Moving to Florida FAQ

florida house about to fall apart due to beach erosion

Moving to Florida Website Questions & Answers

Q-Why should I research before moving to Florida?

A- Because according to a recent Gallup poll, most Floridians don’t think their state is the best state to live in, or even one of the best. If you’re thinking of moving there, the odds are you will eventually feel the same way.

Q-But I thought lots of people are moving to Florida now.

There have been lots of people moving to Florida for many decades. The big secret that people who make a fortune selling lots, homes and services rather you didn’t know, is that lots of people have moved out every year for decades too. Well over 10 million US residents have moved back out of Florida to live in another US state according to a study published by the University of Florida.

 Q-But I’ve been to Florida on vacation so many times and loved it. How could I not know the state?

A- Florida is one of the most traveled to and loved vacation destinations not only in the US, but the world. Unless you will spend every day at the beach or theme park, living in Florida will be different than being a tourist in Florida.

Q-I’ve heard this site and your book are negative about Florida, is that true?

A-The Internet has 1000’s of websites devoted to selling you something in Florida that put out nothing but 100% positive spin about the state. There are books about Florida that that are 100% positive. I guess any site or book about Florida that isn’t 100% positive might then be considered negative in comparison. It’s up to you. If you are looking for “100% Florida is paradise” type material, you can get that from the 1000’s of real estate agent sites, builder sites, chamber of commerce sites, etc. that are on the web today. If you want a different perspective, you’ll find that here backed up by facts, figures videos and links to government and other reputable sources.

Q-Why did you start this blog and write a book about Florida?

A-I’ve sold too many homes to people who spent too much money moving to Florida for “paradise”, only to move out. Often they suffered a financial loss on home sales, purchases and moving. Hopefully this site and the book can help some people better know if Florida is really right for them for before they relocate so that doesn’t happen to them.

Q-What are the Differences between this Blog and the book the “Florida Move Guide”?

A-This blog is about events, news and issues that may help prospective new Florida residents learn more about living in Florida and the issues that cause people to move out. The book explains the issues that cause people to leave Florida, repeated most often by people who contacted me to sell their home to relocate outside the state. The book also explains what people moving to Florida can do to minimize or eliminate those risks that has caused millions of other Florida relocations to go bad. While the blog brings up many issues that you may not see discussed elsewhere, after reading the Florida Move Guide, you’ll know if moving to Florida is the right move for you or not.

It has to do with the amount of risk a move to Florida has! You don’t need to read the Florida Move Guide if…

Are you are young, single, no kids, you’ll rent in Florida instead of buying, and all your stuff will fit into your Toyota Corolla for the trip down. Then just do it, it’s low risk! If it turns out to be a mistake you didn’t lose much. You didn’t burn a lot of money to sell, then buy a home in Florida, and pay movers or rent a gas guzzling truck to drive 1000 miles to move. You won’t have to sell, move and buy again to correct a mistake. You’re young, there’s plenty of time to recover. On the other hand, if you are retired and no longer work, will be selling a home to move to Florida, paying movers to take tons of stuff with you and will be buying a home in Florida (especially at the top of the market), well then…

Q-Who would benefit from reading this blog and the book?

A-The blog:

  • This blog would be helpful to prospective newcomers who want to learn a little about what living in Florida is really like. The people who make a living selling Florida dreams and homes aren’t going to dwell on, or even mention the negatives of living in Florida. That’s not their job, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, if juries were only only allowed to hear from the prosecutor in a trial, the defendant would always be found guilty. If the jury only heard from the defense, the accused would always go free. That’s why everyone moving to Florida should get all the facts, especially on a major life event like moving your life to a another state.

A- The book

  • The book Florida Move Guide  (link below) would be most helpful to people who fall into one or more of the following groups…
  1. Anyone moving to Florida that will be involved in real estate transactions as part of their relocation. The book was written by a long time licensed Florida real estate broker, who’s been in Real Estate for almost 30 years. Selling to move to Florida and buying here is expensive. It can be devastating to have to sell in Florida and move back and buy again, yet it happens all the time.
  2.  Anyone who is planning a move to Florida to enjoy their retirement years. The older we get, the more stressful moving is, especially long distance. You really don’t want to put yourself through that twice at a time when you should be enjoying life.
  3. Parents who will relocating to Florida with children who be attending school. Not because the book has a lot of information on schools in Florida, but because of the high risk of moving out of Florida and the effect of changing a child’s schools, friends and environment repeatedly..
  4. Anyone thinking of moving to Florida, who has nagging concerns or is worried about whether it’s the right move. The book may help you realize if your concerns have caused other Florida relocations to go bad.

The Florida Move Guide is a must read if your relocation will involve of these factors:

                • Selling your current home, moving 1000 miles and buying in Florida. Why? Because that’s expensive. You don’t want to make a mistake and have to do it again.
                • Moving to Florida for retirement. Why? Because moving becomes more disruptive and stressful the older we get. You don’t want to have to do it a second time in just a few years.
                • Moving to Florida with school-age children. Why? Because Florida is different and changing a child’s world (new place, friends, school, everything) can be challenging. Big changes that don’t work out well for the whole family can have life-long consequences.Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.

              Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

17 thoughts on “Moving to Florida FAQ”

  1. I bought your book after reading your suggestions and articles many times over the past several weeks. It has been very helpful. My husband and I are considering a move because I am disabled due to fibromyalgia and chronic migraines. I feel much better in a warmer climate and can attain a higher level of function. I would like to return to work as an RN part time. My husband would like to make a job change. We have no children. We were recently in Orlando. His brother has a vacation home there so we could stay for free. We went to scope out possiblities for relocation. Traffic was insane as well as crime. We were there the week of the Pulse nightclub shooting. We knew beforehand though that Orlando was not desirable. A nice surprise for us, however, was that the humidity was actually less than it is here back at home. We about died when we walked out of the Nashville airport returning home. Ugh!
    We were not able to travel and visit other cities except Sebring because I was extremely ill at the time of our visit. Sebring was a dump and depressing. We did like Winter Garden and are considering it but know nothing about it. Only gotten to Chapter 3 of the book, but we will not be moving near the coast now I don’t believe. Had considered Dunedin because I had been there in past years and it was lovely.
    Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks.

    • Hello Andrea,

      You wrote: I bought your book after reading your suggestions and articles many times over the past several weeks. It has been very helpful.

      First of all, thank you for reading the Florida Move Guide. I’m glad you are finding it to be helpful.

      We went to scope out possiblities for relocation. Traffic was insane as well as crime.

      As far as traffic goes, since Florida is one of the most populated states in the US with over 20 million residents and over 100 million tourist per year crowding into a few miles along the coast and around the Orlando area, traffic is going to be a fact of life while living in the state. It really gets bad during the winter when the snowbirds arrive to live in the state for a few months. Snowbirds love Florida in the winter because they escape the cold but residents of Florida are increasingly voicing their aggravation over drastically increased driving times to commute to work, the grocery store, etc. Lack of open parking spaces, longer lines at shops and restaurants and over crowed beaches are just some of the other complaints they’re voicing.

      I would like to return to work as an RN part time. My husband would like to make a job change.

      Since you’re reading the book, you know about Florida’s booms and busts and about wages in Florida. Florida is near the end of a boom so jobs are still fairly easy to get, but you may want to check on what your pay will likely be be. Numerous RN’s have complained in comments on this site about how much less they are being paid in Florida compared to the state they moved from. 40-years ago the low wages in Florida were offset by the low cost of living in Florida, including cheap housing. That has all changed. It now costs more to live in Florida than it does to live in most other states.

      A nice surprise for us, however, was that the humidity was actually less than it is here back at home. We about died when we walked out of the Nashville airport returning home. Ugh!

      Don’t be fooled. The heat and humidity (as covered in the book) are frequently mentioned (among the many other reasons) by people who thought they were “permanently” moving to Florida but end up moving out. In Florida, high humidity can last day and night almost the whole year in parts of Florida and it can take a toll over time, similar to how prolonged cold weather in the northern US does. The southwest part of the US may offer the heat you want without the humidity you dislike. I will be doing a best places to live in Arizona on another site of mine soon.

      We did like Winter Garden and are considering it but know nothing about it.

      Winter Garden does not qualify to be on any of our best places lists because both the property and violent crime rates are higher than the national average. Because we are seeing reports of large increases in crime in Florida, like the more than doubling of the murder rate in Orlando, we strongly suggest people consider places on the lists on this page because all of them offer a high quality of life with crime rates lower, usually far lower, than the national average.

      Had considered Dunedin because I had been there in past years and it was lovely.

      Dunedin has made it onto a few of our best places lists and would be a far better choice than towns not on any of our lists.

      Thanks again for reading the Florida Move Guide and good luck on your relocation!
      If you have something to add to this post you are welcome to comment below.

      _____

      florida book special offer

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  2. The information on this website presents a kind of logic that is helpful to use when considering any move, not just to Florida. The information about Florida is a good reminder that looks can deceive, and that stereotyped ideas about a location play on our fantasies and are poor guages by which to make significant life choices. Because of this site I have been able to think about my aspirations in a healthier light and get rid of a lot of my wishful thinking. Fact over feeling. Fact over fantasy. Simply put, things are not always what they seem… Thanks, Ron!

  3. Hi Ron,

    I’ve purchased and read your book (thank you) and I’m still moving. I’ve been patiently waiting for your new web site to go live on August 31st. Oops! Anyhow, I’m eager to start my home search process and was wondering if you have any services available or resources to help me. I’m looking to purchase a fixer upper to flip.

    Please, reply to let me know if this is something you can help me with.

    Thank you!

    • Hello Trevor,
      In the Florida Move Guide you read about Florida’s booms and busts. Almost anyone can make money flipping homes in Florida during a boom when real estate prices rise faster than anywhere else in the nation. Rapidly rising prices covers up the many mistakes flippers make. The problem is, most flippers don’t realize that it’s the skyrocketing prices that are really making them money. So after the the inevitable bust, they still buy homes when prices are dropping like a rock and regular people are afraid to buy. Home prices in Florida can fall faster than they ever went up. When prices drop below the “bargain” price a flipper paid and keep heading south, there’s usually nothing a flipper can do but rent out the home they bought at the top of the market for usually low rent, then feed that alligator every month. Prices dropped an average of 60% during the last but. The next one could be better or worse but it will happen.

      Tips:
      Buy to Flip after a bust and during the middle but never right before the next bust. How will you know the train is about to derail? When everyone is convinced a bust couldn’t possibly happen because {insert any “opinion’}. More accurately, when the number of new listings starts to outnumber the number of new pendings (under contract) consistently. This change won’t be noticed by most people for a while including most agents, unless they are specifically looking for this. When the slowdown makes the newspapers (yes they still have them) it’s too late.

      Find the right agent/broker with long term flip experience (minimum 2 boom and busts periods) to help you. This can be harder than it sounds because if the agent flips homes too, they may take all of the best deals for themselves and sell you the less than best left-overs. An agent who doesn’t personally flip but just helps investors do it would be ideal, but they won’t want new investors because if they’re really good at what they do, their current flippers will grow quickly to the point where they can buy all of the best deals that come up. Again, any newbie gets the leftovers.

      I’d give you more…but it’s lunch time

      See what you did? Now I’m going to have to finish that book on how to flip homes. Good luck Trevor.
      _____
      Ron Stack

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
      • Is there a better state to relocate to or a better retirement lifestyle for you than moving to Florida? You’ll know after reading How to Retire Happier.
  4. Hey Ron,

    Read your book. I’m looking for a good Florida real estate broker to help me find a property to buy. Are you able to help? Let me know.

    Thanks,
    Trevor D
    ***-***-****

    • Hello Trevor,
      I expect to have a free service to help buyers and sellers find the right broker/agent in Florida, available by 2017. Links to that new site will be easily found on this site when it’s ready. Thanks Trevor.

  5. Sorry, no comment but I do have a question. How current is the Florida Move Guide?
    I am interested in purchase but would like your most current up to date information on all subject matters.
    Thank you,
    Barbara

    • Hello Barbara,
      When the book doesn’t provide readers with what they need to know before they move to Florida because of outdated info, we will update the book again. If you look at what readers have said recently on Amazon.com about the book, it may help you decide if it will be useful for you also. Thank you.
      _____
      Ron Stack

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
      • Is there a better state to relocate to or a better retirement lifestyle for you than moving to Florida? You’ll know after reading How to Retire Happier.
  6. Ron, thank you for the wealth of information in your blogs. Your articles are well written and honest which I sincerely appreciate. I have been interested in moving to Florida for several years and have been planning for my move. My sister moved to Sarasota last year and loves it. I have other relatives and a few friends who live in various parts of Florida and love it too. I do anticipate living in Florida will be entirely different than a care free vacation where the realities of life are put on hold for a week or two. My main concerns are living in a safe area and finding affordable housing. As addressed in one of your articles, it’s a seller’s market and the prices are way too high. The real estate agent I’m working with who has been sending listings in my price range has been sending more over my price range. Of course when I contacted her, she said prices are going up and that I wouldn’t find a home in my price range that won’t need lots of work. Your prediction of a bubble burst by 2019 will hopefully come before the end of the year because I plan to move in September. Renting would be an option and a smarter one, I know, but I have furry and feathered kids which many landlords won’t allow. I’d even be willing to pay a larger than normal pet deposit. My areas of interest are along the Gulf between Dunedin and Bonita Springs. I’ve heard great things about Bonita Springs from others and of course you mentioned it as one of the nicest places to live in Florida. I’m 53 and just want to live in a safe, quiet area close to beautiful beaches and shopping. I have checked out job prospects all along the Gulf and there are plenty of jobs available in the medical field, so there should be no problem there. I plan to purchase your Moving to Florida guide today.

    • Hello Courtney,
      Since you are reading the Florida Move Guide, a lot of the questions you have should be answered in the book. If they aren’t, or new ones arise, please ask. Yes, it can be real tough to rent in Florida with a pet. Having multiple pets can make it almost impossible. Unfortunately, most landlords who have allowed pets in the past eventually got a tenant who’s pets caused considerable damage and therefore don’t allow them any more. When the Florida hosing market is flush with buyers and tenants, landlords can afford to be pickier. It’s also not just the cost of repairs to them, it’s the rent landlords can’t collect while repairs are being done, even if there are funds to pay for repairs. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find a landlord to rent to you with a larger deposit. It just means calling a lot of r.e. brokers who do property management and ask them if any of their many different landlords will accept the larger deposit. It would help to give them an exact additional dollar amount you’d be willing to put up. This isn’t impossible, but unfortunately it will take more work on your part. It become slightly easier once you decide on what specific area to focus on. With friends/family already in FL, I think the book will help you decide what area (together with our best places lists). Good luck Courtney.
      Ron Stack

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
      • Is there a better state to relocate to or a better retirement lifestyle for you than moving to Florida? You’ll know after reading How to Retire Happier.
  7. Hi, Ron,

    I came across an article the other day about a condemned condo complex along Florida’s Treasure Coast. While Hurricane Irma last year caused some of the damage, the building’s upkeep and maintenance over the years had been neglected. Last fall, a couple of inspections of walls, ceilings, floors, and structure resulted in the lowest possible grading of the building’s structural integrity. Brevard County officials condemned the building, and residents had to vacate the premises.

    You discuss a number of things to consider about condo living in your Florida Move Guide. Are you aware of any research prospective condo buyers can do to learn about the structural integrity, maintenance, and/or upkeep of the condo building/tower, prior to making an offer or purchase? Do the condo docs prospective buyers receive offer this kind of info?

    As always, I’d appreciate your insights on this question–thanks!
    Steve

    • Hello Steve,
      I drove through numerous Florida cities after they were hit by a hurricanes. Well, a few weeks after because it took that long to clear the downed trees, power lines, debris, etc. I saw homes with no roofs that were totally destroyed, right next door to places that looked pretty good considering the beating they took. The difference? A new roof vs old roof. Regular vs impact resistant windows, doors and garage doors. So yes, if a place’s weak points were hardened and the roof is newer, it can make a difference. However, if you’re in the path of storm surge (link below) or it’s a strong category 5, it may not matter.

      Condo docs (link below) have more to do with how the condo association is run, what residents can and can’t do and what their rights and responsibilities are, than how well the place is built or can handle hurricanes (see link below). Who buys a condo? Older people on fixed incomes, landlords and vacation home buyers. People on fixed incomes may become financially strapped as the cost of living in Florida rises faster than their income. Landlords as a group usually try to spend as little as possible to maximize profit. Vacation home owners are more concerned about their primary home that their 2nd home. The latter two groups don’t need that condo to stay intact to live, because they live elsewhere. So are condos as well maintained as primary homes in general?

      If you’re thinking condo, a good first step would be to apply the info about homes in the Florida Move Guide such as age, elevation, etc. when looking at condos.
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
      • Is there a better state to relocate to or a better retirement lifestyle for you than moving to Florida? You’ll know after reading How to Retire Happier.

      Hurricanes, storm surge and the best places in Florida to lessen the impact

      Cond Docs

  8. Hi Ron,
    I’ve read and enjoyed both of your books. I have a question about the Panhandle area. We currently live in Northern CA, but since my husband is completing his Master’s in cybersecurity and almost all of our family lives in Gulf Shores Alabama we are considering the area around Pensacola or Foley AL. To work in his field here in California we would have to move to Sacramento or the Bay area, and that’s a big NO. We’re in our late 50’s but still 15 years from retirement, as we love our work. We’ve done the math and we’ll save an additional $150K towards retirement over the next decade simply by changing States, as we are being eaten alive by CA taxes. We’ve also had wildfire evacuations for 3 of the last 5 years while our relatives on the Alabama coast have been evacuated once in the last 10 years for hurricanes. We do not like the crime rate in Pensacola, or the drinking water quality. We love fishing, boating, and scuba diving, and we miss the kids (they were raised here in CA but have all moved to Alabama in the last 10 years).
    Currently we just need to live within an hour of an airport, but my husband would make an additional $50K a year if he worked for Navy Federal in Cantonment or Mobile. We’re thinking hard about renting for the first year but that’s a bit difficult with 4 dogs and running 2 businesses out of our house. Our home here is on the market, but we have no clear direction once it sells. Our criteria is no more than an hour’s distance from the kids, not in a flood zone, no HOA, and it has to have a large shop building. We’ve been watching the real estate market there for 2 years. We made offers on 6 houses last year and we were in escrow 3 times but no house passed the inspections (major issues, not small) and the sellers wouldn’t reduce the price to reflect needed repairs. We’re absolutely aghast at the house flippers who make cosmetic repairs but have left leaking roofs, broken windows, and hide mold issues, and we’ve spent thousands on home inspections and plane fare. We worked with two real estate agents and we were completely dismayed by their shallow knowledge of real estate and tax laws. We were also amazed by the shoddy houses with deferred maintenance and homeowners who won’t acknowledge that plumbing and wiring is obsolete. My questions are; 1) What area from Mobile to Navarre and at most up to Molino is the most livable? 2) How in the world do we deal with the Florida real estate agents and home sellers? There must be some technique because we see a lot of transactions go through.
    We’ve looked at every price point from $200K- $600K and we don’t see quality homes. I bring a full crew in to inspect, from plumbers to stucco repair to roofers as well as the general inspection and that just seems to offend home sellers and agents. It’s perfectly normal here in California. The sellers tell us that we offend them, that we don’t have manners…it’s a business transaction to us and we don’t understand why we are stepping on toes (and we hate that the inspection window is only 15 days). I’ve found entire walls failing, plumbing that doesn’t work in half of the house, aluminum wiring, and failing gable ends. I’ve found garages built over property lines and metal roofs that need $15k in repairs, cracked slab foundations, lead contamination from old pipes and possum nests under houses. Often the house is terribly overpriced, and when we offer what we know is a true market price the seller is again “offended”. Here in CA if I had an offer $50K under my sale price I would talk to them and counter. I’ve countered 7-8 times with buyers and it’s just what we do. If it was just one seller or agent I would think that this was their personal issue but we have this critique over and over. We’re polite and I grew up in VA, so it’s not the carpetbagger issue. Am I wrong to think that a house for sale should have a weatherproof exterior, sound plumbing and electrical and a reasonably current HVAC? Thoughts?

    • Hello Morganna,

      You asked “1) What area from Mobile to Navarre and at most up to Molino is the most livable? 2) How in the world do we deal with the Florida real estate agents and home sellers? There must be some technique because we see a lot of transactions go through.

      Part of reason you encountered such issues are what happens when someone attempts to buy during a strong seller’s market where there’s lots of buyers in the market but little inventory so even problem properties are overpriced. The sellers market is coming to an end but it’s still a far cry from a buyers market. All real estate is local and no matter where I’ve done business, they don’t care how it was done somewhere else, agents and sellers expect buyers to go along with how things have been done locally forever. People living in rural areas and those where there is still southern hospitality haven’t had the need to develop “thick skins” like those in major urban areas.

      Most sellers who are still living in their home can become easily offended by low offers or inspectors telling them their home has problems because it’s still “home”, especially if it served them well for a long time. But ultimately, as a buyer, you have to protect yourself and only do what you feel comfortable with. It may be more difficult to buy this way but you will be less likely to end up with a home with expensive problems and little recourse like some of those other buyers who’s deals have gone through. As far as the condition of the homes, remember what the book says about older homes vs newer in Florida?

      When people are trying to sell after they move out and it is no longer “home”, but has now become a house they don’t want but still have to pay for (electric, water & sewer, etc.) it then becomes a less personal transaction so they’re usually less offended by low offers. One solution may be to build a new home because then it’s just business as far as negotiating and the home must be built to the latest building codes and standards (including hurricane protection) and inspected as it’s being constructed by the relevant authorities. This will almost eliminate any repair issue. It will also be under warranty after the sale.

      Spanish Fort and Daphne might be worth a look if Alabama is something you’re considering. In the panhandle, Gulf Breeze has made our lists for years and is on our best places to retire in 2019 list. Niceville is has been on our lists for years too and is near an Air Force base but it’s farther from Mobile than what you wanted.

      Good luck Morgana.
      _____
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.
      • Is there a better state to relocate to or a better retirement lifestyle for you than moving to Florida? You’ll know after reading How to Retire Happier.
  9. Hi Ron,
    I posted yesterday and asked questions. Today I just want to comment on how incredibly useful your book on Florida is. I spent countless hours on research to discover FEMA flood maps, sinkhole maps, schools, and to figure out the market. Within 30 minutes of picking up your book I found all of that plus things I never thought of (hospitals and beach traffic for instance). I wish I’d seen your “Florida Move” book earlier.

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