Moving to Florida: The Ultimate Checklist

If you are looking for sunshine and reasonable weather year-round, Florida is the place! 

Florida is one of the most desirable destinations in the United States because of its climate, beaches, and tourist attractions. 

There are countless beautiful suburban neighborhoods and apartments in the cities where you can settle down. Whether you want to be in the middle of city life or out in the country, Florida has it all. 

If you are moving to Florida, there is a short list of tasks you need to accomplish and things you need to be aware of. Once you complete the following checklist, you can confidently move to the Sunshine State, knowing everything you need has been taken care of. 

An artist drawing showing the shape of Florida on a pink background

Be sure to visit the sunshine state several times before deciding to move. Seeing things firsthand helps us make better decisions. You can get a good sense of what it’s like to live there, what the people are like, which restaurants are available, any businesses you could potentially work for, and what the social scene is like.

Visit Florida 

Most importantly, you can meet people and ask them about living in Florida. Ask the locals: 

  • Do you like Florida? 
  • What are people like? 
  • Does the city feel like home? 
  • Is it relatively safe? 
  • What are the positives of living in Florida? 
  • What are some of the negatives? 

These questions will help give you a better idea of what it’s like to live in Florida before you move there. 

Research and visit the cities or towns you’re considering as your new home. Florida is a big state, and each area has its vibe. 

Reading articles online can help you understand the culture and quirks of each city or town. For example, if you aren’t looking for busy city life with a social scene, maybe Miami isn’t the place for you. 

Tax Advantages: How To Get Them 

One of the best reasons to live in Florida is the tax advantages! If you own a home or plan to become a Florida resident, the sunshine state offers excellent tax incentives. 

Florida has no income tax, state estate tax, gift tax, or inheritance tax. Florida also has homestead protections, exemptions, and Save Our Homes (SOH). To achieve these tax advantages, you have to be a resident of Florida.

Becoming a Florida Resident 

To become a Florida resident, there are several items you need. Make sure that you have completed at least one of the following: 

  • Record a Declaration of Domicile in the county you live in 
  • You must have a physical address in Florida. A P.O. box does not count 
  • You’ll want to have a record showing proof of residencies, such as email or texts 
  • Work history in Florida
  • Register to vote in your county and state in Florida 

These items are proof of residency when you file a claim to become a resident of Florida. 

How To Register To Vote in Florida 

You have a right to vote, so make sure you can exercise that right in your new state. When you move to Florida, make sure you register to vote. 

Registering to vote can be done online with your new Florida driver’s license or a Florida ID card issued by the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles. 

Get a Florida Driver’s License

You need to contact the driver’s license and motor vehicle registration office to register your vehicle and become a licensed Florida driver. 

You will need your old driver’s license and possibly another form of ID (like a passport) to prove your identity. You may also need to prove residency status with a utility bill and proof of address. 

A digital drawing of a typical Driver License

Finding a Job in Florida 

Florida has tons of jobs available. Florida’s job growth is three times faster than other US states, making it an excellent place to relocate for work. If you are from the Midwest or the Northeast, the job market can vary from what you’re used to back home. 

The largest sectors driving the Florida economy are:

  • Tourism 
  • Agriculture 
  • Life sciences 
  • Aerospace
  • International trade 

Most employment opportunities are available in the Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale-Miami areas. These are the most populated areas of the state and have most of the financial, insurance, technology, and healthcare industry jobs. 

Like Naples or Vero Beach, smaller to mid-sized places have an older population. Many people who live there tend to be retired, which means jobs in those areas are more geared toward addressing the needs of the community there. 

Ask a Professional for Advice

Besides making investigative trips to Florida, you should consider contacting a relocation expert. Relocation experts can offer insight and answer any questions you have. If they don’t know the answer, they can direct you to someone who does. Local realtors can also provide rental costs, real estate prices, and the annual cost of living in the area you’re researching. 

Florida real estate and relocation experts can help you find the best neighborhood and housing options for you. The experts have extensive knowledge of trends, the market, and Florida itself, which you may not know before moving there. 

A moving company in Florida can help you find local moving resources. Tourism companies are great for learning more about the local attractions. 

Plan Your Move to Florida 

Once you select your date to move, planning the actual move is the next step. You’ll need to decide what to bring and what you will leave behind. 

You also need to consider whether you’ll drive your belongings yourself or hire a moving company. Research what the cost will be for both options and weigh them out.

You’ll want to consider: 

  • How you’ll pack your items (will you contract someone or do it yourself?) 
  • Hiring a moving van or company to transport your belongings
  • Planning your finances 
  • Finding a home or place to stay in Florida
  • Saying your goodbyes in your home state/country 
  • Paying final bills or moving over your contract to someone else 

Create a checklist for everything you need to get done and print it out, so you have a physical copy. When you finish a moving task, check it off your list. Make sure to double-check everything about a week before moving to ensure that you do not forget something. 

Check on New Utilities

Whenever you move somewhere new, you should always contact your new landlord to ensure your utilities are turned on when you arrive. 

You should call about a month to a few weeks before your move-in date. Calling ahead gives the utility company some time before setting up service or fixing equipment that they’ll be installing for your home. 

You may also want to ensure your old utilities are shut off and will not continue in your name. Otherwise, you may run into problems of owing someone else’s electricity in your old apartment. 

Get Your Children Enrolled in School

If you have children, you need to enroll them in a local Florida school. You can find the best school in your area on Florida’s school system site

A digital drawing of a schoolhouse, colored red and orange. The doors are open and there is a bell ringing on the roof

Find a New Doctor and Dentist

If you are moving to Florida without knowing anyone, it can be hard to find a physician or dentist. If you know local people you trust, ask them for their recommendations. 

You can also search for doctors and dentists in your area and read their patient reviews online. In case of an emergency, you want to be prepared and have your new doctor or dentist’s information ready. 

If you have insurance in your home state based on residency in that state, you’ll have to reapply for medical insurance in Florida. You will have to be a resident in Florida to apply for government health insurance such as Medicaid or Medicare. 

Weigh the Pros and Cons

Before making the big move to Florida, make sure you understand the state you are moving to. 

Pros of Living in Florida 

Some of the pros about living in Florida include: 

  • You don’t have to pay state income tax 
  • The cost of living in Florida is much lower than in many parts of the United States 
  • You can enjoy tropical beaches that you can only find in Florida  

If you don’t like the snow, Florida is an excellent place to be. Florida also has tons of tropical plants, fruits, and vegetables to try. 

Florida residents can get discounts on popular local attractions. You’ll be close to gorgeous beaches and tourist attractions like the Bahamas.  

Cons of Living in Florida 

Some cons about living in Florida are the heat, humidity, and hurricanes. The state is also flat and doesn’t have any mountains or valleys. Florida has more tourists and part-time residents than most other states, and there are a lot of big (and small) critters running around.

A digital drawing of the shape of Florida. The FL flag is wrapped around the state

Conclusion 

Congratulations on your move to the Sunshine State! Florida is full of life and exciting opportunities. Whether you are going to Florida to retire or continue your career, there is something in Florida for everyone to enjoy. 

However, before you jump the gun, remember to follow the checklist. Even though it is hard to wait sometimes, being prepared will make your move smoother and less stressful. 

Related: 19 Cheapest Places to Live in Florida