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James in devon

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About James in devon

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  1. James in devon

    Cornwall, expensive?

    Not sure your health would benefit much from that. I try and limit myself to one every couple of weeks, but it's difficult with a Warrens in walking distance. The joys of being back.
  2. James in devon

    Cornwall, expensive?

    Hi Thom. The quick answer is no. As others have said, some places (Padstow, St. Ives) can be very expensive to buy property, but general costs are much the same as anywhere. Water costs are high, due to cleaning up the sewage going to sea over the last couple of decades. Although I'm currently just over the Tamar, I spend a lot of time in Cornwall and there is so much going on there compared to before I moved to Oz in 2004, much of it FOC. All you have to do is get National Trust membership and you can park at loads of beauty spots and visit great gardens with no more cost. The big supermarkets are everywhere as are the discount shops, but equally there are now high end shopping and eateries. Also, delivery from Amazon is still the same! It's difficult to overstate the change internet shopping has on remoter places without big cities. The big problem for Cornwall has always been low wages, which you don't have to worry about.
  3. James in devon

    Our move back - how it went

    Hi Ruth, We didn't have our accounts with Nationwide. My wife did, but that wasn't sufficient for the mortgage, even though we'd had a fair amount in it from a house sale which we'd had a previous mortgage from Nationwide. None of that mattered or qualified. It was the fact we'd kept open a joint account with Halifax with a couple of hundred pounds in for the time we were away that allowed us to conform, so they don't care if the accounts are with them. The address it is registered to has to be within a list, but I used my parents address which was fine. We did it all in branch, as the clock was ticking on getting a place before our stuff arrived, so we had about 7 weeks. I wanted to clear any issues up straight away, but they will all do it online - effectively over the phone for a morning. One thing which could have been a problem was the money laundering regulations. We had to show evidence for all transactions in our bank account over about $1000, so that included private car sales, a ride-on lawnmower etc. Make sure you keep any receipts/bills of sale for this purpose. Most of our cash was from a house sale, but the smaller stuff still mattered. We did talk to HSBC and Halifax and they couldn't see any issues, but Nationwide had the package which suited us. I don't think any of it was dependent on the deposit, just on their current policy. The consultant we had was fantastic, but was surprised that we conformed. We had also got on the Electoral Roll a year ago, which would have helped with credit checks.
  4. James in devon

    Our move back - how it went

    I'm glad this post was so well received. I wanted to make the effort to come on here because too often when things go OK, we just move on to the next thing. It's the crises and disasters that motivate people to post (with good reason). I did forget to add one piece of information, which was that we also got a mortgage in that time. We were certainly up against it with Christmas and container approaching, but it is possible. Nationwide did not require to see a first payslip (contract was good enough) and because we had kept a bank account registered at my parent's address this conformed to their residence requirements. These rules can and do change all the time, but we didn't even have to compromise on our preferred provider. All the best with those of you going through similar issues. You never know what is the "best" thing to do (especially with children involved), but sometimes you know what is right.
  5. James in devon

    Our move back - how it went

    Yes, it is certainly a bit of an issue. The fridge looks out of place, but luckily fits. We had a big corner sofa and have had to convert it to straight and have had a few other minor problems, but we were lucky to be in a position to get a double garage for the outdoor furniture, bbq, surfboards etc. etc. etc. We had no idea when we left what house we would end up in, so that part was impossible to plan. The bedrooms were the opposite problem, as we had walk in robes, but an order from Ikea later and all is good. That's the other big difference (certainly for country Australia) - here we can get pretty much anything online delivered fast.
  6. James in devon

    Our move back - how it went

    Hi Marisa, Ballarat is a lovely town, with great food and a bit of culture. The weather is a bit of a problem, like Melbourne but more so, in that it can be 40+ in the morning, then switch to low 20's in the afternoon. Winters are long. That wouldn't be a problem if the houses were set up for it. There seems to be a sense of denial that it gets cold so you need insulation, double-glazing etc. We could be in Melbourne within an hour on a good day, and the Great Ocean Road within an hour and a half. Country Victoria is interesting though, with patches of poverty and under-education you wouldn't expect. Glad you liked my post. James
  7. James in devon

    Our move back - how it went

    Hello all, I have been using this site for a while, especially to help plan our recent move back to the UK and thought that our experiences may help some, so here is our story. We moved to Oz in 2004, at that time my wife and I and a one-year old boy. I transferred with work and ended up in Ballarat, Vic. We then spent the next few years in Victoria and NSW, having two more children and getting citizenship, before ending up in Queensland near Rockhampton. I work in mining, so it was a very good time to be around and we did well, ending up with a lovely 1 acre block with a pool, 4wd, shed and the kids in private school. Basically we had everything that people want from life. We visited the UK in mid 2014 and happened to end up in a small fishing village in Cornwall renting a cottage. We were sitting around the kitchen table when the penny dropped. I looked up to my wife and said “Maybe we should come back” and she said “I’ve been thinking the same”. It was quite a revelation, as up to that point we couldn’t see past the life we had. I realised that something felt hollow about what we had and that it seemed like we had slipped into retirement in our early 40s. After that, it was just about the planning and mechanics. What we should sell and when, what the ideal date was, where would we live and work? I had no guarantee of getting a job in my field, but was sure something would come up and we had a fall back of buying an old cottage and doing it up, as we could just about cover the cash for that. We started to get the house ready for sale (boxing up non-essentials, filling and painting) and sold our 4x4 in November, buying a small runaround that we could sell quickly. In January I told my boss and, as I work for a multi-national, he asked if I would let them try and place me before looking for jobs. We had set a date around September 2015 as giving us enough time, being good for tax and trying to get the kids in close to the start of a school year (never a good time with the different calendars). The plan carried on and we watched the housing market, got new passports and prepared. In April, we got our house on sale. Around July I was offered a job with my current company which fitted my skills perfectly (albeit paying half of a similar role in Oz). An offer was made on the house and I bought tickets for 23rd September, booking the dog in for the same week (Jetpets - $4,400 Rockhampton to Heathrow). We sold our last few bits, negotiated with the company to help with relocation and then had a fraught few weeks organising. Not a few bottles of wine were required. This was the most stressful time. On Friday I finished work and the kids broke up. On the Monday, I dropped the dog at the airport and the removalists (Wridgways - $21,000 for a 40’) turned up. On Wednesday the container left and we flew out. On Thursday the dog arrived at LHR at around 06:00 and we arrived at 13:00. We drove to the animal reception and picked her straight up with no hassles. During that day, our house settled. I had arranged to start work in November, giving us time to organise ourselves. We stayed with my parents and found a house to buy and an off season holiday rental in Devon. Our container arrived on the 8th December and we finalised our house on the 11th, so had to pay a bit in holding costs. It’s hard to put how we are feeling down on paper. Australia is starting to look like a great time in our lives that we have moved on from. The kids have been up and down, especially when things were uncertain (extended stay with grandparents!), but we have been honest with them and now things are much better. They love the freedom of a small town with friends around the corner and everywhere within walking distance. Obviously it’s winter now, but Christmas was great, even with a house full of boxes. In hindsight, everything went right for us. The budget I did 18 months ago worked, even with the exchange rate. We won in some areas and lost in others. All in all, we feel at home. Older, wiser and with a perspective that enables us to appreciate things like deep mud, autumn colours, fresh winter days, the taste of cox’s apples and the breadth of culture. We went to Australia for a couple of years as an adventure and ended up staying for 11. For most of that time, a move back to the UK was unthinkable, but when the idea came, it seemed natural. We have drivers in common with many on here (ageing parents etc.), but feel that the time was right for us and the children, giving them time to settle into UK education before university. We’re sorting out photos to pick out and frame to remind us fondly of our wonderful life adventure. If anyone wants needs any more info to learn from our experiences, I’m more than happy to share. Sorry for the long post, I hope this has been of interest. James