Are you thinking of relocating to Southwest Florida? Picking up and relocating to a new city can mean getting a handle on a lot of details about what to expect, and what you’ll encounter.
Whether you’re a corporate employee whose company is helping you with relocation assistance or a recent retiree ready to enjoy the good life in Southwest Florida, relocating can be a daunting task for many people.
Relocators often underestimate what is involved in selling their current home, arranging for moving their belongings to a new city and all the details to be considered when establishing their new residence.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you avoid any unexpected surprises and cover all the bases of bringing your family to Southwest Florida.
Due Diligence – Learn as Much as Possible about Your New City
Nothing is more heartbreaking than settling into your new home and discovering things were not as you first thought.
It is critical to do as much personal research as possible to gain a thorough understanding of exactly what to expect in your new location.
Don’t rely solely on the input of local real estate professionals – take some time to do online research, talk to your potential neighbors in the community you’re considering and make note of the positives and the negatives involved in the move.
Most Southwest Florida residential communities, especially gated, master-planned communities, publish newsletters and other information on their websites that can give you a good sense of what the community is about, and the people who live there.
Presumably, you’ve spent time in your new city, checking things out to determine if it will fit your lifestyle expectations. If not, plan to visit your future home’s area, and speak to those who live there.
While it’s fun to go to the beach and play golf, make it a point to ask around about what life there is really like.
There are several websites that offer detailed information on what you can expect in a specific city, and they cover things like tax and crime rates, potential for future growth and a host of other details that could provide a good source of education before selecting exactly where to move.
Consider ALL Your Relocation Costs
There are many more things to consider financially than hiring a moving company to get you into your new Southwest Florida home or condominium.
You need to make sure you’ve planned for everything related to relocation:
- Costs involved with selling your current home, or cancelling a lease on your rental property
- Travel to your new city to look at properties and check out the area
- Terminating and re-establishing all utility services
- Any new furnishings needed in your new home
- Applicable security payments or costs associated with moving into a private residential community
Actual Moving Service Expenses
Other financial considerations include the cost of living in your new home. If you’re moving from a small midwestern town to Naples, for example, your property tax and other expenses may increase.
It’s likely you’ll need to file taxes with information from 2 cities after you move from one home to the next.
Florida has no state income tax, so if you’ve worked or bought and sold real estate in 2 states in a given year, be sure to ask a tax professional about all the ramifications involved in your relocation.
If you’re moving from a single-family home that is not governed by a Homeowners Association, or HOA, you may be in for a surprise when it comes to expenses in your new home.
Residential communities within master planned developments and other gated or private neighborhoods asses quarterly or annual fees associated with the maintenance and improvements to the area.
These can include Condominium Fees, Master HOA Fees, club fees, one-time application and property transfer fees and more. Ask questions about exactly what it will cost to move into any community.
Consider a Short-Term Test
If you haven’t found the ideal home or condominium in Southwest Florida yet, it may be smart to consider a lease of a property in the area you’re considering.
It can be better to spend a year in a rental home or condo doing your research on buying the ideal home for your lifestyle than to purchase a home hastily and regret it later.
There are also many seasonal rentals available in Southwest Florida for 3 or 4 months in the winter season that may give you a good feel for life in your potential new community. The more information you have, the better your relocation will be.
Hiring a Moving Company
If you’re employed by a company that is relocating you for your job, they may offer different forms of services, from helping you find a home to arranging for the move of all your personal belongings.
But most people who choose Southwest Florida as their new home are retirees who will need to hire a moving company to transport their furnishings.
Today, there are many new options for moving besides a trucking company.
You may opt for a service where you pack all your furnishings into a portable pod which is then transported to your new home, and you arrange to have it unloaded.
The benefits include the ability to properly pack and load all your prized possessions, so they arrive intact, and not being at the mercy of a traditional moving company in the event anything arrives damaged or doesn’t arrive at all.
Professional Help, or Do It Yourself
There are companies that will handle virtually every aspect of starting your new life in paradise, and they work mostly for employers seeking to get their valued employees from one city to another.
Private individuals can also hire those firms, who will handle things like arranging for the activation for all your new home’s utilities, like electric, water, cable and other services, retaining a moving service, any applicable deposits or other fees needed before moving in, providing information on local school districts and tax expenses and other services.
Moving to a new home is a major life event, starting a new adventure in a new city. Doing everything you can to reduce your family’s stress and expenses will make the process much more fulfilling.