This article has been lifted from The Sydney Morning Herald Domain Section April 12 2019, and written by Lee Dashiell:
I don’t do suburbia. I like to be either in and amongst it all or completely away from it all. After five years of living in New York, three years in Melbourne and 17 years in inner Sydney, my family and I decided to up sticks and move to the country.
Many of our city friends thought we were crazy. It was a massive change to our lifestyle, but a switch we have never regretted. If you are thinking about a move to the country, there is a lot to consider, but these are some of the most important issues when planning a tree change.
1. Buying a home
Making a tree change is a huge undertaking, so if you are unsure, you can “try before you buy”. Selling and buying means paying commissions and stamp duties, so you should consider leasing out your city home and then rent locally to get a feel for whether it’s the right fit for you and your family.
Once you have decided to commit to the shift to the country and buy a house, whether you are looking for a new build, an established home or a hobby farm, you will be impressed with the value for money compared to the city.
Depending on the region you are considering moving to, there may be great job opportunities for you or none.
Unless you already have a job lined up, don’t assume you will get one right away. Make sure you have sufficient funds to cover a period of unemployment.
Have a look at the types of local industries and see if they match your skills. Freelancing may be an option depending on your current profession. Alternatively, if you can set up a home office it may be possible to work remotely.
Once you start applying for local jobs, don’t be discouraged if you are offered a salary well below your previous city wage. You must take into consideration that the cost of living is also proportionately lower.
If you have school-aged children, evaluate the quality of local educational institutions. Talk to local parents about their experiences and make sure you are happy with what is available.
Most schools will be happy to give you a tour of the school and facilities and to introduce you to some of the students and parents. You can also compare them by visiting The Good Schools Guide.
If your dream house is a country retreat, take into consideration the upkeep the property may require. If you are a gardener, then a tree and shrub pruning, lawns, watering and even fencing can be an enjoyable pastime.
Just make sure you don’t bring more yard work upon yourself than you are willing to do unless you plan to hire help.
Whatever you are interested in, be it cooking, gardening, carpentry, tinkering with old cars or even filling your life with lots of pets, in the country, it is easier and less costly to find the right house with the right amount of space to fulfil your dreams.
To narrow down the possibilities create a short list of essentials. These may include a large shed, a swimming pool, views, space for kids to play, a vegetable garden, orchard, or a workshop.
6. Social life
If you don’t know many people in your new local area, it may take a while to build up the social life you had in the city.
School is great for meeting other kids’ parents. You may consider joining some clubs, taking part in community events such as fun runs or Clean Up Australia Day, and meet people through business networking.
If you have the space, your home could also become an escape to the country for your city friends.