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Planning for a tree change


What to consider before making a regional move.

The global pandemic has left many Aussies reconsidering their lifestyle options and seeking a move to regional areas. You might be dreaming about more space, fresh air, a slower pace and greater sense of community; and while there are lots of benefits to country life, there are a few things to consider before officially packing your bags and popping your city pad on the market.

1. That gorgeous country house might not be a bargain

While it can be easier to find cheaper properties the further away from the city you go, you’ll also need to factor in the other costs of living. Driving long distances and having added petrol costs are standard, and groceries and other goods may be marked up because it’s more expensive to get them to smaller towns. Data also shows an increase in people leaving capital cities, a trend that is driving up prices in smaller towns due to the demand.

2. Nipping to the shops might not be so easy

The urban sprawl has its charms; including the convenience of grabbing a bottle of milk at midnight from any number of corner shops or service stations. There are also bars and supermarkets open at all hours and public transport makes it relatively easy to get around.

But in a small town, you’ll need to think about the fact that distances between where you live and the amenities you need – like shops, schools, hospitals, the local hardware store – might be a lot further away than you’d bargained for. Sure, there’ll probably be less traffic, but you may need to prepare for a commute every time you need to go somewhere.

3. Services might not be as easy to access

Arguably the biggest downside to country life can be a lack of essential services. If you can’t drive and need to rely on the local bus, you might find it’s not as regular as it would be in the city. And when it comes to your health – things like needing to see a specialist could also be a few hours away.

Even basic services like council pick-ups might not even exist where you live – so you’ll need to have a trailer and a way to get your rubbish to the local dump. It’s important to factor all of this into your plans to move.

4. Working from ‘anywhere’ is not necessarily the reality

Lockdowns and long stints of working from home have left many of us believing we can do our jobs wherever we want, right? But not so fast. If your work requires being online and having access to a fast internet connection, you’ll need to ensure wherever you’re moving to can meet your tech needs.

The truth is, phone reception and technology can be hit and miss in many rural and regional areas, so it’s a good idea to find out what it’s like in the town you’ve got your heart set on.

5. Country life can be beautiful but isolating

If you’re a people-person or are raising a family, be aware that moving everyone away from their social networks can be tricky. While friends and family may promise they’ll visit you, it may not be the reality and the distance to drive to other people’s houses can make it difficult to forge new friendships.

Some communities can also be more tight-knit than others, so the onus is really on you to be proactive in joining local clubs and committees, and getting to know your neighbours so you start to make those all-important connections.

Is a tree change right for you?

If you’re keen to make the move, do lots of research into the community you want to move to – even if you know it well as a holidaymaker.

Consider the proximity of schools, shops, restaurants and medical facilities. Look into what the phone reception and internet is like. Find out if there are opportunities for leisure activities, hobbies, social groups – and factor in whether you know people there already and could create a support network for yourself.

Like any type of change, it’s important to think seriously about whether you could be happy in that community long-term and whether what it offers will meet your needs – before you take the leap!

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. This information has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication. We do not recommend any third party products or services and we are not liable in relation to them. Any links to third party websites are for your information only and we do not endorse their content.

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