GUEST POST BY WENDY EVA-SCOTT, PRINCIPAL, YOUR HOME HUNTER
I’ve long believed that a ‘home’ is so much more than just the property you live in. It’s the sense of comfort and security that place provides. It’s the life that you build there and the connection you have with not just that specific place, but the broader area.
I discuss this sense of ‘home’ with a lot of my clients. I find that talking about the places they’ve most loved living gives great insight into the things that they really value. It also helps move the conversation beyond the number of bedrooms and bathrooms required, to the less tangible – but equally as critical – features they’re looking for.
Interestingly, I find that many of the things that matter most to my clients have more to do with the local community than the property itself. This is particularly true for people relocating from interstate or overseas, who are often all too conscious about fitting in. Even more so if there is a family to consider, as there’s multiple members who need to find their new niche.
What counts as a community?
These days, it feels like the definition of community is getting looser. The rise of digital technology has helped bridge great distances and improved our ability to remain connected. Now, the world seems smaller and being on the other side of the planet is not a barrier to remaining “close”.
However, while the support of family and lifelong friends is invaluable, it’s not enough to sustain us from a great distance. In fact, many would argue that only feeling connected to those a long way away would exacerbate feelings of loneliness. Anyone that’s experienced homesickness knows this all too well.
As such, I believe it’s best to think of two tiers of community – global and local.
The former is the enduring connection you have with the people and places you most know and love. It’s often born of formative experiences and significant history. It’s the community you take with you regardless of where in the world you are.
The latter is the affinity you have for where you currently reside. It’s the day-to-day connection you have with the people and places around you. It’s the community you foster to feel a greater sense of comfort and belonging, at least in the short-term.
These communities are equally important when it comes to our mental health and sense of self. However, it’s the local community that often requires the most effort to develop and maintain.
The importance of a sense of local community
As social creatures, we all need to feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves. This gives us a sense of purpose and holds us accountable for our actions. It also helps fulfil some extremely important emotional and physical needs.
Being an active member of a local community provides daily reminders of this interconnectedness. It allows us to feel recognised and validated and can even affect our sense of safety and security. These are all base needs that must be met before we can begin to focus on higher functions – like our jobs.
Science backs all of this up, with studies showing that social connection has a direct impact on performance. Research also suggests that a sense of community can have real health outcomes, with those feeling disconnected less likely to act in healthy ways.
Helping new arrivals find their community
Feeling like you are part of a local community isn’t something that just happens – often, a little work is required. And this work starts early, with the choice of residence.
Acknowledging this, when we work with clients who are relocating from interstate or overseas, there are a few key questions we always ask:
- What was their lifestyle like in their previous location? What was their social group like? And how did they meet new people?
- What do they like to do outside of work? Are there specific hobbies or pastimes they would like to continue in their new location?
- What do they like to do as a family or couple?
- What are they wanting their lifestyle to be like in their new location? Are there new things they want to try or changes they would like to make?
- Do they need access to parks, beaches, libraries, cafes, community houses, arts groups, book clubs, places of worship, or any specific service, groups, or facilities?
- Will anyone in the family be solely reliant on public transport?
- Are they interested in volunteering? If so, what kind?
These details help give us a better picture of who we are working with and what’s truly important to them. They also allow us to recommend suitable areas and help make connections to the right services and groups.
As Principal of Your Home Hunter – Australia’s premier renters advocacy service – Wendy Eva-Scott works with time poor professionals to find the right rental property. As the first point of call for property managers looking for quality tenants, she takes the stress out of securing a rental by managing the entire process – from working through the wish list to securing the lease, and following up after the move in date.
So, if you’re considering alternatives to full-service relocation, and are wondering whether working with a Renters Advocate could be beneficial to your company, give Wendy a call.