Professional Tree Change

What’s the difference between real estate in the heart of... Houses in a suburban setting, located within a small town’s built-up area, usually offer similar modern conveni...
Read more

Questions and answers

How do I choose the most appropriate countryside location?

To choose the ideal countryside location, make a list of what facilities and lifestyle options you want, rank the options in importance and then research the alternatives that meet your needs in that location. Some things you may want to consider are:

  • Family & friends – How close do you want to be to your family members and friends? If you move location and would like to see these people regularly, you’ll need to factor in driving distances or flight times.
  • Cost – Property prices and the ongoing costs of living are important considerations. Determine how much you can spend each week on your mortgage and living costs. Forecast your likely future sources of income and expenses to narrow down your alternatives..
  • Services and infrastructure – What services do you think you’ll need in the countryside?  If you need health services, social groups, sports clubs, gyms, or hobby clubs, consider whether these are available where you'll live.
  • Life quality - What do you want less of in life? I.e. Crowds, heat/cold, high prices etc.  Your move to the countryside should aim to improve your overall quality of life.
  • Time for enjoyment - What do you want to do more of now that you’re out of the city?
  • Employment - What employment opportunities do you need?  Can you work part time in an office or at home, or is full time employment the only option for you?  Distances to your workplace and client locations should be considered.
  • Schools - Will you need access to pre-schools for young children?
Your local First National agent can help with your research, and get things started.

How can I be sure that countryside living is right for me?

Living in the countryside is not for everyone.  It’s worth taking time before you purchase a rural property to make sure that the move will be right for you. Once you’ve narrowed down the most promising locations, try the following:
·         Plan a long weekend (or more) and spend some time in your dream town. Make sure that you enjoy the area, the amenities, and could see yourself living there for the medium to long term.

·         Get to know the surrounding cafes, pubs and businesses and talk to the locals. This is how you’ll quickly find out what type of people live in your potential new community and whether they’re like-minded.

·         Kiwis are a friendly bunch so ask around about the climate, lifestyle, local attitudes and anything else that interests you.
·         Browse through local tourism leaflets and magazines for local attraction ideas.

·         Walk through the various local shopping centres, and decide if they offer the stores that you need in order to function and live in the area.

·         Have a real estate agent show you some different types of properties.  Contacting a First National Real Estate agent in the area you wish to live in is a good idea, and you'll find them knowledgeable and helpful. Contact us now.

·         Check before visiting the location for internet reviews of the area and its services.  These can be useful guidance on what to expect when you arrive.

How can I find a job when I have no local contacts?

Finding work in the countryside doesn’t need to be difficult. If you’re fortunate enough to have specialist knowledge or skills that are portable, you may be able to start work straight away.  This assumes that the area you are moving to has the necessary infrastructure and demand for your type of work.
Some people take the opportunity to start a whole new career when they move to the countryside.  For example, you may have been an IT manager in the city, but you might decide to be an office manager at a fruit distribution centre in the countryside.
If you choose (or are forced through lack of skillset demand) to find a completely new job role, you should start by reassessing what you have to offer.
  • Dust off your CV and update it, taking everything you’ve ever done into account. This is helpful for finding a job, and it’s also a good way to assess your own skills and see how they might be deployed in a different way.
  • Get in touch with local business associations, employment agencies or the council and see if they have any work placement services or advice.
  • Find out what particular skills are in high demand in your new location by talking to employment agencies or management consultants.
  • Be prepared to take work in the next town over (or further). Commuting in the countryside is quicker than in the city and normally more enjoyable too.
  • Consider taking temporary work to get you going, even if it’s not an ideal position. Temporary work will help get you settled in your dream location, and it will take financial pressure off while you look for a better employment fit.

What kind of work will I be able to find in the countryside?

Large regional centres will offer many of the same employment opportunities as the big cities of New Zealand. Smaller towns may have more limited opportunities, but this could also mean there are skillset gaps in the market or missing business services that you could fill with a new business idea. It pays to keep an open mind.
  • Self-employment – There are plenty of opportunities for self-employment, running internet-based businesses, setting up a store or doing freelance work.
  • Trades – Plumbers, electricians, car mechanics, solar technicians, builders & carpenters are all highly sought after in rural communities.
  • Small community services – There are many community support services operating in rural communities.  These include services that help the elderly, youth, schools, or other organisations.
  • Tourism and hospitality – Options include running a bed and breakfast, allowing farm stays (which are particularly popular with foreign tourists), or running a hotel, pub or café.  Consider whether your area is likely to cater to seasonal clientele only, or will benefit from year round visitation.
  • Retail – Most provincial towns in New Zealand will have an array of popular shops and retail services, including chain stores like Farmers.  Your local area may present an opportunity for you to start your own niche shop or attraction.
  • Farming - Start your own agricultural venture or find a job supporting the agricultural enterprises of someone else.  Whether you milk cows, shear sheep, feed chickens, or build fences, farm life presents a range of possible job opportunities that can provide an ongoing sustainable income.

Is it difficult to adapt to country living?

Before you commit to a change of location, you should consider all of the positives and negatives, and get clarity about the lifestyle changes you want to achieve.  This will enable you to decide well in advance whether or not a move to the countryside is right for you. Some things to keep in mind when thinking about a move are:
  • Make sure your expectations are realistic.  Remember that it might take a while for you to settle in and really start enjoying the benefits of relocating.
  • Once you move, it’s vital you make an effort to extend yourself and meet the members of your new community. Countryside living can be more isolating than city living. A good way to get involved is through volunteer groups like Rotary or Lions, sports clubs, adult education or other hobby groups.
  • You’ll need to be prepared to make changes to your normal routines and to maintain some flexibility to adapt to what countryside living throws at you.
Once you've lived in the countryside for a while, you're likely to be very happy.  Your First National Real Estate agent can help you buy or sell rural properties at any time, and can provide friendly guidance when you're settling in to any new areas.

What’s the difference between real estate in the heart of a regional centre versus property on its outskirts?

Houses in a suburban setting, located within a small town’s built-up area, usually offer similar modern conveniences to those of their city cousins.  These conveniences include national grid electricity, phone, mains water, mains gas supply and regular rubbish & recycling collection.
Rural properties located further out of town may not offer all (or even any) of these features. Consider carefully whether a more remote location will suit your needs.  Make sure that you have supermarkets available within a reasonable driving range.

I want to live somewhere really remote. What do I need to know?

A remote rural New Zealand setting can allow for an idyllic lifestyle, but to make your dream a reality you’ll need to start thinking seriously about self-sufficiency.
Properties located a long way outside town centres are less likely to offer modern utilities.  The further the properties are located away from telephone exchanges, the slower and less stable your internet connection is likely to be. You can easily check broadband and mobile coverage for your new area by getting in touch with internet service providers and phone companies like Vodafone, Spark and 2Degrees.
Tradesmen and help are further away when you live in remote areas, and you will need to be capable of doing more for yourself. The utilities you may need are listed below.  Utilities featured first are more likely to be available than those listed later.
  • Telephone services with broadband internet
  • National grid electricity
  • Mains water & sanitation
  • Rubbish and recycling collection
  • Mains gas supply
Ask a First National real estate agent about the specifics of the location you wish to move into. Based on their local knowledge, and experience selling properties in the area, they’ll be able to outline the utilities typically available.  This will help you to make an informed decision about whether or not you should consider living remotely.