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Old 11-21-2014, 11:54 AM   #21
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Not Florida alone, but here are our favorite relocation research sites (no particular order):


Note: city-data also has an active forum, a great resource to compare notes with others, including natives/locals in the cities your considering
The City-Data forum was probably the most useful in our search for a new location. My favorite information came from people who used to live where we lived; they were able to provide the most pertinent information about the kinds of changes I could expect.
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Old 11-21-2014, 02:12 PM   #22
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We have a place in Crystal River, on the gulf side in Citrus County. The cost of living is reasonable, and although it gets a bit "chilly" (by Florida standards) in the winter time, we like the laid back aspect and all of the boating and outdoor activities in the area.
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Old 11-22-2014, 10:54 AM   #23
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I've lived in Jax since around '98 or so, but I was a kid. Still young, still live in Jacksonville. I'm travelling now, but I'm always excited to go back. A wonderful hurricane shield, .....
I'm considering moving to FL too, because of 0% State tax, warm winters, and maybe because I've visited parts of FL on both coasts and feel comfortable (might be a mis-guided tourist view).

Please explain what you mean by: "hurricane shield"
As insurance for hurricanes is something I think is negative part of FL.
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hurricane insurance
Old 11-22-2014, 10:56 AM   #24
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hurricane insurance

I just paid my first property insurance bill--$1020 for a double-wide. The only option I had was to use the state sponsored company.
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Old 11-22-2014, 12:06 PM   #25
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I just paid my first property insurance bill--$1020 for a double-wide. The only option I had was to use the state sponsored company.
Is that in FL and is that for the entire year for property and hurricane or just hurricane ?
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Old 11-23-2014, 02:17 PM   #26
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It is Florida and it is total coverage including hurricane.


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Old 11-23-2014, 03:47 PM   #27
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Our coastal insurance has been going up substantially. We don't have to carry flood, but the wind and hail is 80% or so of our premium cost on the HO3 policy.
Can't imagine what it would be if we still lived on a barrier island. Our insurer is in Florida, ASI, and I worry if a big storm wipes out enough of their policies, we will be shopping again.


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Old 11-23-2014, 09:26 PM   #28
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We downsized last year and purchased our villa home in Viera,FL which is in Brevard County.
Yeah Brevard!
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Old 12-19-2014, 09:29 AM   #29
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I finally got fed up with working for a living in September 2014. We decided central Florida was the place to be in a +55 community. Started researching using 55places.com as a start point which provides a lot of good information. Turns our there are 45 +55 communities in central Florida. Put together a matrix and started comparing, whittled it down to the top three. In November we made a trip to visit the top three, ended up choosing Lakes of Mount Dora in Lake County. Initially thought we would build but also looked at resales. The absolute perfect (for us) house in Lakes of Mount Dora hit the market three days prior to our trip. It looked great on the internet, but of course one has to see it in person. We had a Realtor show it to us, but he said the house was so attractive two potential buyers were racing to put a contract on it. We said OK, too bad, keep us posted if anything like it comes on the market. We looked at some others but nothing else grabbed us. We went home, two days later the Realtor contacted us to say both prospective buyers had snags getting their contracts completed. I decided to jump on it, by the end of the day we had a signed contract. We close on 14 January 2015. Now we have to sell our current house (not a contingency on buying the Florida house) and plan to move as soon as we can sell or by the end of February. I will give two weeks notice to retire on 30 January unless the house sells earlier. I intend to be an early member of the class of 2015!
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Old 12-19-2014, 09:49 AM   #30
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When I moved to FL in 1991, we lived in Lake county for 5 years. We rented in Tavares and built our house in Mt. Dora. Lots of snow birds come to the area in the winter. Good luck with selling your house.
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Old 12-19-2014, 11:47 PM   #31
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I have learned one thing in reading on FL, you get a homeowners exception/deduction on property taxes if you own a home Jan 01, and its your permanent residence.

So if that is true, I'll try to be sure I close on a place just prior to Jan 01 if possible.
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Old 12-20-2014, 11:52 AM   #32
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Well, I just spent my first ever birthday in warm weather. Pretty sweet, walking on the beach and watching the sunset instead of huddled inside the house. Even good weather on my birthday usually meant sunny and pretty damn chilly.

However, as far as migrating to FL, I've recently been (and still am) dealing with some nasty insurance issues related to being a FL homeowner and resident.

Before I had my primary residence in VA, and a second home in MD. No problem, Allstate covered both, as well as riders for jewelry, flood insurance where needed, umbrella, etc. But once we declared FL our PR, we had to get a homeowner's policy with Joe's Insurance (Federated, really), because none of the big names do homeowners in FL. No big deal. But a bit of a pita. We turned the VA house into a rental, and it's out of this story now. So a couple of months ago my Mom died, and I inherited her house in VA, as well as her wedding ring. She was insured by USAA, but I'm not eligible for it, so they notified me they'll be dropping her insurance as each policy expires. So I called Allstate to see if I could add these items to my policy up there. That's when things went to hell.

Turns out when they cancelled my VA house as a primary residence, they also dropped the liability on the MD house. And the jewelry riders. And the umbrella. Because those things all hang off the primary policy. They can't insure a second home alone for those things if they don't have the PR. Federated can't do anything for me because they're mostly only in FL, and there are other details like the value of the FL (PR) house being so low and the value of the MD house being so high. And the one possible policy I found was asking for a $12K/year premium, which is insane.

Long story short, we haven't had liability or jewelry or umbrella coverage up north for almost a year, and we're having a huge issue trying to get it. I've talked to Allstate as well as an independent agent, and it's just not working out very well. If I could find a company that does homeowners in both places I'd switch to that, but no luck so far.

So, if you are making FL your primary residence but keeping another home, be careful with the insurance issues. Personally I think my Allstate agent dropped the ball by not letting us know about this when the policies changed last year, but I'm somewhat to blame to for not reading the policies. I will find a way to get this all cleared up, but it's been a big enough hassle that I'm considering changing my PR to MD. My income is low enough that the income tax savings of being a FL resident is being overwhelmed by the additional insurance costs. Nothing's ever easy, I guess.
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Old 12-20-2014, 12:17 PM   #33
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I finally got fed up with working for a living in September 2014. We decided central Florida was the place to be in a +55 community. Started researching using 55places.com as a start point which provides a lot of good information. Turns our there are 45 +55 communities in central Florida. Put together a matrix and started comparing, whittled it down to the top three. In November we made a trip to visit the top three, ended up choosing Lakes of Mount Dora in Lake County. Initially thought we would build but also looked at resales. The absolute perfect (for us) house in Lakes of Mount Dora hit the market three days prior to our trip. It looked great on the internet, but of course one has to see it in person. We had a Realtor show it to us, but he said the house was so attractive two potential buyers were racing to put a contract on it. We said OK, too bad, keep us posted if anything like it comes on the market. We looked at some others but nothing else grabbed us. We went home, two days later the Realtor contacted us to say both prospective buyers had snags getting their contracts completed. I decided to jump on it, by the end of the day we had a signed contract. We close on 14 January 2015. Now we have to sell our current house (not a contingency on buying the Florida house) and plan to move as soon as we can sell or by the end of February. I will give two weeks notice to retire on 30 January unless the house sells earlier. I intend to be an early member of the class of 2015!
We did a 2 or 3 night visit there few years ago, same development. Nice homes, very well built. The building process was scary for DW(never done a new build), although I know the process is well defined and more than adequate. So we wanted to stay on the resell side. We didn't find "The House" while we were there. Maybe another time.

Best wishes on your retirement, home sale, and move.

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You'll have to wait another 19 years, but...
Old 12-20-2014, 01:09 PM   #34
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You'll have to wait another 19 years, but...

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Originally Posted by rsingh6675 View Post
Has anyone recently migrated to Florida? I am curious---
How do you find the TOWN?
How do you search for apartment/condo or house?
I have been living in St. Louis for the past 36yrs, and am curious how to explore relocation?
Any good suggestions will be appreciated.
Thanks
Raj Singh
My brother bought a home in The Villages and he golfs for free a few times per week. Each of the four town squares have live music, every night of the year. The favorite mode of transportation is the golf cart, but many are customized to look like Model T's, '57 Chevys, etc.

I'm considering the move but, as the final quarter is filling up, new homes that were $185K just a couple years ago are now $235K...the old supply/demand thing. Too bad I didn't buy in 2012 and rent it (or even just let it sit vacant). I heard the owners were looking into doing one near San Antonio, Texas, but that was a couple years ago, too, so who knows?

Unfortunately, Raj, you (or your spouse) must be at least 55 years old. Even their under-55 employees must live off-site. But just think: NO KIDS. It's like those people already died and went to Heaven!!!
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My brother and his girlfriend LOVE it!
Old 12-20-2014, 01:15 PM   #35
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My brother and his girlfriend LOVE it!

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Mother in law lives in The Villages. One of my least favorite places. :-)
He owns the winter home in The Villages; she owns the summer home in Madison, Wisconsin. Wish I could afford it...guess I need to find a FIRE Asian girlfriend. (Not following in his footsteps; his girlfriend is a midwest blonde...to the best of my knowledge, of course. )
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Old 12-20-2014, 02:35 PM   #36
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We are driving to Mt. Dora on Monday for a couple of days. We live just outside Orlando in a 55+ community and enjoy going to Mt. Dora around the holidays for the shopping and lights. We stay at a B & B on the lake. We alternate between Mt. Dora and St. Augustine each year around Christmas. Both are lovely.

Welcome to central Florida. We love it and hope you will as well.
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Old 12-20-2014, 09:48 PM   #37
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harley

I hear your pain, I have a little place in another country and this year the ins company told me via the broker they would not carry it. Even though I had never filed a claim in 20 years!

Only 1 place would take me, and it was so expensive, I went for 20K coverage (which is not really coverage at all), just so I could get the 1MM liability coverage on it.
That coverage cost me 1K
It was such a scramble too.
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Old 12-24-2014, 11:17 AM   #38
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I have spent 4-5 weeks in Florida working for a number of years. There's no substitution to taking a week or two driving around the state looking at cities you can afford.

Warm winter weather is why so many people like to retire to Florida--and the lack of state income taxes. But remember that you've got to be south of Orlando to be assured it's going to be warm in Winter. The panhandle is a very cold place in Winter--a big surprise to many.

Right now, property values in Miami are high. Jacksonville area houses can be more reasonable in price. There should be a bunch of condos in Daytona available for bargain prices.

My step daughter lives west of St. Augustine in a very nice neighborhood. Her $356K house is now worth $185K, and the property taxes are still $2500. HOA fees are another $2000. People in her neighborhood cannot even sell their houses due to these expenses.

My favorite area is Ft. Myers/Naples. I also like Sarasota.
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Old 12-30-2014, 10:03 PM   #39
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Wife and I started renting in Jupiter FL each winter as soon as I retired in Dec '12. Now in our 3rd year snowbirding we enjoy the community, the people, and the activities so are buying our own place. Winters on beach in Jupiter, summers on beach at NJ Shore, nothing could be better!
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Old 12-31-2014, 11:41 AM   #40
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It was nice in Jensen Beach over Christmas. I didn't pick-up any real estate books, but I walked around in a neigborhood across the street from the inlet and it looked like the houses could be comfortable (not super nice), but based on the cars in the driveways, quite affordable
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