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Top 10 Things to Know About Moving to Florida

What You'll Learn: Different Little-Known Facts About Florida Prior to Moving to the State

EXPECTED READ TIME: 9 MINUTES

Are you considering relocating to the Sunshine State? There are some critical facts to know before moving to Florida. In this article, you’ll learn about beaches, weather, humidity, alligators, the cost of living, the economy, how many people are relocating to FL each day, and more.

#1 No State Income Tax

Why are people moving to Florida? It’s one of only eight states that have no state income tax. That makes a huge difference in your overall spendable income.

Compare 0% state income tax to California’s that goes up to 12.3%, New York’s goes up to 10.9%, and New Jersey’s up to 8.97%. Even if you’re not in the highest tax bracket, it’s a relief to have one less tax to pay.

Retirees love the zero-income tax and appreciate being able to keep more of their hard-earned money and have some wiggle-room in their budget. Empty nesters in New York and New Jersey are fleeing those heavily taxed states and coming to Florida.

In terms of other state taxes, the average property tax in FL is 0.89%. That ranks FL number 23 out of 50 states for property tax rates. And sales tax averages 6%.

#2 Beautiful Weather but Humid

Florida is known for sunshine and amazing beaches. Visitors come from all over the world, especially in the winter. Average winter daytime temperatures hang around 70 degrees, and at nighttime, averages are in the 60s.

Compare that to freezing weather, especially on the east coast. Would you rather shovel snow or lay on the beach? Your choice.

Summer is another thing, though, and can take some getting used to. It’s hot from mid-May through almost the end of October. Temperatures average in the high 90s.

Plus, there’s the humidity. Florida is the most humid state in the US. It’s surrounded by water, with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Many people get used to the humidity and know to spend the hottest time of the day inside.

The other exciting thing to know is that Florida’s rainy season is in the summer, unlike other parts of the country. Be ready for torrential downpours, lightning, thunder, and the occasional hurricane.

#3 Florida is the Most Populated Southeastern State

How many people are moving to Florida every day? Currently, about 900 people are moving to FL a day. There are almost 22 million people in the Sunshine State, and it’s growing.

Not only are people moving to Florida, so are businesses. That’s because Florida is business-friendly. And compared to other states, Florida generally remained open during the pandemic, so the state’s economy was not hit as hard. And for remote workers ­— during the pandemic, with less lockdowns and fewer mandates, this state was hard to beat.

#4 East Coast & West Coast Tips

New Yorkers moving to Florida — you’ll need to unload your heavy coats and boots and trade them in for shorts and flip flops. And if you didn’t drive in NY, you’ll want to drive here. Once you arrive, you’ll have 30 days to get a FL driver’s license.

Californians relocating will need to plan for an expensive move. Over the last five years, the price of moving has increased, and gas is on the rise.

If you’re driving, I-10 is the most efficient route with the best roads. However, there are more scenic routes like Highway 80. It just depends on how fast you need to make it to your destination.

#5 Florida’s Economy

Florida has the fourth biggest economy in the country. In 2020, the gross domestic product (GDP) was approximately 935.67 billion. The primary industries are tourism, agriculture, international trade, aerospace, aviation, life sciences, and financial services.  

In 2019, Florida’s job growth was up 2.5%. There are tremendous opportunities in construction, health care, and business services. Construction workers are in short supply, so if you’re a contractor or tradesman, this state is a great place to get a job or start a business.

Want to be your own boss? Consider these business start-ups:

  • Organic food or restaurants
  • Personal concierge services
  • Elder care
  • Tech services for seniors
  • Cybersecurity services
  • Pool Services
  • Tree trimming
  • Landscaping services
  • HVAC Services

Contractors will need to be licensed – the state is stringent on licensing. Plan and start the licensing process before you move, as it can take 3 to 6 months.

#6 Beaches, Golf Courses, & Theme Parks

No matter what part of Florida you’re in, the beach is less than 60 miles away. Here’s a wet fact — 18% of the state is covered in water. So, there are no shortages of places you can swim, sunbathe, boat, fish, and scuba dive. Plus, unlike the Pacific Ocean, the water is warm!

Golfers love Florida because there are 1,300 golf courses. These include private clubs, public courses, and golf courses in retirement and gated communities.

If you enjoy roller coasters and excitement, the state is theme park heaven. Some of the top theme parks to visit are:

  • Busch Gardens
  • Legoland
  • SeaWorld
  • Walt Disney World
  • Universal Studios

#7 Cost of Living

Compared to other states with a similar beach lifestyle (California, Hawaii, Massachusetts), Florida is very affordable. Let’s compare median home values in 2021 according to Zillow.

State

Median Home Price

Hawaii

$730,511

California

$683,996

Massachusetts

$518,203

Florida

$297,390

     

Just like Texas, the price of homes is increasing, but that doesn’t mean they’ll remain high. Every state, county, city, and town go through buying and selling cycles.

Sometimes it’s a seller’s market, and prices are high. Other times, it’s a buyer’s market, and there are lots of deals. It’s smart to get preapproved before you start looking for a home. That way, when you find one, you’re ready to go.

#8 Snowbirds – What are They & Where do They Come From?

Many people have never heard the term “snowbird” before they move to Florida. A snowbird is someone who lives in a cold winter climate and comes to Florida’s warmer weather. They usually start arriving at the beginning of October and stay until it starts heating up in April or May.

As a Floridian, you’ll notice more out-of-state license plates from Canada, New York, and Michigan, just to name a few. Plus, the roads will get more crowded as will the restaurants. Although it’s hard to tell the divide between snowbirds and tourists statistically, retirement communities see a considerable increase in traffic and wait time to play a game of golf.

#9 Moving to Florida Checklist

Here’s a handy relocating to Florida checklist to make your transition as easy as possible.

  • Plan your route carefully if you’re driving, especially if you’re towing a trailer. Consider visiting your local AAA office for information.
  • If you’re driving during the summer, make sure you have new windshield wipers for sudden downpours.
  • Pack accordingly with plenty of cool clothes, water, and electrolytes.
  • If you’re planning to start a construction business, apply for your contractor’s license three to six-months before moving. Florida is tough on unlicensed contractors.
  • Reserve a rental home if you haven’t purchased a new home already. Rentals are hard to come by in some areas, so you’ll want to have one reserved.
  • Bring summer clothes, so you’re comfortable once you arrive. You’ll be living in shorts and flip-flops.
  • Consider tinting your car windows to help beat the heat. Make sure to check the laws first, though.

#10 Moving To Florida Pros & Cons

There are so many great things about living in Florida. Here are some of the top advantages:

  • Friendly people — Florida is considered the South, and although you might not hear as many southern accents, you will meet friendly and hospitable people.
  • Cheaper gas — If you’re moving from the west coast, you’ll love Florida’s cheap gas. Florida ranks #15 in gas prices out of the 50 states.
  • Cheaper groceries — Florida’s groceries are slightly lower than the national average. But compared to California, Hawaii, New York, and New Jersey, food costs are significantly lower.
  • Publix supermarkets are everywhere — Florida has 831 Publix stores which is the leading grocery chain in the state. In some towns like Clearwater, FL, there’s one about every few miles.
  • Aldi’s grocery stores are in Florida — Although they don’t have the same parent company as Trader Joe's, both Aldi’s and Trader Joe's came from the same family. Aldi’s offers some of the best deals for groceries.
  • Travel to Europe & South America is closer — International travel is much easier from the east coast, and Florida has 24 international airports, including those in Tampa, Orlando, and Miami.
  • Lots of 55+ communities — Because so many people want to retire in FL, there are more 55+ communities in Florida than in any other state.
  • Cultural melting pot — Florida is a mix of cultures, especially in the Miami area with Little Havana, Little Haiti, and Coconut Grove Village West with a Bahamian influence. In the winter, beach towns are full of visitors from the colder states of NY, and MI. And Florida is a favorite retirement destination for our neighbors in Canada.

Yes, there are cons about living in Florida. It’s important to know what these disadvantages are before planning on relocating.

  • Humidity — Some people do well with the humid climate, and some don’t. Often it only takes a season or so to acclimate, but unfortunately, some people never get used to it. If you’re one of those, plan to be somewhere besides Florida in the summer months.
  • Allergies — Similar to Texas, Florida has high levels of pollen. The primary allergy season is December through May, which can be a long time for allergy sufferers. In addition to pollen, there’s also mold because of the high humidity.
  • Long traffic lights — Why are Florida traffic lights so long? Although there’s no definitive answer, you'll notice the difference if you’re moving from California or the west coast. The only advice we can give is to get used to it and practice patience.
  • Bugs — The most common insects in Florida are ants, termites, spiders, roaches, and mosquitoes. You’ll also become acquainted with “biting midges,” often called “no-see-um’s” because they’re so small. If you’re going outside, bring bug repellent. Inside have bug zappers and anti-itch cream.
  • Lizards — Florida is the land of lizards and geckos, both big and small. The state is home to 15 native species. Get used to seeing the reptiles everywhere.
  • Alligators  — There’s an astonishing 1.25 million gators in FL. They live in freshwater lakes, rivers, canals, and ponds.
  • Hurricanes — California has earthquakes, and Florida has hurricanes. Typically, there are six hurricanes each year, with three major ones annually. If you move to Florida, you’ll need to know how to prepare.
  • Tourists — Although tourism is a significant industry in Florida, some full-time residents aren’t as fond of these visitors. That’s mainly because of the increased traffic and packed restaurants. 

Now that you know the top 10 things about moving to Florida, are you ready to take the plunge?

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