Relocation Cliff Notes

The quick and dirty list on moving to South Florida

Are you a recent arrival?

Use this brief summary to set your expectations and know who and what to watch out for!


  • Make sure you set yourself up for Florida residency so that you can avoid being taxed from your home state if you are a part-timer or recently relocated (search for "becoming a Florida resident"), and so you can take advantage of our unique tax and protective benefits("Homestead")
  • If you are buying a home and it will serve as your primary residence look into the benefit of "Homesteading"
  • Real estate tax is around 1.9% of the assessed value
  • Sales tax is 6% except in Palm Beach County where it's 7%
  • Driving

  • Registration of motor vehicles are required by law within 30 days of the owner either becoming employed, placing children in public school, or establishing residency (Florida DMV)
  • Speed limit is 70 where not posted
  • Kids get permits at 15 and must drive for a year to get a license
  • Most drivers are unaware that the left lane is to be used for the passing lane. It will be typical for you to see cars driving 55 in the fast lane being passed on the right by drivers doing 80.
  • If an officer stopped someone on the shoulder of the highway BY LAW YOU MUST STAY OUT OF THE LANE CLOSEST TO HIM/HER (got a ticket for this once)
  • Schools

  • Schools start in August and end in May, and your default school is based upon the location of your residence. (search "school")
  • You must register for the school you are zoned for if your kids are going to any public, charter or magnate school or program (search schools)
  • Orientation

  • Understand the unique terminology we use to describe locations in our region (search "Language of Location")
  • Downtown Miami is about 90 minutes from Palm Beach Gardens, 45 minutes from Boca, and 20 minutes from Ft Lauderdale
  • There are only a handful of areas where you don't need a car
  • The local fish is "Mahi-Mahi"
  • You will not find beach parking if you arrive at 9am. Boca residents get free beach parking at public beaches
  • The common supermarket is "Publix,"¬†which closes at 10 and is absurdly expensive (because they are conveniently located everywhere). You can't leave without spending $50 and your goods will frequently include a rotten vegetable obscured by fresh-looking ones in a package. I really only go there for the bread and the beer.
  • Stay home on holidays like Christmas and Easter because ABSOLUTELY NOTHING is open
  • Seasonal Issues

  • The "Season" is what we call the period when northerners come down and is considered Thanksgiving to Mother's day though many come in December
  • "Hurricane Season" starts June 1 and ends Dec 31 - (search "hurricane")
  • Ideal cooler weather starts in November and ends in March (hottest April - October)
  • Orange season is December through May, mango is May through October, avocado is October through February
  • Property Issues

  • You will run your air condition year round and prevents mold, so invest in good units and learn to maintain them
  • "Adult" or "55+" communities are subdivisions where the majority of homes must be occupied by a person over the age of 55.
  • "Country Club Communities" are subdivisions where a mandatory, substantial, and only partially refundable investment plus monthly dues must be paid to own or reside there. Only a few have no mandatory investment or fees.

Have questions? Contact us now.

RealPlaces - Keller Williams - Jonathan Asbell
2424 N Federal Highway Boca Raton, FL 33431
561.247.5650 |
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