George and Lee have a big payday arriving in May, yet they can't afford to wait that long to buy their next home - otherwise they might end up in Australia.
The couple - who don't want their surname published - said Auckland house prices seemed to be rising so fast that every week waiting to buy equated to another suburb becoming unaffordable and them looking ever further south of the city.
Having sold their 982sq m Papatoetoe block of land to developers in November for $980,000, the deal was due to be settled in May.
They hoped that would give them the cash to buy a modern home to last through to their old age, with enough bedrooms for their sons to move in.
And while they knew they would need to look south for the right home, they didn't realise how far south.
"Initially, we looked at places like Papakura, then Pukekohe and Waiuku and Pōkeno," George said.
"Then we ended in Te Kauwhata."
Like so many other Aucklanders, the experience of now looking to buy in Te Kauwhata, 77km south of Auckland's CBD and 38km south of George's Manukau workplace, showed how ballooning prices were forcing buyers to run through plans A, B, C and D.
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In South Auckland alone, Mangere East ($235,000), Manurewa East ($220,000), Clover Park ($210,000) and Otara ($205,000) were among suburbs with median prices below $650,000 one year ago that had now risen in value by more than $200,000.
It had left George and Lee desperate to buy before prices rose further. They had to go hat-in-hand to the bank, seeking early sign-off on a home loan while they waited for payment from their Papatoetoe sale.
Despite all the challenges, George said the family had to keep their eyes on the goal.
Having lived 40 years in their Papatoetoe home - bought in 1981 for $44,707 - George and Lee's mission was to bring their family together in a new home that would last the next 40 years.
At the moment that meant targeting Te Kauwhata. But should they fail to win the bank's approval, well, there's always plan E - move to Australia.
The couple had two sons living in Melbourne and George had even found cheaper homes on sale in the Victorian capital.
"It's a bit late in life to make such a big move, but at least we will be together as a family again, so its one of the options we have on standby," he said.