10 Tips for Moving from New York to Florida from a Strategist Who’s Made the Move

Feb 26, 2024

Melissa Schneider shares insider tips and tricks for making this life-changing journey 

Making the leap from urban to suburban is always a major change. But when you layer in a major lifestyle shift – in this case, from New York to sunny Florida – it can feel daunting. The good news? We’re here to help. And, more importantly, once you’ve set down roots in Florida, you’ll likely never look back.

Suburban Jungle Strategist and Head of Florida Market Melissa Schneider gets it. As someone who’s navigated this journey herself, draws from her first-hand experiences when helping people navigate this long-distance move to Florida. 

“I love helping people find their way to Florida,” says Melissa. “We have many clients from New York and the tri-state area. We are not just limited to northerners, as she recently worked with a family from Indiana. The list goes on and on – and I get it! Having made the move myself, I can reflect on exactly what was keeping me up at night – and, at the same time, why this was such an incredible move for my family.” 

Her advice?

#1. Navigate Taxes with a Local Advisor

“One of the most enticing aspects of Florida living is the absence of state income tax, meaning residents are only liable for federal income taxes,” Melissa explains “However, understanding your tax residency on both a state and federal level is crucial.”

Melissa recommends consulting with a local financial advisor in Florida to ensure you’re making informed decisions about your finances in this new chapter.

#2. Get Your Vehicle Registration and Florida Driver’s License

Florida laws mandate new residents get a Florida driver’s license and register their vehicles within 30 days of establishing residency. Whether you’re enrolling your children in school, accepting employment, or registering to vote, it’s important to comply with these regulations promptly.

“We can connect you with resources to help navigate this process and the paperwork fast,” says Melissa. “There are a few logistical hurdles, including vehicle and even boat title transfers. But if you have an expert or two in your corner, it will be smooth sailing.”

#3. Research the School and Sports Cut-Off Dates

Florida’s educational system has specific school enrollment and sports participation cut-off dates. Children who are 5 years of age on or before September 1 of the school year are eligible for admission to public kindergarten during that school year. Rec and travel programs are primarily based on a child’s birth date and year rather than grade level.

“It’s important to familiarize yourself with these dates to ensure a smooth transition for your children,” Melissa says. “The state requires regular school attendance for children six years old and older by February 1 of any school year.”

#4. Understand the Homestead Exemption Advantage

Florida’s homestead laws make homeownership even more appealing. These laws cap the annual increase in taxable value of homestead properties to 3% or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower. This provision can lead to substantial property tax savings over time, making it a key consideration for potential homeowners. As you explore towns and houses, remember how this law will impact your budget and potential next steps. 

#5. Learn About Florida’s Prepaid and Scholarship Opportunities

The Florida Prepaid College Plan and state-sponsored scholarships offer families an affordable pathway to securing higher education for their children.

“With the rising tuition costs and the amazing state schools in Florida, these programs are an incredible value for residents,” Melissa says. “Don’t forget to factor that in as you’re considering making a move.” 

#6. Lease a Car with Ample Mileage

Even if you don’t have a car in New York – or plan to search for a walkable Florida suburb – you’ll need a car once you move. If you lease a car, choose one with at least 15,000 miles (the suburban sprawl is real!). And if you’ve got a teen, plan to lease a car for them, too. In Florida, kids get their driver’s license at 16 versus 17 in other states. 

#7. Dig into NYU Langone’s Expansion in Florida

For those concerned about healthcare, Florida continues to attract renowned medical institutions. NYU Langone Health’s recent expansion in West Palm Beach and other locations ensures access to high-quality healthcare services, including specialties like physical therapy and gynecological care.

#8. Explore Specialized Moving Services

Several movers and car shipping companies specialize in New York to Florida moves.

“Two words,” says Melissa. “Get movers who know and have done this move. Moving from New York to Florida is huge, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Your possessions need to be carefully packed, stored, and moved. Don’t leave it to chance to late-night, coffee-fueled packing sessions. Get a pro.”

#9. Embrace Florida’s Lifestyle

The palm trees, stunning views, and warm climate lift the spirits – chances are, you’ll have plenty of friends and families ready to make the trip.

“If you can, have a guest room or convertible home office space once you move,” Melissa says. “You’ll be surprised how many people are ready to pack up and pay a visit, especially when the temperature drops in New York.” 

#10. Consider Your Lifestyle Priorities

Before making the move, it’s essential to reflect on your lifestyle priorities – and those priorities should extend beyond the allure of the beach. Florida offers a diverse range of communities, each with its unique character and amenities.

“Yes, we have the beach,” says Melissa, ” Florida, though, has so much to offer beyond the sand and surf – arts, culture, food, schools, activities… we’re never bored. Together, we’ll discuss your priorities and find the right Florida community based on your lifestyle and preferences.”

 Moving from New York to Florida is a journey filled with exciting opportunities and new beginnings – and we can help. Schedule your free Suburbs Strategy session now.

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