Our sea change

Around three years ago (give or take…lets be honest, my concept of time is pretty poor), my husband and I decided to take the life changing step and become investment property owners. Between you and me, I felt like we weren’t grown up enough to take such a huge step, but we both agreed it was a solid investment for us and our children’s future. We lived in Sydney, and the housing market in Sydney had become…well stupid really, still is. Actually stupid is an understatement. So we decided to head north (there was a lot more research that went into our decision, but at the end of the day we wanted something inexpensive, and most likely would build a house so we wanted land). Newcastle was the aim, or somewhere along the way. My husband, being so thrifty had found a few estates with land that was within our budget, so off we trekked.

I personally always loved driving up the coast towards Newcastle, but our trips had generally been to the Central Coast, or to Newcastle, and while our adventures did take us to estates in both those areas, on this adventure we were heading to Lake Macquarie. And I know what you are thinking, Lake Macquarie! That’s so far away. But it isn’t.

Lake Macquarie is Australia’s largest salt water coastal lake. It frequently gets confused for Port Macquarie (that’s why everyone thinks I live so far away now, because Port Macquarie is a good 6 hours from Sydney) but is actually only a 90 minute drive (not even really, that’s generous) from Sydney. Arriving in Lake Macquarie we realised all of this, it was not that far at all. We checked out two blocks of land, one slightly more expensive and on a street named after my favourite wine. I felt like the wine street and I were supposed to be together. After further investigation and a fair bit of back and forth and umming and ahhhing we came to a decision and became investment land owners of the less expensive block that was not named after wine. Boo.

I was born and raised in Sydney, it has always been my home and I do love it. It is a beautiful city. But we were living in a congested, rapidly growing area in Western Sydney where the traffic was insane and it was taking an hour to drive 15 kilometres. And the price of living was just skyrocketing. I had been, over the past year or so been thinking that we needed to get out of Sydney. We enjoyed a certain lifestyle, I wanted to stay at home and be the primary care giver to the children, we wanted to be able to travel and we wanted another baby. All of that was looking extremely unlikely because it was just unaffordable. Driving to and from Lake Macquarie to purchase this block of land and to check on the progress of the house build had planted a seed in my mind. Let’s move here.

I floated the idea casually to my husband, and much to my surprise he was open to it. We spent some time exploring the area, looking at the local schools as my eldest would be starting school the next year and in the end, it was too good to say no to. The area was so lovely, we would be living right near the water. The school that we favoured was huge (being in the country and all) and went from kindy to year 12, and it had amazing resources. There were plenty of opportunities for me to work if I decided that was what I wanted to do and the area was growing and changing. The cons would be that we were moving away from our family. We wouldn’t have the support we had down in Sydney as we didn’t know anyone up here. Most of our friends were down there, we would be moving into the unknown and the idea was confronting. My husband would still be commuting to Sydney for work as his job is very specific and difficult to find elsewhere or transfer. But for our family, for us to grow our family, for us to continue to invest in the property market, and for me to be able to commit to being at home it was the right decision in our minds.

So we sold our house. Turns out we sold it too early and ended up a little bit temporarily homeless as the house took longer to build than originally anticipated. So we put our stuff in storage and went to America for a month. When we got back…still kind of homeless so we stayed with my Dad until the house was ready.

It wasn’t an easy decision to make, especially for my husband who doesn’t like change. And there has been lots of adjustments. But we felt that it was the right decision for our family. And it has definitely been right for our family. We love where we live now, this is home.

But it didn’t feel like that immediately…and we will explore that further another day.

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