Making the Big Move

Making a move to a new location is certainly a formidable chore.  It involves both the physical transporting of all your stuff as well as establishing new roots in the community for everything from doctors to a house of worship.

With a major move often comes a strong dose of stress.  You can minimize the disruption by making the effort to carefully plan the move and laying the groundwork to settling in your new Florida location.  Maintaining a clear agenda of the move and everything necessary to resume a normal day-to-day life as soon as possible can easily be accomplished by keeping your mind and eye on the process.

Don’t let things “happen to you” in the move.  Instead “make things happen” by knowing what you need to do and how it will be accomplished.


Make a Record of All Your Stuff

Prior to final packing it is a very good idea to use your still and/or video camera to record all of your furnishings, artwork and accessories.  Everything from pots and pans to your bedroom set can easily and quickly be captured to provide a comprehensive inventory of everything you are moving.  Such documentation offers an excellent reference tool. In the event of loss or damage, photo or video records will help make insurance claims considerably easier.


Steps You Need to Do as a New Floridian

Whether you are a new Florida resident or relocating a significant distance from an existing Sunshine State home there are some basic needs you need to address soon after a move.

There is no waiting period requirement for Establishing Residency in Florida.  To establish residency a permanent dwelling place must be secured with the intent of making Florida the permanent place of legal residence.

Establishing residency is an easy process that can be accomplished by any of the following actions:

  • Obtain a Florida Drivers License
  • Register a Child in a Florida School
  • Register to Vote in Florida
  • File a Declaration of Domicile with Clerk Circuit Court in County of Residence

Out-of-state drivers are required to secure a Florida Drivers License within 30 days of residency at a local Department of Motor Vehicles Office.  Your out-of-state license will be checked and, if your record is clean, you will not be required to take a written test.  A vision test will be required.

Also, if you are bringing a vehicle in from another state you will be required to Register Your Vehicle within 10 days after starting employment in Florida, entering a child into a Florida school, registering to vote or filing for Homestead Exemption.  You will need to secure a drivers license and insurance from a company licensed in Florida prior to registering your vehicle.

Existing Florida residents who move within the state must obtain a new license within 10 days of an address change.

Voter Registration must be completed a minimum of 29 days before you will be eligible to vote in an election You may file voter registration at the Supervisor of Elections office in your local county or at your local Department of Motor Vehicle office.

As an owner and permanent resident of Florida you are eligible to take advantage of special real estate tax concessions by filing for Homestead Exemption. You are eligible for this exemption on only a single property, which you claim as your permanent place of residence.  Under the provision of the law you will receive a $25,000 exemption off the assessed valuation of your home for all property taxes and an additional $25,000 on all taxes except school taxes.  Additionally, Homestead Exemption protects owners by capping the assessed valuation escalation permissible for property tax purposes to a maximum of 3% a year or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. This benefits taxpayers on their primary residence by offering protection against rapid escalation in tax over the life of ownership.


Keep it Safe

There’s the obvious importance of proper packing to avoid breaking valuables during their journey to your new Florida home. Use of appropriate packing materials and exercising care while packing will go a long way to avoiding breakage.

Equally important is protecting your important documents such as wills, licenses, marriage certificate and financial records.  It is suggested that you keep all important papers in a single container. Ideally the best choice is to carry such documents in a locked fireproof safe. Such safes are available in convenient carry sizes for ease of transporting.


Label Your Boxes and Create A Move-In Plan

Assisting in a smooth transition to your new home requires keeping track of what goes where. This starts from the onset by clearly numbering and indicating the contents directly on each box.

In conjunction with the sequential numbering of each box prepare a floor plan or at least listing of each room in your new home and an outline of which box goes in each room.

This simple preplanning will allow you to access the most critical things you need to function in your new home and set the stage for creating organization as your unpack and setup your new Florida home.


Relocating Professional Services

It’s true that you may have had excellent long-term relationships with physicians, an accountant, lawyer and investment counselor.  But with your change of residence to a new Florida location generally comes the need to reestablish many, if not all, of the services you require.

Referrals for these services can be sought from new neighbors, friends living in the area,  or members of civic and social organizations like the Rotary, Moose Lodge or VFW where you are transferring your current affiliation.  Also, do not underestimate the help your current service provider can provide in giving you guidance about resources in your new location.

Perhaps the quickest way to gain insight into a locale’s medical services is to visit nearby hospitals and acquire a published Medical Directory.  These publications provide an overview of medical services and physicians associated with a hospital.  The services that fit your needs gathered from these directories can then be further researched on the Internet. It’s the collaboration of the information from these two sources that will provide you with a clear idea about the services available and the choice that may best accommodate your requirements.

Unfortunately, accountants and lawyers do not always have readily available directories for your area.  As a result, the best place to acquire insight into area professionals is to reach out to the Chamber of Commerce or local based website that offers a composite of area services. Once you affiliate with a local bank recommendation for an attorney and accountants can often be acquired from your branch manager and/or investment counselor.

Investment counselors can be sought at a local branch office of a nationwide service you currently using or from local based investment advisors.  It should also be noted that many of the major banks found in Florida offer investment and wealth management service in conjunction with traditional banking services.


Be Prepared for Potential Problems

During the course of a major relocation there are always gremlins ready to take their toll. Taking precautions to better handle problems and potential disasters can save the day. Here are some thoughts on being prepared:

  • Be sure more than one person has a key to the new home in the event people get separated during the move. It may be advisable to change locks on a resale home prior to physically moving in.
  • Take along some extra cash in the event of unforeseen expenses that spring up.  This is particularly important if you are personally handling the move of your furniture and stuff.
  • Keep a first aid kit or basic medical supplies to treat injuries.
  • Keep important phone numbers and emergency contacts close at hand.  Obtaining a phone book for your new location in advance can be very beneficial in the event you may need emergency service by an electrician, plumber or heating - air conditioning contractor .
  • Bring extra packaging tape, bungee cords, rope or tie-down cords.  It may become necessary to readjust boxes or better secure loose items during the course of a move.


Confirm Services for New Home

Helping to ease the process of a move is making sure your new home is as comfortable and operational as possible. Therefore, be sure all necessary services are in place at your new location by the big move-in day.  Services to arrange include electric, natural gas, cable TV, Internet service, water/ sewer service and telephone.

Be sure to notify your current post office about the move and arrange to have mail forwarded to your new location.  Depending on your circumstances and preferences this may require securing a new post office box prior to the move.

It is also important that insurance be in place at the time of possession of your home.  If you had financing on the purchase, this would have been required at time of closing the loan and purchase transaction.