A couple stands surveying their block of land: today, it should be bustling with the noise and clamour of a construction site filled with workers bringing a dream home to life.
Instead, it sits silent and empty.
That was the reality facing young Benalla couple Nathan Hind and Kaitlyn Peck on Friday after their builder, Watersun Homes, suddenly collapsed.
It’s left the couple devastated after they poured their savings and hearts into planning for their first new home together.
They decided on the house in May last year, and signed contracts with Watersun on December 1.
The build was supposed to start in January, but the start date was moved to March and they were expecting to move into their new home in November.
Construction was set to begin last Friday before the company went into voluntary administration last Tuesday.
Administrators said the company pointed to ‘‘insufficient funds available to enable the continuation of trade’’.
Mr Hind and Ms Peck heard news of Watersun’s collapse just before 10pm last Tuesday night.
‘‘We had no idea it had happened,’’ Mr Hind said.
‘‘Over the week, we’ve had no contact with Watersun either.
‘‘We rang the sales consultant, and they confirmed it.’’
Ms Peck said they phoned the administrators the next day.
‘‘They basically said to sit tight and see what happens,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s just going to be a long waiting game, because we can’t get anyone else in to start the project, as we’re still under contract with Watersun.
‘‘The administrators said it could take anywhere from two months to two years to sort it out.’’
It’s understood there are at least another two homes in Benalla affected by Watersun’s collapse.
For the first-time home builders, it’s been a ‘‘dramatic’’ ride and a difficult and stressful time, the couple said.
‘‘We’re gutted, it’s absolutely devastating,’’ Mr Hind said.
‘‘If we don’t get anything back from the administrators, we’ll have lost it all, including our deposit,’’ Ms Peck said.
‘‘We’ll have to start again from scratch.
‘‘We’ve waited nine months just for this to happen.
‘‘It’s even more devastating because we were due to start building today (Friday).’’
Thankfully the couple had recently obtained permits for the build and as a result, they had some form of insurance through the Victorian domestic building insurance program.
The couple had moved back in with their parents to save for the house, and will be able to stay with them until their home is sorted.
‘‘One positive thing is that I think it’s made us stronger as a couple,’’ Ms Peck said.
‘‘If we can get through this, we can get through anything.’’
Ms Peck said one concerning thing she’d been told by the administrators was that Watersun could start trading again as soon as their books were sorted out.
It is understood that Watersun was also still accepting deposits for new builds until the Monday before the collapse.
The collapse of the company was expected to have cost 990 full-time jobs, put contractors substantially out of pocket, and halted about 300 projects across regional Victoria and Melbourne.
Neil Mclean and Mathew Gollant of Rodgers Reidy Melbourne have been appointed as administrators, with the first creditors’ meeting set to be held on March 10.
They said homeowners hit by the collapse should check if they were covered by the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority’s Domestic Building Insurance program at www.dbi.vmia.vic.gov.au
While the company has ceased trading, the administrators are seeking expressions of interest from parties for the sale of all or some of the business assets, including the projects.