How to Relocate to Florida

If you dream of sunny weather, beautiful beaches, and gently swaying palm trees, then it might be time to move to Florida. From New York to California, people all over the country have dreams of one day relocating to the Sunshine State.

Maybe you're looking to sell your house and retire in comfort, or maybe you want to make the jump to our sunny climate earlier in life. Either way, there are few things you should know before you plan your move.

Are you relocating from outside the United States? My post about moving to Florida from Canada might be helpful, or you can check out my Out-of-Country Purchasing Guide.

An Easy Retirement: Buying With Cash

Do you own your own home? Then moving to Florida will be easy. You can simply sell your home in your state, then buy a new home in Florida with cash. This approach saves you a lot of hassle because you don't have to worry about getting financed. (If you do need financing, skip to the next section!)

So if you plan to sell your home and move to Florida, what's the best way to go about it? It might be tempting to buy your Florida home right away, so that it's waiting for you when you arrive, but that kind of eagerness might get you into trouble.

For one thing, if you buy too soon before you're planning to move in, you might be forced to purchase your new home as an investment property, and there are tax penalties associated with that.

For another thing, you really can't be certain that you've found the right community until you've spent some time there. Imagine realizing one year into your retirement that you have to go through the entire selling and buying process again!

The best approach to moving to Florida is to find a short-term rental. You'll have time to explore the area and figure out where you want to live, and that way you can be sure that you purchase a home you'll enjoy for the entirety of your long and happy retirement.

So, for example, you can find a short-term rental in Jupiter and take your time exploring the various communities in the area to find the one that's perfect for you.

Moving to Florida When You Don't Own a Home

Maybe your kids have moved out, but you still have a mortgage and aren't ready to retire. Or maybe you're just excited to raise your family in Florida! There are plenty of great reasons to move to Florida at any point in your life. But if you're going to need financing to buy a house here, there are a few things you should be ready for.

First, the same guidelines apply as if you're buying in cash: you should move here and rent short-term before buying a house.

Second, you're going to have to make sure you can secure financing in this state, even though you're a newcomer. Your best bet is simply to make sure you have a job lined up in Florida. As long as your job in Florida is in the same field as your previous job, and you have a good record of employment, financing should be easy to come by.

If you're planning to change careers when you move here, though, you'll probably have to rent for a while until you can show a good record of employment in your new field.

Making the Move

So you have a plan. Now you're ready to relocate to Florida! But moving from one state to another comes with some paperwork.

You probably know that Florida has no income tax! But did you know that your home state can still try to charge you taxes? New York and California especially have a reputation for going after people who have moved away. But there are a few things you can do to avoid having to pay taxes in your former state.

First, the sooner you can change your registrations over to Florida, the better. This includes:

  • Voter registration
  • Car registration
  • Driver's license
  • Mailing address for bills and bank statements

The sooner you're officially registered as a Florida resident in every way possible, the stronger your case that you shouldn't pay taxes anywhere else.

Last of all, make sure you don't spend too much time in your previous home state. If you still have business there, or frequently visit family, make sure that you spend fewer than 180 days there or you might have to deal with state taxes. And be careful—if your flight lands at 11:30 at night, that half hour might count as an entire day to some government officials.

Getting Representation

No matter how you're planning to relocate to Florida, one of the best decisions you can make is to get representation from a local realtor. Realtors will know the local communities inside and out, and be able to help you find a home that perfectly meets your needs. If you want to retire in comfort, or raise your family in style, a Florida realtor will make sure you can make your dreams come true.

Posted by Kathy Palmer on
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