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Thursday, November 24, 2016

"Is the property still for sale?"

A - Main Residence; B - Guest Cottage; C - Workshop/Carport; D - "Pizza Hut"; E - Vehicular Shed and Workshop; F - "Clubhouse"; G - Library/Home Entertainment Centre
This aerial photo shows less than one-third of the whole seven acres


The phone rang. I nearly didn't answer as my voice was gone after a night of coughing and sneezing and, anyway, it was probably the wife phoning me from the Bay to tell me what else I had to do or not do.

The ringing persisted and in a phlegm-laden voice I managed to say, "Hell-o". "Hello", said a woman's voice, "is the property still for sale?" "Yes", I said, "email me and I'll send you a link to the website."

And that's how it all started, and we're now already into Day 2 of a very animated email exchange during which it transpired that she's from Canberra and previously lived in the Bay and loves Nelligen and he's a German who came out - to Australia, I mean! ☺ - in 1969.

They've lived in inland Victoria for the last twenty years where they're running a 35-room motel and convention centre which keeps them working from morning 'til night seven days a week but they are sick of it and want a seachange.

When they saw "Riverbend" on realestate.com.au, it was an instant YES!!! It's a little more than they can afford but they're working on it, with the husband ringing the bank and a real estate agent today. "If we want to purchase your paradise, we have to push this ahead quickly", they insist.

"Riverbend" is outlined in yellow; the area outlined in red sold for $1.7 million

"Take your time", I told them, "it's not going anywhere", and mentioned the many gatecrashers we've had and the other sales that got away - see here and here. I encouraged them to ask me as many questions as they liked, to either save them a trip altogether or to make them so keen that they drop everything and be up here next week ☺ And so the questions came in:

"How many weeks of the year roughly would the rental property be let?"

"We always kept it low-key as we didn't want it to become a motel. We always insisted on weekly bookings. If we had accepted shorter bookings or even one-night stands, we could have been booked all year round but who wants that? We had a good run for many years but last February (or was it March?) we had the guests from hell! Nearly burned the place down, brought their own ghetto-bluster and had it on full volume past midnight, had two 'puppies', giant Lousiana swamp dogs, whose poo was the size of a football, and allowed them to sleep inside the cottage! Next morning I ask them to leave and gave them all their money back. Then they had the audacity to put a real bad comment on the stays-website. When I ask the stayz people to remove it, they said they couldn't but I could reply to it. I wouldn't waste my breath! I said to my wife that this was the end of our holiday lettings and, for the first time in fifteen years of marriage, she agreed with me!"

"Can one of the blocks be sold? That would definitely help us along."

"Originally, 'Riverbend' was part of the Nelligen town plan, with seven houses to be built on the seven (twice-as-big) building blocks along the river (hence today's slightly incorrect address 35-39 Sproxton Lane). Of course, things changed and all riverfront land in Nelligen is now deemed a flood zone which means if it hasn't already been built, it probably won't be allowed or at least not for the vast majority of us who don't know how to grease palms. The seven separate blocks are all on separate freehold titles and can be sold as such but who'd buy them if they can't be build on? If they could, each block would be worth at least a million dollars. But who knows what might happen in the future? For now the seven acres of 'Riverbend' are my buffer against the outside world."

"Has your land ever flooded?"

"I've been at 'Riverbend' for twenty-three years in which time it has never flooded. I'm told that even in the 'Big Flood' in the 'seventies the house was never under threat. The river acts like a huge sluice gate and even if it floods, it would all be gone again on the next low tide unlike inland Australia where water may stay for weeks. The topography of the blocks is also a bit up and down and the house is in the up-part. The worst it ever looked was like this when I took some precautions."

"Why do you want to leave such a paradise? I don’t understand it and it's none of my business, but please tell me."

"Having been chronically peripatetic all my life, after 23 years 'Riverbend' has become the only real home I have ever known. Yes, I will miss this place! And I don't even want to contemplate all that packing-up I have to do."

Stay tuned for Day 3!

P.S. Here is the sequel!