Contemplating a move from the Garden State to the Sunshine State? Before you pack your bags for warmer climes and sunnier skies, make sure you’re thoroughly prepared for your upcoming move! Great Guys Moving has put together a comprehensive guide to help you plan your relocation. Below, we give you information on everything from the pros and cons of living in Florida to a checklist you can use to prepare for your transition. Best of all, we’re here to help you quickly find a long-distance NJ to FL moving company. If you’re ready for fast, free quotes from fully licensed and insured interstate movers, get started now by filling out a quote form!
Pros and Cons: What You Need to Know About Moving to Florida?
Moving halfway across the country is a big decision to make, but Florida has become an appealing choice for years. It’s particularly well regarded among retirees looking to live out their golden years comfortably in a state that won’t cost them an arm and a leg. But regardless of the reasons you have for moving, there are a lot of issues to take into consideration. We’re here to break down the advantages and disadvantages of each state and help you understand the whole situation in greater detail.
If you aren’t yet retired, you’ll be interested in Florida’s job prospects. Regarding the jobs available, Florida and New Jersey are two very different places. The most significant source of income for the Sunshine State is tourism. A whopping 116.5 million tourists visited the state in 2017, flocking to destinations like the vibrant Miami Beach or the dazzling Gulf Coast. Tourism is only expected to grow in the coming years, as the 2017 numbers were a 3.16% increase over the previous year. The booming tourist industry creates jobs for people working in the hospitality business, but it also makes the state a promising place for budding entrepreneurs. Just keep in mind that it’s an industry that waxes and wanes with the seasons. For those looking for a little more consistency, the state is also a hub for scientists in both the aerospace and life sciences fields, and it’s a center for some of the most prominent financial institutions in the country. New Jersey, in contrast, focuses its attention more on manufacturing, but also has a strong tech presence. Tech and science jobs constitute almost 50% of the job market. Florida has nearly double the GDP of New Jersey, and it boasts a slightly lower unemployment rate as well.
Cost of Living
Having a high paying job doesn’t matter much if you’re paying out the nose for your living expenses, and that’s where Florida brings a distinct advantage. The cost of living in Florida is generally much lower than in New Jersey. A comparison of Jersey City to Tampa shows that residents of the latter pay less than half for home costs on average. While no other living expenses show such great disparity, food and utilities are both notably cheaper as well. According to bestplaces.net, a salary of $100,000 in Tampa, Florida will go just as far as $142,658 in Jersey City, New Jersey.
One important element when considering the cost of living is a state’s tax rates. Just how much of your paycheck will get gobbled up by the state? Florida has no state income tax, which makes it an inviting locale for high-income earners. New Jersey’s income tax ranges from 1.4% to 8.97%, depending on the earner’s income level. So, moving South could put a substantial sum back in your wallet every paycheck. Florida sales tax ranges from 6% to 8%, depending on locality, while New Jersey’s is 6.625% throughout the state. The average effective property tax in Florida is around 1.02%, which is below the national average. New Jersey’s average property tax, on the other hand, is well above the national average, at around 2.4%. Neither state taxes social security benefits. From a tax perspective, Florida is all around the more favorable place to live.
Transportation & Traffic
If you’re moving from New Jersey to Florida, one of the most significant changes you can expect is your mode of getting around. The density of New Jersey has facilitated a great public transit system. Even without a car, you can generally get where you need to be. You’ll find less in the way of train and bus routes in Florida, but that’s just fitting of the laidback lifestyle that Floridians love. You’ll probably want a car regardless of where you decide to settle in Florida, but some of the bigger cities do offer some public transit.
Despite Florida’s lacking public transportation system, you might be surprised to find that the commute times here are lower than those in Jersey. Traffic will, of course, vary considerably depending on where you live. Indexmundi.com reports that the average commute time in Florida is about 26 minutes; Clay County (home to St. Augustine) has the longest average commute time at 32 minutes. New Jersey’s average commute time is longer, at about 30.4 minutes; Sussex County has the longest commute time clocking in at 37.7 minutes on average.
The Garden State and the Sunshine State both have diverse populations. Florida has a population that is about 23% Hispanic, 16% African American, and 2.6% Asian. New Jersey has a 19% Hispanic population, 13.7% African American, and 9.2% Asian. But Florida trends older, with a median age that is about two years older than that of New Jersey. Not surprisingly, Florida, the state of retirees, also has the highest percentage of senior citizens of any state in the nation, at 17.3%, according to CNN Money.
Crime rates will depend on where you live within each of the states. Neighborhood Scout reports that, overall, Florida has a violent crime rate of 4.3 per 1,000 residents and a property crime rate of 26.87/1000. Unfortunately, these crime rates are higher than New Jersey’s average violent crime rate of 2.45/1000 and property crime rate of 15.45/1000.
If you were to ask most Florida transplants why they decided to move, the weather would probably top the list. Wherever you live in Florida, you’re going to get the privilege of more sunny days than you would in NJ, and you’ll generally be able to expect less rain as well. If you’re someone who loves the great outdoors, Florida is the spot to be. In Florida, you’re always a short drive from the sandy, white beaches. Just keep in mind that Florida sits square in the path of more severe storms, so you’ll want to make sure to invest in hurricane and flood insurance. It’s a small price to pay for the beautiful weather, but it’s a step you should take to prepare.
Despite being called the Sunshine State, Florida does experience a lot of rain from May through October. The climate here ranges from humid subtropical to tropical. According to holidayweather.com, highs average around 82 degrees in the summer, which is lower than New Jersey summer temperatures, but Florida can often feel hotter because of the humidity. You may miss the snow in Florida, but you probably won’t miss the cold. Winters are mild with lows averaging 61, while New Jersey often drops into the 40s in the winter with heavy snow and ice.
There’s a reason why the Sunshine State is such a popular destination for travelers. Rivaling California, Florida may be the state with the densest population of attractions. The big theme parks centralized in Orlando are obvious attractions, as are the beaches, but this is a state positively littered with things to do. Whether you’re looking to check out a gator farm, take in a round of golf, or book a week at a high-class resort, you’ll find plenty to do here. And the fact that Florida ports are the main point to disembark for most cruises means that you won’t have to travel halfway across the country if you’re looking to spend a vacation at sea.
Where Are the Best Places to Live in Florida?
Moving across the country is always a big decision to make, and that’s especially true if you’re making the trek from the Northeast to Florida. You can expect some changes regarding everything from the climate to the culture to just the primary process of getting from one place to another. But that’s not to say that Florida is a single unified mass of culture. Each city has a personality. Finding the right community makes a big difference in how well you settle into your new home. Here are nine of the best places to settle down in Florida.
While Tampa is often used as a blanket term to describe all cities in the Tampa Bay metro area, Tampa proper has plenty of charm and personality distinctly its own. As the largest city in the region, it’s home to several different neighborhoods. Historic Ybor City, a neighborhood known for cigar factories and a diverse immigrant population, has earned a reputation as one of the trendiest neighborhoods around, while Hyde Park is an upscale neighborhood for families filled with some of the city’s finest dining destinations. The Channel District bustles with new developments and serves as one of the city’s major commercial thoroughfares. Students will find a host of popular colleges that include the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa. While it may not be as flush with attractions as Orlando, this city does boast theme parks like Adventure Bay and Busch Gardens.
St. Petersburg has long lived in Tampa’s shadow, but that seems to be quickly changing. Once known almost exclusively for its population of retirees, it’s recently become a popular destination for up-and-coming millennials. In a lot of ways, it resembles the renaissance taking place in Austin. The art and music communities are thriving, and both the craft beer and restaurant scenes are trendy and on the cusp of transforming St. Pete into one of Florida’s hippest communities. Perhaps the biggest attraction in St. Pete is its many pristine beaches. While this rising tide of culture and growth of economic development may make the city itself more promising than ever, St. Pete’s beaches will continue to make it a tantalizing location for both vacationers and transplants.
The plentiful beaches in Jacksonville tend to draw in scores of snowbirds looking for a fun vacation, but it’s the culture and community that makes them stick around. The diversity of neighborhoods is a great selling point here, from the formerly industrial but increasingly residential Northside to the family-friendly Southside to the delightfully rural Westside. Young families will find plenty of ways to keep their brood entertained. Adventure Landing may not offer the thrills of Disney World or Universal, but it’s a great park for a fun-filled afternoon, and Kinsley Plantation is a great way to immerse your family in the area’s history. And despite the low cost of living in Jacksonville, it’s brimming with job opportunities. It’s home to more Fortune 500 and Fortune 1,000 headquarters than any other Florida city.
Not to be mistaken for the bustling metropolis of Miami, Miami Beach is one of the most beautiful resort cities around. It offers the best of both worlds in its proximity to the business and culture of Miami while also sitting sequestered along one of the area’s most glorious beaches. That said, many of the reasons for moving to Miami Beach are the same as moving to Miami. The unique multicultural milieu of Miami influences everything from the art to the food to the music. But Miami Beach brings its social cache, and while you may pay a little more to live here, the combination of bustling nightlife and the beautiful attractions the area is known for makes it a great destination for those willing to pay a little extra for the privilege.
Just a bit north of Miami Beach, things move a little slower in Fort Lauderdale. This popular vacation destination may get busy with travelers during the peak season, but its location directly on the water and its unique network of canals makes it a great place to live year-round. There are plenty of reasons to settle in permanently. As indicated by the city’s impressively low unemployment rate, jobs are in high supply. For those with school-aged children, the city also offers some of the best school districts in the state. Fort Lauderdale schools occupy a disproportionate number of positions on the List of Best Schools in Florida year in and out. The housing market also offers a diverse range of pricing, providing comfortable options for just about everyone. Just keep in mind that the cost of living can be a tad higher than many other cities in the Sunshine State.
There are plenty of resort towns in Florida, but few have the historic charm of Pensacola. And while tourism is big business in Pensacola, it’s also become a top destination for military families and those looking to work in manufacturing. Throughout its history, Pensacola has been under the rule of the United States, the Confederacy, Britain, Spain, and France. This diverse blend of cultures is reflected in everything from the architecture to the culture. The city may be known for its sandy white beaches, but it also boasts some of the most inexpensive housing in the state. As a bonus, its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico makes it an ideal launching point for both commercial and recreational fishing, so don’t forget to pack your rod and reel.
St. Augustine is home to countless beautiful beaches, but that’s hardly a selling point given the natural beauty of other cities along coastal Florida. Where the small metropolis distinguishes itself is through its claim as the oldest city in America. This title makes it a draw for tourists but also means there’s plenty for residents to explore. Castillo de San Marcos is a popular historical attraction, but the Spanish architectural influence has seeped its way into many standing buildings throughout the small resort town. Tourism is the big industry here, but it’s not the only one. Money Magazine named St. Augustine the best place to live in Florida for 2018, and that’s in large part due to its projected job growth rate of 18% between 2016 and 2021.
As the southernmost city in Florida, Key West is both a popular destination for cruise ships and those looking to snorkel and scuba dive. Despite its tropical environment, it stands apart culturally from much of Florida. The population here is largely transplants: people who visited and just decided to stick around, and the result is a community that’s notably eclectic and strange. The art community is as eccentric as it is bustling, and the tiny size of the community makes it easy to get around even if you don’t have a car. While its location makes it something of a liability during storm season, housing prices have been dropping in recent years, making now a great time to buy if you’re looking to invest in an island getaway.
Boca Raton is best characterized as the most popular qualities of Florida compressed into one community. It has the beautiful beaches of Miami Beach with fewer crowds and lower pricing and making a journey to the Bahamas is as simple as hopping on a ferry. Sites for outdoor activities range from prestigious golf courses to plenty of places where you can snorkel or scuba dive. The housing is diverse – accommodating people working with a wide range of incomes – and the local universities boast a student population of around 40,000. It’s also home to 46 different parks and enjoys a lush and vibrant art community.
When it comes to moving to Florida, there are lots of great places for you to settle down! Once you’ve decided on a home, we can do the rest to facilitate your transition. Call us today for a free moving estimate.
What’s A Good Checklist for Moving to Florida from New Jersey?
Relocating is stressful. Cross country moving is even more stressful. It is essential to create a to-do list so that you can keep yourself organized and on track. Here’s a checklist to help you with your move to the Sunshine State:
Create lists for different stages of your move. There are things you can do well ahead of time and things that have to wait until moving day. Start well in advance, so you do not feel rushed and frazzled.
Purge What You Don’t Need
You probably have closets and boxes that you have not gone through in some time. Now is the time to go through everything and clear out the junk! Make separate piles for trash, donations, and a yard sale. Having a pre-moving sale to get rid of a lot of the stuff you no longer need can help you raise extra cash to cover your moving costs. Then, after the yard sale, you can drop off your items at a local non-profit thrift store and take a charitable tax deduction. Purging things ahead of your relocation reduces the number of things you need to pack and move. Consequently, it will also help you save money on your move!
The process of finding movers should be started well in advance. Do not wait until the week before you want to move to find a long distance moving company. You need to research companies and get a few quotes at least two months In advance. When looking at moving companies, make sure you only consider those that are licensed and insured for interstate transport. After all, the company you hire is going to be moving all your belongings from New Jersey to Florida. You need to make sure you have protection in case something gets damaged during the move.
Additionally, the company needs to be familiar with the rules and regulations of interstate moving. Every moving company should be able to show you a copy of their license when they come to your home to give you a quote. Do not be afraid to get a few quotes. You need to be comfortable with the company and trust they are going to be the best company for you. Additionally, if you have any special moving needs, like specialty packaging for valuable artwork, you need to make sure the moving company can provide these services.
Great Guys Long Distance Moving makes it easy to find the licensed movers you need to complete your move. Fill out one short-and-sweet form, then get quotes from multiple moving companies that we’ve already verified carry the proper licensing and insurance.
Start packing early. This part of the move usually takes much longer than most people anticipate. You can start by packing items that you do not use on a regular basis. For instance, if you have a bookcase full of books you don’t plan to read soon, box them up now. Make sure when packing, each box is labeled, so you know what room it belongs in when you arrive in Florida. Labeling makes unloading and unpacking much simpler.
Furthermore, make sure you get your packing supplies early. Do not assume you will be able to find boxes at your local supermarket at the last minute. You may be able to visit your local liquor store for sturdy boxes, but you may have to do it over a few weeks.
Schedule Your Utility Services
Find out what utility companies you’ll use when you get to Florida. If possible, call ahead of time to make a set a date for these companies to turn on your water, electricity, gas, and internet. Additionally, make sure you contact your utilities in New Jersey about a shut-off date and a forwarding address for any final bills.
Enroll Your Kids in School
If you have children, make sure you let their New Jersey school know you are moving and arrange to get their records transferred to their new school(s) in Florida. Also, contact their new school and introduce yourself. Get the necessary paperwork done ahead of time, if possible, and discuss any special needs your children might have.
Check Your Insurance Policies
Find out who your new health insurance provider will be and your new policy’s effective date. Research primary doctors and specialists for all members of your family. If possible, fill out the necessary paperwork to get your records transferred from New Jersey to Florida, so everything is taken care of before you get there. Furthermore, because you will have new doctors, you should try to set up a new patient appointment as soon as possible.
Now is also the time to look into a new policy for your home/renter’s and auto insurance coverage. You might be able to secure lower rates on these policies in Florida.
This checklist is a great way to start preparing for your move from New Jersey to Florida. Make sure to stay organized and adjust your checklist as needed. When you’re ready to begin the process of looking for movers, just contact Great Guys Moving using the form provided! We’ll do the legwork to find you licensed, insured movers who can help you transition from NJ to FL!