Is retirement on your not so distant horizon? And are the cumulative years of cold northern winters making you contemplate a move to the Sunshine State? There are plenty of good reasons why life as a Snowbird in Florida might be for you, and it doesn't have to involve cutting all of your ties to your life "Up North."
Obviously this is the main selling point for any retiree considering a move to Florida. There are no driveways to shovel, no icy conditions to drive in, no need for snow boots, shovels, ice scrapers, bags of ice melting salt, or endless gallons of windshield wiping fluid. Florida heat is more humid than the dry heat of the American southwest, and as a result Florida is lush and green year round. But that also means that your lawn and garden will have to be continuously maintained, even during the winter months.
Retirees don't need a lot of extra space to raise a family, but they might enjoy some privacy from time to time when relatives do come to visit. Some newer homes in Florida include a layout plan where there is a separate entrance for a small apartment dwelling attached to the house. This is usually called a mother-in-law suite, although in this situation it would be reversed.
In 1992 Hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida, but it also brought about more stringent building codes. Florida homes built after Andrew have strictly enforced wind load requirements, missile impact resistant glass, cinder block masonry with concrete pillars and reinforced roofs, among other features. These statewide building codes are among the toughest in the nation.
For those who prefer an entire community of neighbors of a certain age, Florida offers plenty of 55 and older communities, most notably The Villages in Central Florida. Keep in mind that many of these communities have covenants that forbid minors from permanently residing in these neighborhoods, so grandparents who find themselves in a situation where they have to take in their grandchildren will be better off in a more age-diverse setting.
One of the reasons why many retirees settle in Florida (besides the weather) is that property taxes are relatively low and there is no state income tax. You can even deduct property taxes from your second home as well as interest on the mortgage. Income tax services like Turbo Tax can help you make the proper calculations when it comes time to file your income taxes.
There are other tax deductions you can make as the owner of a second home in Florida, depending or whether you rent out the property for a portion of the year or if you are the kind of snowbird who leaves the house or condo vacant for half the year. By renting out your property for part of the year you can help cover the mortgage as well as the utilities, because in Florida, the air conditioning has to run continuously in a property to prevent mold--whether someone is living in it or not.
Whether you prefer a peaceful day at the beach or want to play a round of golf, Florida's warm temperatures encourage residents and visitors to enjoy an active lifestyle. Many second homes in Florida have swimming pools, but if you don't want to deal with the expense and work involved with the upkeep of a backyard pool, many Florida communities have a pool that is open to neighborhood residents.
Moving to Florida does not have to mean separating yourself from family and friendships you have treasured for most of your life. Once you move to Florida, even for part of the year, you'll be amazed at how many people will want to visit you. And since Florida has plenty of hotels to choose from, you don't necessarily have to have all those visiting relatives staying under the same roof.
Living in Florida is like taking an extended vacation. At any given moment you can hop in the car and visit the sun-kissed beaches of Fort Lauderdale and Miami; the world-class theme parks of Orlando; the culture of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota; or the natural wonders of the Florida Everglades. The pace can be as slow or as fast as you want it to be, but the weather--more often than not--will be spectacular.
Many Florida cities openly welcome pets, with dog parks and some outdoor restaurants even allow pet owners to bring their dogs. (Just call ahead before you bring along Rover.) Keep in mind that dogs should never be left unattended in cars in the hot Florida sun, and theme parks only allow service animals, but with a nice backyard to play in, your pet will benefit from Florida's beautiful weather throughout the year.
If retirement is fast approaching and a warmer climate with lower expenses, natural beauty and plenty of cultural attractions sounds appealing to you, consider a second home in Florida. Every year thousands of retirees from the Midwest and Northeast discover the pleasures of living in the Sunshine State by calling Florida their second home.
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