Agent shares advice on tree and sea changes

Phill and Eva Cronin and their dog Cullen made their own South-West tree change.
Phill and Eva Cronin and their dog Cullen made their own South-West tree change.

IN 2016 Phill Cronin decided it was time for a sea or tree change.

He and his wife Eva packed everything up and spent seven months driving around Australia with their border collie Cullen, looking for the ideal lifestyle destination.

Their travels led them back to WA and beautiful Margaret River, where they bought a 47ha property.

“In total we travelled 26,500km and stayed at a location on average every 2.5 days, so you can imagine how many places we visited,” Mr Cronin said.

“We experienced some incredible places like Broome, Airlie Beach, Eumundi, those great spots on the NSW coast, Canberra, the Great Ocean Road, too many to mention and a number that we said ‘this would be a great spot to live’ – although spending time on holiday is not the same as living in that location.

“Airlie Beach and the devastation of Cyclone Debbie proved that point, not to mention the humidity in the |northern parts of Australia |in the wet season.”

Mr Cronin has used his experience finding a lifestyle destination to put together some advice for others thinking about a tree or sea change.

He said when considering a location you may want to cover the basics:

– Can we afford to buy/live there? Sydney was out of the question.

– Can we get employment there? Eumundi and many smaller locations like Denmark are out, unless you want a long commute that can leave a bitter taste to your change.

– Does the location cover your needs? Do you need access to Bunnings, Coles, cinemas, a golf course, restaurants and so forth and what are you prepared to travel to? This will be a game of compromise.

Then you need to consider employment and this may mean acquiring new skills or retraining.

Mr Cronin qualified as a sales representative and now works with William Porteous Properties International, while Mrs Cronin re-trained as a bushfire attack level (BAL) assessor.

You will also need to sell, or rent out your original home and find somewhere to live in your new destination.

After trying to buy and sell at the same time, Mr Cronin’s advice is to rent.

“This is easier and will allow you time to find your feet, discover the area and work out where you really would like to lay your hat,” he said.

“Yes that second move can be painful, but I believe it will be worth it.”