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Updated in Original Post! Tree change, mortgage free? WWYD?


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#1 TreeChange?

Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:58 AM

Well, we have put an offer in on the country house and now are just waiting to see if it is accepted.Very nervous but excited too! Thank you all for your amazing input, you've been a great help original.gif





I'm a long time user gona anon as I have close friends on here.

I will cut a long story short, but was hoping a fresh set of eyes on this big decision would help me see if I'm missing anything.

We are a family of 5 in our early 40's. Our youngest is 2 our oldest is 8.
DP is on a reasonably good wage doing FIFO work, but we have ended up with a what we see as a large mortgage of $450K. It isn't feasible for me to go back to work, childcare would be basically eat up any money I could earn.

We have worked out that after mortgage repayments, all expenses like rates, insurance, healthcare, electricity, gas and phone, we end up having only $500 left over for food, fuel, clothes, school supplies, entertainment.

We already live quite frugally, don't have foxtel etc, I make all our food, don't get takeaways. We are feeling like we will never get ahead like this.

So, we are considering moving an hour out of Perth and swapping our $450K mortgage for basically no mortgage at all. We can buy a house on 1/2 an acre in a great little country town for $300K, which is roughly what we will have left over if we sold our current house.

So, would you swap a big house in the burbs for a little house in the country? Are you someone who has already done this and how has it worked?

I have lived rural before and love it. So has DP. The more we think about it, it seems we would be crazy if we didn't. To be mortgage free vs paying off a big house for the next 25 years?

Edited by TreeChange?, 13 February 2013 - 12:10 PM.


#2 Mini_feral

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:02 AM

Sounds like a dream to me, and only 1 hour out of a big city!! Go for it.

I wish we could do something like that, but unfortunately my partners work is tied to Sydney so we are stuck.

#3 dolcengabbana

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:08 AM

It sounds great to me except a family of 5 in a small house with the kids growing would make me nervous that in 5 years time when kids start becoming teenagers the wish for alarger house may become very strong.

I would see if a compromise was available in the rural setting a slightly larger house with a very very small mortagage maybe see what the extra $50,000-$100,000 can get you and then the change really just about geography.

I would also make sure that the extra money that becomes available was saved wisely and put away in case for whatever reason circumstances change.

#4 AllyK81

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:09 AM

My parents did this when I was small. We moved from the City to the country (2.5 hrs away though) where living costs were much lower. It helped my parents get ahead and it was nice growing up in the country.

You would need to satisfy yourself the schools would be OK and that the particular town suited you. An hour out of town is a perfect distance - my DH gew up around an hour out of town and he has a mix of city and country friends.

The only downer was when I hit 18 I had to leave home as there were no universities where I grew up, but leaving home at 18 is not necessarily a bad thing.

Now my sister and I are grown, my parents are back in the city.

Perhaps you could try renting for a year to decide if the lifestyle is for you first before making a big committment?

Good luck with your decision.

Edited by AllyK81, 11 February 2013 - 09:10 AM.


#5 TreeChange?

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:13 AM

The house we have looked at has the potential to be extended for around $50K, so that would solve the space issues. The location of this house is ideal, it is in the town centre, walking distance to a great school and shops, it's a great town with a great school. The block is huge too, at 1/2 an acre!

#6 TheGreenSheep

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:14 AM

Id say to be only an hour out of Perth Id do it.

We have done the tree change and its tough, but it was interstate and starting with new friends and jobs all over again. So if I were only moving an hour away I could do it in a heartbeat.

#7 Feral_Is_Me

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:20 AM

I am not sure what is stopping you? What do you think the cons are for doing this change, as your post shows only the positive (in my opinion) of doing the move. That might help you to address what is holding you back.

#8 Therese

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:22 AM

I would do it in a heartbeat.


#9 blondie82

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:22 AM

QUOTE (TreeChange? @ 11/02/2013, 09:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We have worked out that after mortgage repayments, all expenses like rates, insurance, healthcare, electricity, gas and phone, we end up having only $500 left over for food, fuel, clothes, school supplies, entertainment.


Is this per week or per month? I'm only asking this out of curiosity but in all honesty, making a move like this needs to be about more than just the dollars and cents.

8 months ago I moved from inner city Melbourne to a town just an hour away. We have kept our house in Melbourne (renting it out) and are renting in our new town to get the feel for it and to see if we're ready to make the big 'tree change'. From my experience, I have gone through every scenario in my head trying to work out what will be best for us. One week I want to move and another one I'm ready to sell up and buy in our new town. This week, I'm ready to move back to Melbourne  wink.gif

For me, I'm working through what is really important to us as a family with all the money aside. At the moment, seeing our extended family and friends is what is most important and living an hour away is seriously dappening that for us. We seem to be the ones doing all the travelling to see people whereas before, our family was literally a 5 minute car ride away.

Like you, we could sell our house in Melbourne, buy something in our town and be virtually mortgage free but then what - spend the additonal funds on petrol to see people?

It is such a tough choice but maybe you could try it out first by renting somewhere in the new town to see if it works?

Good luck.



#10 Toodee

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:42 AM

While I like the idea, it would depend completely on the town you are planning on moving to and what the community is like. Having grown up in the country not too far out of Perth there are some country towns that I would rather poke my eye out with a fork than live in.

#11 oliboli

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:47 AM

Which town? I grew up just over an hour out of Perth, and loved it.  We have often thought of giving our children a country upbringing, but the boarding school fees would negate any savings unfortunately!

#12 TreeChange?

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:48 AM

I think my only hesitation is the fact we have only been in our current house for 5 months. We moved from a much smaller house to this big house.

I like the area, but am finding I don't love it, I like our house, but sadly also find I don't love it. I feel weighed down by our mortgage, we have never had such a large mortgage before.

To answer a PP, it is $500 per week leftover.

We wouldn't lose money by selling so soon, but facing up to the fact that we made a silly mistake buying here is hard on the pride!

The move wouldn't just be about saving money, we love the country and have lived regional before, including being around 40 minutes out of town to as far away as 1800kms out of Perth.

I can't see any negatives, I'm hoping that's because there isn't any!

#13 TreeChange?

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:50 AM

And I know living on $500 a week after bills is doable, but if something major happened, we wouldn't really have any back up. If DP lost his job, or injured himself, we would have nothing to fall back on.

The other massive advantage of doing this is that the pressure is off DP to earn more and more money. It will mean FIFO will just be a "for now" job rather than a "forever" job.

#14 TreeChange?

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:51 AM

And the town we are looking at is York original.gif


#15 FeralLIfeHacker

Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:51 AM

Do it!!!

Your in a really similar situation to us. We live inner city and could be mortgage free if we moved about 30-40 mins out (in Adelaide everything is reasonably close!).   We would move to a bigger house though not smaller, that for us is one of the reasons, more space in and out of the house. We would need a new car probably because we will have increased travelling times and our car isn't quite up to scratch but even with purchasing a new car we will still end up ahead. We will also spend more money on petrol but we've been over the sums a billion times and would still be in front there too.

Schooling is number one priority for us so we are still trying to work out where is going to be the best place as far as schools go.

It will be a big move for us since we've only ever lived in the city but we wont know if we don't try.  Dh ideally would like to keep our house in the city to rent out incase it doesn't work out for us but I don't think we can make that work financially, so if we do it we will be losing our ability to get back into the area we currently live in, this is a bit scary, since it's a great area well held area and our kids are really happy at their current schools.

It's tricky but I think you should go for it. You have so much to gain,  I am hoping we will get the courage to do it this year. Like pp we are back and forth, some weeks we totally are ready and are like "let's do this" other weeks we are so glad of where we live right now.

#16 mummabear

Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:02 AM

Without a moments hesitation...I would do it!

Not a moment!

Mortgage free, a slower pace and fresh air, what more does one need to create a better life! original.gif

#17 oliboli

Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:11 AM

York is where I am from! - my parents have still got a farm there and we go there as often as we can - the kids love it! Stinking hot in summer though!  As I said, we have often thought of moving there, but my husband would have to commute to Perth everyday, which he doesn't want to do, and boarding fees for sending the kids to Perth would make it not worth it anyway.  The school only goes to year 10, so you'd have to send your kids to either Northam or Perth for yr 11 and 12. My brother and his wife live there and we have a lot of friends there original.gif

#18 polka dotty

Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:21 AM

We have been in a similar situation (kind of still are actually)...my DH is FIFO, we have 3 kids between 3-9 and returning to work not financially viable for me either. Mortgage not so big though...
I hate that everyone assumes FIFO jobs are well paid...DH's income is good but not great, but he loves it because he spends more time with us than he ever did in a 9-5 job.

We were in a small house in the burbs and hated it...we built a large house on an acre about 30 minutes from shopping centres, etc. I had dreams of growing our own fruit & veg and living simply, but it just didn't pan out that way unfortunately.
I got so frustrated with the large block - newborn in the sling whilst I was trying to deal with goanna stealing the chook eggs, trail bikes blazing through the back bush at 8pm, HSTP pump breaking down and having sewage in my yard (so then kids couldn't go out to play), everything breaking down whilst DH was away!!
DH also disliked coming home to my 'list of jobs' and spending his break fixing things!

We also discovered that although the local primary schools were good, high schools were not - lots of locals would move away as their kids got to high school age for that reason, and also because it was too far to drive their kids to PT jobs.

We moved back to the burbs (in another area actually) and love the area but not our house (so much maintenance). We've tried selling but the market is so flat at the moment...our next step is to look at renting it out and buying something with less maintenance. We're hoping to move closer to our local Uni and take in homestay students for extra $ (we have done this before and loved it).

I'm not sure what roster your DH does but just make sure you could deal with any potential issues yourself in the time he is away...I'm not saying issues don't arise in the burbs too, but they tend to be bigger on a bigger block, IYKWIM?

If the money side of things eases the stress for you, I'd go for it, but make sure you do all your homework first on what it will be like to live there.

#19 Relish*

Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:25 AM

York - yes I'd give it a go. If you'd said Pinjarra - no.

Good luck! Sounds like a pretty good decision to me original.gif

#20 solongsuckers

Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:41 AM

If it were me I would move.

#21 Libertine

Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:51 AM

I'd do it in a heartbeat. Living with no mortgage gives you so much more freedom.

#22 Boombox

Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:52 AM

We did the "tree change" nearly 6 years ago and we're really happy we did. We're 4 hours from city and family. We're also a family of 5 with the oldest child being 8. We bought an old house on property and have since built our large house we designed ourselves. Next investment will be a big pool.

Cons have been being so far from family- having regular contact, and simple things like having anyone to watch the kids for the evening are missed. But a pro for the distance is friends and family make the effort to come and spend at least a weekend with us and we have some quality time together.

Another con is schools- our closest large town is low socio-economic with the associated problems. we have a couple of private high school options, and while I'd love to support the public school system, I think it would be to the kids detriment. Our small public primary school however is awesome.

We love being mortgage free- i think for that alone I'd do it. We don't have high paying jobs, so why tie ourselves to the crippling mortgage we would have to have had if we stayed in the city? ( the ones I see all my city dwelling friends with) We can now both work part time, have time away with the kids really easily. I think the kids are young for such a short time- I want to spend as much of it with them as I possibly can. Once they've moved out we can up our work hours and possibly look at moving back to the city then, if that's what we want.

Of course there are things I miss- nice shops, all the festivals/concerts and general buzz of the city. But these are little things, and easily fixed with a weekend with family. I look out now and my closest neighbour is 2km away. It's quiet, pollution free. I've made lovely local friends (many fellow tree changers), and feel lucky every day!

#23 Aribika

Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:58 AM

I could have almost written your post op.  A few slight differences though.  My DH has the plan to sell and buy in the middle of nowhere but he wants more land and to be almost self sufficient.  The long term goal would be for him to not have to work but as polka dotty said in her post I am concerned about all the work I would have to do when he does have to go to work for 3 or 4 weeks at a time..

We don't have enough equity to buy without a mortgage and would ideally like to be in the south west but as you have indicated there is more scope for less expensive housing just north of Perth and obviously it is closer to the airport.  We have seen a few properties in the York area and even closer to the city that could be possibilities.

In your situation where you could have a very reduced mortgage or none at all and you won't have a huge amount of land to look after I would definitely go for it.  Obviously as pps have said, check out the schools and facilities available.

Good luck.

Lorraine

#24 Musk Sticks

Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:59 AM

QUOTE (TreeChange? @ 11/02/2013, 10:13 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The house we have looked at has the potential to be extended for around $50K, so that would solve the space issues. The location of this house is ideal, it is in the town centre, walking distance to a great school and shops, it's a great town with a great school. The block is huge too, at 1/2 an acre!

Sounds great.
DH and I would love to move to the country but have too many things stopping us at the moment.

#25 *cough*

Posted 11 February 2013 - 11:06 AM

York sounds ok. Northam is right there which has pretty much everything and is only growing. At least you have Coles/Woolies etc. Plus Midland is not far to escape to for big shops, movies etc.

I would seriously consider high school options. Northam High School? Yeah maybe not. Perhaps the private school in Helena Valley?

If you have no (or little) mortgage, slamming away money into saving for reasonable private school fees might be doable.

I think you really need to do the maths and work out if you have to pay for private school what the true 'saving' would be.

Totally different if you are ok with Northam high school. Your kids might also get scholarships? A friend in Toodyay has her girls at PLC all on scholarships.

Remember - it's really hot in summer, factor in larger power bills.

Will you be on town water? Otherwise you should factor in extra water (more than rates).

If you do your homework and the figures come out good - do it!




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