There’s a lot to like about the Sunshine State. The warm breezes, the beaches, and the easy access to some of the world’s greatest theme parks are all excellent reasons to consider moving to Florida. If you’re currently living in NYC, Florida could also be a good opportunity to save money.
But what should you expect when you move from New York to Florida? Follow the steps below to make your transition as smooth as possible.
Step 1: Find a Financial Advisor in Florida
There is no income tax in Florida. That’s just one of the numerous differences between Florida and New York that could impact your finances. That’s why it’s important to find a financial advisor who lives where you’re moving to. It’s important to have a fiduciary advisor who knows all of the state and local laws and regulations that could affect your financial situation. You’ll also want to speak with someone who is well-versed in the financial goals that are important to you, such as buying a house, saving for a child’s education, or funding your retirement.
Talk to Your Financial Advisor About Taxes
Taxes in Florida are different from taxes in New York. To start, Florida doesn’t charge state income taxes, so you would only be responsible for federal income taxes. How this and other tax differences affect you is an important conversation to have with a local financial advisor.
Step 2: Decide Where to Live in Central Florida
Once you’ve spoken with a financial advisor in Florida to make sure that you’re financially prepared for the move, it’s time to decide where to move. Central Florida is home to Orlando, known for its theme parks, as well as Melbourne, Tampa, and a number of other cities. If you work remotely and can continue to work at your New York job in Florida, then you can choose your city based on the weather, restaurants, beach access, proximity to entertainment, housing prices, and more.
If you have children, then you’ll also want to consider school districts and family-friendly locations.
Orlando is in the center of Florida, which places the city in a prime location for accessing the rest of the state. While Orlando might not be right on the beach, it’s only an hour or so from beaches in either direction. Plus, the city is home to world-class theme parks like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.
The SunRail is a commuter rail network in the Orlando area that could help you to work downtown but live in an area farther out. This means that there are many more options open to you when you’re choosing the area in which you’d like to live. Downtown Orlando is still an option, but you’ll also have the entire surrounding area at your fingertips as well, without needing to worry about driving.
Winter Park, Florida
Winter Park is an excellent choice for those who want the convenience of living near Orlando without living within the city itself. It’s also a great option for New Yorkers accustomed to having access to Central Park because of its abundance of outdoor spaces, including parks and gardens, some looking over Lake Osceola.
Melbourne is also located on the coast but on the opposite side of the state. It’s perfectly located on the Atlantic Ocean for easy access to beaches and surfing. On top of that, it’s a part of the space coast, which means proximity to Kennedy Space Center and shuttle launches if you’re interested in space travel.
Tampa is a good choice if you can’t decide between access to beaches and access to Disney World. It’s not far from Orlando, which means that you’re never far from the theme parks in that city, while at the same time it’s right on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Tampa is also considered one of the best places to live in Florida if you have children.
Titusville is located directly to the east of Orlando. It’s an excellent location for its proximity to both Florida’s Space Coast and to everything Orlando has to offer. There’s plenty to do, especially for families, with Kennedy Space Center nearby as well as plenty of access to beaches.
Step 3: Decide Whether to Buy or Rent in Central Florida
If you’re thinking about moving to Florida from New York, then you’ll have to decide whether you want to own or rent a property. Speak with both your financial advisor and a local real estate agent to discuss your options and what is best for you financially. The cost of living can be very high in New York, especially if you live in New York City. Renting or buying in Florida can therefore represent a great savings opportunity, depending on where you choose to live in Florida.
Renting in Florida
Renting can be a good option if you don’t want to be responsible for the upkeep of your home or apartment. Florida does get hurricanes regularly which can cause considerable property damage. If you rent, your landlord would be responsible for the insurance and any repairs needed to the building and property following a storm. You would still be responsible for your own belongings, such as property within the house and any vehicles you owned, and would therefore need renter’s insurance and also flood insurance if you’re in a flood zone, as renter’s insurance typically doesn’t cover flood damage.
Renting is also a good way to decide which area you like best. You can try out living there for a while before you commit to purchasing a home there.
How Much Does It Cost to Rent in Central Florida?
Although rental costs in Florida have been increasing in some of the more desirable areas, this growth hasn’t outpaced rental prices in New York. The average rental price in Florida is still less than the average rental price in New York City. In 2022, New Yorkers were paying an average of $3,000 monthly for rent. In the Tampa area, the average was a bit more than $2,000. The average rental price in Orlando, Florida was $1,937, although the actual price depends on the location and the size of the apartment.
If the location you’re moving to in Florida is flexible, then the rental prices and cost of living should play a role in determining where you live.
Buying a House in Central Florida
Another option is to buy a home. In New York City, the average cost of a home is upwards of $600,000. By contrast, the average home in Orlando, Florida, for example, costs between $388,000. Both are higher than the US national average of $291,000 but buying a home in Florida is still a more attractive financial option than buying one in the New York City area.
Because housing prices are less expensive in Central Florida, you’ll more likely be able to afford a larger home than you would have in New York City. If you’d prefer to stay in the same size home you had in New York, you could take those savings and invest them to help grow your portfolio. Speak to your financial advisor about this option.
Step 4: Purchase Insurance in Florida
Once you have your housing in Florida sorted out, you’ll need to buy insurance. Just like in New York, you’ll need motor vehicle insurance if you have a car. Whether you need homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance will depend on whether you decide to rent or buy. Because of Florida weather, there are additional insurance packages that you may need to purchase, regardless of whether you’re a renter or a homeowner. To ensure that your car is covered for any flood damage, make sure that you have comprehensive car insurance that includes flood damage.
Renter’s Insurance or Homeowner’s Insurance
For a home or an apartment, you’ll need either renter’s insurance or homeowner’s insurance. Renter’s insurance covers your property. The landlord would need to have insurance for the building and the land. If you own your own home, however, you’ll need homeowner’s insurance to cover everything. Neither renter’s insurance nor homeowner’s insurance is likely to cover certain types of hurricane damage like flooding.
Between June and November, Florida is at risk for hurricanes. Hurricane season could see no hurricanes or multiple in the same year. Most hurricanes, if they do hit Florida, arrive after the 1st of August. Hurricanes are categorized by severity, with the most severe storms carrying a rating of 5. Hurricanes can involve strong winds, floods, tornadoes, heavy rain, and storm surges if you live near the coast.
Your homeowner’s insurance policy may cover hurricane damage, but there may be certain types of damage, such as flood damage, that wouldn’t be covered and would therefore require its own policy. Make sure to read your insurance policy carefully so you know what is covered and what isn’t.
Flood insurance is typically a separate insurance policy. Even a dedicated hurricane insurance policy might not include coverage for flood damage. No matter where you live in the state, a hurricane creates a risk of floods, so flood insurance is essential. Whether you’ve got homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance, look into getting a separate flood insurance policy. Renter’s insurance often doesn’t cover flood damage and homeowner’s insurance in Florida typically doesn’t, either. For your car insurance, if you have a comprehensive policy, it might include flood insurance.
It’s a good idea to check your insurance policy to ensure that flood insurance is included and if it isn’t, upgrade to a policy that does or take out a specific flood insurance policy. Flood damage can be costly and you don’t want to find out the hard way that you’re not adequately insured.
Your homeowner’s insurance policy might include coverage for wind damage, even if that damage was a result of a hurricane. Make sure to thoroughly read your policy and purchase extra windstorm insurance should its coverage not be sufficient.
Motor Vehicle Insurance
You’ll also want to make sure that you’ve got the insurance you need for your car. In Florida, there’s a risk of floods due to hurricanes, so you’ll want to be certain that your auto insurance covers flood damage. Typically, a comprehensive insurance policy includes flood damage, but it’s a good idea to double-check your policy to make sure. You may need to take out a specific flood insurance policy.
Step 5: Set Up Your Utilities
Another area where Florida is less expensive than New York is in utilities. The difference isn’t as significant as it is for housing costs, but it’s still a savings on your monthly cost of living. You’ll need to set up Internet, gas, water, and electricity in your new location in Florida. There may be utility companies unique to your area, but the following are some state-wide resources that may be helpful:
Additional Resources for Moving to Florida
There are a lot of steps in the process of moving to a new state. You’ll need to become a Florida resident and change your address. You’ll also need to get a Florida driver’s license. The following resources can help you to get settled in your new state.
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/
Beware of Alligators
One additional hazard that is native to Florida is alligators. While they typically live in swamps and lakes, it’s not unheard of for them to venture into residential areas. People have found them in their swimming pools and on their front porches. If you have small children or small pets, you’ll need to keep a close eye on them and avoid going near any water where you can’t see the bottom. There have been incidents across the state where children or small animals have been attacked by alligators and not necessarily anywhere close to water.
To report a nuisance alligator, call this number: 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).
Relocating to Florida can be an excellent financial decision, especially if you’re moving from a location with a higher cost of living, such as New York. However, there is a lot to consider whenever you’re moving to a new state. Following the steps above can help to make your transition easier.