Thousands of people are moving to Florida every month to soak up the sunshine, warm air, and views of the ocean. If you’re ready to ditch the winter coats and move down south, there’s never been a better time to do so.
Moving to Florida is a consideration for most people in the North and the Midwest at some point. If they don’t move there, they at least visit every winter.
But with a vibrant economy, tons of metro areas and charming communities, and endless outdoor recreation thanks to year-round warm weather, Florida is a place worth calling home.
If you’re thinking about jumping ship on those cold winters and heading to the land of palm trees, there are a few things you need to know. Read on below to see what it’s actually like to live in Florida, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
1. No Income Tax
One of the biggest benefits of becoming a Florida resident before you are retired is that there is no state income tax. This is a huge help for many people, as the cost of living isn’t exactly cheap in Florida, thanks to high demand, particularly for housing.
Property taxes in Florida are above the national average,
“but overall, the tax burden in Florida is one of the lowest.”
This is why many businesses tend to move or start their LLCs in Florida.
2. Moving to Florida Is Easier Than Ever
Planning an out-of-state move is never an easy task. Nor is it cheap. But thanks to innovations in the moving and storage industry, it’s getting easier and more affordable.
Need some moving tips? Try renting out some moving pods. These can be dropped off at your current home, filled up with your belongings are your own pace, and shipped to your new Florida home on your behalf.
Smaller pods are cheaper to transport than large moving trucks. And they can be stored as long as you need them to be if your new house isn’t quite ready.
3. Becoming a Resident
There are a few things you’ll need to do when arriving in Florida as a new resident. A moving to Florida checklist will encourage you to get your new Florida license as soon as you arrive.
You’ll want to re-title your vehicle and register it as well. Then you need to get a Florida auto insurance plan. You can do all this in one appointment at your local tax collector’s office. You can also register to vote at the same time.
4. Too Many Recreation Opportunities
Florida boasts an ample amount of outdoor recreational opportunities. It can be difficult to choose what to do. There’s simply too much fun to be had in the state, at any time of the year.
Fishing is popular year-round, with different species showing up in different seasons. Kayaking is fun regardless of the temperature outside. Even in winter, you can head to the beach for a swim, if you don’t mind slightly cooler water.
Most areas have lots of bike paths and multi-use trails. And there is even some excellent hiking across the state. You may even want to take up scuba diving to explore Florida’s underwater wonderland.
5. Summer Is Really Hot
Florida isn’t all unicorns and rainbows, however. It has its challenges, such as the insane summer heat.
Most people visit Florida in the winter. Floridas’ climate in the winter is the mildest and the most comfortable. The average temperature is around 75 degrees, with dry, sunny skies and low humidity.
What most people don’t realize before they live in Florida is that summers heat up to an extreme level. In Tampa, for example, the average temperature in August is 91 degrees. But thanks to the high humidity in the summer, the heat index is a scorching 108 degrees.
Locals are used to it. But those coming out of state struggle during their first few summers.
6. You Might Need Flood Insurance
Aside from homeowners insurance, you might need to get flood insurance as well. Requirements for flood insurance depend on your location. Everywhere in Florida has a flood zone rating.
Homes in riskier zones will require flood insurance. Those in the riskiest zones, such as on or near the Atlantic Ocean of the Gulf of Mexico will require the highest amount of flood insurance.
When it comes to covering waterfront homes in Florida, it’s not a matter of if the insurance company will ever have to pay out to cover a home. It’s a matter of when.
7. Mind the No-See-Ums
Mosquitoes are a nuisance everywhere. But those new to Florida are always surprised by no-see-ums. These tiny flying bugs are very hard to see.
While they don’t leave instant, itchy bumps the way mosquitoes do, the bite itself hurts. On days without any wind, the presence of no-see-ums becomes obvious.
To enjoy your backyard year-round, it helps to add a screened-in porch or lanai, using mesh small enough to prevent no-see-ums from getting through.
Aside from no-see-ums as a pesky reality, Florida has some other creatures to be aware of. Alligators are common in most freshwater. Be careful near rivers, creeks, lakes, and ponds.
There are six species of poisonous snakes in Florida. If you like hiking, camping, or trail running, it helps to study up what those look like.
And in the ocean, you may encounter stingrays or jellyfish. Rays are easy to avoid, though they can sting if they are surprised by unaware swimmers.
8. Hurricane Season Is Real
In California, it’s the occasional earthquake and the annual wildfires. In the north, it’s the blizzards that cover the roads with ice. The Midwest has its tornados.
But down in the Sunshine State? Hurricanes are the biggest natural disaster. In fact, Florida receives more than twice the amount of hurricanes as any other southern state.
Hurricane season in Florida is basically the entire summer, though the risks of hurricanes last until about November. September is the most active month.
When it comes to hurricane season, you don’t necessarily need to be worried. You just need to have a plan. First, ensure you have a hurricane kit. This will have all the basics needed to survive and without a storm, should the power, gas, and water be cut off from your home for a few days.
Second, know if there are any hurricane shelters nearby. If a storm is heading directly towards your neighborhood, you may need to evacuate.
Making the Leap
Even though the state isn’t perfect, moving to Florida is worth every ounce of your effort, particularly if live somewhere with heavy snowfall in the winter. Rather than spending months under a blanket of clouds and snow, you can spend the entire year soaking up vitamin D and the salty breeze.
Are you going to make the move this year? There’s a good chance that it’s the best decision of your life.
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