Death, divorce...moving house?

HOUSE ON WHEELS: Relocating might be easier if you could just take your home with you!
HOUSE ON WHEELS: Relocating might be easier if you could just take your home with you!

Relocating to another city or town can be a pretty daunting experience but for one reason or another, many of us choose to do it at some stage in our lives. But while a fresh place to set down roots can be an exciting prospect, it is often noted that moving is one of the most stressful things we can endure in our life - third only to death of a loved one and divorce!

According to statistics from the NZ Realtors Network, moving to another region is most commonly influenced by age and economic influences; the under 20 age group relocate primarily for education, the 20 to 29-year-old move is more socially based and for 30 to 59-year-olds, it is mainly about employment and advancement as these are the primary earning years.

"We then find that those aged 60 plus are looking for environment where they want to spend their retirement - which is often focused on social engagement and ease of access," says Colleen Milne, General Manager of the Network.

Of course when people are moving to a specific place for employment, sometimes there isn't as much flexibility when it comes to choosing where to live, so what can we do to help reduce the anxiety felt when relocating? Milne says the first thing is to make time to visit the new town or city, and take your family with you, if possible.

"Check out transport options, get a feel for the community and if you have children, try to make it an adventure for them. The internet is also your best friend - do lots of research, use Google maps and read through the website of the local council."

Understanding the different neighbourhoods and suburbs can be one of the biggest challenges facing people who relocate. So it is important to have a clear view of what the local real estate is like, what the decile ratings of schools' are in different parts of the region and how close the amenities are that you need in your day to day life.

One alternative is choosing to rent first, instead of purchasing a home straight away - if that is an option you have available. Milne says it gives people a good opportunity to 'try before they buy' and get a feel for where to live, but she does note that a significant number do just want to move straight into a new house.  

"If you choose to do this, I would advise making a really detailed list about what you and your family need - from schools to church to hobbies. If outdoor activities are a big part of your life, then you want to make sure you have considered how easy your access will be to them when you relocate."

Milne's tips for relocating;

  1. Try and visit the town/city, at least once for a few days.
  2. Write a list of what you want for your life/family.
  3. Get information from every source possible - the council, a tourist information centre, read the local paper, find out about the transport providers.  
  4. Talk to friends/work colleagues to help guide in the right direction.
  5. Find a real estate person who specialises in the area you are interested in and question them.