Staying in one place has its benefits, but sometimes making a move is worth the risk. Moving to a new location allows you to start fresh and discover a whole new place in the United States. If you’ve lived in the Midwest, or other areas that succumb to harsh winters, moving to the south offers a completely different way of living. An often-overlooked place to move to is Sarasota, Florida. Sarasota offers all of the benefits of living in Florida, with less tourists and lower costs. If you’re considering moving to Sarasota, you’ll love this guide for people looking to relocate.
1. Understand What Moving to Florida Means
Before you make the move to Sarasota, Florida, it’s important to make sure that you fully understand what moving to Florida means. Amidst all of the positive reasons to move to Florida, there are some unique things to keep in mind.
No Income Tax
Florida is one of the few states in the U.S. that doesn’t have any state income tax. Thanks to the profits that the state of Florida earns from tourism, the only thing you’ll need to file is federal taxes. This means you’ll get to keep more money in your wallet.
Low Housing Costs
Living in Florida is very affordable, especially when compared to other parts of the country. Sarasota housing costs are lower than Miami with the average home costing about $260,000. Renting can cost close to $2,000/month, so it’s worth looking into owning real estate if you’re considering relocating to Sarasota.
Florida weather is beautiful almost every day of the year. It never snows and temperatures rarely drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, even in January and February. Sarasota offers nearly year-round sunshine and is great for those who want to escape frigid winters.
As a resident of Sarasota, Florida, you’ll enjoy local discounts for many acclaimed attractions such as Disney World and Busch Gardens. This makes for great, affordable family fun and some easy weekend getaways.
While Florida weather is often warm and sunny, you’ll also have to deal with extreme heats and high levels of humidity at certain times throughout the year. Florida is also more at-risk for hurricanes than most other states, but since Sarasota is on the west coast, it’s less likely that they’ll be as severe or even make it across.
Florida has some of the highest insurance costs in the country. They’re third behind Michigan and Louisiana for car insurance and has higher than average home insurance rates as well. Make sure you do your research before making the jump so you’re prepared.
The number of snakes and alligators that plague Florida isn’t over-exaggerated online or TV—there are a lot of both. With the added humidity, many Florida cities also experience a lot of bugs throughout the year. While alligators and snakes can be avoided, if you can’t stand bugs, then Florida might not be a good option for you.
Lots of Tourists
Luckily, Sarasota has far fewer tourists than cities like Miami, Tampa, Hollywood and Orlando. However, Sarasota still offers some great beaches and cultural experiences, so you can expect to see tourists here and there—especially during winter months. You’re unlikely to notice a major difference in your daily life as the tourists that come to Florida tend to stick to the bigger cities.
2. Lifestyle Living in Sarasota
Sarasota offers affordable costs of living and a number of bustling neighborhoods guaranteed to fit every lifestyle. Laurel Park is a great place for singles or young professionals while Harbor Acres is more relaxed and has an older crowd. Do your research on where you want to live and what kind of lifestyle you want to live before committing to a house. One of the best and safest places to raise a family in Sarasota is Alta Vista, which also boasts a great public-school system. If you’re interested in private school, there are plenty of highly rated options for you to choose from. Lakewood Ranch is another highly sought-after community and offers parks, shopping, dining, and plenty of outdoor activities.
3. Decide on Buying vs. Renting
Since the rent is a high compared to mortgage costs, it’s a good idea to make a decision on whether or not you think your move to Sarasota will be permanent or temporary. If you see yourself living there permanently, it’s a better financial decision to buy a home. To make sure that you don’t rush into anything, consider trying to find some short-term rentals in different neighborhoods around Sarasota to get a better feel for your options.
4. Consider Extracurricular Activities
There’s no shortage of extracurricular activities in Sarasota, Florida, but what you prefer to do in your free time could make a difference on where you decide to move. As we mentioned above, Laurel Park is a great neighborhood for younger people and is located close to some of the best nightlife. Glen Oaks, on the other hand, is a community that’s known for being quiet and holds a number of walking trails and golfing spots.
White Sand Beaches
Sarasota, Florida is home to some of the most highly rated beaches. Siesta Key Beach has been named the #1 beach in America more than once by popular sites like TripAdvisor. It’s a truly wonderful white sand beach that gives off a Caribbean vibe throughout the year. If you want to avoid the crowds without sacrificing beauty, you can opt for any one of the other great beaches in Sarasota such as Blind Pass Beach, Brohard Beach, Nokomis Beach, Manasota Beach, Turtle Beach, Palmer Point Beach, or more!
The Ringling Estate offers some amazing Sarasota attractions. There are museums, a circus, zoos, and a mansion from the infamous Ringling Brothers scattered throughout Sarasota.
If you’re more of a dancer, there are plenty of options for you to hang out with a bustling Sarasota nightlife. Sarasota offers bars and entertainment venues, beach clubs, and themed events—all you have to do is check the calendar for events.
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
Another unique attraction in Sarasota is the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. You can complete your trip to the Aquarium with a visit to the Myakka River State Park, the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy, or the Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary.
5. Look at Employment Opportunities
If you don’t already have a job lined up in Sarasota, Florida, there are a number of great employment opportunities for you to apply to. The Sarasota job market itself is bustling or you can look at finding a job in any of the surrounding major cities. With Tampa so close, the opportunities are endless.
6. Get Excited About the Food
One thing that locals in Sarasota tend to brag about is the number of amazing restaurants scattered around town. You’ll be able to find anything from fish and seafood dinners to Amish food and pies. Owen’s Fish Camp is one of the best restaurants in Sarasota and Station 400 offers an unforgettable brunch.
7. Make if Official
When planning your move to Sarasota, Florida, don’t forget to make it official and become a Florida resident. Becoming a Florida resident is the best way to make sure that you’re getting low costs, not paying any state tax, and receiving all of the other benefits that come with moving to Florida. All you have to do is head to the DMV after you’ve moved in, update your car insurance, and start making the switch to filing taxes in Florida. To make sure that you’re not breaking any tax regulations, always talk to your tax consultant—for your first year, you might have to file in Florida and your previous state of residency.
One of the best things about moving to Sarasota is that it’s located in a great area that makes inner-state travel a breeze. You can find your perfect home in Sarasota, Florida and still be close to some amazing weekend getaways. You can drive an hour or so and find yourself at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay or head to Orlando to enjoy Disney World and Universal Studios. Miami is only about four hours away and is a great place to get away and enjoy a completely different cultural experience. Florida has so much to offer and Sarasota is a great place to call home.
If you’re planning on moving to Sarasota from out of town, the process of moving can be a little daunting. The Lock Up Self Storage offers convenient temperature controlled self storage in Sarasota 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’s Sarasota Storage location will help you store anything you don’t need so you can focus on finding the perfect new home. Call us today at (866) 327-LOCK to learn more about any of our Florida locations and inquire about our flexible leasing options.