Florida is well known for its nickname, the Sunshine State. It earns the nickname with its warm temperatures, glorious beaches, and proximity to the ocean. It’s considered a top vacation destination. But it doesn’t have to be just for vacation. With more jobs now remote, many people who work in the north are relocating their homes to Florida to take advantage of the nice weather and tax benefits. Others are moving to Florida with new jobs located within the Sunshine State.
Whatever your reason for relocating from New Jersey to Florida, there are steps you’ll need to take to make your move south a smooth one.
Step 1: Find a Central Florida Financial Advisor
The first thing you should do before you move to Central Florida is to speak with a local financial advisor. This is important for two reasons. The first is that taxes are different in Florida in that there is no income tax in the state, which means you’ll want to speak with someone who understands local tax rates. The second reason is that the cost of living is different in Florida than it is in New Jersey and you’ll want to make sure you’re making the right decisions in terms of housing and savings.
Step 2: Decide Where to Live in Central Florida
Central Florida is an excellent part of the state in which to make your home. It’s home to Orlando and its theme parks but is also centrally located so you’re never too far from either the ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. It’s also easier to access the northern and southern parts of the state from the center than it is from elsewhere in the state.
The following are some of the top areas in Central Florida for those moving from New Jersey.
Orlando functions as the capital of the Central Florida region. It’s the largest city in the area and is home to a large number of attractions. It’s home to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Legoland, Seaworld, Fun Spot America, Gatorland, and more. The city also has a lot of green space and is centrally located for easy access to beaches on both sides of the state.
Commute by SunRail
There’s a commuter rail called the SunRail that connects suburbs to the city center, so if you work in Orlando, you won’t have to worry about driving downtown. Winter Park is a popular suburb for those working in Orlando.
Tampa is another popular Central Florida city. It’s right on the Gulf of Mexico so you’ll never be far from the beach but it’s also not far from Orlando. If you’d prefer to live in a smaller city without losing access to everything a larger city has to offer, Tampa is a good choice.
Titusville is located directly east of Orlando on the Atlantic coast. This means easy access to the beaches on the ocean side of the state without losing proximity to everything Orlando has to offer. It’s part of Florida’s Space Coast, which means that living in Titusville means that you’ll be close to Kennedy Space Center.
Melbourne, Florida is just south of Titusville and offers many of the same benefits. You’ll never be far from a beach and Kennedy Space Center but at the same time you’re not too far from Orlando’s theme parks and bigger-city bustle.
Step 3: Decide Whether to Buy or Rent in Central Florida
Moving to a new state involves a lot of important decisions. Once you’ve determined where you want to live, it’s time to decide whether you want to rent or buy. Both options are less expensive in Orlando than in New Jersey.
For example, the average price for a three-bedroom home in Newark, New Jersey is $655,928 but in Orlando, that same size of house costs $413,025 on average. Rent prices follow a similar pattern. In New Jersey, the average price for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,957 per month, while a comparable apartment in Orlando averages $1,604.
Benefits of Renting
Renting can be a good option to start out when you first move to Central Florida. Renting for a while gives you the opportunity to try out an area and see if you like it before you commit to buying a house. Some may prefer to continue renting because they prefer to have a landlord be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of a house, especially since Florida’s hurricane season may cause some property damage.
Discuss Your Options with Your Florida Financial Advisor
Because the costs of renting and buying in Orlando are lower than in New Jersey, you’ll be able to afford a larger home than you could before. Alternatively, you may want to consider investing in a property of the same size you’re already used to and then putting the money you’ll save toward a retirement account or a child’s college education instead. Discuss your options with your Orlando financial advisor before you make a decision.
Step 4: Purchase Insurance in Florida
Your insurance needs in Florida will be different than in New Jersey. Florida has a hurricane season that lasts from June through November. Most hurricanes come in August and September. You’ll need to make sure that your insurance policies for any property, from homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to auto insurance, cover both hurricane damage and flood damage.
If you’re renting, your landlord will need a policy for the building and the land, but you’ll need a renter’s insurance policy to cover your belongings. You may need a separate hurricane or flood insurance.
If you decide to purchase a home, then you’ll need homeowner’s insurance. Some homeowners’ insurance policies do cover hurricane damage, but many won’t cover flood damage, which would require a separate policy.
Many automobile insurance policies don’t cover flood damage unless you have comprehensive insurance. It’s worth it to have the extra coverage because hurricanes aren’t a maybe.
Flood and Hurricane Insurance
For all types of insurance, it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re covered for both flood damage and hurricane damage. In many cases, policies might cover hurricane damage but not flood damage, so you’ll want to first determine what your policy covers. Then, you may need to take out an additional hurricane and/or flood insurance.
Step 5: Set Up Your Central Florida Utilities
Getting your utilities, from gas, electricity, and water to Internet and cable, set up is an important part of moving. The following are some useful links to help you get started.
Step 6: Become a Florida Resident
Once you’ve moved in, it’s time to become a Florida resident. You’ll need to stop by the DMV and update your address. The following are useful links that will make this process easier.
Tax Information: https://www.stateofflorida.com/taxes/
School Information: https://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/
Becoming a Legal Florida Resident: https://www.stateofflorida.com/residency/
General Information for Relocating to Florida: https://www.stateofflorida.com/moving-to-florida/
Step 7: Stay Safe from Alligators
People who have lived in Florida their entire lives know what nuisance alligators can be, but many who have only visited or who have only recently moved might not know. There’s about one alligator for every ten to fifteen people in Florida, which means that you might run across them.
Make sure to avoid getting too close to any water where you can’t see the bottom, especially when you have pets or small children with you. Additionally, alligators can get almost anywhere, even outside of water sources. People have found them on their front porches and in their backyards.
Call 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286) to report a nuisance alligator.
If you’re currently based in New Jersey, moving to Florida can be a great way to save money as well as to escape the winter weather permanently. Moving to a new state can be a difficult process, however, but these steps can help to make it easier. Plus, talking with a financial advisor in Orlando before you move can help you to make sure that not only are you making the right choice but that you’ll be able to make the most out of your decision.
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