Before we had even settled on the block, we went to McDonald Jones to get their free tender. We listed all the things that we wanted and waited for the tender. We had an ideal figure in our mind. When we sat in the sales office, and given our quote, I received my first lesson in house building - it is more expensive than you think.
Without even going to colours or having proper site evaluations the quote was already $4,000 over our max budget. Ouch!! We had agreed to sell the house. We needed some time to think about it. The most pressing thing was to find out about this block and the building envelope.
I went to the local Council. They thought that it may be a Koala habitat area. They asked me if I had noticed any Koala poo or scratches on the trees. Not being a poo expert, they sent a animal person out to the block, who confirmed there was no poo on the block and the trees were scratch free, so we were clear in that area. He said there were two large trees at the front of the block and maybe they were of significance, and a visit from the council tree guy was needed. After he visited it was confirmed that the trees did not have any significance and they could be cut down if needed to build a house. We were told at that stage that we would need to put in a DA in order to do anything further - putting in a DA meant buying the block.
With this information we were encouraged, we exchanged on the block and paid our $3,000 deposit to McDonald Jones after receiving a nice discount from them.
Prior to the block settling, McDonald Jones advised us that we should try and have a face-to-face meeting with the council regarding the building envelope. We didnt want to get to the DA stage and then be told no. I rung many people at the council and finally someone told me that I needed to put in a Section 96 to modify the building envelope. They gave me the name of the Surveyor who had done the original subdivision.
A nice little bill of $1,266 and $192.50 to the council for fees our application was lodged on 17th April 2012. We were told it would take up to 6 weeks to get an answer. So all we could do was wait.