While Florida seems to always get a bad reputation in the media, it’s actually a great place to live. Florida offers some unbeatable coastlines, great attractions, and year-round good weather. But moving to Florida isn’t for everyone. A lot of people that make the initial move end up leaving because they didn’t prepare or had unrealistic expectations. If you’re considering moving to Florida, regardless of what city, it’s important to go through the proper steps and decide whether or not The Sunshine State is for you. To help you get some clarification, we created a comprehensive guide for people looking to relocate to Florida.
Step 1: Understand What it’s Like to Live in Florida
One of the main problems with moving to Florida is having unrealistic expectations. People think they know what life will be like in Florida based on a one-time visit or information they see on social media. However, life in Florida comes with both perks and downfalls and it’s important to understand them both.
In terms of perks, Florida is one of the few states in America that has no state income tax. You’ll gain access to special resident discount rates to local attractions and have lower housing costs when compared to many other states. While the weather is warm year-round, Florida is susceptible to yearly hurricanes, high humidity levels, and sometimes extremely high temperatures. You need to be aware of the alligators and snakes and if you enjoy mountainous hikes, Florida will end up disappointing with its flat landscapes.
Step 2: Learn About What Florida Has to Offer
If you don’t mind dealing with a few gators here and there and the occasional hurricane, you’ll find that Florida has a lot to offer. If you’ve always wanted to live near the ocean, Florida is one of the best states you can live in. There are thousands of world-class beaches and you can schedule relaxing trips to the Florida Keys. If you’re a thrill-seeker, head over to Universal Studios, take the family to Disney World, or ride the coasters at Busch Gardens. There’s no shortage of weekend activities in Florida. Although primarily flat, Florida still has a plenty of beautiful State Parks for you to escape into nature. For a change of pace, you can also spend hours getting lost in the Kennedy Space Center or check out the Daytona 500. There are limitless opportunities for adventure in Florida, it’s up to you how you want to spend your time.
Step 3: Research the Best Places to Live in Florida
After doing research on some of Florida’s many activities, you’ll want to look at the best places to live in Florida according to your lifestyle. This is going to be very subjective depending on your preferences, so make sure to take the time and research all of your options before making a decision. If possible, try to visit a few cities in advanced to get a feel of what life would be like prior to uprooting from your current home.
St. Petersburg is a great city in Western Florida that is perfect for people who love having a full calendar. There’s always some kind of event happening on the weekends and the community is very active. Plus, St. Petersburg is only a short drive away from Tampa and all of its attractions.
Further south in Florida is Sarasota. Sarasota is a little smaller of a city but has a great community of retirees and is home to some of Florida’s best beaches. If you’re interested in more information about moving to Sarasota, check out this guide. Prices are a little higher, but residents love the lifestyle Sarasota allows.
Estero, Florida is a great option for those who live a healthy, active lifestyle. There are plenty of delicious restaurants and the education in Estero is above the state average. There are hundreds of parks for you to use and it’s only a short drive from Fort Myers.
If you’re looking for thriving employment opportunities, Naples is a great option. Naples, Florida is one of the best cities in the United States for job growth and still has plenty of affordable housing options. Naples will give you a great sense of community, pristine golfing, and heightened neighborhood security.
If you’re interested in a more intense lifestyle that’s bustling with activity, check out life in Orlando, Tampa, or Miami. Just make sure you’re ready to commit to all of the pros and cons of each—especially the tourism.
Step 4: Think About Your Housing Needs
Once you’ve looked into some cities, you’ll want to decide whether or not you’re going to rent or buy. If you think you’re going to be permanently relocating to Florida, buying is an economical option as housing costs are quite affordable across the state. However, remember that the housing market is always fluctuating so you’ll want to make sure that you get a real estate agent that works with your best interests at heart. If you prefer to rent a home in Florida to get a better idea of whether or not you want to commit to a city or the state, do your research and make sure that you understand rental rights in Florida. If you’re moving all of your things, including bulky furniture, consider renting a short term self storage unit while you find your perfect home.
Step 5: Solidify Employment
If you don’t already have employment, now is the time to start looking. As we mentioned, Naples is a great place to go if you want to immerse yourself in new opportunities, but there are plenty of other places to find employment. If you’re already employed, but are making a transfer, make sure you stay organized and consider visiting your new facility ahead of time. Whether you move to a city because of employment or find employment after you choose a city doesn’t matter, just make sure that you’re prepared and have enough savings to be comfortable while you search.
Step 6: Pack your Bags
If all goes well, it’s time to pack your bags and move to Florida. If you’re moving from out of state, this is probably going to be one of the most stressful parts of the process. People usually hate moving, but it doesn’t have to cause anxiety. Work your way through this comprehensive moving checklist and look for self storage units in your city to start. Using a self storage unit for moving is a great way to stay organized and move in at your own pace without having to look at piles of unopened boxes every day. Just remember to always keep important documents or information with you and not in the moving truck and always pack a suitcase of things you’ll need during your move.
Step 7: Make Some Friends
Once you get settled, it’s time to get out in the community and make some friends! The people you associate with have a huge impact on your quality of life. Don’t be afraid to join clubs and groups or knock on your neighbor’s door and say hello. The more you integrate yourself in your new life, the happier you’ll be.
Step 8: Officiate Your Residency
If you’re enjoying Florida and want to stay permanently, it’s time to officiate your residency. By taking the steps to become a Florida resident, you’ll gain access to resident discounts and zero state income tax—amongst other things. Transfer your driver’s license, update your car insurance, and make sure that you file your taxes accordingly based on your move.
While moving to Florida isn’t for everyone, those that do call it home love it. Wherever you’re located in Florida, you’ll have access to amazing beaches and great, weekend getaways that are only a short drive away.
If you’re planning on moving to Florida from out of state, the process can be a little daunting. The Lock Up Self Storage offers convenient temperature controlled self storage in cities across Florida as well as free moving trucks to help make the transition a little easier. If you’re coming from out of state and are planning on renting a home before buying a permanent residence, The Lock Up Self Storage will help you store anything you don’t need so you can focus on finding the perfect new home. All of our self storage units are safe, secure, and are temperature controlled so you don’t have to worry about the safety of your things. Call us today at (866) 327-LOCK to learn more about our Florida locations and inquire about our flexible leasing options.