6 things you should know before making a sea change or tree change

There can be some risk and uncertainty for anyone thinking of making a big change in their lives, and perhaps none more so than moving house from the home where you have lived for decades.

But before you phone the real estate agent or schedule that garage sale, stop for a moment and consider – what is it that I think this change will bring, and what is the reality of what that will be?

Many have gone before you, and they have some wisdom to impart. Those I have spoken to have some interesting points to make about the expectations, the challenges, and the reality of such a move.

These are the 6 main things they feel you should know:

  1. Financial – are you retired yet, or do you still need to work, and if so where and what will you do to make some income? It seems that preparation and research is essential. Meeting locals first can enhance your chances of finding a full-time or part-time job, or working within your current career in a new environment.
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  1. Associated with this are the costs of your move, so get a few quotes to have your existing home packed and moved by professionals. Weigh up the costs of moving large pieces of furniture, versus selling them and buying new or used furniture once you settle in.

On the NSW south coast, one sea-changer says that in her area prices are actually cheaper than in the city on items such as furniture, white goods and electrical appliances. Also good quality clothes, often the same brands as sold in the city are selling for less.

  1. Services – the difference between city and regional can sometimes be a little frustrating when it comes to services. Be aware that if something breaks or you need professional help it might not be just around the corner. Tradespeople of all kinds of course live in regional or coastal areas but not necessarily within a close radius of where you are.
  1. Friends – how do you feel about leaving friends, and perhaps family, behind when you make such a move? Are you good at making new friends, and what opportunities might your new region offer to do so? One or two friendly faces and someone to share a coffee can make a big difference to your happiness. It can be a challenge, but rewarding if you can connect with like-minded people. Explore where others are gathering – joining a choir, a reading or writing group, a walking group, photography, sport or craft work, perhaps?
  1. Travel – a reliable car is essential in most areas as public transport can be lacking if you need to go anywhere outside your immediate area. And if you ever need to travel interstate or overseas, getting to an airport and making connections to flights can be challenging, sometimes involving overnight accommodation to make the scheduled flights.
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“You start to begrudge travelling to the city”, said one Mornington Peninsula resident. “You start acting as though every day is a holiday. This can have a downside as friends start treating your home as a holiday house, even though it’s your principal place of residence. Also in summer the population swells from a couple of thousand to many thousands, but we love where we live and it’s the best thing we’ve ever done to move here”.

  1. Hard work – just how much work can be involved in looking after even a small rural property can be a bit sobering. A baby boomer couple living in the hinterland on the NSW north coast have a property of almost 3 acres. Taking care of the animals and vegies, growing and roasting their own coffee beans and making all sorts of delicious produce has become their joy, and their hard work. He works the land and looks after the property, she travels to the city for three days per week to continue with her career for the next few years at least. He said “I can’t believe how dirty I get, every day, considering it’s not that large a piece of land – we had considered buying 20 acres at first!”

There are many, many positives for people who have made their sea change or tree change – quality of life, fresh air, huge star-filled skies at night, no traffic jams, people are more patient and friendly, you are more inclined to exercise daily when in beautiful surroundings, proximity to beaches, picnic spots and rainforests, views, farmers markets, community atmosphere, the list goes on.

So now comes the big decision, is it time for you to make a sea or tree change, and where would you be likely to go?