We arrived in Daylesford, our future home, two weeks ago, on a wet and frigid afternoon that was notably wanting of anything even remotely resembling ceremony.
There was no fanfare. There was no marching band to lead us down the main street lined with our soon-to-be new friends and neighbours. There were no town fathers mounted on the podium, ready to offer us the keys to the city. We were to be the next big thing; didn’t they know that? Never mind. We installed ourselves in the caravan park and resolved to set things straight the following day.
Daylesford and the adjoining town of Hepburn Springs are billed as the Spa Capital of Australia and promoted as Victoria’s premier short-stay holiday destination. For almost two years now, Pam and I have had a working plan to secure a small acreage in or around Daylesford on which we could build a home for ourselves and several units which could be let on the short-stay market.
Viewed from a distance, and with only cursory research, this plan seemed to be perfectly workable. But after just one day of walking the boards and talking to real estate agents, we knew our plan was up for review.
Apparently, making a development application to the Hepburn Shire Council is a fraught process, often ending in disappointment, if not despair. Feedback from several agents suggested that developing the type of property we had in mind could take as long as two years to achieve.
That sort of time is a luxury we don’t have, so Plan A has been scrapped in favour of the more expeditious, two-phase Plan B, the first part of which is already in train. We have signed a contract to purchase an existing house on the outskirts of Daylesford. The property needs some work but has tons of potential and we are confident we can make something very special out of it. Settlement should be towards the end of October.
The accommodation industry here is not what we were counting on either, typically showing lower than expected returns for investment. A rental property is still on the table as part of phase two (if the right property can be found) but, now the pressure to find somewhere to live is off, we are taking our time to look more closely at other investment options.
Okay, so we’re not the next big thing to hit town; and the streets aren’t paved with gold, after all. But Daylesford appears to be a nice little town and the people are friendly enough. Pam and I both feel a good vibe here. Daylesford is somewhere we could belong and somewhere we are going to call home.
Stayed tuned for further developments.
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