Considering a move to Florida? You’re not alone. The allure of year-round sunshine, palm-fringed beaches, and a diverse culture makes the Sunshine State a magnet for retirees, families, and young professionals alike. But, like any significant relocation, the journey to Florida requires meticulous planning and a deep understanding of what awaits. The vastness of the state means a diverse array of neighborhoods, lifestyles, and opportunities. Navigating through these options can be daunting, but the rewards are immense. In this guide, we’ll break down the essentials of moving to Florida, from understanding the state’s unique climate to identifying its most vibrant communities. Dive in to discover if Florida’s sun-kissed shores and dynamic urban centers align with your dreams and aspirations.
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1. Learn the Pros and Cons of Living in Florida
Retirees and young professionals can dodge snow all year by moving to Florida. There is something for everyone in the state with the flexibility to move into a home, apartment or condo closest to your areas of interest. Residents spend most of their time outside kayaking, sailing, swimming or walking. Overall, Florida is an amazing place to settle down, with world-famous beaches, state parks, and sports facilities in all directions.
However, people living in Florida must always prepare for the weather to take an unexpected turn. Hot and humid conditions can be too much for seniors and children, and you’ll want to monitor the forecast for intense thunderstorms and hurricanes. Your first step in moving to Florida checklist should be considering these pros and cons.
2. Research the Best Florida Cities to Live In
Top Cities in Florida for Retirement
People of all ages swarm to Florida for the warm weather, vacation atmosphere, and water sources. However, the state contains numerous cities that are unique from one another. Everyone relocating to Florida is doing it for different reasons, so you’ll want to research your options before move-in day.
Florida is also thriving with small pockets of retirement communities. Seniors frequently move to the state because of the pleasant climate, tax advantages, and affordable housing. While the perfect location for retirement changes from person to person, some well-known spots attract travelers looking to settle down.
Naples offers breathtaking ocean views located along the Gulf of Mexico. Residents consider this area to be a slice of paradise with proximity to local restaurants, shopping centers, and entertainment. Enjoy access to top attractions such as Naples Pier, Naples Botanical Garden, and Audobon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.
Fort Myers puts retirees within range of Orlando and Miami. This city is excellent for seniors looking to remain active, with several nature preserves and parks within arm’s reach. See wildlife at Manatee Park or witness Major League Baseball spring training with sports venues nearby.
The West Coast of Florida is ideal for sightseeing and vacationing at your own pace. Hop aboard a ferry boat, spend the day watching dolphins at Clearwater Beach, or play 18 holes at a phenomenal golf course.
Sarasota is fantastic for retirees who want to catch a glimpse of the west end of Florida. From Gulf Coast beaches to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, there are too many breathtaking views to mention. We find that the senior community enjoys the thriving art scene thanks to hotspots like Art Center Sarasota and Wyland Galleries, with both indoor and outdoor displays available.
Top Cities in Florida for Young Professionals
If you’re a recent graduate or plan to start a family soon, Florida is home to vibrant cities booming with career opportunities. Whether after an exciting nightlife or beach getaway, the following cities leave young professionals with plenty to do year-round.
The Tampa Bay Area is full of cost-friendly homes and apartments for young families. The city’s job market is constantly expanding with financial services, health care, manufacturing, advertising, and beyond openings.
Jacksonville has an incredible music scene with rock, jazz, and blues concerts taking place all over the city. Families look forward to 22 miles of well-kept beaches for fun in the sun, and workers can grow their careers in aviation, logistics, information technology, and life sciences.
The state capital of Florida is a hotspot for education, leisure activities, and sunshine. Residents in this area are relatively young, as Florida State University is close by. Tallahassee might be the place for you if you have a background in teaching, government, writing, or insurance.
The Saint Petersburg area leaves young professionals with plenty to do after working a shift in manufacturing, financial services, or the publishing office. If you’re moving to Saint Petersburg, be sure to check out Clearwater Beach, Fort De Soto Park, and Treasure Island Beach for surfing or a pickup game of volleyball. You’ll also be within walking distance of rooftop lounges and beachside bars.
You may have noticed Fort Myers landing a spot on both lists — it’s perfect for both retirees and young professionals. This booming location is filled with activity and career opportunities in construction, retail sales, health care, and interior design. You’ll also be able to grab a bite to eat from a plethora of delicious seafood restaurants within the historic downtown area.
3. Plan a Trip to Florida Before Moving
Though Florida has many incredible cities, you may want to plan a trip to the area before you move. A short stay will give you an idea of the climate, the city’s atmosphere, and more. Once you’ve visited the city, you’ll know whether it suits you!
When visiting the city you want to move to, don’t treat it like a regular vacation. Instead, explore the city as you would if you were moving there. Research places you might end up living and try to find a hotel to stay in nearby. Find a house near the office if you’re moving for a job. Or, if you’re a retiree, look for a place with recreational activities that accommodate your lifestyle.
Treat this vacation like a typical week at home — what would you usually spend your time doing? Whether you like hiking, visiting a local brunch place on the weekend, or trying a new restaurant, find those activities near your future home. Then, plan one more extensive activity you might do less often, like going to a concert or the symphony.
Try to use whatever transportation you would use if you lived there. Whether you plan to get around in a car or you’re looking to use public transit, get a feel for how it would be to use it daily.
Related Article: 5 Must-Know Tips for Successfully Moving to a New State
4. Decide if You Want to Rent or Purchase
Once you’ve decided that you want to move to Florida, it’s time to decide how to relocate. The first step is finding a housing option in the city that will work for you. Renting and owning housing have pros and cons, and you can decide what works best depending on your current situation.
Here are some factors to consider about homeownership:
- Length of stay: If you plan to retire to Florida or stay in the area long-term, homeownership might be a good choice. Owning a home allows you to build equity and possibly sell it for more than its mortgage price.
- Maintenance responsibilities: When owning a home, you will be responsible for all maintenance, including plumbing, electricity, and weatherproofing. Consider whether you have the skills to do these repairs or the money to hire a professional.
- Additional costs: Homeownership comes with various expenses that renting doesn’t. These include insurance and property taxes, and you should factor these into the overall cost of the home.
Some considerations for renting a home include:
- Length of stay: As with homeownership, length of stay is a determining factor. Renting is more flexible if you plan to move again within a few years.
- Fixed pricing: Unlike homeownership, you will pay a monthly rent price that pays for repairs and more. You won’t have to budget for unexpected breakages or utilities in your home or apartment.
- Control over housing: When you rent, you have less control over the space. Your landlords may decide to increase prices or sell the property. Some landlords also have strict policies about changing things like paint and decor.
Renting is a good option in Florida as home prices rise and fall with the market, but renting and purchasing offer unique advantages and disadvantages. Consider your current finances and life situation to decide.
5. Look for Employment
Many cities in Florida rank higher for career growth than others, which is perfect if you’re moving for career opportunities. You may have chosen a city because of a familiar booming industry or want to start your career. Start researching the best companies to work for in the area and look for job openings on career search websites.
You can also find jobs by contacting companies directly or asking people in your network for referrals. Before looking for jobs, ensure that all your information is updated. Make a new resume, update your cover letter, and make sure those are relevant if your job type requires additional materials or certification.
Job fairs are another opportunity to look for work. If you’re planning a visit to Florida before you move, consider scheduling your trip around a prominent job fair in your industry. You can meet and interact with companies in your desired city or attend a virtual job fair if you can’t attend the in-person event.
6. Find Out How to Become a Florida Resident
One of the most important things to know before moving to Florida is that there is no state income tax. Establishing some financial goals for your immediate future will help you adapt to the change. Florida’s gas taxes are fairly expensive, so try to find a home or apartment within reach of where you will spend most of your time.
The cost of living in Florida is low compared to other parts of the United States. Working with a real estate agent can help you land a deal during the off-season. After locating your new home, remember to complete the transition of becoming a full-time resident by following these tips for moving to Florida:
- Visit the DMV for a Florida driver’s license.
- Register your vehicle and update your insurance.
- Switch banks.
- Register to vote.
- File taxes appropriately.
7. Plan Out Your Move
Your last step before you go should be to plan out your move. As you prepare to move to Florida, consider the following steps.
Hire a Moving Company
For moving long distances, like to a neighboring state or across the country, hiring a mover is your best choice to move your things safely and efficiently to a new place. When hiring a moving company, ensure they’re licensed and insured by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Some movers will pack your items for you, but if you would like to organize your belongings or save some time for the movers, you can begin to pack up your possessions. Packing on your own can help you decide what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of before you move.
You can also pack a bag of essentials that you want with you for the drive. The bag might include medications, toiletries, extra clothes, and important documents, so you have the necessities for your first few days in a new home.
Related Article: How To Pack for a Move: 10 Essential Packing Tips
Create a Budget
Decide what you are willing to spend and budget for the cost of movers or other expenses accordingly. Based on your budget, you may decide to make a full-service move or do some of the work yourself and let movers do the rest.
Related Article: How To Move On a Budget
Choose David McCarthy Moving for Relocation Services in Bradenton, Florida
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