The must have checklist for anyone considering a seachange or tree change

Thinking of a retirement sea or tree-change? You need this checklist. Source: Getty

Think about where you are going to live when you finish full-time employment. This is a very important question and the answer can have a major impact on the rest of your life.

There is no ‘right’ answer — it’s a matter of finding out what works best for you. You may find yourself in a large house that was fine when the whole family lived there, but it’s really too big for a couple or a single person. Many people downsize. The benefits are a home that better suits your requirements and you generally free up some cash when you move to a smaller, cheaper home.

Grandparents often move closer to their children and grandchildren. This can work well. The danger is that one of the young parents can be offered a job in another city, which is too good to refuse and the grandparents find themselves in a new community, where they have few friends.

Before you decide to move to a new suburb, town or city, remember that your support network is generally around where you’ve been living. It’s not that easy to make good friends in a new community where you are the ‘blow ins’ forthe first year or two.

If you’re contemplating moving into a retirement village, remember that most established villages have waiting lists and it’s a good idea to put your name on a list well before you want to move in.

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The development of new resort style retirement villages and over-50s manufactured home villages, offer interesting options for people who want access to good facilities, without having to worry about the maintenance.

Sharing a house or unit with another mature aged person is gaining popularity for people seeking to save money.

If you are considering a seachange or tree change, here are a series of suggestions you might like to consider. Remember if you get a seachange or t reechange wrong and you have to move back to your original town or city, it’s likely to be an expensive exercise.

Before you make a seachange or tree change, think about these:

  • Do your homework before you decide which town to move to. Don’t just go to the town you liked as a holiday destination, or because you have some friends there. It simply may not have the services and facilities you will need as a permanent resident. It’s important that you spend the time to make sure your preferred town is really right for you now, and in the future.
  • Do you have any health problems that need specialist treatment? Are you likely to require sophisticated medical services in the future? You should look for a town where you can get the treatment you need. A few local GPs may not be good enough.
  • How easy will it be for friends and family to visit you? Think about transport links to the town of your choice. If you decide to live right out of town at the end of a rough track, don’t be surprised if your friends don’t call.
  • Consider the weather. Check what the climate is like all year  round.
  • Do you have enough money to live comfortably? A professionally prepared financial plan is essential. The sooner you have this done, the better.
  • What type of home do you really need? Is it a large house with lots of bedrooms, a unit, a manufactured home in a park, a small suburban house or a retirement village? Decide what best  suits your new lifestyle and remember the maintenance and  cleaning.
  • Rent before you buy. It is advisable to rent, or buy an investment property, in the town you are thinking about retiring to, before you sell your current home and move. It’s a good idea to live there for six to 12 months to make sure that this is where you really want to live.
  • How easy will it be to make new friends? Do your sports and  hobbies make it easy to join clubs where you can meet people  with similar interests? Have you thought about doing some  volunteer work?
  • Do you really want to move to a new town? Can you achieve a more suitable lifestyle simply by selling your current home and moving to something more suitable in a different part of your town or city. Remember you are moving away from your local networks where you probably have friends, relatives and acquaintances. It’s rarely easy to replace this local network.

Have you made a seachange or tree change in your retirement? Have you thought about it? Share your thoughts with us.

This is an extract from a longer article in the book A Holistic Guide to a Happy Retirement, which is published by 50 Plus Books.