Real Estate

How you could own your own country hotel for just $100

Written by The ReReport
As seen in the Source link, written by on 2018-12-16 01:46:07

How could you spend $100? At this time of year it would likely go very quickly on gifts or a few bottles of Christmas cheer.

A family in country NSW has come up with a novel way to spend that shiny jolly green giant, and if you have a good imagination all the better.

It will also help if you have ever dreamt of owning a piece of Aussie real estate history.

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The Cox family are effectively giving their historic former pub away for the princely sum of $100. And everything is included, right down to the sheets and pillows in the 13 bedrooms that make up what is now a humming bed and breakfast business.

Former posties from Western Australia, Robyn and Allan Cox bought the Hotel Shirley B&B Bethungra, sight unseen, in 2014 for $470,000.

Bethungra is a tiny town about 25km southwest of Cootamundra in the NSW Riverina area.

The grand old stone c1886 building is set over 8093sqm of land and includes a 13-bedroom hotel spread over two storeys, as well as a private, six-room owner’s residence.

The property once had a liquor licence and operated as a pub, but hasn’t done so under the Cox family’s ownership. The picturesque grounds are a popular wedding venue.

They Cox family dug deep to buy the Hotel Shirley when they fell in love with it over the internet, with all three of their sons, the youngest just 16 at the time, chipping in their life savings.

“We are country people at heart, out boys were born in the country, we only went to the city for work,” Mrs Cox told The Sunday Telegraph.

“We’ve worked as a family and always done things as a family and we all knew we wanted a change when we found this place — all the kids invested in it as well.”

Four years down the track and the family has loved their move from west to east, but poor health has made it increasingly difficult for Mrs Cox to maintain the momentum needed for such a hands-on business.

But rather than simply sell the property, she and her family have come up with a novel way to raise the funds they need to move on, pay the relevant taxes and stamp duties and give the next owner a head start in the business.


After announcing their plans on Facebook to effectively give the property away in a novel campaign in which applicants pay a $100 fee to be in the running to win the property, the family this week officially launched the campaign through site.

They will be relying heavily on the power of social media — the campaign is linked to a dedicated Facebook page called Apply for my home Hotel Shirley B&B Bethungra.

This has been a steep learning curve for Mrs Cox, who until very recently, hadn’t even had a social media account, let along posted on Facebook.

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“We are very private people, I have never been on Facebook, my husband was never on Facebook and my kids were never on Facebook,” she said.

“It has been daunting, but we are passionate about this place and hope this will give them a good start. They won’t have to spend any more (than the $100 application fee) to get into the business and own the property.”

The Cox family plans to run the campaign for three months. Its success depends on there being at least 20,000 applications. If this doesn’t happen a refund of $96 (the original $100 minus a processing fee) will be made to every applicant.

The rules are simple. You have to be aged 18 or over, an Australian citizen, and you have to answer the following question: “What are your hopes and dreams for the hotel in the future?”. Applications will be taken online through the dedicated website, up until noon on March 15, 2019.

Mr and Mrs Cox will be personally reviewing the applications, and will develop a shortlist, which will be assessed by an “independent person” who has yet to be chosen, she said.

Mrs Cox said they had already received countless emails and phone calls from people hoping to get a jump on the official process and share their vision directly with the owners. Phone calls have come from as far away as China and Texas in the US. Even CNN has called wanting to do a story about the sale.

She estimated she has received thousands of private emails already and takes up to three calls a day from potential applicants.

“It certainly has caught people’s imagination,” she said.

So will she share any of the ideas to date? No way.

“If someone tells me their idea it’s confidential,” Mrs Cox said.

“There has been a huge array of different ideas from people who come from all walks of life. It just shows how much love there still is out there for these beautiful old buildings.”