The Ultimate Guide on Moving to Florida
Moving to Florida, the Sunshine State may always seem like a good idea. What’s not to love about it with its amazing weather, friendly locals, Southern charm, and growing economy? But while tens of thousands of people move to this state on a monthly basis, almost as many choose to leave.
The fact of the matter is this: every state has its own set of pros and cons, and after some time, some people may find that Florida just doesn’t suit them. It’s all very personal.
Whether you’re thinking about moving to Florida or any other state, you’ll need to do your homework, first. What may be some costs involved? Let this blog help you with your decision on relocating to the Sunshine State.
Why Moving to Florida Is a Good Idea
While most people assume that Florida is packed with retirees and snowbirds, there is a booming younger generation that also makes up a large portion of the state’s population. If you’re considering making a move to Florida, there are a number of wonderful perks to living in this part of America.
First of all, as Floridian, you won’t have to pay state income tax. The cost of housing is also considerably lower than in most parts of America. You have access to amazing outdoor activities, some of the best beaches in the world, and a plethora of entertainment.
You’ll also receive discounts on some of the state’s top attractions. Get to lap up the warm year-round weather, and make friends pretty easily given how welcoming most residents of Florida are.
What Are the Cons of Moving to Florida?
Every single state in the U.S. comes with its own set of negatives — Florida is no exception. For some people, some of the drawbacks include the high heat, humidity, and unpredictable hurricane weather.
As a state, Florida is also very flat and lacks mountains, valleys, and forests. It is also home to a number of large bugs, snakes, and other critters. Insurance costs are generally higher in this state, while it’s often inundated with tourists and part-time residents from other parts of the country.
The Best Places to Live in Florida and the Housing Market
One of the primary reasons people move to Florida is to enjoy a slower-paced life. This is why the state is so popular among retirees. But there are also plenty of families that enjoy the perks of living in this sunny state.
Here are a few tips to help you find the best property deal before you move:
- If you plan on buying a family home, or even a condo, wait until the offseason during the spring or fall months.
- If you decide to buy, make sure you are willing to live in the property for a few years. This way, you aren’t lumped with a house that’s worth less than what you paid if you decide Florida is not for you
- If you choose to rent, do your homework on tenant rights in Florida to protect yourself against poor landlord behavior
When it comes to the best areas or regions to live in Florida, this is largely subjective and depends on the type of lifestyle you’re looking for. One of the major perks of moving to Florida is that you’re spoiled-for-choice when it comes to great neighborhoods.
Some of the top locations worth considering include:
- Pensacola — this is a military-friendly community with a small-town feel, close to the Gulf Coast and many gorgeous beaches
- Jacksonville — the most populated city in Florida, Jacksonville offers the culture, and hustle and bustle of city life
- Tallahassee — it’s not as close to the beach, but has a college town feel and is best-suited to a younger generation
- Orlando — located in central Florida, Orlando is a hot spot for career growth and opportunity
- Clearwater — this is one of the most popular towns in Florida for retirees and those looking for a slower-paced life
- St. Petersburg — this is a diverse town located in the Tampa Bay area, great for families, singles, and couples
- Tampa — enjoy an amazing local sports scene, festivals, restaurants, and beach life
- Fort Myers — found on the Gulf Coast, Fort Myers offers a tight-knit ex-pat community and is the perfect location for exploring the rest of the state
- Sarasota — this is a smaller community with a higher cost of living, but you’ll have access to some of the region’s best beaches
- Fort Lauderdale — this is the perfect city for families and offers a thriving job market
- Key West — full of history, tradition and a unique character unlike anywhere else in the United States, and it’s one of the very few areas in the contiguous U.S to never have a freeze or frost.
Based on your personal needs, you’ll need to decide on the type of home you’re looking for and whether to rent or buy. While the housing market in Florida tends to fluctuate due to the number of people moving in and out of the state, it’s still favorable.
What Is the Cost of Living in Florida?
One of the biggest drawcards of moving to Florida is the fact that you don’t have to pay income tax. For this reason, Florida ranks as the 13th best state to live in across the U.S.
Florida is also well-known for its financial stability and an up-and-coming economy thanks to the tech boom. However, it’s worth mentioning that the state applies a 6% sales tax and a rather hefty gas tax.
While the cost of housing and rentals in Florida is better than most states, it’s still relatively pricey in major cities such as Miami. On average, you can expect to pay $1,995 per month for a one-bedroom rental. However, in Tampa, this costs averages about $1,147 per month.
If you’re looking to buy a home in Florida, January is your best time to make an offer. In Jacksonville, the median value of an average home is about $186,000. In Tampa, it’s a little higher at $216,000. While central Florida and the areas around Orlando tend to average about $219,000.
The Job Market in Florida
Before you move to Florida, it’s wise to look for and find a job that suits both your career goals, financial needs, and lifestyle. Luckily, Florida is not short of job opportunities in a number of exciting fields, most especially the tech industry.
Some of the most popular industries that offer plenty of opportunity within the local market include tourism, tech, international trade, health sciences, aerospace and aviation, marketing, and sales.
In order to find the right job in Florida, it’s best to work with a recruitment agent who is well-versed in job placements in your specific field.
Don’t make the mistake of settling for any job that comes your way. Make sure that you’ll be happy in the position because relocation is difficult enough. The last thing you need is to be unhappy with your job!
Floridian Schools and Universities
Before you pick a certain neighborhood to settle in when relocating to Florida, it’s wise to do some research on local schools in the area. As you may already know, there is sometimes a discrepancy in the quality of education between public schools, depending on the region/district you live in.
You want to make the right decision between sending your children to private or public school. Ultimately, the zip code you choose will play a big role in whether your children go to public school, or your district uses a lottery system to place students.
Bear in mind that Florida has a large Hispanic population. This means that your child may have the opportunity to engage in bilingual education, which is a great benefit to them and another perk of relocating to Florida.
Some of the best public school districts in Florida include St John’s County, Hillsborough County, Miami-Dade County, and Duval County public schools.
As for tertiary education, the Sunshine State is host to some of the country’s top universities. Just some of these include the University of Florida, the University of Miami, Florida State University, and Florida Institute of Technology.
How to Move to Florida: Shipping Your Possessions
One of the most cost-effective ways of physically moving to Florida is to hire a rental moving truck and haul your possessions yourself. Of course, you can hire the expertise of a driver to transport your goods, too. But this comes at an extra cost. Just bear in mind that it’s far cheaper to rent a one-way truck rental and drop it off at a location in Florida.
The total rental truck price is usually based on these factors: the rental truck fee, mileage fee, fuel costs, damage, and protection fee, and other taxes.
If you choose to hire a U-Haul and transport your goods yourself, how will you get your car(s) from one state to the next? This is a valid concern that is easily solved. You can hire an auto shipping company to transport your car to Florida for you.
Most auto shipping companies offer a door-to-door service. A company representative picks up your car from your home, transports it cross-country, and drops it off at a prearranged location or at your home.
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