Country living in a post-pandemic era

Date: 10 November 2020

Mandatory home restrictions during the pandemic seem to have encouraged a growing number of people to think beyond the traditional boundaries of the metropolitan area and look to regional communities as a better option to put down roots, soak up country charm and enjoy extra room in the great outdoors.

Chris Short from the Association of Building Consultants shares his thoughts.

Work from home

With more people predicted to work from home, it is important to make sure you have a dedicated area in any house that is suitable to spend time working and participating in video conferences as needed. Make sure you have good internet connections, whether that is wired hard lined into a home, a wireless dongle using a mobile network or satellite broadband.

Making the commute

Even working from home there are sure to be times when you need to commute for a meeting, so if you are going to have to drive into the office occasionally, then consider whether you want to spend greater time and cost behind the wheel. There may not be a transport hub nearby, so a commute may be the only option.

Time and upkeep

Upkeep on a larger block or acreage means that a few minutes mowing that postage stamp sized city lawn will be a thing of the past, so think whether you want to invest the extra time needed to keep things neat and tidy. Enjoying life amongst the gum trees might seem romantic but if you don’t want to spend hours on a tractor or ride-on mower then perhaps that life might not be suited to you.

Neighbours and friends

Depending on whether you live in a town or further out, it’s a good idea to think about what a more isolated lifestyle means for you. The nearest neighbour might be a few kilometres away, or a quick trip to the hardware store might become a 20hour trip. Family and friends living in the city might think twice about popping in because of the distance involved.

Return on investment

Even though country property values are typically slower to increase, your money may actually stretch to buying a far bigger house or block than in the city. If you are planning a move back into the city at some point, remember that it may take longer to sell because demand for regional homes is not as great as in the city.

Basic services

Check if the home has access to mains water and power, or whether you need to live partially off-grid. Reticulated gas is largely unavailable outside the metro area, although bottled gas is a convenient option.

Building a home

If you plan to build, then using local tradies will keep costs and construction time down because they won’t need to drive to and from the city. If the property only has dirt road access, then consider whether narrow tracks and overhead branches will cause problems for concrete trucks and semi-trailers.