Pros and Cons Of Becoming a Florida Resident

duncan

New Member
Location
Illinois
I have been thinking about getting a place in Florida for when I retire but keeping a home in my current state of Illinois. The idea would be to live in Florida a little more than six months a year and then back in Illinois the rest of the time near family. The biggest reason is state taxes which would take a huge chunk out of my retirement income and this adds up over time. I was thinking of renting the place out in the mean time until I retire. I was wondering if people had thoughts on the pros and cons of such a move. The things I've come up with are:

Pros
- Saves a bundle in state taxes
- No more cold winters and snow
- Live in a warm and beautiful place half the year
- I have always had a dream of living on the water and it could allow me to fulfill that dream

Cons
- Away from family half the year. Makes it harder to be with them in person and grandchildren when they ultimately come.
- If either of us decide to work, it could be logistically difficult to be in one place half the year and another the other half
- Hurricane insurance (no idea how much this is)
- Paying property taxes on two properties (but might it be offset by rental income when we aren't there?)

Has anyone done something like this?
 

Having been a resident of Central Florida for 38 years, here's my two cents. I don't know much about how these things are in South, East, West or North Florida, so I can only speak for conditions in Central Florida.

Are you planning to declare Florida as your legal home? If so, you'll probably have to register your car(s) here in Florida. If you're just "snowbirding", you don't have to.

You'll also need to consider the homeowner's insurance scenario. A lot of insurance companies don't like to insure homes that are left empty for more than three months. You could just not TELL them that the home is not being lived in, but if something happens you know they'll do anything they can to get out of paying. If you rent your house out while you are gone, you'd have to get insurance that would acknowledge that the house wasn't "owner occupied". You'd still have to carry full liability on the house (in case somebody got hurt and sued you).

If you are thinking of renting the house/condo out under an AirB&B or FRBO deal, you would have to make sure that you are allowed to have short-term rentals. Some developments or condo associations will not allow rentals for less than 9-12 months, some will allow short-term rentals. If you rented it out short-term, you'd have to arrange for housekeeping services (cleaning, washing linens, etc.) Most of the ones that allow for short-term rentals aren't necessarily ones that you'd want to live in as a resident (would you want to live next to a house where the neighbors changed every week or so, with tons of people staying at the house and having pool parties at all hours?) You could put the house under the care of a management company, but some of them take up to 40% of the rent as their fee. Also bear in mind that your short-term renters aren't going to respect your furniture/carpets/appliances like you would. So, you wouldn't want to put really expensive furniture in for renters, but then you'd have to live with the furniture when YOU were there.

As far as working, there are a lot of "snowbirds" who come down here every winter and work at Disney, Universal Studios, SeaWorld or Busch Gardens while they are here. You could also work through a temp agency while you are here.

Hurricane insurance: price just depends on what you want covered. Flood damage? YOW, you're going to pay through the nose for that! A lot depends on what you want your deductible to be. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium. The insurance companies will low-ball the value of anything that gets damaged. Have a 10-year-old roof that's still in good condition and it gets blown off? As far as they're concerned, that roof was worth very little and that's exactly what they'll give you toward getting a new roof.

Are you planning to finance the Florida home? Mortgages for part-time homes in Florida aren't as easy to get. About 9-10 years ago, a couple of the huge communities down in the Osceola/Polk county area were full of homes that snowbirds had bought on the upswing and then couldn't handle any more. Sales were abysmally sluggish and people were just walking away from the homes. Mortgage lenders, once burned, are twice shy as the saying goes.

Property taxes: you won't be able to get a homestead exemption for both houses, as far as I know, so that would affect the property taxes on one of your houses.

We have been seriously considering for a couple of years of buying another house in North Carolina to live in for five months of the year, as I cannot stand the heat here in the summer. For the last couple of years, we've just gone up there for four months and stayed in our RV for the summer. We would keep our Florida house as our legal residence for tax purposes. The more I delve into it, though, the more I think we're going to be RVing it for a few more years. The places I'd like to live in up there are beyond my finances.
 

Ken N Tx

Older than Dirt !
Location
Texas
I would consider RVing to and from..If possible, see if the park in FL allows you to leave the RV..
 

Aunt Bea

SF VIP
Location
Near Mount Pilot
I thought about it.

I had a couple of friends that bought a place and encouraged me to join them. It seemed like they wanted me to join them in order to validate the fact that they had made a good choice.

I decided not to do it for three reasons. First I've noticed with family and friends over the years that as they get older a second home becomes a burden. Second I'm a worrier and I would be worrying 12 months out of the year over what was happening to the other property. Third I didn't want to get locked into one location. My thought is that the savings from the out of pocket expenses coupled with the returns on the investment that would be required to purchase a home would throw off more than enough money to go on a great vacation every year. I guess the real reason is that it's just not for me, I can't imagine your old Aunt Bea motoring around The Villages in a golf cart!
 

KingsX

Senior Member
Location
Texas
I thought about it.

I had a couple of friends that bought a place and encouraged me to join them. It seemed like they wanted me to join them in order to validate the fact that they had made a good choice.

I am in a similar situation. My brother retired to the Ozarks a few years ago and keeps suggesting I move there too.

He will send a flurry of emails to me suggesting I move there. Then when I give my reasons why I don't want to move there [mostly climate and financial] he will stop for awhile, only to restart his efforts again a few months later. He just recently did it again a few weeks ago. I would love to know his hidden reason/agenda.
 
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ClassicRockr

Well-known Member
Well, first, we are headed towards the 70 age mark. I retired on SS when I was 62, but my wife is still working a full-time job. Thank the Lord, her job is only 7 miles from our apartment.

We moved here to Jacksonville in January 2009. The biggest attraction for us was the amount of water (St John's River and Intracoastal) for boating. We've been on the St. John's River a number of times, but only once on the Intracoastal and never on the ocean. Anyway, Before Jax, we had lived for a year in Huntersville, NC. Wife got laid off of her job there and 90% of the jobs I qualified for were in south Charlotte......just too far to bdrive for me. Before Huntersville, we lived south of Denver, CO for 5 1/2 years. First, an apartment, then bought a house. We sold the house when we left.

After first moving here, we pretty much fell in love with Jax and the weather here, but that has changed. When there are t-storms in Jax, they are definitely t-storms with lots of lightning. Since living here, we've been thru two Tropical Storms (one, lost of rain, the other, lots of wind) and two hurricanes (Mathew 2016 and Irma 2017). Lost power for 40 hrs. w/Irma, nothing with Mathew.

Winter months here in Jax can be awfully cold, like high of 45 for the day. We've seen an overnight low of 24. Never would we ever thought it would get that cold here, but Jax is in northeastern Florida. The Panhandle and northern parts of Florida get pretty dang cold at times. We've had to use the Ice Scrapper, we had from Colorado, to get frost and some ice off of windshields. Yes, it does get THAT cold! There are folks here that love it that cold, but many of them aren't Seniors.
Very little Spring months here. Summer months are two words..........hot and humid. End of that story. Just those two things can force some folks to move out or not move here at all.

As for gators, they don't come up to your back door and wait to eat you, like we were told when we left Huntersville, NC.. Since moving here in 2009, we've seen one "teenage" size gator near a retention pond by a boat ramp. He/she just sit there and looked at everyone, like saying, "go ahead, take my photo". And, I did. A number of gators do sometimes hang out near small lakes at golf courses, but golfers just ignore them.

Bugs and Lizards: Oh yes, got bugs and some of them are the cousin of the coach roach with the name of Palmetto bugs. They definitely look like a coach roach, but aren't. They can be as big as a person's thumb. Have Gecko lizards all over the place. For "newbees" to Florida, these two can freak them out. "I pay this much for rent (or mortgage) and have coach roaches??" some folks will say. There not coach roaches, but they sure look like them.

Boating (for us, since we did buy a 20' cuddy cabin boat here, after moving here)...........what saltwater and brackish water will do to an engine and/or outdrive can be pretty costly. And, we did end up paying the price for a repair on both. Colorado waters are all freshwater and navigating them is much easier than navigating any waterway here. Want to know anymore about boating here, just ask.

So, how do we feel about Jacksonville and/or Florida, in general...........making plans on moving back to beautiful Colorado! We miss RMNP and big rake Bull Elk, rodeo action and a number of other things that aren't here in Jax. We know about the winters, but, when living in any area, got to "take the good with the bad". The boating there is much, much better (for us, anyway) than here. The population of Jax is close to 1 million, while the town we are looking to move to in northern Colorado is 70,000. We are definitely not "big city" type people, but have to be where the nice salaries are. Wife will retire before leaving here and there we both might get a part-time job.

Bottom-Line: Jacksonville and Florida itself is fine for many and many love living here. Then again, there are those that would definitely like to move from here, but due to family or finances, just can't. Then, there are those that move here, like we did, and find out they don't like it and move out. IOW, we don't make good Flordians or Southern people. Heck, I'm a former farm-boy from Indiana and wife is from outside Detroit, Michigan. I spent many years in pro-rodeo/Team Roping.

What I'm telling you in this reply is 100% true, no matter what anyone who loves living here in Jax or Florida says. Also, one last thing, the crime/homicide thing in Jax is pretty high, but only in certain areas. Only one week into the New Year and homicides are already happening.
 

KingsX

Senior Member
Location
Texas
Bugs and Lizards: Oh yes, got bugs and some of them are the cousin of the coach roach with the name of Palmetto bugs. They definitely look like a coach roach, but aren't. They can be as big as a person's thumb. Have Gecko lizards all over the place. For "newbees" to Florida, these two can freak them out. "I pay this much for rent (or mortgage) and have coach roaches??" some folks will say. There not coach roaches, but they sure look like them.

If you don't mind me asking... how much is the usual rent for a nice apartment in Jacksonville, Florida ?

Here is the Dallas area, private companies are building nice seniors only apartments [with elevators] that are partially funded by the government so the rent is based on income.

As for me... I plan to stay in my house as long as possible... or at least until I'm over age 70.

We also have the little gecko lizards here in Dallas. They live outside but sometimes one will get in the house by mistake. I just scoop it up in a cup and gently put it outside because they are very beneficial... they eat the bugs.

During this past arctic cold spell, the temperature here dived to 15 degrees for a couple of nights. But it is much warmer this week.

.
 

Manatee

Well-known Member
Location
Florida
Jacksonville is NORTH Florida, it gets milder as you go south.

In the 30 years that we have lived in Florida we got to know a number of snowbirds. Many of them got tired of maintaining 2 homes, and usually ended up selling the one where they kept the snow shovel. One snowbird told me that no matter what you need, it is in the other house.

Many communities require you to collect/pay the same taxes as a hotel if you rent your place for less than a year.
 

duncan

New Member
Location
Illinois
Original Poster
Having been a resident of Central Florida for 38 years, here's my two cents. I don't know much about how these things are in South, East, West or North Florida, so I can only speak for conditions in Central Florida.

Are you planning to declare Florida as your legal home? If so, you'll probably have to register your car(s) here in Florida. If you're just "snowbirding", you don't have to.
...
Thank you for all these helpful tips!! Yes, we were thinking we would declare Florida as our legal home. I've looked up some of the requirements for that. We did stay in Sarasota for a few days last summer and I felt the heat was unbearable (it didn't help that the air conditioning was broken in the place we stayed at!). I didn't realize a lot of those things you've mentioned. The rental restrictions are certainly something we'll ask questions about. I have thought about the furniture issue :(. Not much to do about that. We were thinking of being on the gulf side on the coast further south - like Naples or Bonita Springs and doing something similar to what you are thinking - 5 months up north and 7 months in Florida. As to financing, I was thinking we would probably finance some of it at least but haven't really decided that yet. On the valuations, I'm actually concerned that this is a bit of the upswing - i.e. this graph. Where I live, property values have never recovered. My house is worth much less than I paid for it 17 years ago. It's a nice house though and we get to live there though :).



I actually don't mind the cold terribly. If it were up to me and price were no object, I'd get a place in Montana or the San Francisco Bay Area with a view of a lake or bay. My wife wants to go somewhere warm every year though and the taxes in those states (especially California) are high. I'll save a fortune in state taxes in the long run moving to Florida, which is throwing money out the window.

@Ken N Tx - We went to Fiesta Key many years ago and camped out and it seemed wonderful. I'd be afraid I'd feel too cramped in a camper though. That's a fun idea though.
 

ClassicRockr

Well-known Member
Jacksonville is NORTH Florida, it gets milder as you go south.

In the 30 years that we have lived in Florida we got to know a number of snowbirds. Many of them got tired of maintaining 2 homes, and usually ended up selling the one where they kept the snow shovel. One snowbird told me that no matter what you need, it is in the other house.

Many communities require you to collect/pay the same taxes as a hotel if you rent your place for less than a year.
Yes, it gets milder as a person goes south, but a lot of folks don't find that out until they move to northeastern Florida. We thought, key word "thought", all of Florida was warm all year long and that's the reason why people got a second home there or just moved there period. We were wrong about the "warm all year long" and it really shocked us at how cold it can get here. Not only that, we were told that people can boat all year long in all of Florida. That's true for the younger generation, but sure wouldn't be true for a lot of Senior folks.

Like many Seniors, and younger folks, we don't necessarily like snow/ice, BUT, a people have to take the "good with the bad" to live in an area they really like. Especially if that area is a "snow belt" one.
 

ClassicRockr

Well-known Member
If you don't mind me asking... how much is the usual rent for a nice apartment in Jacksonville, Florida ?

Here is the Dallas area, private companies are building nice seniors only apartments [with elevators] that are partially funded by the government so the rent is based on income.

As for me... I plan to stay in my house as long as possible... or at least until I'm over age 70.


We also have the little gecko lizards here in Dallas. They live outside but sometimes one will get in the house by mistake. I just scoop it up in a cup and gently put it outside because they are very beneficial... they eat the bugs.

During this past arctic cold spell, the temperature here dived to 15 degrees for a couple of nights. But it is much warmer this week.

.
We are on the south side of Jacksonville, just north of The Avenues Mall. The apt is a 2-bedroom/2-bath "bungalow", meaning, there is basically no one above us. Our ceiling in the kitchen, dining room, living room and master bedroom is our roof. Hear no footsteps or anything, except an occasional squirrel running across the roof. Our apartment is connected to the rest of the building at the end. There are only three of these "bungalow's" in the complex. We pay like $1,200 a month, plus water. It's a very nice apartment and like living in a lake cottage. Screened in back patio and front area w/a storage room. We are right across from the Rental Office and this apartment was not occupied for a number of months before we moved in. Not everyone wants to live right across from the office, but that didn't bother us. The area is considered one of the safest in Jacksonville.
 

OneEyedDiva

Senior Member
Location
Nrw Jersey
Having been a resident of Central Florida for 38 years, here's my two cents. I don't know much about how these things are in South, East, West or North Florida, so I can only speak for conditions in Central Florida.

Are you planning to declare Florida as your legal home? If so, you'll probably have to register your car(s) here in Florida. If you're just "snowbirding", you don't have to.
...
Great and thorough reply Jujube!
 

DaveA

Senior Member
I doubt if you could find a nicer place to spend the winter, than SW Florida. For 16 years, after retiring, we stayed there during the winter months (Jan -early April). Not enjoying hot, humid weather, that was enough for us, but I have nothing to say but "good" as regards Florida in the winter.

We've never considering moving away from the coast here in southern New England as we would be leaving our kids, grandkids and great grands. They all live in the southern 3 New England states and they are far more important, to us, than heat, cold, dry, or humid. We get a bit of each at some time during the year. :)
 

ClassicRockr

Well-known Member
Funny thing is, there are quite a few people here that we have told "there is a good chance we are moving back to Colorado and they get totally shocked". "Why on earth would you want to leave Florida?" Apparently they think that every one who moves here will spend the rest of their life here. One word describes that.......wrong! There are those that live all over the U.S. that wouldn't give it a thought about moving to Florida and then there are those that wish they could.
 

ClassicRockr

Well-known Member
Actually, we made a visit to the Loveland/Ft Collins area in August 2018. Drove around, visited a couple of nice freshwater lakes and went to CFD (aka Cheyenne Frontier Days). Didn't really know how much we missed living in Colorado until we visited. For the next 10 months, made preparations to move.
Well, we left Florida last August 5 2019 and arrived in NOCO (aka northern Colorado) the 9th of August. Currently we are experiencing a Colorado winter again. We already knew what the winter was like here, being that we had lived 28 miles south of Denver for 5 1/2 years. However, the last Colorado winter we were in was in 2006...…….11 1/2 years ago! We are holding up, but are really waiting til spring/summer hits. We had our boat shipped here from Jacksonville.

As far as Florida goes, any of the folks at the apartment complex that we knew, are probably laughing at us due to the current weather of snow. But, then again, when they are experiencing the heat/humidity of summer there, plus in intense t-storms that hit, plus the possible hurricane and/or tropical storm......…...we will be the ones saying "this is only a few of the reason we moved".
 

Lc jones

Senior Member
We moved from Reno Nevada to the West Coast of Florida two years ago. We did not keep our home in Nevada as we did not want to have two houses that we would be responsible for and paying taxes for. Also we needed that money to plow into our new home which is entirely paid off.
You must love heat which in summer can be quite difficult, but if your air-conditioning works no problem. There’s always the chance of hurricanes as well but being on the West Coast that helps somewhat but there’s no guarantee.
We do not regret the decision and it was a huge one... I love waking up in the morning taking my coffee and sitting out by my pool and looking at my palm trees I would never have experienced that in Reno Nevada. It’s always been my dream and I’m now living my dream. Also I live 30 minutes away from some of the most beautiful beaches you’ve ever seen outside of the Caribbean, we go there weekly to watch the sunset or go in the morning and have our coffee and breakfast and watch the dolphins swim by.
 

ClassicRockr

Well-known Member
Well, we found out that we are not a "beach couple". When we lived in Jacksonville, we did go to Jacksonville Beach a few times, but that was it. And, that was within 10 1/2 years of living there. We simply found out that we simply aren't the "Florida" type, let alone not the Southern States type either.

Not to long after arriving here in northern Colorado, we made a trip to Estes Park and into Rocky Mountain State Park to see deer and elk. We really, really missed seeing both after we left Colorado in late 2007.

Funny, people we talked to here, wonder why anyone would live in Florida and people in Jacksonville, that we talked to, either didn't know where Colorado or any of the Rocky Mountain Regions were or wondered why anyone would chose to go back to "Old Man Winter". We simply knew that, people have to endure the winter to enjoy the summers here.

We haven't met one "snowbird" here. Not any!
 

peppermint

Senior Member
Location
East Coast
We have 2 homes...Our NJ home and our other home on the East Coast....A little warmer then NJ right now....

We also went to Florida, rented a condo and stopped going to Florida....We decided to go a little more North for vacation..

Deciding about selling the NJ home....It's hard for me but not my husband....He would sell it in a heart beat...
We live there for 43 years.....
 

Gardenlover

Bedazzled Member
Location
Lost in Space
Looks like an older thread, resurrected.

I love SW Florida, Colorado and Missouri. I'm thankful that I get to spend some time in all of these wonderful states throughout the year (Some states longer than others).

There are pros and cons to living just about anyplace I can imagine. If it makes you happy, then be where you want to be.
 
I am a 3rd generation snowbird. As a kid our family would go to SW Florida and stay with our grandparents for a week in December. I remember swimming....yes swimming in December! Lol. Going out to dinner, eating outside.......in December! I remember at perhaps age 10 getting to make a “long distance “ phone call to one of my friends. “Dave, guess what!!!!!! We are in the pool...in December!

So many beyond wonderful childhood memories. After our grandparents passed my parents bought a condo in a country club as my dad was an avid golfer. Wife and I took our kids down every February for a week and a half then again after school was out. Our kids absolutely loved it.

When our kids got older and were in college.....my daughter would call me and say, “Dad, what are you doing this Thursday through Sunday! Southwest has $69 flights let’s go and we would. We hung out at the pool, outside dinners. Such great times.

And now we have a place, and my sister and her husband.

I think it’s a great idea. Most all condo communities unless it’s a beach condo, require a minimum rental of 30 days. Because there are yearly owners and don’t want any Joe Blow coming and going. Beach condos are less rigid and most allow weekly rentals. I’m in a gated private country club. You have to pass a full background check. If you rent legally vs. cash under the table, you have to pay the state of Florida tax, the local bed tax, and claim the income on your tax return. Ugh.

Our kids and grandkids live in the cul de sac behind us in Ohio in a golf course community. So I am with my grandkids all the time. I can hardly go a day without seeing them! No way could I move away for 6 months.

I have zero desire to live on the beach. I’m a tennisplayer so we chose a country club and love it. Very private, Wonderful resort style pool that the grandkids love. 4 restaurants so we just stay at the pool all day and eat outside at the pool. About 13 miles inland so a little less of hurricane risk. Still a quick drive to the beach.

You will have no problem getting renters. Snowbirds in my community beg to stay for $3600-$4,300 per month from January through April. Not much interest any other time of the year.

For insurance purposes you only need a “Home Watch” service that checks and documents their visit inspection every 2 weeks. I pay $45.00 per month when we are not there.

Feel free to private message me.
 


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