Professional Tree Change

Does a move to the country take time to adapt to? Not if you’ve considered all the factors carefully. If you’re clear about what you want to achieve with y...
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Professional Tree Change

The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions. Click here for full Terms of Use.

How can I be sure moving from the city to the country is right for me?

We all worry whether our ‘dream location’ will actually deliver the dream lifestyle we imagined and not everybody is suited to country living. Once you’ve settled on your top likely locations, take the following steps…
  • Plan a long weekend or short sabbatical and spend it in your dream town
  • Visit cafes and local businesses and talk to the locals. This is where you’ll quickly find out what type of people live in your potential new community and whether they’re like-minded
  • Pick up local tourism leaflets and magazines and check out the options
  • Take a walk through shopping centres and decide if they offer what you need
  • Ask locals about the climate, lifestyle and local attitudes
  • Have a real estate agent show you some different types of properties
  • Use Google to check reviews of the area and its services
For many, the biggest surprise is that contrary to stereotypes, country people are generally welcoming and enthusiastic about newcomers and want you to feel like you fit in.

Are there any guidelines for choosing a country property?

Naturally, people seek a wide variety of different types of country property. Depending on your ultimate end goal, consider things like…
  • Zoning – will the local council permit your intended use
  • Size of land – farm, horses, agriculture or simple lifestyle pursuits
  • Taxes applicable based on land size – could land tax be applicable?
  • Neighbours – their land use, animals, recreational pursuits etc.
  • Type and size of house – classic homestead or modern home
  • Soil types – if you’ll be farming, soil types are vital to success. Seek areas where others have already demonstrated success
  • Water availability and quality – bore water is often available but will it be potable?
  • Fences – want livestock or pets? Fencing is costly so bear that in mind. Rabbit proof fences are necessary to protect vegetable patches and young plantings

Is country and rural living really better for families?

Most regional areas have lower crime rates, quality infrastructure and good health care and with positive growth rates in many areas, this should only improve. You can drag your children away from computer games and engage them with sporting, social, arts and other attractions just as easily as in city areas in many cases.

If your budget restricts you to apartment living or a house with a very small garden in the city, moving to the country can introduce a raft of new ways to engage with your children and spend quality time together. You can buy large acreages in the country, usually for less than a one-bedroom CBD unit. Imagine the fun of starting your own veggie patch or building a hen house and getting some chooks.

Some regional areas even have Universities, so as children grow up and reach further education stages, they don’t have to move far away.

What’s the difference between real estate in a regional centre versus property on its outskirts?

Houses in a suburban setting, located within a country town’s built-up area, usually offer similar modern conveniences to those of their city cousins i.e. grid electricity, phone, town water, town gas, garbage collection. Properties located further out may not offer any of these features.

I don’t want to move to the country and live in a suburban setting. I want serious lifestyle space. What do I need to know?

You’d better be envisaging some serious self-sufficiency. Properties located outside town centres are less likely to offer modern utilities and the further they are located from telephone exchanges, the slower and less stable your internet connection may be. Your probable utilities are listed below in order of most likely to least likely…
  •     Telephone services with ADSL internet
  •     Electricity
  •     Town water
  •     Sewerage
  •     Garbage collection service
  •     Town gas
Ask a First National agent about the specifics of the locality. They’ll be able to outline the services typically available in key areas.

How do I find a job when I have no local contacts?

Finding work in the country isn’t as hard as you think. If you’re fortunate enough to have a portable skill, you’ll be able to start work straight away, assuming you’ve found an area that has the infrastructure and demand that you’ll need. If you’ll need to find a completely new job, take a fresh look at everything you have to offer.
  • Update your CV, taking everything you’ve ever done into account. This is a great way to focus on how your skills might be deployed in a different way
  • Contact local business associations, employment agencies or the council and discuss the type of work you’ll be looking for
  • Talk to employment agencies or management consultants about the types of skills that are in demand
  • Be prepared to travel between towns for employment and remember, it takes far less time to commute in the country and it can even be enjoyable!
  • Consider taking a temporary position, even if it’s not your ideal choice. If it gets you to your dream location, you can work on perfecting your employment options once you’re there

What sorts of jobs are there in country areas?

Many Australian country towns are growing so the range of employment is constantly expanding. Large regional centres offer virtually unlimited opportunities. Options include…
  • Self employment – internet related, eBay based businesses, stores
  • Trades – plumbers, electricians, mechanics, solar technicians, builders, carpenters
  • Small community services – helping the elderly, youth, schools
  • Tourism and hospitality – bed and breakfasts, farmstays, hotels, pubs and cafes
  • Retail – all towns have the usual array of shops and retail services
  • Farming - start your own venture or find a job supporting someone else’s

How do I choose the most appropriate country location?

Of course, this is the BIG question. Make a list of what’s important. Ask questions like…
  • What’s important? List the things that inspire, motivate and compel your thinking
  • What you want less of in life i.e. commuting, heat/cold, high prices etc.
  • What you’d do more of if you had more time
  • Where would you feel invigorated? Describe the climate, rural/coastal/mountains etc.
  • What’s within your financial reach?
  • What services and infrastructure are important? i.e. Internet, health services, schools, child care
  • What employment opportunities do you need’?
  • Will I need access to pre-schools?
Once you’ve written your list, research the alternatives that tick most of your boxes. Picking a local First National agent and just ringing for a chat can be the most informative time you’ll spend. Use our ‘find an office search’ for the nearest member to your area of interest.

Does a move to the country take time to adapt to?

Not if you’ve considered all the factors carefully. If you’re clear about what you want to achieve with your lifestyle change, you should be able to establish well in advance whether a tree change will unlock the lifestyle change you seek. However…
  • Your expectations must be realistic. It may take some time for you to fully exploit the benefits of your relocation
  • It’s important to extend yourself to meet the members of your new community. Joining a volunteers group like Rotary can be a great way to make new acquaintances and start building new networks
  • Adapting will take a little time so patience is a virtue
  • You need to be flexible and prepared to make changes in your normal routines. In most cases, this is what you’ll have been seeking anyway so it’s all good news

I’ve found a property I adore but there’s no broadband Internet. Help!

Don’t despair. Your solution may well be a satellite connection. Sometimes this can offer far faster download speeds than normal but typically depends upon copper lines for outgoing data or ‘uploads’. Google ‘satellite broadband’ for a list of potential providers in the area and ask them about your chosen location.
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