Being self-employed, Ross Barrett said his options for obtaining finance to buy a property were somewhat limited.
“I work for myself, and the banks are reluctant to give self-employed people money for a loan,” he said.
“I could afford to buy this (home), move it on to a block and rebuild it.
“What else I could afford as far as the banks were concerned wasn’t a lot. So I got what I wanted, and with the help of my partner we’ve restored it.
“We’ve got something well worth having – a beautiful home.”
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Although they’d both owned homes previously, Mr Barrett, 56, and wife Caroline turned to another option recently – purchasing a century-old home, and then relocating and restoring it.
The Barretts purchased their Crown Street, Wollongong property in 2012.
They bought a block of land on Staff Road, Cordeaux Heights, and soon relocated the house there.
Mr Barrett said the house, initially located on the western end of Crown Street, was moved because it was going to be demolished.
It was built by Frederick and Matilda Blunsden, who had emigrated from England.
Mrs Barrett said they estimated the home was built in 1917, and sold a year later to an Illawarra family.
“It was owned until 1976 by the same family – the Prior/Boniface family,” she said.
“We used to drive past it all the time and think it was a lovely house that had just become derelict and was due to be bulldozed.
“We just love old homes – we prefer the character of them – and we love all history.”
Mr Barrett said the home wasn’t heritage-listed at its Wollongong location, due to the blocks being too large and therefore being deemed more appropriate for future development.
“There’s a lot of old houses around, but this one has some charm and character about it I feel,” he said.
The Barretts have spent their weekends during the ensuing five years restoring it, “inside and out”.
Mr Barrett said the home was still recognisable from its previous form.
“I didn’t have a roof on it for probably six months, because when they moved it I had to brick underneath it and put it down,” he said.
“I had to fix the roof-line, so I had to put tarps on the roof and it stuffed all the paintwork. So I had to sand it back to bare timber, because there was that much paint in there.
“The other stuff I’ve sanded back to timbers, repaired all the windows and painted it.”
Mr Barrett said the now completed relocation and restoration process “costs a lot more than you realise”.
“It was a challenge, but it’s the beauty of the place that drove me to keep going,” he told the Mercury.
“The biggest challenge was probably removing all the old paint safely. And fortunately, there’s no asbestos in the house.”