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The pandemic has encouraged many people to think about what they want from life, and for many this means making a sea or tree change.

Do you dream of tree change to a farm in the country or a sea change to the beach house up the coast? You’re not alone.

Since the pandemic hit in 2020, realestate.com.au has reported a significant uptick in regional searches, with lifestyle destinations such as Byron, the Sunshine Coast and the Snowy Mountains-Monaro region leading the way.

Migration data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that in 2018/19, 25,000 net residents left Sydney, primarily for regional locations in NSW and southeast Queensland.

One of the main motivations for many people leave cities is the high housing costs. The potential for a smaller mortgage and larger home convinces some to start looking elsewhere, even if that means foregoing many of the great thing’s cities has to offer.

Deciding where to retire can be a challenging task. There are many issues to consider, such as should you remain in your current home or location or move, and where will you go, and will you find your ideal spot? Mistakes can be financially and emotionally costly.

Two retirees enjoying retirement

What are you looking for?

Sea or tree change? A sea change is moving away from the hustle and bustle of city life to a much quieter and relaxed coastal town by the sea. A tree change is moving inland to live in a country town or a place by the mountains.

Before you dive in headfirst, its essential that you consider the financial and emotional impact it may have – and be sure to do your research, or you could end up regretting it later.

Make sure you think clearly about how you want to spend your time after you leave the workforce. Remember, you’ll have a lot more of it. For instance, if your ideal retirement lifestyle involves quiet walks on the beach or fishing, a seaside town might suit you down to the ground. Although, if you love shopping, going to shows and trying out new restaurants, a sleepy locale could quickly grow dull.

Then, you need to think about the people who you enjoy spending time with. Do you have friends in the new location – or will you need to start all over again? And will the move take you far away from your children, grandchildren, or close friends?

What you need to take into consideration when choosing location:

Health facilities
Make sure you check out the medical facilities and the number of doctors and other professionals in the area. Ask for a copy of the health service’s annual report, speak to the hospital manager, director of nursing, doctors, and retirement and nursing home managers.

Safety
Speak to the local police and Neighbourhood Watch and ask about crime in the area and innovative programs.

Learn more about community
Subscribe to the local newspaper for at least 18 months before moving. It will give you an idea of the community issues and social, sporting, and recreational opportunities.

Local feel
Chat with the locals. What are the good and not-so-good things?

Information
Visit the information centre and ask about the area. Often the volunteers are retirees who have moved there.

New resident kits
Check with the council if it has kits with information about the services and facilities.

Climate
Check with the Bureau of Meteorology. Consider weather patterns in the area, and find out if it gets four distinct seasons, dry heat or humidity, and if the environment will affect any allergies.

Transport
Glance at the public transport options – for yourself, as well as visiting friends and family.

Small business opportunities
Uncover if there are reasonable prospects of finding employment, and if you are allowed to run a small business at home.

Once you’ve considered these things, you’ll be much better prepared for a desired sea or tree change.

Financial concerns?

Investing your financial future

Moving can also be an expensive business. As well as the financial cost (real estate agent fees, legal fees, removal expenses, stamp duty, furniture replacement), there is the emotional cost, particularly if you have lived in one home for a long time. It can be very demanding sorting out what to take and what to leave.

Also, how much does it cost to live in a new location? Areas popular during the holidays may put up the prices. We have heard of people receiving a “locals” discount.

Selling your home and moving is a major life event. Could you “try before you buy”? Could you rent, or think of a house swap or house sitting? Some retirees take their “wheel estate” to their preferred area and live in their caravan to find out what life is like.

Can you afford it – both immediately and in the long term?

Tempted by cheaper regional property prices? While selling your city home might allow you to buy your dream home in a regional area, think carefully before you dive in headfirst. Remember, if your sea or tree change doesn’t work out for you, it might be extremely hard to sell up and re-enter the property market somewhere else.

And if you’re thinking of staying active in retirement by picking up some part-time work, your employment options may be limited in a quiet location.

Need some advice on your sea or tree change?

Moving somewhere new can be a life-changing experience, but it could also have a significant impact on your finances.

An Oracle financial adviser can help you crunch the numbers and tailor a financial plan to see you through the move successfully. Contact us today!

Important information – Oracle Advisory Group makes no representation or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of any statement in it including, without limitation, any forecasts. The information in this document is general information only and is not based on the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular investor. An investor should, before making any investment decisions, consider the appropriateness of the information in this document, and seek their own professional advice. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The information provided in the document is current as the time of publication.
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