More and more people are moving to Florida these days, and for good reason! Sunny weather, affordable property, and no state income tax all combine to make an attractive territory where both young professionals and retirees looking to enjoy their golden years can come to have a great time.
Thinking of moving to Florida yourself? Read on for a detailed guide that will cover all the steps you need to take to ensure that your move is as easy as possible.
First, it’s a great idea to think about why you want to move to Florida in the first place. For most people, it probably won’t be just because they want to be closer to Disney World! After all, each state in the US has unique pros and cons, so it’s crucial that you weigh both of these before making as big of a decision as moving your life and home to the Sunshine State.
Fortunately, there are lots of things that make Florida a great place to live. Let’s list just a few of them to get started:
- There’s no state income tax! This is a huge perk for many, and it’s one of the big reasons why retirees come to Florida – their pensions or other income sources can stretch for farther since they’re taxed less
- Additionally, Florida has some of the lowest housing costs in the country, at least if you find a house away from the coast and big metropolitan areas like Miami and Orlando
- However, beaches and sunny weather are never far away. Thus, Florida is a great place if you like to soak up some sun and spend time sipping cocktails on a beach
- Snow is never something to worry about. Folks who hate the cold love to come down to Florida
- While we joked about Disney World before, in truth, Florida residents often get discounts for local attractions like Disney World and similar theme parks
All in all, there are lots of reasons why you might want to move to Florida, either for the short term or to live out your sunset years.
While moving to Florida is a great idea, by and large, you should still keep in mind a few possible challenges that could impact your ultimate decision.
- Florida does come with relatively high humidity and heat. Thus, it may be a challenge to stay cool during the summer months. Folks who don’t like being sweaty may want to look elsewhere.
- Furthermore, Florida gets a big hurricane at least once every few years. You’ll need to prepare for this by investing in insurance and having a place to stay elsewhere if your house is close to the coast.
- There are lots of tourists and part-time residents in Florida, especially compared to other states. This can make some cities and communities a little transient.
- Lastly, if you don’t like snakes and alligators, we’d advise staying closer to the cities!
But for most people, these downsides don’t negate most of the positives mentioned above. There are just too many great reasons to consider Florida as a permanent state of residence.
The good news is that you can find plenty of places to rent and buy in Florida. But many people opt to buy as real estate is one of the most secure investments you can make. With the right guide to buying a Florida home, you can find yourself either a permanent residence or a summer vacation home without too much trouble.
You can even take advantage of the tourist off-season and buy a home during that lull, when prices may be lower, and real estate agents might be hungry for work.
Here are the steps to take if you've decided that moving to Florida is right for you, from finding the perfect place to live to organizing your move.
Look Into Cities and Regions
If you’ve made up your mind and want to move to Florida for real, your next step is to look into different cities and regions so you can narrow down your housing search. Here’s a brief breakdown of the major territories within Florida’s borders:
- North Florida is dominated by Jacksonville, the most populated city in the state. The Jacksonville metropolitan area offers a pretty robust city life compared to some of the more rural areas in the state.
- Meanwhile, the Panhandle has the largest collection of military bases in the state, so it’s a great place if you’re of a similar mind or if you are a military veteran yourself.
- Western Florida is characterized by slower communities and lots of retiree homes. This does make it a great place if you are a retiree yourself.
- Southwest Florida is just a few hours away from Orlando and Miami, giving it a great centralized location without being as expensive and bustling as the metropolitan cities themselves.
- Southeast Florida, offers a mix of city life and suburban life. Southeast Florida is home to Miami, an international city, and one of the coolest places to visit in the world. The area offers one of the biggest and best job markets in the state, making it an ideal place for younger people. Meanwhile, families often prefer to live in or around Fort Lauderdale, which offers a more suburban feel.
Have a Job Locked Down Ahead of Time… Unless You’re Retired!
This step isn’t particular to Florida, as it’s always a good idea to have a job secured before you move since any new job you get might require you to commute really long hours otherwise. However, you can skip this step if you are retired and are looking for a state to relax during your golden years.
If you are looking for a job, here’s a quick tip: don’t put your out-of-state address on your resume, as many recruiters will pass you up since they likely have other applicants they can contact that are already in-state. Not putting your address down gives you the best chance of getting an interview.
Be Sure to Have Rainy Weather Gear and Sunscreen
As we mentioned above, Floridians have to deal with serious hurricanes every once in a while. But more commonly, they have to deal with unending sunshine. Be sure that you have enough sunscreen and are comfortable wearing hats and protecting your skin as often as possible, especially if you spend lots of time outdoors.
If you do live in an evacuation zone for hurricanes, you’ll need to get comfortable with preparing for the inevitability of a big tropical storm. You’ll likely have to evacuate temporarily eventually, and your insurance premiums may be higher than you anticipated to cover the possibility of serious property damage.
You may also need to prepare for storm damage if you don’t evacuate, which includes having sandbags, bars for windows, and similar structural improvements. All in all, living in Florida can be quite time and effort-intensive because of the excitable weather.
Making It Official: Steps to Become a Florida Resident
Now that you’ve presumably found a place and a job, you can take your last steps to becoming a Florida resident before actually moving. Consider taking care of the following to make your life easier once you arrive:
- Sign up for a Florida driver’s license before you get there. This prevents you from having to make another trip to the DMV shortly after you move.
- Update your car insurance and any other important documents with your new address, then re-register your car.
- Be sure to get your taxes in order since you may need to file in two different states, depending on when you move.
Decide on Your Moving Strategy
Now all you have to do is decide on your ultimate moving strategy. Will you hire movers to take care of the furniture for you, or lug everything into a rented U-Haul and do the job yourself? Whatever you decide, remember that there are plenty of moving companies in Florida who would be happy to help you transition from your old home to your new one.
In the end, moving to Florida could be the best decision you’ve ever made. Be sure to let us know if we can make the move easier for you or if you have any other questions about buying Florida real estate, selling real estate, or anything relating to moving to Florida.