Retirement Tree Change

What are the main costs I need to consider when retiring ... The initial costs associated with buying rural property in New Zealand include building and pest inspection fees, sol...
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Retirement Tree Change

The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions. Click here for full Terms of Use.

Where in the country do I want to retire?

  • Family & friends – How close do you want to be to family members and friends? New Zealand is a small country and most places are only a short flight away. If you’d like to see certain people more regularly, you’ll need to factor in driving distances.
     
  • Cost – Property prices and the general cost of living are important factors. Determine your budgets, and then forecast your likely future sources of income and expenses to narrow down your alternatives.
     
  • Services and infrastructure – What services will you need in your retirement? i.e. health services, social groups, sports clubs, hobbies, seniors clubs etc. Do you have a car or will you use public transport?
     
  • Improved Lifestyle - What do you want less of in life? i.e. crowds, heat / cold, high prices etc.
     
  • Hobbies - What do you want to do more of now that you have the time to undertake pursuits? i.e. travel, hobbies, sport, DIY, gardening etc. 
 
Talking to your local First National real estate agent can help with your research, and is a great way to get things started.  Contact us now.
 

How do I adapt to retirement living in the country?

To successfully make this lifestyle change, consider the following:
 
  • Your expectations must be realistic. It may take some time for you to fully exploit the benefits of relocating to the countryside.
     
  • It’s important to extend yourself to meet the members of your new community. One of the biggest surprises for many retirees is the lack of daily contact previously provided by working life.
  • Joining a volunteer community service group like Rotary or Lions can be a great way to make new acquaintances and start building new networks. If that’s not for you, getting involved in local sports clubs is another great way to get quickly integrated into your new community.
     
  • Don’t assume the countryside is always more quiet than the city to live in.  Some small New Zealand towns are very vibrant and fun-filled, with sporting, entertainment and dining options rivalling city cousins.

How do I go about choosing the ideal country retirement property?

To choose an ideal countryside retirement property for you, consider:
 
  • Zoning – Will the local council permit your intended land use?
     
  • Size – Do you need space for a small farm, animals, gardens, or simpler lifestyle pursuits?
     
  • Rates and charges - Council rates are based on property value and are calculated differently for rural property than for urban real estate. You can source information about rates and other local charges form the relevant local council website.
     
  • Neighbours – It's a good idea to meet your potential neighbours before you purchase a property. While a rural property will give you more lifestyle space, there may be other issues such as land access, easements and rights of way to discuss with the neighbours.
 
  • House type and size – Do you want to live in a classic Victorian homestead or a more modern home? How much space will you need? Do you want to buy a house that needs renovations or decoration, or a house with minimal maintenance required?
     
  • Water availability and quality – In rural New Zealand communities without a local water supply, tank water systems are common.  Water is collected from roofs straight to the tank.  Check that tanks and water catchment systems on your property have been well maintained.
 
  • Fences – If you plan to keep livestock on your property, you'll need adequate fencing.  Check the condition of existing fencing on your property, and identify any areas that you may need to improve. 

What are the main costs I need to consider when retiring to the country?

Make sure that you consider the following when setting budgets:
 
  • Council rates.
  • Water rates.
  • Electricity.
  • Maintenance costs for any power generation systems (solar, micro-hydro or wind turbine).
  • Back-up generator maintenance and fuel costs.
  • Gas.
  • Other heating costs (e.g. wood burners).
  • Garden and general maintenance.
  • Insurance.
  • Septic tank maintenance costs.
  • Water pumps.
  • Fencing.
  • Land care.
  • Sheds and farm structures.
  • General home maintenance costs.

How do I go about choosing the ideal country property?

  • ·         Zoning – Will the local council permit your intended land use?


    ·         Size – Do you need space for a small farm with animals, or simple lifestyle pursuits? Or do you need a larger space to develop gardens and farm crops?


    ·         Rates and charges - Council rates are typically based on property value and are often calculated differently for rural properties than for urban real estate. You should be able to get information about rates and other local charges form the relevant local council website.


    ·         Neighbours - It’s a good idea to meet your potential rural neighbours before you take the plunge. While a rural property will give you more lifestyle space, there may be other issues such as land access, easements and rights of way.  You should discuss these items up-front with neighbours to avoid surprises.


    ·         Type and size of house – Do you want to live in a classic Victorian homestead or a modern townhouse? How much space will you need? Do you want a house to do up, or a house with minimal maintenance required?


    ·         Water availability and quality – In rural New Zealand communities without a local water supply, rain-water collection from roofs is common. Check that your water tank system has been well maintained, to ensure water quality.
     
    ·         Fences – Do you plan to keep livestock or pets on your property? If so, you’ll need to install adequate fencing to keep them in, and to keep any pests out.
     

I’ve found my ideal countryside property but there’s no broadband. What can I do?

  • If your rural property can’t be connected to the telephone exchange, don’t worry.  There are other telephone connectivity options for most rural properties, including satellite internet and telephone connections. There are various specialist rural internet providers available who can get you connected inexpensively. Just Google the words ‘satellite broadband’ and shop around for local providers in your area.

Is country and rural living a good choice for families?

  • Countryside living is great for most families, and most families learn to love the simplicity that it offers over time.  With less leisure distractions than in the city, and comparative isolation from neighbours, many families actually spend more time together.  Families eat together, play together, and often work together.
    Regional areas of New Zealand typically have lower crime rates than cities, good quality roads and infrastructure, and good health care. Countryside living also provides plenty of wide open spaces for children to play safely in. Rural communities typically work with community groups like Rotary and Lions, with Government agencies, and with schools, to provide children with many of the same sporting, social, arts and other opportunities that they could access in city areas.
    As rural land is a lot cheaper than land found in cities, it's more likely you can afford a property with plenty of outdoor space. You can work together as a family (parents, and children) to achieve simple country living goals, like growing veggies in the garden or building a hen house and raising some chicks.

How will my kids find country living?

  • Children will take time to adapt to any change of home location.  Once they've settled, most children really enjoy living in the countryside.  Older teenagers may initially miss city nightclubs and attractions like amusement parks, but younger children should adapt more easily.  An important aspect of settling in the location for children will be their making of age-appropriate friends at their local school.
    Children living in the countryside can reap the benefits of living in a small, close knit community, along with the values it instils.  Happier children make for happier parents, so moving to the countryside is often positive for the whole family unit.

I’m interested in running my rural home on sustainable, environmentally friendly, power. What do I need to know?

  • New Zealand’s national grid is green by international standards, with more than 75% of our power coming from renewable sources. Connecting to the national grid is often the most environmentally friendly way to power a rural home. In very remote areas, the costs of connecting to the national grid can be as high as $25,000 per km. This can make generating your own renewable energy on-site particularly appealing.
    The main options for on-site power systems in New Zealand are solar panels, small wind turbines and micro-hydro systems (for rural land with streams or running water).
    Solar powered homes are the most popular choice, as sunshine is available in most locations - even where wind or water may not feature.  Government or council grants are often available to help offset the cost of installation of the solar panels, but be aware that the batteries and inverters are where the real costs lie.
    Most home power consumption tends to be in the evenings, when your system isn’t producing power. It's for this reason that a home’s power storage capacity is important. Battery technology is rapidly improving, but battery replacement still tends to be necessary every 10 years or so. Solar technicians are far from plentiful in regional areas and demand for their services is strong. If your system breaks down, you may be without power for lengthy periods while you wait for technicians or parts.
    If no connection to the national grid is available at your property, any power generation systems should be accompanied with a battery for energy storage, and a diesel back-up power generator for emergencies. This generator will support you during bad weather events or when technical issues disrupt your power supply. 

What about rural health services?

  • As a small country, New Zealand is fairly well covered with hospitals, emergency clinics and other medical services that you might need.  Some more remote locations will entail longer travel times to clinics or hospitals, and this is something you should consider when deciding where to buy your retirement property. The Ministry of Health offers a number of mobile and in-home services to rural areas.  They can also sometimes provide financial assistance for those who need to travel long distances for specialist medical care. It will pay to have a plan in place for health emergencies.