‘Don’t you think there’s more to be made?’

The question was asked during one of the many discussions with friends and acquaintances attempting to understand the reasons and rationale behind our impending move. ‘I mean, if you hang on until the railway goes in… After all,’ and the next part was said with the confidence of the broad real estate knowledge that (almost) every self-respecting Sydney-sider has, ‘they could change the zoning and you could subdivide.’

My response was the same as it has been all the way through this process. ‘Perhaps.’

‘Have you ever wondered whether instead of doing all the travelling you’ve done, you could have invested that money into new bathrooms and modernising the home some more? That would have you competing in the next bracket.’

Actually, no, I don’t. Travel and the experiences you get from it – that we’ve got from it – are something that you can’t put a value on.

‘I just think that if you held on for longer, you’d get more. Besides, you know you’re breaking the golden rule, don’t you?’

‘And which particular golden rule is that?’ There are many. Apparently.

‘You never sell a property in Sydney without buying another. Once you’re out of this market, you’re out of it.’

‘Yes.’ I agreed. ‘That would be a problem if we ever intended coming back.’

Maybe what I said was famous last words, but man, I’m sick of the whole thing!

‘But what about your daughter? Shouldn’t you be thinking about her?’

Sydney seems to be a city obsessed with money. It’s not so much what you do as what you earn. And as for real estate? It dominates virtually every dinner party conversation. (And yes, before you tell me so in your comments, I know there are exceptions, but this is a rant, so generalisations are not just permitted, but actively encouraged.) In this city, realestate.com is king.

The thing is, the things are, we don’t intend coming back into this market. If we do, I guess you can do the ‘I told you so’s. As for our daughter? Who knows what she’ll decide to do, but surely that’s her decision?

And regards holding on for longer? We’ve been in this house for nearly 18 years and have enjoyed fabulous capital growth- particularly over the last few years. If there is further room in the market, more money to be made by renovating the house, then good luck to whoever it is that comes after us. We’re satisfied with what we’ve earned – it’s enabled us to choose the lifestyle that we’re now choosing. It’s enough.

Will we ever regret selling up and out? I have no idea, but as a rule, we haven’t really tended to be the regretting types. Besides, we were fortunate (and perhaps forward-looking) enough to buy into this market 25 years ago when we first moved up from Canberra. We had an opportunity then that many families don’t have now. I’m absolutely aware of that. This is such a #firstworlddiscussion to be having.

What we tend to forget, though, is that back then, with the interest rates at record highs of over 17%, and a combined salary of not a lot, in buying into the market we were taking almost a big a risk as we are now in leaving it.

My expert hadn’t finished. ‘At your age you should be looking to increase your accumulation – think about investment properties and holiday houses.’

‘I don’t know,’ I smiled sweetly. ‘Can you put a price on lifestyle and health?’

He looked confused. Perhaps that’s not a variable that you can factor in on realestate.com. ‘Besides,’ I added, ‘ we’re moving to a place where people go to for their holidays. What do we need with a holiday house?’

What we’re doing might not be considered wise by many people, or make much financial sense, but for us it feels right – at this moment it feels right. Scary, but right. And enough.

It’s Monday so I’m linking up with Denyse Whelan for Life This Week.


Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

26 thoughts

  1. What you’re doing is exactly what I hope we’ll be doing in 10 years time. Maybe even 5! So many people get caught up in the whole “house” thing. I’m with you. I’d prefer to invest in a lifestyle.

  2. Sydney is nuts when it comes to money – we have a few keeping up with the Joneses friends, so distorted in this thinking that they don’t see their own success. As for property – people can bang on about it forever. It’s such a yawn. I like your ‘can you put a price on health and lifestyle?’ That’s smart thinking!

    1. Thanks Lydia…it’s the comparisons that do your head in. When you’re in the middle of it all it’s tough to know when it’s enough. Have a great week.

  3. We were like that wanting to buy and sell and increase our ‘fortune’ mainly because we were both ‘second time round’ in marriage and felt we had to catch up. After my husband had a triple buy-pass at 50 we realised that money isn’t everything, downsized and I worked towards early retirement at 55. We have travelled and enjoyed life and the memories and we experiences we have are priceless. Lifestyle is everything. Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond.

  4. I don’t have any regrets about my seachange and I’ve moved to a more remote place with a pitiful housing market. But… like you I have no plans to move back to a bigger city and if I did, I’d want something different to what I had before.

    And yes, there’s nothing worse than those with advice and it’s hard not to second guess yourself. The apartment I sold in Brissy went up $60k in price not long after I moved… so of course I wondered if I should have hung onto it for longer and rented it out until the market improved and rented in Hervey Bay? But, I bought a place there for over $100k less than the previous owners had paid and made some money on it when I sold, so…. who the hell knows?!

    1. Sometimes I think that I’m more annoyed by how it makes me second guess myself than I am about the unasked for advice in the first place!

  5. Best of luck; I hope it all works out the way you’re planning it to 🙂

  6. Sydney is ridiculous. That is why we’re stuck in bumfuck Boganville. But I grew up here and don’t know any different so I’m used to it. I don’t think you will regret your sea change. I have friends who moved from Sydney to Umina Beach last year and they are loving it! Good luck with the move x

    1. The hardest thing for me will be leaving family – my parents & siblings are all here…& friends… Having said that I don’t think we’ll regret it either.

  7. Understanding where the value lies for you personally (rather than where others think it lies) is so important. Sounds to me like you have that nailed. Good luck with the transition and enjoy.

  8. People…all think they have the right to tell you what to do…grrr.
    We thought LONG and hard about our decision to sell and move away from Sydney and as the kids were long gone, and grandkids no longer needed caring for…it was time for US.
    However, I will say that there was a tiny bit of me worried about ‘what if we needed to come back’ which has now been firmly dismissed. I have not driven back to the northwest since April 2016 and I do not intend to again. What has happened to the lovely area we both called home is just a mess of infrastructure not quite right. Our kids are raising their kids there because of the schools, connections and houses that one is renting and one is paying off but both families would be away from the busyness for more space if they could! I am glad to have made our move. Just where we will finally end up I don’t know yet, but it won’t be back to Sydney. Thanks for linking up #lifethisweek6/52 Next week is LOVE. Denyse

    1. Oh, I so agree. Speaking of which, we’re off to Vietnam (with a few days in Bangkok to finish off) in 5 weeks…it’s all happening!

  9. What an exciting adventure! I am so impressed that you’re taking the plunge, but at the same time, you’re not giving your house away and going to live in a cave. I’m sure you’re making responsible decisions – just not what some of the more staid people would do. Seize the day becomes more important as we hit midlife doesn’t it?

  10. Ugh, isn’t there always someone who “knows better”? But they’re not you and they don’t have your same priorities or even thought processes. Do what feels right to you, keep on smiling 😉

  11. Sorry to hear about all the negative energy. It’s true, sometimes things don’t work out as expected, but what happens instead often turns out to be the good stuff.

    However, in times like this, one must draw inspiration from Evelyn: “It’s also true that the person who risks nothing, does nothing; has nothing. All we know about the future is that it will be different. But, perhaps what we fear is that it will be the same. So, we must celebrate the changes. Because, as someone once said “Everything will be all right in the end. And if it’s not all right, then trust me, it’s not yet the end.”

    You can have anything you want…you just need to stop waiting on someone to tell you that you deserve it.

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