The Cost of Living in Florida
Sales and Income Taxes
While you can’t avoid taxes completely, Florida residents benefit from some tax advantages. The Florida state sales tax is 6 percent and state corporate tax is 5.5 percent. There is no state income tax in Florida. State income taxes in other states can vary greatly. Rather than paying 3.07 percent in Pennsylvania, up to 8.82 percent in New York, or even as much as 12.3 percent in California, come enjoy zero income tax in Florida. The lack of income tax makes Florida a great choice for residents who plan to continue working. In fact, Central Florida’s booming job market makes it easy for working families to relocate to Florida. Overall, Florida residents and businesses have the fifth-lowest tax burden in the United States.
Sales and income taxes don’t show the whole picture when it comes to cost of living. If you are moving to Florida to retire, 55 and over communities come with some additional fees. The bountiful amenities that retirement communities are known for make life easier and more enjoyable. Lawn and property maintenance are often included in 55 and over communities. You’ll find pools, social events, and tennis or pickleball courts in these neighborhoods as well. The price of these amenities show up in your monthly Homeowners Association (HOA) fee. If you don’t know the specific fees associated with your dream neighborhood, budgeting at least $200/month is a good idea.
There are no big surprises when it comes to property taxes in Florida. Florida’s average property tax rate falls just below the U.S. average. The average Floridian pays 0.98 percent while the average American pays 1.08 percent. In Marion County, Florida the average homeowner pays $1,177 each year in property taxes at an average rate of 0.99 percent. Compared to what you may be paying now, Florida property tax rates can be a nice break for your wallet. Some examples of property taxes around the country include:
- Maryland’s average property tax rate is 1.06%
- Ohio’s average property tax rate is 1.57%
- Pennsylvania’s average property tax rate is 1.58%
- New York’s average property tax rate is 1.69%
- New Jersey’s average property tax rate is 2.42%
If you’re planning to move to Florida from the Northeastern United States, you’re probably leaving behind high taxes with all that snow. Just be aware, if you upgrade to a larger house or more land in Florida, you may end up paying the same amount in property taxes as you did on your smaller home in the Northeast.
The Cost of Homes in Florida
Just like any other state, the cost of homes varies in Florida. You can get a home for less than $100,000 in Ocala’s On Top of the World 55 + Community or pay a few million dollars for a house on an equestrian farm. The variety of homes in Central Florida provides choices for every budget and lifestyle. Mini farms and equestrian properties let residents enjoy the outdoors with space to roam while waterfront properties offer recreation and relaxation. 55 and over communities are popular with residents who want to enjoy life and leave the hassle of commuting and home maintenance in the past. If there’s a dream home you’ve always wanted to build, Ocala is perfect for that as well. A friendly and knowledgeable Showcase Properties agent can help you find land and lots for sale.
Settlement Costs and Insurance
After you find your dream home in Florida, there’s one last financial hurdle. Closing costs and new home insurance are the final items on your moving budget. In Florida, closing costs are running between 2.15% and 3.23% of the total home purchase price before taxes. The good news is that you may be able to deduct some of those closing costs from your taxes the following year.
Along with your typical homeowner’s insurance, most Floridians are required to have flood insurance. At Showcase Properties, our agents are happy to help you understand flood insurance in Florida and help you determine if your new home is in a flood zone.
The cost of moving to Florida
Visiting Florida to find the house
Moving to another state can take a lot of planning. You may need to visit Florida on multiple occasions to discover where to relocate to in Florida. The cost of traveling to and from Florida can add up quickly. Currently, flight prices are relatively low. After the COVID pandemic ends, you can expect prices to go back up. Check the price of flights in your area. Current flights from New York City can range from $41 to $250. Choosing days and times that aren’t as popular with travelers can save you money on these trips.
Once in Florida, you’ll need a hotel or other accommodation during your visit. Prices for lodging are currently lower than normal due to the pandemic. You can choose from a wide variety of local accommodations including the Crowne Plaza Orlando for around $68/night, the Palazzo Lakeside Hotel in Kissimmee for $42/night, or the Comfort Inn Ocala North for $118/night. Don’t forget to budget for your meals. Florida relocation costs can add up to significant numbers depending on the number of visits you make before the move.
The move itself
Unless this is your first time moving house, you know that packing and moving your belongings takes time, patience, and money. The average cost of moving from New York to Florida is between $1,700 and $3,000. Moving in the offseason will help lower your costs. Avoiding summer moves can also help you avoid delays that may arise with hurricane season.
You’ll need to decide whether to ship your car to Florida or drive it yourself. Both options come with expenses, but shipping your vehicle will cost more in total. For shipping, you can expect to pay between $700 and $1,400 per vehicle. If you’re driving to Florida, be sure to budget for the cost of gas and hotel stays if needed. To save money on your move, consider packing your boxes yourself and renting a Uhaul or PODS to move your items. Professional moving companies can be less work but will end up costing significantly more money.
The Cost of Selling Your House
If you decide to move before your house sells, your realtor may suggest “staging” your home. Staging brings in furniture and decor to create a home that appeals to local buyers. While staging can help sell your house sooner, it does cost money to rent and arrange the household items. The average cost is between $300 and $600 for a consultation, plus $500 to $600 per month per staged room. Although pricey, staged homes have shown to sell 88 percent faster and for 20 percent more money than non-staged homes. These upfront expenses will hopefully result in a faster and more profitable home sale.