How to adjust after semigrating

The semigration trend has recorded increasing popularity ever since the pandemic made the possibility for remote working more available. The demand for better service delivery has seen the trend continue as many flock to the provinces that they think will offer a better lifestyle.

Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, explains that while the “work-from-home phenomenon might have pushed people that were sitting on the fence to make the move down to the coast, a continued lack of service delivery is probably what has made this trend continue.”

For those who have decided to make the lifestyle change by moving provinces, Goslett encourages them to do their research first so that they have realistic expectations of what the area can offer. “Average house prices can vary substantially across the country, so buyers might not be able to afford as much as they might have expected. For example, if you move down from Joburg, after having a home in the Northern suburbs, and you come to Cape Town, it is going to be a mental adjustment, because four beds will have to become three or three beds will have to become two, if you want the same price. Maybe the home will not be in the equivalent of a Bryanston or a Fourways, so buyers will then need to adjust their expectations,” he cautions.

It might also take a while for those who are new to a province to get a good lay of the land. “I would usually recommend renting first before buying a home in a new province. Take the time on weekends to drive through the various suburbs and get a feel for what each neighbourhood has to offer. It is also useful to set up appointments with local agents who can show you what is available within their markets. This will also provide a better idea of the price points within the various suburbs,” Goslett suggests.

Befriending those who live in the area can also be useful when adjusting to a new province. Locals tend to have the best suggestions for restaurants and stores, so it helps to get plugged into the community as soon as you can. Until then, you could always make use of the ‘near me’ function on Google Maps to find out more about what the area has to offer.

Another consideration is the climate of the province. “Those who haven’t lived in a province before might be unfamiliar with its microclimates. Certain suburbs might experience heavier rainfall than others, some might catch the wind more often, others might be a degree or two hotter than the rest of the province. Buyers will also need to orientate themselves to the landscape to figure out if the home is North or South facing; will the home get morning or afternoon sun? These factors all play a role in the overall enjoyment of the property, so it is worth taking the time to figure out,” Goslett recommends.

Although not quite as big of an adjustment as immigrating can be, moving provinces is a big undertaking that will take time to adjust to. Goslett’s final advice to those who are semigrating is to establish a good working relationship with a local real estate professional who can help them better understand the local markets and guide them towards making a sound real estate investment.