The Lure of Living in Florida

Do you imagine moving to Florida in retirement or owning a vacation home for the winter months? If so, you’re not alone. For over 500 years Florida’s swaying palms, coastal breezes, and year ’round sunshine have been a potent draw for those looking for a relaxing or an adventuresome future.
Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, credited with discovering Florida in 1513, was smitten with the land he called “La Florida” or “Place of Flowers.” Since his discovery, the country’s most southeastern state has grown rapidly and currently is the fourth-largest state in population. Florida’s attractiveness starts with its amiable weather and dependable sunshine. However, the state’s perpetual growth has also built the dreams of those wishing to start a new business or become more active in outdoor sports and recreational pursuits.
Florida’s natural resources provide plenty of opportunities to stay busy, active and healthy. For those who like to look at, be in or on the water, Florida is hard to beat. With its 1,200 miles of coastline (half of which is walkable), 8,000 freshwater lakes, (including Lake Okeechobee, the second largest freshwater lake in the contiguous United States), and 1,700 rivers, boating, fishing or swimming is always an option. Golf enthusiasts quickly learn that with over 1,500 golf courses to choose from, there are more courses to play than there is time to play them. Meanwhile, hikers, bikers or walkers can locate plenty of paths and scenic trails to enhance their hobby. Besides the great weather, outdoor sports, fishing and exercise advantages, there are other solid reasons to consider retiring to the Sunshine State.
Cost of Living – Typically cheaper than the northern states.
Taxes – Florida’s Constitution forbids a State income tax, and there are no State inheritance or estate taxes.
Healthcare – Florida’s home to world-class hospitals and medical care.
Airports – Regional and International airports scattered throughout the state.
Investment – Florida’s popularity translates into multiple investment opportunities through the purchase of land, houses or condos. Foreign investors add to the security of owning a home in the Sunshine state with International buyers accounting for 12% of all Florida real estate transactions.
When choosing which area of Florida to live in, considering where you move from may have an impact on your decision. Historic trends show that Southeastern Florida cities, such as Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, draw new residents from the Northeast and Latin America, while Southwestern Florida cities, such as St. Petersburg, Bradenton, Sarasota and Naples, have many new residents from the Midwest, Canada and Europe. The Panhandle area typically attracts new residents from other Southern states such as Georgia and Alabama.
Once you make the decision to move or invest in Florida, it is best to work with an established Realtor associated with national brokerage firms such as Coldwell Banker, Century 21, ReMax or Sotheby’s.
These agents have access to all listings in their community, in addition to having the knowledge and expertise to help guide you in selecting a home or property best suited for your individual needs.
If you are considering buying or building a new home, it is wise to have a local Realtor assist you in finding the right neighborhood and negotiating the best price from the developer. Relying on the developer’s sales staff can often be a costly mistake as they have no fiduciary duty to you. Realtors are paid a commission by the seller, which means you receive their help and expertise without incurring any added costs.
Once a property has been selected and put under contract, your Realtor can supervise all the closing details including property inspections, title insurance and closing agents, making for a smooth and less stressful move to the Sunshine state. Living in Florida is an enjoyable adventure worth considering.
Dana Kibbey is a Florida native and licensed Realtor with Coldwell Banker specializing in relocation sales. For questions on moving to Florida, she can be reached at 941-212-0000. Her website DanaKibbey.com contains timely news stories on Florida’s growth and relocating to the Sunshine state. ■

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