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RE Jan 2016 moving to Florida,
Old 11-07-2015, 10:35 AM   #1
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RE Jan 2016 moving to Florida,

RE Jan 2016 and moving to Florida. Would like to hear experiences, from others that have done the same thing, recently(5yrs)or in near future. My wife and I are going to be exploring the state. Beaches, restaurants, Fishing, Shopping, But we have to also take care of Business. License, Residency, Will, Insurance, Etc.: How will we have time for all this?

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Old 11-07-2015, 11:02 AM   #2
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I've never lived in Florida, but I know a bunch of people with condos and vacation homes down there. They're very kind to retirees on sales tax, but they make up with extremely high property taxes, homeowners' insurance and HOA fees can be out of sight.

I've been south of St. Augustine in a snow storm before. Don't move to Northern Florida if you're looking for 12 month hot weather, because it's not there. Warm weather is from Orlando south. My favorite places in the state are from Sarasota south on the Gulf Coast. SE FL is too congested for me. I also like the Jupiter Beach to Ft. Pierce area, as it's without all the putt putt golf and go cart tracks. Bargains in houses can also be found along that coast.

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Old 11-07-2015, 07:22 PM   #3
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We moved to The Villages, an hour north of Orlando in central Florida, 18 months ago. The Villages is the largest over-55 community in the world. More than 2,000 activities are included in the $145 per month amenities fee, including several hundred holes of golf. We have found cost of Iiving to be much lower than our previous homes in New Jersey and Maine. Summers are hot and humid, but we bike in the cool early mornings and jump in the pool during the hot afternoons. We have a week or two of cold days, but winters are generally warm. We came here because Maine, which I loved, was too cold for DH. I like it far more than I ever expected. Family is here this week and we all went to a polo match yesterday. Today was Homosassa Springs, tomorrow is Merritt Island. One of our goals is to explore every one of the 150 state parks.
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Old 11-07-2015, 08:45 PM   #4
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Moved to Ft. Lauderdale in 1998 while working and decided to stay after I left my full time job in January. Did, however, leave S. FL behind and moved to the Panhandle between Destin and Panama City for a quieter live and better environment for my school age kids.

If you have already settled on a location (sounds like you may have), then Bamaman's observations on the weather won't mean anything. If you haven't, he's on the mark. I agree that the Gulf side of the state would be my preference were it not for my school age kids.

As for getting settled, I believe you'll find FL an easy state to do business with. Gov't offices are pretty functional (and friendly outside of SoFla) and you can do a lot on line.

Plenty to see and explore that isn't Disney World. For people who like to be outdoors, it's a great place to live. The weather is what it is, and I found the summers are manageable (even in Orlando) if you are willing to be active in the mornings.

I highly recommend a trip to Kennedy Space Center. If you have any memory of the space program in the 60's, it could well bring tears of pride to your eyes
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Old 11-08-2015, 04:44 AM   #5
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I moved to SE FL 18 years ago from Boston when I ER'd. I do not find the location too crowded, and of course, being ER'd, I do not have to drive I-95 or be forced into a traffic situation. My community is well laid out, fairly spacious, and I am only 4 miles to the beach which I frequent. There are plenty of restaurants and shopping close by. And, of course, the perpetual sunshine and warmth is terrific ! For me, it was a good move - no regrets.

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Old 11-08-2015, 05:17 AM   #6
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I have spent time visiting friends/relatives in retirement communities and I have made one huge observation. Your mental perspective and behavior will drastically change based on the environment.

DW and I am just over 55, and we were the babies in every activity in the community. As a competitive person, I don't like beating up on "old people" in any activity, physical or mental. Hearsay, gossip, and "Good Morning America" are entertainment, not credible news sources. Good topics for daily conversation but not to be etched in concrete for the new norm.

Also continuous comments like " there goes Joe on his bike" or "Mary, just went by on her scooter for the second time" does not conjure up a healthy atmosphere. Is it a big surprise that Joe or Mary was able to muster enough energy to pull it off? Is a casual observation suddenly a major news event 12 hours a day? Have I resorted to become a human motion detector/reporter because of so much free time? Or is it a celebration that I noticed Joe/Mary?

Perhaps I'm just a grumpy old man at 55.
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Old 11-08-2015, 05:44 AM   #7
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As another grumpy old man (61), having lived in central florida about 50 of those years, I find the heat suffocating (even now, in November) if you really need or want to actually "do" something outside. That's not to say you can't spend your time going to restaurants, malls, movies, attractions. But, that's not doing anything as I define it. YMMV.

Working at my bench in the garage most of the year, I have the window shade pulled down and a fan blowing right in my face to keep the sweat from dripping on whatever I am trying to accomplish. Sound like fun?

Edit: I'm grumpy because the broccoli we (me and DW) sweated over planting and replanting and replanting in August should be happy as a clam by now...but it's's bolting.
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Old 11-08-2015, 06:20 AM   #8
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why Florida? Go to New York, or Canada...everything is better up there! stand still in Florida long enough, and one of the two will tell you exactly that.
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:13 AM   #9
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We moved to S. Florida (Ft. Lauderdale area) 4 months ago. Like any place, somethings are great and some not so great. So far it seems there are a strange mix of people here. There are so many different accents. Im used to a southern accent and a Mexican accent (from Dallas). Here, I hear Brazilian, Jamaican, Colombian, Cuban, no accent (natural born Floridians which there dont seem to be many of), and New York accent among others. Diversity is a great thing. The accents just take some getting used to.

The people are definitely ruder than they are in Dallas. People in Dallas are laid back and relaxed. Not the case here. People dont seem to know what personal space is while standing in a grocery store line. Ive never heard more people in the service industry be so rude to customers. From the lady at the doctors offices, to the lumber guy at Home Depot. It surprised me. There does seem to be much less racial tension here than in Dallas. I havent watched the news a single time since moving here so maybe Im just insulating myself from it, but Ive experienced less racial tension while being around town. DW is Hispanic and she got watched or followed lots of times by store security back in Dallas while at Ross, or Sharper Image, or whatever store she was in. Here that hasn't been a problem.

We rented a house in an upper middle class neighborhood. We are right on the border of the highest income suburb in the entire area, but still we are not too far a couple sketchy areas. Again, in Dallas, the economic classes seem to live farther apart than they do here. There are 2 High Schools in our suburb. One is rated a 9 on and one is rated a 6. The 6 is not a school just about anyone here would want their kids in. We met a couple that we've become friends with and the wife just happens to be the school resource officer at the "6" school. They have constant problems with kids bringing weapons to school, fights, kids getting expelled for getting arrested for robbery...etc. This school is only 3-4 miles from us. Within 10 houses from us, we have 2 Porsches, 2 Maseratis, 3 Teslas parked in the driveways. The point is that its weird how much money is nearby but within a few miles you see the other end of the spectrum.

Government agencies are easier to deal with here than in Dallas. There are local store fronts all over the place to get you car registration without having to sit all day a the DMV. Some car dealerships are registered with the state so you get your actual license plate the day you buy your car instead if getting a paper tag and waiting for the real one. Getting our DL was also easier and quicker than in Dallas. You dont have to get your car inspected here in Florida at all. Another thing I thought was weird, if you break your windshield, car insurance in Florida covers it for free by law. No deductible, no nothing.

We are actually considering moving back at the end of our 1 year lease. Our son is a junior. He is in the good area school but its still very disorganized compared to his previous school and he doesnt like it very much. We may move back so he can complete his senior yr back home.

I knew about the weather here but its killing me. I never knew how much I would miss the seasons. We went to the Ft. Lauderdale boat show (biggest boat show in the world) yesterday and it was so hot and humid that I literally was feeling light headed and we had to leave after about 3-4 hours. We were both dripping in sweat. Sweat was running down my chest and ribs. ITS NOVEMBER! Remember, Ive lived in Dallas for over 35 years so Im used to 100 degree heat. It was 65 in both Dallas and Las Vegas yesterday, but 89 here with a heat index of 98.

DW wife also misses her girlfriends tremendously.

I know I rambled on, but hopefully this helps somewhat.
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Old 11-08-2015, 08:08 AM   #10
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The best month for exploring the state is November or April . January is one of the most crowded months in Florida . The restaurants have long waits and traffic is awful . January is also our coolest month and one of the highest price months for leasing a place . November is usually great weather and the crowds have not descended yet. I live on the border of Sarasota & Bradenton . We have lots of reasonably priced restaurants and lots to do physically & socially . The house prices have been rising & new construction is everywhere .The DMV's are actually easy to deal with and most things can be done online . I haven't been to a DMV in years .
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Old 11-11-2015, 04:31 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
The best month for exploring the state is November or April . January is one of the most crowded months in Florida . The restaurants have long waits and traffic is awful . January is also our coolest month and one of the highest price months for leasing a place . November is usually great weather and the crowds have not descended yet. I live on the border of Sarasota & Bradenton . We have lots of reasonably priced restaurants and lots to do physically & socially . The house prices have been rising & new construction is everywhere .The DMV's are actually easy to deal with and most things can be done online . I haven't been to a DMV in years .
Funny, I've lived in Florida for 38 years and have always found January is one of the quietest months of the year. It's the lull between Christmas and the peak of the season.
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Old 11-11-2015, 10:00 AM   #12
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I have lived in central Florida for 18 years. The weather is very tough. If you enjoy 90 degrees for 8-9 months a year, you'll love it. But it gets old.

Housing costs are increasing significantly. Leasing is rising most quickly, and is very high. Most people want to live in a community with a home owners association because without it your neighbor may easily destroy any market value you had in your house. And because in many counties there are few or poorly enforced zoning laws, there is nothing you can do about it.

HOA fees vary. We live in an adult golfing community and pay $2900 a year in HOA fees. Well worth it for what we get.
"Some people describe themselves as being able to see a glass half full. For some, the glass is half empty. Me? I can't even find the f***king glass."
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:00 AM   #13
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Finally, a topic for which I may have a valid opinion.
DW and I relocated from rural, southwest Georiga to Ocala, Florida about 5 weeks ago. We moved into a 55+ community. She retired this year prior to the move. I'm still working (work from home). I'm afflicted with OMY syndrome and am trying to shake it. Plan to go part-time for a few months and retire summer of '16. She is 55, I'm 58.
The weather was not an issue for us as there is little difference between this part of Florida and southwest Georgia - both are hot and humid in summer and mild in winter. There is a noticeable difference in prevailing winds with more of a constant breeze here than in SW Georgia - so that was a pleasant surprise. No gnats here - big plus.
I am a cyclist and Ocala is about as good as it gets for road cycling: rolling hills, but not too hilly; plently of rural paved roads with light traffic in beautiful horse country; plenty of off-road trails to ride if you aren't a road cyclist. Have already found fellow cycling enthusiasts with similar interests in the community.
Property taxes in Marion County, Florida are quite reasonable and on an equal value home here vs Dougherty County, Georgia, are about 25% less - a big plus. Sales tax is 6% here vs 7% in previous location. We down-sized to a smaller, newer home so electricity cost is proportionately less.
Demographically, it quite different here vs our previous home. Lots of wealth here as evidenced by the 1300 horse farms in the county. More cultural opportunities than what we've been used to. Lower crime and fewer blighted areas.
Restaurants are adequate, but haven't found many that are special. We are still exploring here.
We are not close to either coast's beaches, but closer than we were in Georgia. We usually visited the Panama City/Destin area when living in SW Georgia, but will probably be looking at Daytona or Tampa from this location.
Shopping choices are better than SW Georgia with lots more shopping available within an hour's drive.
Establishing residency in Florida took a couple of days and about $1100 in fees. We registered three vehicles - two cars and a motorcycle - none of which were high end (cars 2001 and 2007, motorcycle 2014). This included drivers licenses for both of us. We also registered for homestead exemption for our property taxes, and to vote.
Fishing isn't one of my hobbies, but there are lots of fishing opportunities in the area with all the rivers, lakes and springs.
Total insurance costs are about the same as in Georgia - higher for autos, but lower for homeowners.
We spent the last two years researching early retirement and relocating. Our goals were a high quality of life, more upscale demographic, with a similar, or lower, total cost of living. We are happy with our decision to move here and feel we have met our goals. FWIW, our annual spend is $70K excluding taxes and we expect to remain at this level after I retire next year.
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:27 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by clslkock View Post
RE Jan 2016 and moving to Florida. Would like to hear experiences, from others that have done the same thing, recently(5yrs)or in near future.
We lived in Tampa area for several years, and we were both ready to move as soon as we could. Hot and humid is okay occasionally, but 9 solid months of it is just too much. And then there was the congestion (obviously some people liked the place). We're a lot happier in a place with some hills, some deciduous trees, friendlier people, and seasons that change.
If you haven't actually experienced the place, I'd urge you to spend a few weeks there first, esp in the summer.
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Old 11-11-2015, 04:50 PM   #15
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We moved to Bradenton a few months ago and really enjoy the master-planned community lifestyle. Typical days include biking, swimming, kayaking, tennis, golf, pickle ball. Not enough hours in the day to enjoy all the possibilities. We are about 35 minutes from the beaches and try to get there a couple times a month. It is a bit hot and sticky, but wife and I both enjoy the heat. Coming from California, we are pleasantly surprised at how much cheaper electricity and auto fuel are. We run the AC all day and night and our last month's electric bill was $107. Gas is still under $2/gal.
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Old 11-11-2015, 05:35 PM   #16
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Lived in SE FL for a while. I wasn't used to the humidity, but weather is nice in winter.

A few things I noticed about good old FLA:

Think of the coasts as "funnels". Imagine a big funnel from the eastern coast out to Ohio or so. The tip of this funnel leads to SE FL. Imagine a funnel from Indiana out to the Plains. This funnel leads to SW FL. This is a well established migration pattern and most definitely creates a different cultural vibe between the two FL coasts.

It is not a hard pattern, more like 80-20. So, you'll find more midwesterners in Tampa, and more New Yorkers in Ft. Lauderdale. Just the way it is.

The other thing that comes to mind is "The Season." Although summers are hot and humid, I found them to be gloriously relaxed, with the full timers enjoying each other and working for each other. But in The Season? Forget about it. Restaurant lines quadruple. Golf prices triple. I basically hunkered down every January and February and hung out with friends away from all commercial entertainment areas. The mixture of every day tourists with very demanding 184 day residents was downright toxic.
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Old 11-12-2015, 09:53 PM   #17
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We lived in Lakeland 40 years ago and explored FL up and down. About 15 or 20 years ago I took a job (that evaporated) in Pensacola and we scoped it out as a family and found it comfortable (socially) as world-traveled Northwesterners. We would go go back to the Panhandle experimentally. Understand: hot, humid, bugs and may not suit everyone socially. Tampa and Orlando are probably horribly crowded by now.

We have been advised that HOA fees on the east coast are high but bargains can be found on the west coast.
I have outlived most of the people I don't like and I am working on the rest.
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Old 11-16-2015, 10:38 AM   #18
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We like Florida very much as well and plan to start our longer stays beginning in 2017. Can't wait! I spent some time on the east side many years ago, now however my spouse and I like the west side. You can't beat the beautiful gulf beaches! We like the Bradenton/Sarasota area as well. We are getting a bit of sticker shock especially with the high real estate taxes in some areas. (lakewood ranch) The CDD fees and HOA can certainly add up, but the areas are really very well tended and look like a resort area. In any case we are planning our move from South Jersey around 2020, giving us time to visit various areas. Best - would love to hear of your experience as you move forward.
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Old 11-27-2015, 05:11 PM   #19
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We rented in Fort Myers from 11/14 through 3/15, while we were here we decided to purchase a place and did so 7/15. We kept our Condo at Lake of the Ozarks and will now spend only summers at the lake. We came back down to Fort Myers in October, became residents, licensed our vehicles, and are homesteading here ...... NO State Income Tax, we purchased a small place in a 55+ community. Between the No State Income Tax, No Vehicle Personal Property Tax, and seasonal rent we had paid, we will save upwards of 16K per year ...... Weather is great October through April/May ..... Very happy with our location and decision ......
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Old 12-04-2015, 05:04 AM   #20
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We have had a second home condo in Ft. Myers area for 12 years and have considered moving there full time more than once. So far, we like the 8 months in Midwest/4 months in FL lifestyle. I hear lots of warnings about the summer humidity and heat. As a thought, it is much cheaper to rent up north in the summers, than to rent in FL for the winter. I spoke to a recent Floridian about this and he told me they rent student housing at a Minn. University each summer to get away. About $1200 a month. They have access to all University amenities. Sounds very interesting.

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