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Getting Cold Feet (& haven't even left the UK yet)

Getting Cold Feet (& haven't even left the UK yet)

Old Mar 4th 2016, 6:04 pm
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Default Getting Cold Feet (& haven't even left the UK yet)

Hello everyone,

Been reading the NZ forum for a few days now and I must say I'm starting to wonder whether we're making the right decision in our move over there. Although technically not a Brit by birth I have spent the better part of my life in the UK so feel (culturally at least) at home here.

Anyway, a little bit about us - we're a family of 4 - 2 teenage kids (14 & 12), Kiwi hubby & me (Polish by birth, but more or less spent my formative + married years in the UK).

Last year we made a decision to move to OH's childhood home town - prompted by the rising house prices in the UK + the unstable situation in Europe in general.

We've got a house in the UK which we're preparing to put up for sale shortly and then hope to buy outright in NZ. We're pretty limited in our choice of location as one of the reasons for the move is also to be closer to OH's rellies - we can't afford Wellington (at least not a big enough property for our liking) so the next best thing is to move to the town where he grew up (Wanganui).

And now I'm wondering whether or not we're making a mistake - OH runs his own business but I haven't got any qualifications as such - I've dabbled in EFL teaching but gave it up after the kids were born.

Thing is I've ready so many unhappy posts from people living in isolated communities - just makes me think we'd be better off in a more cosmopolitan environment.

I really don't know what's come over me - I was quite enthusiastic about the move to start with but now I'm starting to panic how I'll fit in. We definitely don't want to go down the renting route but one of the reasons for moving is so that we could enjoy a more spacious property. Has anyone bought a house soon after arriving in NZ or would you recommend to rent for the first 6 months and then see how we feel?

I'm sorry it all sounds a bit chaotic - I'm just struggling to put everything in order in my mind (probably not helped by the fact that am visiting my own rellies in Poland & getting quite emotional with the idea of not being able to see them for the next few years - a problem faced by many of you too).

It took me a while to get used to life in the UK & OH has been out of NZ for over 20 years so I think he'll be in for a shock to his system too.

We have already booked our flights for later in the year & I'm compiling all the documents for the residence visa but somehow I wish there was a way we could stay over here...

Please go easy on me as it's my first post.
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Old Mar 4th 2016, 6:13 pm
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Default Re: Getting Cold Feet (& haven't even left the UK yet)

Well before we came a good Kiwi (ex pom) friend said to me.....If you can make your own entertainment then NZ will be OK, if you need someone to entertain you it will be difficult.
Outdoors entertains us so we love it here.
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Old Mar 4th 2016, 6:26 pm
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Default Re: Getting Cold Feet (& haven't even left the UK yet)

Thank you Stormer999 - I can certainly entertain myself & have rediscovered the joys of hiking & gardening. Would definitely love to have a big enough garden to grow veggies & flowers. We have visited OH's family but obviously visiting and living in a country are two different things
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Old Mar 4th 2016, 6:47 pm
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Default Re: Getting Cold Feet (& haven't even left the UK yet)

I personally would rent for a minimum of a year to allow time to evaluate location and house type. You are used to UK houses in a UK climate. NZ houses are different. Depending on rental potential, it might even be worth letting out your house for that initial period. That will provide some money to cover the rent here, plus you will have a back door if you need it.

I am a 24+ year kiwi expat from the UK. Going both ways I found it took me at least 2-3 years to feel settled again. However, I knew early on that I had made the right choice and it was a matter of adjusting. I was lucky and made significant capital gain on my London house in that time before I sold it two years after letting it out. Of course if the housing bubble bursts you may end up with a capital loss, so perhaps selling it at the peak of the market might be the best thing to do - bit of guess work there. Think in terms of rent rather than capital gain.
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Old Mar 4th 2016, 7:02 pm
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Default Re: Getting Cold Feet (& haven't even left the UK yet)

Thank you for your reply jmh.

Unfortunately our mortgage is coming to an end and we won't be able to get a new one (OH too old). So a move would have to have been on the cards anyway - a cheaper area of the UK or NZ. We have enough equity in the house to be able to buy outright in Wanganui. Also reading about people's experiences with renting in NZ makes me wary of following suit. We want to feel comfortable in our living space & able to make any necessary adjustments as we see fit. Insulation & proper heating is top of my list - in fact it's one of the absolute deal breakers when looking for new property. I'm not a hot water bottle person
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Old Mar 4th 2016, 10:08 pm
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Default Re: Getting Cold Feet (& haven't even left the UK yet)

we bought after renting for 6mths and was really the worse thing to do. The initial exciting of having money in your pocket from house sale.
after a year we hated the area, schooling poor, area turned out very parochial after the initial interest in us as the newbies in the area. We lost money to move out.
A friend of ours has taken the decision not to rent for at least 3 years so they could try out area's (within a limited area) and has not had any problems getting new builds with the double glazing and heating. Around the outer Wellington towards the Kapiti coast.

I don't know much about the schooling where you are looking but I am guessing that would be a major factor. sorry can't think of the link that gives the performance of the colleges and I did try looking but for the life of me can't find it. But sure someone else will be a long to provide it.

Its natural to feel nervous and to be honest I would say don't sell your house straight off unless of course you need the money to emigrate, but you would need to look at the legal requirements if you don't sell as they changed last year.

You don't say if your husband will continue to run his business here or if he will be looking for work. All that sort of things needs to be researched, business wise if he is going to continue you may have to look at the IRD site to see how things work over here. If he is going down being employed route IRD will give you a break down of tax payable on income.
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Old Mar 5th 2016, 12:55 am
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Default Re: Getting Cold Feet (& haven't even left the UK yet)

Hello. I live in Whanganui. (Please remember to spell it with the, 'h', as that has now been adopted as the official spelling by the NZ geographic board.)

We (my kiwi husband and I, no kids) ended up in Whanganui on account of my husband's job offer. We needed to bail out of Christchurch after a near disastrous start to our emigration to NZ from Britain in 2011 after living in Britain for nearly 20 years.

Whanganui is a lovely little town, IMO. It's just got a higher than average unemployment rate. So, trying to find a job is a very slow, very frustrating process, no matter what method I use eg. TradeMe jobs, Seek etc etc.

I've had a few temporary jobs that have been few and far between and I've sometimes had to drive a 100 mile round trip to the nearest large town to work.

I've ended up doing voluntary work for up to a year at a time just to fill the gaps on my cv and give me an up to date, credible reference.

We've never had to live off one income before. Living the dream ? Yeah, right.

When we first arrived here in Whanganui, back in 2011, we rented in Springvale initially. It was a nice two bedroom bungalow built in the 1980's. It had no heating of any sort, no double glazing. It had been purchased by the landlord as a renovation project and we were the first to rent it after it had been done up.

Two months later we purchased our house about 1km away. Thus bringing 8 months of uncertainty and unhappiness to an end. We sold our house in Britain on 12th January 2011, purchased and moved into our house in Whanganui on 2nd September 2011.

Since moving in we have paid to have double glazing installed. We've also paid for heat pumps to be installed giving us a central heating equivalent. We've also redecorated etc.

Feel free to ask if you have any questions.

Castlecliff is the beachside suburb of Whanganui if you want to live near the sea. It's some of the area's most affordable houses too, unheard of for houses with a sea view anywhere in the world.

Good luck.

Last edited by Snap Shot; Mar 5th 2016 at 1:00 am. Reason: Springvale
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Old Mar 5th 2016, 8:17 am
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Default Re: Getting Cold Feet (& haven't even left the UK yet)

Hello Snap Shot - I was hoping you'd reply.

Originally Posted by Snap Shot View Post
Hello. I live in Whanganui. (Please remember to spell it with the, 'h', as that has now been adopted as the official spelling by the NZ geographic board.)
Please indulge me - hubby grew up in Wanganui - that's the name I've known it by ever since I met him

Originally Posted by Snap Shot View Post
Whanganui is a lovely little town, IMO. It's just got a higher than average unemployment rate. So, trying to find a job is a very slow, very frustrating process, no matter what method I use eg. TradeMe jobs, Seek etc etc.

I've had a few temporary jobs that have been few and far between and I've sometimes had to drive a 100 mile round trip to the nearest large town to work.
Yes, that's my worry too - although initially I would want to see the kids settled into schools etc + also have time to adjust myself (although this is probably easier when you're able to meet local people).

Originally Posted by Snap Shot View Post
I've ended up doing voluntary work for up to a year at a time just to fill the gaps on my cv and give me an up to date, credible reference.
That's what I've done in the UK too (+ some short-term jobs). It took me a while to get used to living in the UK too and I think I've finally achieved a sort of balance, but property prices are a major factor for our decision to move to hubby's home town.

Originally Posted by Snap Shot View Post
We've never had to live off one income before. Living the dream ? Yeah, right.
We've managed it in the UK but then we never had much extra left over.

Originally Posted by Snap Shot View Post
When we first arrived here in Whanganui, back in 2011, we rented in Springvale initially. It was a nice two bedroom bungalow built in the 1980's. It had no heating of any sort, no double glazing. It had been purchased by the landlord as a renovation project and we were the first to rent it after it had been done up.
Hubby's got definite ideas for areas to live - thing is he left Wanganui when he went to uni so I think he may be looking at it through rose-tinted glasses.
We visited there every single trip we went (3x in the last 15 years) but obviously that's no comparison to actually living there.

I'm torn between renting & buying our own place. I so much want to feel settled & belonging but do realise this is a long process and not easy even for the locals (I've just read dannigirl's saga on relocating to NZ & I think I'll have to share it with hubby - my jaw literally dropped but I also recognised many of the aspects of moving she described - I too would find it hard to go back to my country of birth to live - that's the price of being an expat - I straddle the two cultures belonging neither here nor there)

Originally Posted by Snap Shot View Post
Since moving in we have paid to have double glazing installed. We've also paid for heat pumps to be installed giving us a central heating equivalent. We've also redecorated etc.
So do you feel physically comfortable in your home now? I know the job situation is not good for you so it might be difficult to give a one off answer, but for us UK property sizes (relative to what we can afford) are a major factor. We've got a 3 bedroom house over here although I keep saying it's a 2.5 bedroom as the last one is a box room and our daughter has struggled to make it her own. I presume though that we'll be able to afford a 3-4 bedroom house over there with good sized bedrooms. We're happy to do redecorating but insulation/double glazing/heating are a must from the word go (and hubby's agreed to it).

Originally Posted by Snap Shot View Post
Feel free to ask if you have any questions.
Do you do any gardening? If yes, can you tell me what the local garden centres are like? Also some of the properties I've seen for sale just seem to have tired looking lawns - does it not rain much there? - or is it a case like in England - 2 weeks of rain and the lawn's looking lush like there's never been a dry spell? Also are there any PYO farms like they have them over here - we used to love going strawberry picking when the kids were little & I make my own jams so somewhere I could buy the fruit in bulk would be handy.

Originally Posted by Snap Shot View Post
Castlecliff is the beachside suburb of Whanganui if you want to live near the sea. It's some of the area's most affordable houses too, unheard of for houses with a sea view anywhere in the world.
Ha, yes - we live by the sea atm & I love going for walks on the beach. Even though hubby's disregarded Castlecliff I think I'll keep an open mind although zoning for kids schools will also have to be considered.

Originally Posted by Snap Shot View Post
Good luck.
Thank you Snap Shot - I hope your situation improves as I can really empathise.

Have you joined any local clubs/societies to get to know other people?
What part of the UK are you from originally if you don't mind me asking?

Did you bring a lot of your own furniture with you? I'm an IKEA fan (style-wise) and cannot believe how much IKEA items sell for on trademe. We had our kitchen redecorated 3 years ago so I also want to bring over our fridge, freezer and cooker that we bought all brand new. There's still some time till we pack our container so I'm scouring the local gumtree for any bargains to be had although we're thinking of getting new beds and a lounge suite once we arrive. We haven't had a proper quote for shipping yet as we're still sorting through what we're taking & what we're leaving behind.

I find NZ biosecurity laws so frustrating - I'm used to having all sorts of foodstuffs from back home and not being able to rely on familiar stuff will probably be the biggest bugbear

Anyway, enough of my ramblings - I guess they're typical of anybody facing a move into the unknown. I'll probably change my mind quite a few times before our due date but it's good to know I'm not unique in that way and other people have struggled before me. Thank goodness for the expats forums - sometimes it's just good to share our fears with someone who's been through it before us.

Take care & hope to meet you on the other side
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Old Mar 5th 2016, 9:58 am
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Default Re: Getting Cold Feet (& haven't even left the UK yet)

Hi KOH2, I am also from PL, my hubby is from UK. We moved here last year. Would suggest renting to get a better feeling as to where you want to live.
As to food there is a shop in Auckland that sells some polish stuff Skazka - European delicatessen. Auckland. New Zealand | Buy Russian and Polish foods online at skazka.co.nz. Good luck
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Old Mar 5th 2016, 10:30 am
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Default Re: Getting Cold Feet (& haven't even left the UK yet)

Hi Alilek,

Thank you for replying. Whereabouts are you based? How do you like it over there so far? TBH there's only 2 areas we're considering and even then Welly would be our last resort because of the property prices. We're really looking forward to having more space both inside & outside the home. When I visit my family in Poland they all live in big spacious houses with plenty of land (would be at least £1-2 million properties by UK standards) & of course they're fully insulated and centrally heated. THAT is my gold standard that I've always referred to & I think hubby's getting soft in his old age & has fully agreed that a well heated house is a must.

Yes, I've already googled up Skazka - it's just that after the abundance of Polish shops in the UK, the NZ prices are a bit hard to swallow - but I guess that's the reality of NZ in general - higher prices & less choice. Cos za cos (you have to compromise).

Did you live long in the UK before making the move to NZ & I hope you don't mind asking but how long did it take you to get your PR once you submitted all the documents? I'm just trying to gauge when would be the best time to apply.

Hope to chat with you some more.
Best wishes from the home country (visiting my family atm)
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Old Mar 5th 2016, 10:53 am
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Default Re: Getting Cold Feet (& haven't even left the UK yet)

Many thanks for your reply MrsFychan.

Originally Posted by MrsFychan View Post
we bought after renting for 6mths and was really the worse thing to do. The initial exciting of having money in your pocket from house sale.
after a year we hated the area, schooling poor, area turned out very parochial after the initial interest in us as the newbies in the area. We lost money to move out.
Am I right in assuming that you're both British and so had no direct links with any area in particular? We're coming over to be closer to family so we're determined to make a go of it, otherwise we might as well stay in the UK.


Originally Posted by MrsFychan View Post
A friend of ours has taken the decision not to rent for at least 3 years so they could try out area's (within a limited area) and has not had any problems getting new builds with the double glazing and heating. Around the outer Wellington towards the Kapiti coast.
Having read dannigirl's amazing story I'm thinking maybe we should buy our own place but making sure it has high re-sale potential. I so want to be able to put my own mark on the place & I think it would help us to get settled more easily. If we don't like it after a while we'll just do a danni

Originally Posted by MrsFychan View Post
I don't know much about the schooling where you are looking but I am guessing that would be a major factor. sorry can't think of the link that gives the performance of the colleges and I did try looking but for the life of me can't find it. But sure someone else will be a long to provide it.
I have already looked at schools in the area but definitely need to do more research. I'm kind of sorry that the kids won't be able to take their GCSEs but TBH we've had plenty of NZ family members coming over & working in the UK that I don't think schooling is going to be an issue. Sadly, that's one of the reasons we can't move over to my home country - the language barrier would be just too much hassle for everyone in my family except myself

Originally Posted by MrsFychan View Post
Its natural to feel nervous and to be honest I would say don't sell your house straight off unless of course you need the money to emigrate, but you would need to look at the legal requirements if you don't sell as they changed last year.
Well, that's the thing - our mortgage is coming to an end anyway so we've been debating this past year or so where we should move to. All through our 15 years of marriage I kept telling hubby that the UK is fine for both of us as it's a kind of middle ground - I refused to entertain the idea of moving to NZ. But what with the Paris shootings & the situation in Europe in general + the high UK property prices we're trying to make the best of the hand that we've been dealt. Anyway, to paraphrase the great poet 'tis better to have tried and lost than never to have tried at all'.

Originally Posted by MrsFychan View Post
You don't say if your husband will continue to run his business here or if he will be looking for work. All that sort of things needs to be researched, business wise if he is going to continue you may have to look at the IRD site to see how things work over here. If he is going down being employed route IRD will give you a break down of tax payable on income.
He's planning to continue to run his business from the UK (it's inernet based) so basically we'll still have the same income - the financial side I leave to him to sort out.

Thank you ever so much for sharing your experience - it's so much easier when you read other people's stories and know there are other's in the same boat.
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Old Mar 5th 2016, 5:18 pm
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Default Re: Getting Cold Feet (& haven't even left the UK yet)

On the subject of mortgages; after a certain age you may not be able to get a repayment mortgage (because they assume you will die before you finish the repayments).

However you may be able to get an interest only mortgage if you can persuade the loan company that you have a way of paying it off at the end of the term.

I don't think they like lending beyond the age of 75, but this might be an option, if (assuming that I understand you correctly) that your mortgage is coming to an end but you won't have paid it off so you will have to sell your house.

I sympathise with your concerns about the UK and Europe - this is one thing which is encouraging us to move. However as others have said before, you might be able to achieve your dreams just by moving out of London.

Your husband's business is not location dependant so you could move anywhere in the UK (or Eire) where the houses are affordable and the schools are good.

We are seeing money flow out of London as people sell up and move somewhere cheaper to get a better standard of living. Much the same as prices around Auckland are going up.

So I think you have to ask yourselves if you will be happy moving from a busy area in a cosmopolitan country with easy access to Europe to a very quiet country with not really much around it.

I expected to be able to move from the UK to NZ and buy a bigger house with stunning views and a big garden, somewhere on the outskirts of Auckland. This from first impressions 25-30 years ago. Reality has sunk in on the last couple of trips and we aren't going to be able to achieve that.

We are fortunate that we can move almost anywhere in NZ.
Sounds as though you can as well - with a business which is Internet based.
So perhaps you should widen the scope of your house hunting?
Unless Whanganui is the only place you can live because of family.
Wherever you are they are going to be closer than whilst you are in the UK.

Best of luck,
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Old Mar 5th 2016, 7:12 pm
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Default Re: Getting Cold Feet (& haven't even left the UK yet)

Originally Posted by LittleGreyCat View Post
On the subject of mortgages; after a certain age you may not be able to get a repayment mortgage (because they assume you will die before you finish the repayments).

However you may be able to get an interest only mortgage if you can persuade the loan company that you have a way of paying it off at the end of the term.

I don't think they like lending beyond the age of 75, but this might be an option, if (assuming that I understand you correctly) that your mortgage is coming to an end but you won't have paid it off so you will have to sell your house.
All of the above applies to our UK situation, however, once we sell the house we'll have enough dosh to buy a 3-4 bedroom house in Whanganui outright so we wouldn't have a mortgage over there + we'd be living in a bigger property. The climate is also something to consider - I've just about had enough of the stormy weather this winter so we're kind of ready for change.

Originally Posted by LittleGreyCat View Post
I sympathise with your concerns about the UK and Europe - this is one thing which is encouraging us to move. However as others have said before, you might be able to achieve your dreams just by moving out of London.
Yes, we've considered this option too, however, as I've mentioned before hubby is getting on a bit and would like to spend more time with HIS family and friends. He used to travel back quite regularly but this has not been possible in the last few years


Originally Posted by LittleGreyCat View Post
So I think you have to ask yourselves if you will be happy moving from a busy area in a cosmopolitan country with easy access to Europe to a very quiet country with not really much around it.
I've thought about that too but these days I'm really happy to potter around in my garden, make my jams and enjoy wide open spaces. I've lived in London in my teens, travelled around Europe in my twenties, done London attractions again once the kids were out of their buggies, so hopefully I'm ready for some peace & quiet. I realise it might be a bit too quiet for our teenagers but they've only got a few more years with us before they will fly the nest & there's nothing stopping them going back to Europe. They've got dual (triple if you count the Polish too) nationality so as hubby says they can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Originally Posted by LittleGreyCat View Post
I expected to be able to move from the UK to NZ and buy a bigger house with stunning views and a big garden, somewhere on the outskirts of Auckland. This from first impressions 25-30 years ago. Reality has sunk in on the last couple of trips and we aren't going to be able to achieve that.
Ah, yes. 'The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men...'
We've never even considered Auckland (I get claustrophobic just going up to London & whilst I can handle it in small measures & do enjoy its wealth of attractions, I'm really glad to come home to our seaside location); Welly would be nice for bit of buzz but we'll see. At the moment we've got our sights firmly set on Whanganui because of family.

Originally Posted by LittleGreyCat View Post
We are fortunate that we can move almost anywhere in NZ.
That definitely is a huge bonus.


Originally Posted by LittleGreyCat View Post
Best of luck,
Thank you & may your journey be as stressless as possible.
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Old Mar 5th 2016, 7:28 pm
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Default Re: Getting Cold Feet (& haven't even left the UK yet)

no we came over knowing no one.

as for you husband running his internet business from the UK you really do need to look at the tax implications on that. here you have to pay tax on every cent you earn so you won't necessarily be getting the same income and also the cost of living is much higher here than in the UK.
There are more things to pay out for like GP visits which you all will have to pay for. But I am sure you family will be best to give you the run down of costs
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Old Mar 5th 2016, 7:47 pm
  #15  
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Default Re: Getting Cold Feet (& haven't even left the UK yet)

Originally Posted by MrsFychan View Post
no we came over knowing no one.
I take my hat off to you then - don't think I would have been so brave.

Originally Posted by MrsFychan View Post
as for you husband running his internet business from the UK you really do need to look at the tax implications on that. here you have to pay tax on every cent you earn so you won't necessarily be getting the same income and also the cost of living is much higher here than in the UK.
There are more things to pay out for like GP visits which you all will have to pay for. But I am sure you family will be best to give you the run down of costs
I'll let him worry about that - I've got my plate full atm - what with clearing out the house, organising the shipping + getting my own documents in order. He lived in NZ till his mid-forties - I'm sure he knows about the tax responsibilities.

As to the higher cost of living - yes, that is going to be a hard thing to swallow. Our NZ family were amazed how cheap paint was over in the UK (we recently had our house redecorated in anticipation of the sale) & yes, I've only just found out about the paid doctor's appointments for kids over 13 & unfortunately our youngest has recently been diagnosed with a chronic illness. There's definitely something to be said for the NHS. We're getting all our aches & pains seen to before our due date, but obviously things will come up & we'll just have to deal with them. C'est la vie...
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