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Is moving to a rural town the new australian dream?

“Sea change”, “tree change”, “bee change”… Every other week we see articles with a new take on the age-old fantasy of swapping grubby concrete and long commutes for fresh air and simple country living. If headlines about booming beekeeping businesses, affordable beach bungalows or good old pastoral bliss leave you daydreaming about starting a new life in rural Australia, you’re not alone. Fed up with the demands of urban life, thousands of Australians are abandoning capital cities in search of a little serenity. But is the grass really greener on the other side? The Outback is brimming with opportunities Gone is the time when only those who knew how to work an exploratory drill or herd cattle could make a living in rural Australia. Nowadays, with multiple online industries booming, “digital nomads” can set up shop virtually anywhere with a stable internet connection. If you’re lucky enough to be able to work from home, a rural town has plenty to offer you – especially if you want to: Break into the property market: While the median house price in Sydney is still over $800″,000, you can snap up a three bedroom house two hours from Brisbane for under $250″,000. When you buy in the country, you can expect to pay your home off before your city-dwelling counterparts have even scraped a deposit together. Be part of a community: If city-living has left you feeling isolated, you’ll be pleased to know there are plenty of opportunities to forge strong social connections in rural towns. Whether you join the rural fire brigade, volunteer at the local school, or just take the time to learn the names of the locals at the pub or IGA, your friendliness will be noticed and reciprocated. Get healthy: Cliche (yet true) adages about fresh country air aside, a move to a rural town provides many unique opportunities to improve your health. You can redirect the time you used to spend commuting into regular exercise, living away from the temptation of fast food will force you to cook at home and plan your meals, and, if you move “in town” “,you can usually walk or cycle everywhere you need to go. Getting down to brass tacks: What does a rural move involve? Convinced that it’s time to escape the hustle and bustle? Great! Let’s talk logistics. When you live in the city, hiring a removalist to get you from one suburb to the other is a piece of cake. But a country move requires a little more planning. Common relocation pitfalls to watch out for include: Buying a “fixer-upper”: Sure, many houses in regional Australia are cheap as chips, but you might want to think twice before you commit to purchasing one that requires extensive renovations. Not every country town has a plumber, electrician or carpenter – so you’ll pay more and wait longer for tradies to attend to your property. The upside of this, of course, is that if you are a tradesperson, you will have plenty of work in your district (as long as you don’t mind driving!). Paying top dollar for removalists: Don’t be fooled! There’s a good reason many removalists are happy to travel far and wide for their clients: They charge per hour (including the drive there and back!). If you’ve got the requisite muscle, consider renting a truck and going the DIY removal route. Companies like Southern Cross Truck Rental offer weekly rates that are much cheaper than the cost of hiring removalists. So, not only will you save money, but with a whole week at your disposal, you can move at your own pace. Doing too little research: When deciding which rural town will best suit your needs, there’s no such thing as too much research. Write a checklist of all the goods and services you’re using right now, and find out whether they’re available in locales on your shortlist. How far will you have to travel for medication, education, or a mechanic? How often do you plan to leave town? How much money are you willing to spend on petrol every month? You should know the answers to all these questions before you settle on one location. What are the drawbacks of bush living? While gumnuts and glorious afternoons spent watching the sunset from your deck certainly have their appeal, life in the slow lane isn’t for everyone. Before you start planning your relocation, make sure these drawbacks aren’t dealbreakers for you: Your love life could suffer: If you’re single, remember there’s a reason that the show Farmer Wants A Wife exists. The applicant pool for potential suitors gets smaller and smaller the further away you go from capital cities. Those looking for love could be doing themselves a serious disservice by moving to the country (unless of course your idea of a good time is a little romance at the annual B&S ball). Rural properties take longer to sell: It’s not so easy to flip properties in remote post-codes. If you do decide that country life isn’t for you, you’ll have to grin and bear it while you wait for your home to sell. Expect to stay in the sticks for anywhere from a few months up to a year if things to pear-shaped. You’re at the mercy of mother nature: When you live in the city, you probably don’t think twice about the weather – you just adjust the thermostat. In the country, however, fires, floods, dust storms, and drought can all wreak havoc on a town’s inhabitants. You can’t stop mother nature, but you can mitigate your risks by getting insurance and investing in thorough conveyancing. The bottom line: Follow your dreams (once you’ve done your homework)! Rural towns offer so many opportunities to become healthier, wealthier and wiser. So, if you’ve done all your research and are still convinced that country-life is for you, why not give it a shot? Draw up a budget, hire a truck and hit the road!

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