Moving to Florida Pros & Cons of Retiring or Living in Florida Mon, 04 May 2015 15:13:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Best Places to Raise a Family in Florida 2015 Sun, 26 Apr 2015 18:38:17 +0000 Why This Best Places to Raise a Family in Florida List is Different

This list is different because it’s not just a simple list of the best school districts. Many websites simply list ratings and rankings of the best school districts in Florida. What makes our list different is that we look at much more than just how the schools are rated. We research the towns within the highest rated school districts in Florida to determine which ones are actually also among the best places to live in Florida.

How We Chose the Best Towns to Raise a Family in Florida

We Started with School District Ratings

School Districts were ranked by taking the scores of all schools in the district to create an overall rank. All of the towns on our list are located in the top 10 school districts out of Florida’s 69, using this formula. We then looked at cities and towns within the districts.

Then We Looked at the Crime Rate.

If you’ve looked around this site, you know that Florida has one of the highest crime rates in the country according to FBI statistics. Florida’s overall crime rate is higher than the rate in 44 other US states. So chances are you’ll be moving from a state with less crime to one with more, when you move to Florida. Here’s why we place such an importance on crime rate, especially when it comes to your children:

I look at news and crime reports for all areas of Florida for many years, almost daily. I have been shocked at the brutality some young children in Florida have been the victim of. Rapes, beatings, shootings. Kids setting another student on fire. You may know the high crime areas where you live now, but you probably don’t know the area you’re moving to in Florida that well.

That’s why to make it onto our Best Places to Raise a Family in Florida list, the entire city or town must have a much lower crime rate than Florida. That way you don’t have to worry as much about which are the bad parts of town. Looking at all the cities and towns in highly rated school districts, you would think there are lots of places to choose from. Unfortunately, checking crime rate statistics eliminates most towns from making our lists, especially this one.

Housing Cost, Shops, Restaurants, Parks, Jobs and More

If a town is in a top Florida school district and has a low crime rate, then we look to see if the town is one of the best places in Florida to live. It must be a place that most families would enjoy living in. A high number of people move to Florida eventually discover they really don’t like it and move out. That’s why we feel it’s important to chose the best place possible to live in Florida right from the start, to improve your odds. The last thing you want to do is separate your children from family, friends and schools they’re comfortable with now, move to Florida, only to separate them again to move back. We feel relocating to the best possible place in Florida will give your family a better chance of not joining the millions who have moved to Florida only to discover it was a mistake.

North Port Florida

North Port is located in SW Florida, south of Sarasota and north of Fort Myers. It’s not located directly on the coast but it’s only a short drive to some of the best beaches in Florida. The violent crime rate in North Port is about 50% lower than Florida overall. The schools are part of the highly rated Sarasota County School District.

If you can’t find a job in North Port, commuting to Venice, Sarasota or even south to Cape Coral and Fort Myers is possible. One of the big advantages of North Port is that home prices are about 20% lower than Florida’s median price. The median home price in North Port is about $135,000, which means half the homes sold there, sell for less than that. Unfortunately for renters, the median rental cost of nearly $1000 a month which is about the same as Florida’s. North Port is the best bet for families looking for affordable home prices. See a video of North Port.

Venice Florida

Venice Florida is just a short ride north from North Port. It’s located right on the coast and has many different and

Venice Florida sunset

By AbeEzekowitz

unique beach areas. It’s also part of the highly ranked Sarasota County School District. The violent crime rate here is over 50% lower than Florida’s overall average. Venice has a beautiful historic downtown area that is within walking and biking distance to the beach.

Venice is also on at least one of our other best places lists for 2015 and has been a top pick of ours for years. Between North Port and Venice, this area of Florida offers families who want to own their own home, the most affordable options. The Median home price in Venice is about the same as Florida’s, around $185,000. Venice’s median rental cost is about $1000 a month. Venice is an excellent overall choice for families that want to be near beaches but want a place that’s still affordable. See a video about Venice Florida.

Winter Springs Florida

Winter Springs Florida is located north of Orlando in central Florida with a population of about 35,000 people. The schools here are part of the well ranked Seminole School District. It’s located far enough away from Orlando to enjoy a violent crime rate over 50% lower than Florida as a whole. Yet it’s close enough to commute to the Orlando area, so job prospects, especially for higher paying jobs if you have the skills.

Living close to Orlando to be able enjoy it’s shopping, dining and entertainment options is an obvious advantage, but it comes at a price. The median home price in Winter Springs is about $215,000. The median rental rate is nearly $1200. It must be noted that wages for many jobs in Florida is lower than you may earn at the same job in many other states, unless you are skilled in an in-demand occupation. Winter Springs could be a families most affordable  choice if they want to live near Orlando in a safe environment with good schools. See a video of Winter Springs Florida.

Gulf Breeze Florida

Gulf Breeze is unlike most of our other picks. It’s a small laid back town of only 6,000 people. The town is at the end

gulf breeze florida

By Sunpowerpack

of a peninsula surrounded by water in Florida’s panhandle near Pensacola.  If your family is moving to Florida to enjoy fishing, boating, going to the beach or other water related activities, this may be the place for you. The crime rate is far lower than Florida’s rate. Schools are part of the well regarded Santa Rosa School District.

Almost everyone wants to live near the water when they move to Florida. Because of supply and demand, water dominated areas cost more. Gulf Breeze is no exception, but it’s probably one of the least expensive ways to enjoy a “keys-like” Florida lifestyle. The median home price here is a little over $250,000 and the rental median is a little under $1200. If you’re moving your family to Florida to enjoy the water and want a great safe small town, Gulf Breeze should be on your list. See a video of Gulf Breeze Florida.

Fernandina Beach Florida

I really like this pick. It may be the best bet for families who are thinking of moving to Florida and will be renting rather than buying, at least at first. Fernandina Beach is a small town of about 11,000 people. It’s located just off of

fernandina beach

By Ebyabe

I-95, just south of the Georgia Florida state line right on the Atlantic Ocean. Living here means shorter rides when going home to visit and for people to visit you. It’s about 5 hours less to reach Fernandina than Venice or North Port.

Fernandina Beach has a great historical downtown that made our most walkable town list for 2015. The schools are part of the small but very highly rated Nassau School District. The violent crime rate is not as low as the other picks on this list, but at 30% lower that Florida’s rate it just made our tough cut. This pick offers the best bet for families who enjoy shops and restaurants because there are plenty of independent family run businesses in Fernandina Beach’s large historic downtown.

This is one the best affordable island lifestyle options available in Florida today. The Median home price here is around $270,000 which is considerably high than Florida’s median, but the median rent is only a little over $900 which is lower than Florida’s median rent. Fernandina Beach may be the least expensive and best place for families to enjoy the island lifestyle in Florida. See a video of Fernandina Beach Florida.

]]> 0
Start Here Before Moving to Florida Sat, 28 Mar 2015 18:30:32 +0000 Here Are Some Facts You May Want to Be Aware of Before Moving Your Family to Florida

University of Florida Study Shows Florida Is a Very Transient State.

People move to Florida after bad winters elsewhere or because they had a great time on vacation in the state. after hurricaneEveryone loves Florida when they first move. As time passes and they learn what living in Florida is really like, many (most?) come to realize they made a big mistake and move out. The time frame for this to happen varies. It could be years or months. It can be affected by natural events like particularly busy hurricane seasons. Or the toll over the years summer heat and humidity that last nine months a year or longer takes.

It can be affected by economic events. When times are bad, Florida’s high growth can stop, jobs dry up and people move back home. That doesn’t happen in Nebraska, New York, Maine or most other states, because most people are already “home”. High growth states can become disastrous when people stop moving in, and at the same time even more people (than the normal high turn-over) are moving out. This results in steeper drops in home vales, higher unemployment, more closed businesses, etc. than in non-transient states facing the same problem. Florida’s boom and bust cycles are covered in the Florida Move Guide.

How Transient Is Florida?

The University of Florida documented 13,164,695 people who moved to Florida, from another U.S. state, using Census Bureau and IRS records in a study published in 2009. During the same time studied, they were able to document 9,540,260 moving out of Florida to a different US state. To give you some perspective, they documented more people moving out of Florida (back to their home state?) than the total population now living in 40 individual US states. If you took every single person now living in New Jersey and moved them to an uninhabited area, that still wouldn’t equal the amount of people who moved out of Florida. Roughly every 3 years, a million new people move to Florida to replace the roughly million who moved there previously, and moved out.

Will you become one of the many who move to Florida, only to move out? If so, how long will you last? How disruptive would multiple long distance moves and multiple home purchases and sales be? How much will it cost your family financially and emotionally? I’ll write more on the financial cost in an upcoming post because it will probably be far higher than you may estimate. Why? Because people move to Florida during the boom times, which pushes home prices skyward. They buy high, like now. Then, most will need to or want to move out during the bust times, like after hurricane hits. Or when the high growth stops and Florida loses jobs faster than non-transient states. When everyone heads for the Florida exits and wants to sell at the same time, home prices drop like a boulder.

People Living in Florida Tell Pollsters It’s Not a Great State to Live In

Even after a record number of years without a major hurricane swamping or leveling big chunks of the state, 89% of Floridians polled said Florida was not the best state to live in (2013 National Gallup Poll of all 50 states). Keep in mind most of these people previously believed Florida was the best state to live in, that’s why they moved. What happened? Perception met reality. What reality? As you’ll see if you care to read further, the truth is that many other states offer a higher overall quality of life than Florida, including many of the states these poor people left to move to Florida. When Florida’s crime rate, healthcare quality, overall cost of living, resident well-being, etc. is compared to other states, it becomes clear that why more best places lists don’t include Florida. Florida may be one of the best states to visit as a tourist, but for your own sake, learn how it compares as a place to live.

Florida’s Crime Rate Among the Worst in the US

Study Finds Most Depressing Cities Are in Florida

Study Says Florida Towns Score Poorly for Successful Aging

Original Best Places to Retire List Maker Excludes Florida from 2014 List

Study Says Florida’s Worst than Most States for Retirement

Florida Absent from New AARP List of 50 Best Places for People 50+

Report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Shows why Florida and the South in Particular are Poor Places to Live in, 10 Charts

I could fill pages on this blog with links to studies and reports on how the quality of life in the state of Florida compares to other US states. The number of reports in articles that use actual data rather than tired old myths to compile “best places” is increasing. I believe this trend will have a negatively affect Florida in many ways, including future real estate values. That will a subject of an up-coming post.

So what’s the point?

Florida’s actual overall quality of life is far lower than what most people who haven’t lived there, believe. Most people who actually live in Florida, aren’t that happy about the state and their lives according to polls. Far more people move to Florida only to discover it was a mistake, and move out regardless of cost, than what most non-Floridians would suspect. I’m not saying don’t move to Florida, just don’t move to Florida for the wrong reasons.

One commenter on this blog wrote that they went to Disney in February and loved it, so they made a decision to move to Florida. If you think Florida’s year-round weather is always like it is in February, you’re moving to Florida for the wrong reason. If you think Florida is only hot and humid in the summer, and the rest of the year it’s like it is in February, you’re moving to Florida for the wrong reason. Weather is one of the main reasons people give for moving in to Florida, and it’s usually also one of the main reasons they move out. Why do you think millions of people (snowbirds) temporarily live in Florida in February (and other winter months) but are gone by April?

The cost of moving to Florida only to realize at some point it’s a mistake, can be very expensive. It can take a huge toll on your family emotionally, as well as financially. The price paid for moving to Florida for the wrong reasons is costliest for:

  • Retirees who believe they are making a permanent relocation. Moving, especially long distances is more disruptive the older we get. Over 10 million people moved to Florida only to move out. Why not be as certain as you can that you won’t be moving again when you’re older?
  • People who are moving to Florida and will be buying a home to live in full-time. What will it cost you to sell, move, buy, sell, move and buy again? A lot. Sometimes the cost is too high, so people get stuck living someplace they can’t stand. A headline on April 2, 2015 in a Florida newspaper says that S. Florida home price were up 8.3% in a year, but still 31% below 2006. So that Florida home you paid $300,000 for 9 years ago is still only worth $207,000? Well that’s better than 7 years ago when it was only worth $120,000 and not even your bank that held the mortgage wanted it.
  • Young families with children. If you that agree that frequent forced changes in a child’s school environment, friends and surroundings is not such a good thing for their development, why not reduce the odds of that happening?

If researchers from the University of Florida documented that such a high number of people move out of Florida to live in other US states, will this happen to you too?

Why does Florida rank so poorly, often very poorly when compared with other states on most quality of life factors?

Do you know why Gallup found that only 11% of Floridians think Florida is the best state to live in, and a majority of Floridians don’t even think it’s one of the best states to live? What do people learn after moving to Florida, that they don’t know before they move?

The Florida Move Guide tells in depth, actual reasons given by people wanting to sell their homes to move out of Florida. It also explains what you can do when you first move to Florida to lower your odds of experiencing that same fate. It will also give answers to questions that many people moving to Florida don’t even know they should be asking. After reading the book, you should have a much better idea what living in Florida is really like, and if Florida is right for your family or not.

How to Retire Happier would be most helpful to those who are already retired or just starting to think about what to do and where to live after retirement. All 50 states are ranked by quality of life factors and assigned a “chance of successful relocation” percentage. It can help you see which states it makes sense to move to, from your state, and which ones is doesn’t (hint: Don’t move anywhere if you now live in Utah, and Moving from Louisiana to anywhere will be an improvement). It describes the best retirement lifestyles available today, including how to enjoy Florida’s warm weather in the winter, but avoid the 6 month annual hurricane season and nearly 9 months of brutal summer a year. It covers how to retire-in-place better, snowbirding, summerbirding, RV snowbirding, living and traveling overseas, full-time RV’ing, retirement pursuits and more. After reading How to Retire Happier, you may come away with a completely different plan on how and where to best enjoy your longest vacation ever (retirement).

Hope you found this post helpful!

]]> 0