buy­ing a place of her own go up in smoke as prop­erty prices rock­eted out of reach.

“I be­came in­creas­ingly frus­trated with the hous­ing mar­ket,” she says. “I quickly re­alised I’d be un­likely to af­ford much in the city I’d grown up in. I didn’t have wealthy par­ents who could give me a leg up by util­is­ing their mort­gage, so I needed to get cre­ative with my so­lu­tion.”

Not one to be dis­cour­aged, Jes­sica’s en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit was ig­nited as she searched for al­ter­na­tive ways to tackle her prop­erty predica­ment. Due to the na­ture of her work – which in­cludes run­ning her own suc­cess­ful graphic de­sign stu­dio, Oh Gosh – she re­alised she could po­ten­tially move any­where within an hour or so from Auck­land.

“I be­gan look­ing fur­ther afield where I had friends or fam­ily, in­clud­ing Tau­ranga, but that was too far to reach Auck­land for a day trip dur­ing school hours. Kerik­eri again was too far. Matakana and Warkworth were too ex­pen­sive for my bud­get. But by look­ing in those places, I re­alised it was go­ing to be cheaper to build than to buy brand new.”

Towns on the out­skirts of Auck­land are ripe with freshly sub­di­vided ar­eas ready to ac­com­mo­date both per­ma­nent res­i­dents and hol­i­day­mak­ers, so when Jes­sica found a well­priced sec­tion a few min­utes’ walk from Man­gawhai town­ship, she crunched the num­bers and did some re­search.

“I started look­ing at al­ter­na­tive build­ing so­lu­tions and re­alised I could have ex­actly what I wanted within my bud­get,” she says. “I de­cided to look for land I could build on us­ing that method. I’d been to Man­gawhai on a day trip the sum­mer be­fore and it had such a lovely feel, like it was home al­ready. I be­gan tak­ing day trips to look at sec­tions and within a month or so, af­ter many frus­tra­tions and miss­ing out at the eleventh hour, I’d pur­chased a 632-square-me­tre slice of land in a lovely sub­di­vi­sion and my build­ing com­pany and I were fi­nal­is­ing my plans.”

Dec­o­rate your shelves with items you love in vary­ing sizes, shapes, ma­te­ri­als and colours – and top it all off with

a hit of green­ery.

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