What happens when you regret your move? And how to avoid it.

Careful consideration, and a healthy dose of research and planning should go into preparing for an interstate or overseas move. But what if you come to regret your move?

This is exactly what happened for Sarah Berry and her partner Toby who made the move from Sydney to Byron Bay in Northern NSW only to regret it and move back a few years later.


In an interview with the Domain podcast Property Unpacked, Sarah, Lifestyle Health Editor at The Age & SMH, unpacks what happened when they made their northern migration.


Have a listen of the interview. Then I'll explore what lessons I think can be learnt from Sarah's experience and give tips on how to avoid making some of the same mistakes.


What lessons can be learnt from Sarah's experience?


A couple of things really stood out to me about their story, I'll go into a bit more detail and explain each below;

  1. they had the right attitude "to give it a go"

  2. there seems to be a lack of clarity in terms of why they were making the move

  3. they did little planning and research, and as a result they were ill-prepared

  4. they seemed to have an unwillingness to make lifestyle adjustments


How to avoid regretting your move to the Gold Coast

Don't be afraid to give it a go


Sarah and Toby certainly had the right adventurous attitude "to give it a go", with the reassurance that "if it doesn't work out, you can always move back".


Big life-changing decisions, like moving overseas or interstate, are made easier when you take the pressure off. Don't see it as the biggest thing in your life, that cannot be undone. Try to see it as an adventure.


When we started contemplating a move from Sydney to the Gold Coast I was initially very overwhelmed by the enormity of the decision. However, when I came to look at it as a family adventure, that could last 6 months, a year or a lifetime (as it turns out), the weight was lifted of my shoulders and I felt confident and assured in my decision making.


Be very clear on why you're moving


It is very important that you are very clear (and on the same page) as to why you're moving. What is driving the move? Are you ready for a life-changing experience?


There didn't seem to be any real reason for Sarah and Toby to move to Byron Bay. Yes, Toby had some work opportunities in Byron Bay, but other than that there was no real desire for a relocation or a change of lifestyle. So if nothing is driving you, then what is the incentive to make it work?


We briefly considered a move about 10 years ago, not long after our first child was born. But when we really considered it, there wasn't enough motivation or the right motivation to move at that time. We simply weren't ready.


Fast forward to 2017 and there was a lot driving us: the desire to lead a more balanced life, to be more present for the kids and each other, to be able to buy a house without a million-dollar-plus mortgage, to have access to co-ed (private) schools that were not going to cost a bomb, to offer the kids an upbringing where they are carefree and can play with their friends in the street.


When there are enough reasons for you to want to move. When you're in every sense ready to uproot your life and start fresh. That's when the chances of success are best.


Research and planning are key


A quick internet search would've told Sarah that the average rent in Byron Bay for a unit at the moment is $600 a week and $798 per week for a house, and that the number of properties available for rent is low. They didn't do this research, nor did they consider what was important to them in terms of lifestyle when looking for a place to live. So they ended up in Bangalow, a good 20 minutes inland from Byron Bay, which did not offer the lifestyle they were used to or wanting.


Lesson to learn: Work out what's important to you in terms of lifestyle and your living environment. Think about things like distance to work; access to public transport, amenities such as shops, doctors/hospitals, schools, playgrounds and parks, do you want to be close to the beach or do you prefer a bush setting etc. Work out what your budget is. And if you're going to buy or rent.


Get a really clear picture what it is that's important and then do your research to see what areas will best offer you what you're looking for. No doubt there will be compromise, but as long as most boxes are ticked you're more likely to be satisfied with your decision.


If you're not sure where to start your search, we can help. We offer a range of services to assist our clients with researching and narrowing down the suburbs.


Be prepared to adjust & embrace the lifestyle changes


There's a big adjustment when moving from the big smoke to a smaller city or regional town. As Sarah acknowledges in the podcast, she moved with her city lifestyle and city mentality intact. The fact that she worked from home in her job as editor meant meeting new people, making friends and getting out and about wasn't per say necessary. Between the four walls of her home she continued to lead a life that was more synonymous with Sydney's than with the laid-back lifestyle of Byron.


One of the things I've loved about moving to the Gold Coast was the fact that people are easy-going, friendly and up for a chat. People will look you in the eye, they will smile, and they will say 'hi, how you doing'. Unthinkable in the streets of Sydney. In fact, if anyone dared to look or start a conversation I'd more likely run the other way. I love it that I can give people a smile here and I will get one in return. I love the random chats I have with people when I get my coffee at my local café or take the dog for a walk in the park.


Similarly Carly, who recently moved to the Gold Coast from Melbourne commented that she needed to learn to slow down and adjust to the different pace of life on the Gold Coast. It was exactly the more relaxed, less rushed pace of life that she was looking for when they moved here. So she's embracing the lifestyle change and making an effort to slow down.

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