9 tips for buying in a provincial town or region you're not familiar with
May 2024

9 tips for buying in a provincial town or region you're not familiar with

There are many reasons we decide to move house. From needing something bigger (or smaller) to job relocation, looking for a change of lifestyle, or perhaps you’ve holidayed somewhere and could picture yourself living there permanently - it happens easily around this beautiful country of ours!

But whatever the motivation, finding a new place to call home can be difficult. Especially if you’re setting up somewhere new. So how do you turn the dream of buying in a provincial town or region of New Zealand into a reality? We can help with that!

1. Location, location, location

Whether you have your heart set on somewhere special, or you’re undecided as to ‘where to next’, it’s still important to consider its location. How about its proximity to essential amenities (such as schools, hospitals and anything else you need), and does its pace change during the holidays or through low seasons?  

Even things like finding out what the weather is like throughout the year (does it snow or get lots of rainfall), so you can have a think about if you’re okay with that. Evaluate what’s essential for you in a location and check that where you might be heading is able to meet that criteria.

2. Pay a visit (or two)

It’s a really good idea to get a ‘lay of the land’ before making a call on where you’ll buy. Spend some time there discovering all that you can about your new home, from which suburbs you may prefer to live in to its distance to various places and spaces around the town and district.

For example, if you enjoy water-based activities, where is the nearest boat ramp or access point? Can the kids walk to school, or would you have to drive them? Does the sun disappear early in certain parts during the winter months? These things could be minor, but if you’re looking to set up a home, all the details need to be well thought-through.  

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3. Plan what you want from your move

It can be easy to get caught up in the thought of a refreshing change. And more often than not, it’s the right call (trust that gut instinct). However, you should also dedicate some time to consider what it is you want to achieve from your move.

Ensure you understand what it is you’re looking for, and then you can set out to tick those off the list with your new lifestyle. Are you looking for an escape from the ‘rat race’, a slower pace of life or perhaps a complete 180 change? You may wish to think about proximity to things like bike trails, lakes/rivers or markets, as these can all contribute to the way you live your life and the enjoyment you get from it.   

4. Consider the ‘unexpected’

This is about being practical and thinking about how things could potentially not go exactly as planned. And if that does happen, how you will rectify those issues.

Maybe you have your heart set on a certain property, but it falls through. Would you look for something else in the same place or would you press pause on your plans? Or if you can’t find something that includes all of your ‘must haves’, would you compromise? 

By simply being open to the possibility that things don’t always go to plan, it means you’ll be in a better position to pivot when/if required - rather than just panicking.

5. Chat to the locals

No one can give you better insights into your new regional town than a local, so find a few that are happy to chat and offer their opinions about various things.

They might bring up things you hadn’t even thought about and provide you some really valuable insights for your potential move. (Try to gather thoughts from a mixed group of people, if possible, to have a great cross-section of locals.)   

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6. Weigh up the pros and cons

For every pro that there is to moving somewhere new, there’s often a con. You might be leaving behind some really wonderful friends and/or family. You’ve spent years working in the garden and it’s flourishing - do you really want to have to start again?

But what if you could set up somewhere close to other family members you haven’t spent much time with over the years. And maybe you’re actually ready for a new challenge because you’ve outgrown your current plot of land.

If you’re feeling indecisive, jot down the pros and cons, and see where it leads you. 

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7. Speak to a trusted agent

Real estate agents located in the region you’re looking to relocate to will have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to purchasing property. Get in touch with a couple to talk about current market conditions and what potential options are available for you.

They can take your details and let you know when new listings come to market (or even get you in early before a property goes up for sale).

Did you know that PGG Wrightson Real Estate agents live in the communities they work in too? This enables them to provide buyers (and sellers) with knowledge and advice they simply won’t find anywhere else. And when you need someone who is well-connected to the provincial property market, that level of service is invaluable. 

8. Do your due diligence

If you’re considering a lifestyle block or more rural property, it’s important to do your research as to the rules and regulations for not only that listing, but also the region. These types of things can vary from council to council, and it can be tricky if you aren’t aware of things like land covenants, easements, water supply, power and access permissions.

Check out whether GST will apply to the type of property you’re looking to buy and also have a look next door to see what your potential neighbours could be up to. They might run a business or have other operations that may impact on the way you’re wanting to live. 

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9. Embrace the change  

To end on a positive note, change can be exciting. It can mean you leave behind traffic jams to find more time to enjoy your favourite hobbies and spend time with family. It might enable you to embark on a business venture that you’ve been thinking about for a while. Maybe it will open up opportunities you hadn’t considered before because you had been restricted by your location.

Know there will be some things that may feel hard at the time and try to be okay with that. But if you’re open to what you’re bringing into your life, then hopefully those difficulties will be minimal, or at least short lived.

Ready to find your new dream home? With locations right across New Zealand, we’ll always have a friendly, knowledgeable and experienced agent who can help you with everything you need to know - from a plan of action to get your current property sold, to putting you in touch with the right people in the region you’re interested in moving to.

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