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desreb

Final costs of moving back to UK

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We moved back to the UK from Oz just over a year ago. At the time, I kept good notes of our expenditure, which gave a fairly good overview of how much the total process cost us. I thought I'd share in case it's of use to anyone else planning the same.

A little background: we moved to Sydney in 2011 from SE London (Zone 4), and had a great 6 years renting in the Eastern Suburbs. We had two kids while there, who were 1 and 4 at the point of moving back, plus two cats we had shipped over and then back. We were renting in Sydney, and moved back to our own original home in SE London. Many of our furnishings were second-hand from Gumtree, and hence we didn't have any large items like furniture, cars, etc. to move back to the UK.

For the move, we had a week where we sold off all our furniture and appliances, then moved into an AirBnB in Sydney for three days as a buffer while the rental was without furniture and being cleaned. We flew back to the UK, then had a week in an AirBnB in London with a rental car, giving us time to furnish our old house and buy a car locally. Given the emotional drain of the move and the trip, we didn't hold back on spend in the UK - most purchases were new, decent quality, and delivered to the house

 

Pre-Move (Australia, AUD)

image.png.d178a9ac7bda13b363eaa19cafabf48b.png

 

  • Cats: Rabies vaccinations, fully managed shipping back to UK, and boarding on this side for 3-4 days before the flight.
  • Shipping: We shipped 18 boxes of clothes, sports gear, personal stuff, toys, and two trunks, in a shared container. One trunk was broken and paid in full, minus excess. 
  • Checkout: We booked a two-bed AirBnB for around 4-5 days in Coogee, in late Spring.
  • Flights: Two tickets were covered by air miles, so this was relatively cheap. Cheaper than the cats by a long way.

 

Post-Move (UK, GBP)

image.png.19fa75ce9fb3c95dff885103c3fc7fe3.png

Accommodation: 3-bed nice terrace house in SE London Zone 4

Car Rental: Large Estate car for a week on el-cheapo high-risk Heathrow rental company, with seperate car hire excess policy (very useful when rushing around large loads with severe jet lag in UK winter)

Furniture: Everything for house: New double-bed, kids bed, cot, Ikea wardrobes throughout, Kitchen table, Living room sofa/bed, various soft furnishings - mostly John Lewis, Next, Ikea, Made.com

Other stuff: Amazon, Amazon, Amazon. Initial groceries, Phone contracts, budget laptop, Van Hire, Kids' Winter clothes, Passport fees, etc. etc. etc. Not including normal groceries once we'd settled, lots of coffee, or anything we would normally spend day-to-day unrelated to a move.

 

 

Overall, the entire exercise cost us GBP 12,700 - ironically not much more than a month's holiday trip back to visit family typically was, if renting accommodation. Of that, a third was new furnishings and a quarter was the cats' travel. We were very light on shipping - we don't have any big family heirlooms, and we sold off anything that wouldn't fit in a box at the best price we could get, but probably lost a couple of thousand on the best secondhand price that we might have got in order to get everything sold and gone.

I hope this is of use to someone.

 

D

 

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13 hours ago, desreb said:

We moved back to the UK from Oz just over a year ago. At the time, I kept good notes of our expenditure, which gave a fairly good overview of how much the total process cost us. I thought I'd share in case it's of use to anyone else planning the same.

A little background: we moved to Sydney in 2011 from SE London (Zone 4), and had a great 6 years renting in the Eastern Suburbs. We had two kids while there, who were 1 and 4 at the point of moving back, plus two cats we had shipped over and then back. We were renting in Sydney, and moved back to our own original home in SE London. Many of our furnishings were second-hand from Gumtree, and hence we didn't have any large items like furniture, cars, etc. to move back to the UK.

For the move, we had a week where we sold off all our furniture and appliances, then moved into an AirBnB in Sydney for three days as a buffer while the rental was without furniture and being cleaned. We flew back to the UK, then had a week in an AirBnB in London with a rental car, giving us time to furnish our old house and buy a car locally. Given the emotional drain of the move and the trip, we didn't hold back on spend in the UK - most purchases were new, decent quality, and delivered to the house

 

Pre-Move (Australia, AUD)

image.png.d178a9ac7bda13b363eaa19cafabf48b.png

 

  • Cats: Rabies vaccinations, fully managed shipping back to UK, and boarding on this side for 3-4 days before the flight.
  • Shipping: We shipped 18 boxes of clothes, sports gear, personal stuff, toys, and two trunks, in a shared container. One trunk was broken and paid in full, minus excess. 
  • Checkout: We booked a two-bed AirBnB for around 4-5 days in Coogee, in late Spring.
  • Flights: Two tickets were covered by air miles, so this was relatively cheap. Cheaper than the cats by a long way.

 

Post-Move (UK, GBP)

image.png.19fa75ce9fb3c95dff885103c3fc7fe3.png

Accommodation: 3-bed nice terrace house in SE London Zone 4

Car Rental: Large Estate car for a week on el-cheapo high-risk Heathrow rental company, with seperate car hire excess policy (very useful when rushing around large loads with severe jet lag in UK winter)

Furniture: Everything for house: New double-bed, kids bed, cot, Ikea wardrobes throughout, Kitchen table, Living room sofa/bed, various soft furnishings - mostly John Lewis, Next, Ikea, Made.com

Other stuff: Amazon, Amazon, Amazon. Initial groceries, Phone contracts, budget laptop, Van Hire, Kids' Winter clothes, Passport fees, etc. etc. etc. Not including normal groceries once we'd settled, lots of coffee, or anything we would normally spend day-to-day unrelated to a move.

 

 

Overall, the entire exercise cost us GBP 12,700 - ironically not much more than a month's holiday trip back to visit family typically was, if renting accommodation. Of that, a third was new furnishings and a quarter was the cats' travel. We were very light on shipping - we don't have any big family heirlooms, and we sold off anything that wouldn't fit in a box at the best price we could get, but probably lost a couple of thousand on the best secondhand price that we might have got in order to get everything sold and gone.

I hope this is of use to someone.

 

D

 

image.png

Hey @desreb - thank you so much for sharing this! We are looking to move back to the UK in January (worst time to go, right?) - we are hoping to be so sick of the humidity here in QLD that we will be excited about the freezing cold. We are going to Scotland, where we lived before we moved to Aus.

our kids are the same age as yours; 4 and 1. I am not worried at all about the little one. But I am so stressed and worried about the 4 yo. To the point where I don't even want to tell her we are moving. She's a proper Aussie, never wears shoes, loves the pool. How did you tell your kids? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Also, how do you get on in the UK? Do the kids like it? Are they OK in the cold? I am having a bit of a freak out this morning!!

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On 11/20/2017 at 12:30, Novembernorain said:

Hey @desreb - thank you so much for sharing this! We are looking to move back to the UK in January (worst time to go, right?) - we are hoping to be so sick of the humidity here in QLD that we will be excited about the freezing cold. We are going to Scotland, where we lived before we moved to Aus.

our kids are the same age as yours; 4 and 1. I am not worried at all about the little one. But I am so stressed and worried about the 4 yo. To the point where I don't even want to tell her we are moving. She's a proper Aussie, never wears shoes, loves the pool. How did you tell your kids? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Also, how do you get on in the UK? Do the kids like it? Are they OK in the cold? I am having a bit of a freak out this morning!!

I would not worry about your Children, I spent a year in England when my Daughter was five and within a very short time she copied all the other children, children adapt very easily.

 

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On 20/11/2017 at 12:30, Novembernorain said:

Hey @desreb - thank you so much for sharing this! We are looking to move back to the UK in January (worst time to go, right?) - we are hoping to be so sick of the humidity here in QLD that we will be excited about the freezing cold. We are going to Scotland, where we lived before we moved to Aus.

our kids are the same age as yours; 4 and 1. I am not worried at all about the little one. But I am so stressed and worried about the 4 yo. To the point where I don't even want to tell her we are moving. She's a proper Aussie, never wears shoes, loves the pool. How did you tell your kids? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Also, how do you get on in the UK? Do the kids like it? Are they OK in the cold? I am having a bit of a freak out this morning!!

Hi Novembernorain,
 
I know this isn’t what you’ll want to hear, but it was quite hard for our 4yo - although there was a lot of tension in our family for the reasons behind the move, as well as the logistics themselves.
 
Generally, when you speak to daycare assistants, teachers, etc. they will advise you never to hide things from even young kids. If they perceive that you’re hiding things from them, and then you spring a surprise on them like moving, it could lead them to distrust your word in the future, or insecurity in that what seems permanent might be taken away. It’s hard to say whether we see a clear correlation between actions and behaviour with ours.
 
We started talking to ours around a month before we made the move itself - we didn’t tell her any earlier (we started planning 6 months ahead), until we knew that we were definitely going, had everything booked, and knew our plans in the UK so we had answers for her questions, if she had them. She didn’t really have many.
 
Our daughter isn’t very clingy and doesn’t show her emotions outwardly very often, so she didn’t come across very upset when we were saying goodbyes in Australia. She was probably more affected by our own emotions in saying goodbye to friends, and leaving.
 
For the arrival, we erred on the side of caution and spoilt the kids; we arrived before Christmas, so there was all the excitement and family activity around that event to draw them into, and also meaning we were both around a lot to spend time together, go to museums, etc. I tried to replicate outdoor activities with a new trampoline, but that didn’t get a lot of uptake even in London, in midwinter. I think the airbnb while we sorted out the new house was a lifesaver - having a warm, cosy house whilst we were unpacking and assembling in our final home meant they didn’t live in the middle of more disruption.
 
So - I don’t think we made a huge success of it, so I can’t really offer any strong advice, although I don’t think we did too badly either. I would suggest talking about it when you’re a few weeks out, you know all the plans, and you’re going to start doing things like packing and shipping. Try to prepare exciting and interesting activities when you get there, talk about them, maybe plan them together.
 
I would also plan lots of social activities when you get there, to spend time with family and friends, and to make new friends,  for the kids. Daycare could be a lifesaver for this, since there are others her age, and professionals who can help advise you and provide nurture and discipline as required. Our daughter has craved one-on-one friendships for the year she’s been back, and been the most upset if there’s no plans to see her friends or when she has to go home. Schedule them in so that you have a lot going on for the first month, google every kids event nearby, and determine that you have a good balance.
 
Aside from all that, one constant that we’d had from everyone is that kids this age get over such moves in the long term without any issue - it’s close family that’s most important. A year on, our daughter has school friends, local friends, favourite cafes and haunts, activities, swimming - Australia is a memory. We have actually come back for holiday, and she’s slipped back into seeing her old friends pretty easily, but she keeps complaining it’s too hot :-)
 
Good luck with your move - it is what it is, but the kids will be settled down in their new lives very quickly!
 
D
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On 23/11/2017 at 19:15, karen williams said:

I would not worry about your Children, I spent a year in England when my Daughter was five and within a very short time she copied all the other children, children adapt very easily.

 

Our 2 took it entirely in their stride and love it here. They were around 10 so had established friends, habits etc but they adapted incredibly well. 


Loving life in Gods Country. Woohoo, look at me. 

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Our experience (so far) is similar to Bristolman's.  Our girls are 9 and 11, and I worried myself sick about moving them away from everything they knew (we moved to Sydney when they were 1 and 2), but they've been fine.  I was particularly worried about eldest, because she has Asperger's and change can be difficult to her, but we involved them in the decision-making and were very open and honest about the whole move, and they have coped beautifully!  Both of them have made new friends and have really blossomed at their new school.  I was almost reduced to tears by one of youngest's Christmas cards from one of her school friends this week, which said inside "You are nice, kind and smart.  You are friendly too.  You are one of my best friends :)".  They've been at school for less than three months, but are really settled.

We moved to Scotland, because OH was offered a really good job opportunity here, and the weather has been fine.  Sure, it's cold and we have to wrap up warm when we go out, but the kids are loving the crisp, cold mornings we're having at the moment.  They don't even mind the rain!  Eldest is in her element - she hated the heat and humidity in Australia.  She used to get painfully swollen/cracked/bleeding fingers in the winter in Sydney from chilblains too, but touch wood she has been fine here so far.

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Thanks for sharing Desreb, sounds like you were in a very similar position to us, we’ve got 2 boys 2 and 6 months and lived in Coogee for 8 years, Maroubra for the last couple and have just decided to live back to the UK in a few months time! Would be keen to know how you’ve found the move and being in the UK!

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Hey!! We are moving back to the UK today!! We have a 4 year old and a 10 months old. Will let everyone know how it's going. Right now we are very excited but nervous at the same time. 

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16 minutes ago, Novembernorain said:

Hey!! We are moving back to the UK today!! We have a 4 year old and a 10 months old. Will let everyone know how it's going. Right now we are very excited but nervous at the same time. 

Good luck with the move :)

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33 minutes ago, Novembernorain said:

Hey!! We are moving back to the UK today!! We have a 4 year old and a 10 months old. Will let everyone know how it's going. Right now we are very excited but nervous at the same time. 

Yes, good luck! I hope the trip goes well!

D

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3 hours ago, Maroubra_Andy said:

Thanks for sharing Desreb, sounds like you were in a very similar position to us, we’ve got 2 boys 2 and 6 months and lived in Coogee for 8 years, Maroubra for the last couple and have just decided to live back to the UK in a few months time! Would be keen to know how you’ve found the move and being in the UK!

As I replied to Novembernorain Andy, the move was really tough because it was pretty contentious and we did it in the depths of winter.

As always, it took around 6 months to get used to things, and then it eventually felt completely normal again. It's great to hang out with old friends, go to the pub, etc. However,  I did like the Aussie life as well, and a holiday back in Clovelly last November felt like we had just slipped back into life there, and had never left.

At the end of the day it's tough that we can't live in both locations :-) But there are billions worse off, so I'm not going to complain.

Coincidentally, we're moving again on Tuesday, this time only 2 miles, not 10,000. We sold our house in the UK, and we're moving to a UK rental for a year, before we come back to Australia to settle for good, this time somewhere more affordable to buy. The reason for selling now was to try to catch the market and pound before any possible further downturn from Brexit, so we don't end up struggling to sell when we want to move back next year.

I just remembered - I jotted down observations on when I first came back to the UK on my phone's notepad. I'll dig them out and post them here, in case they help. It's strange what you notice.

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Oh yeah - one other things, we found that because we're back in the UK, we almost had to pay UK CGT on selling the UK house we had kept whilst away, even though we never bought in Australia.

When you're still living abroad, there are various ways of addressing any UK CGT liability as a non-resident landlord. Since we didn't sell while abroad, and then came back and moved back into our house, those options closed off to us.

In short, if you're coming back and have a house in the UK, pay for specific tax advice long before you return as to whether or not you'd be better off to sell before you return, or if you keep it, whether it's better to move back into the house, or not. It's also better to take financial and tax advice in Australia, including on UK issues, as you can tax-deduct it in Aus :-)

 

D

 

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Ahh the old Brexit debate, personally I feel the Aussie is on borrowed time, with the pound at historical lows, I don’t think it can come down too much more. We’ve been debating bringing cash over from the uk for years but it’s hard to swallow a 1.7 ex rate on your hard earned.

As you said the sydney markets just nuts, the last couple of years of the housing boom did it for me but prices have been sliding for the last quarter. You can’t buy a half decent family home for less than 2.3m which is just insane.

Out of interest where would you look to buy in Oz when you move back?

Cheers for the tax heads up, I’m across the CGT implications on uk property.  It all changed a couple years back when the uk stopped recognising a primary residence if you didn’t live in the country so CGT is payable for the years the property was rented out, minus a shit load of deductions.  Funnily enough I’ve always struggled with finding good tax advice in Australia that’s relevant to the UK.

 

 

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Hi Andy,

Looking to move to around Newport. We can’t afford Eastern Suburbs, and I can work mostly from home, so it fits for us to live further out. The ideal would be overlooking Bronte Beach, which was pretty much our local for the first few years, but for under half the price, Newport will do!

Prices have slid in London for the last 18 months, although it’s hidden when you look at sites like Zoopla. We’ve been watching houses in Newport that have just been sat on the market for months, so hopefully it’ll continue to depress to the point we’re ready to buy.

I’d say the odds still favour Australia though: the financial benefits for BTL investors have decreased slightly down to “still awesome”, whilst London’s has decreased to “punitive”. So my thoughts of affordable prices are still very wishful, I think.

d

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