Things to Consider When Moving to Southwest Florida

Posted by Katie Egan on Friday, July 19th, 2019 at 3:28pm

Once you’ve decided that you want to move to Southwest Florida, you’ll have many options on where to live. From well-known locales like Fort Myers and Naples to hidden gems that include Bonita Springs, Sanibel, and Captiva Island. The lifestyle in southwest Florida is unmatched.  It’s tough to go wrong with almost any area, but it helps to think about what’s important to you. This will help ensure that you end up in the best area based on your wants and needs.

There are Important Things to Consider When Moving to Southwest Florida Including:

  •        How close your property is to the nearest coast
  •        Quality of local school districts
  •        What types of insurance coverage you’ll need
  •        Standard of nearby hospitals and healthcare providers
  •        Sales and property tax rates in your area
  •        Access to major airports if you travel frequently

Proximity to the Beach

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It’s likely that one of the top reasons you’ve chosen to move to Southwest Florida is to be close to the beach. There’s no shortage of amazing beaches in the area to choose from. In fact, three of the top five beaches on the U.S. News list of the best Florida beaches are in Southwest Florida. Sanibel Island came in at number one.

If quick access to the beach is a top priority, consider searching for gulf access homes for sale in Bonita Springs, FL. Known for its small-town charm and many beautiful parks and beaches, Bonita Springs may be an option to consider. Bonita Bay is one of the most sought after communities in Bonita Springs. There’s no shortage of luxury features at Bonita Bay. This includes five golf courses, two clubhouses, a full-service marina, and many top culinary dining spots.

Quality of Schools

If you have kids or plan on having them, you’ll want to consider the quality of schools when deciding where to move.

Some of the Factors You May Want to Consider When Deciding the Quality of Schools Include:

  •        Student-teacher ratio
  •        High-school graduation rates
  •        Performance on standardized tests
  •        After-school activities
  •        Quality of teachers

GreatSchools.org is a great resource and provides most of these details. Collier County, which includes Naples, has a high-school graduation rate of 88%. This is the best among all counties in Southwest Florida and six percentage points higher than the state average of 82%. High-school graduation rate is a great statistic to consider. This stat summarizes the full extent of K-12 education impact in the area. You can also find details on private schools in Southwest Florida through Private School Review.

In addition to excellent K-12 Education, There Are also Many Nearby Post-Secondary Colleges and Universities Including:

  •        Florida Gulf Coast University
  •        Southwest Florida College
  •        Hodges University
  •        Florida Southwestern State College

Insurance Costs

One of the downsides to the area is the often increased cost of insurance due to potential natural disasters. Hurricanes are a significant threat in the area and a big cause of this. Homeowners and property investors will typically find themselves needing to purchase additional coverage.

Below are Some Important details to Be Aware of Regarding Insurance in Southwest Florida:

Flood Insurance- Many areas in Southwest Florida are located in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA). Areas designated with an A or V on the FEMA Flood Map are required to carry flood insurance. This insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as well as private insurance companies. Through the NFIP, the average annual flood insurance premium is less than $1,000. However, this figure is likely to be higher considering the increased risk that the area is exposed to.

Hurricane Deductible- If you’ve never lived in an area that’s prone to hurricanes, you may not be aware of this insurance detail. A hurricane deductible is a separate item in addition to your normal deductible within your homeowners insurance policy. This deductible is usually based on a percentage of a home’s value, instead of a flat cost. The amount is typically between one and five %. When considering home insurance, make sure you know what your hurricane deductible is.

Windstorm Coverage- Homeowners insurance policies in Florida are typically required to include coverage that covers wind damage. Just like flood insurance, this will be an additional cost that you need to be aware of. You can reduce your wind insurance rates by having a home that includes wind-resistant features. These include hurricane shutters, storm-rated doors, and glass on doors and windows with a higher design pressure rating. If you’re thinking about a new construction home, strongly consider including these features when building.

Our award-winning real estate agents can assist with answering many of your insurance-related questions during the buying process.

Healthcare Quality

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Having access to top healthcare facilities and professionals helps you remain in good health and ensures safety in health emergencies. You’re in good hands regardless of where you decide to move to in Southwest Florida. There are a few major healthcare providers and hospitals in the area that have received national recognition

Lee Health is a large healthcare provider that serves parts of Fort Myers, Bonita Springs and Cape Coral.

  • Two hospitals recognized in the top 50 for best cardiovascular hospitals
  • Golisano Children’s Hospital named the most beautiful hospital in the U.S.
  • Received quality achievement awards for stroke care

NCH Healthcare system serves Naples and parts of Bonita Springs.

  • Center for Breast Health recognized for its excellence in hidden scar breast cancer surgery
  • Named as a best regional hospital in Florida

Physicians Regional Healthcare System

  • Officially designated as a comprehensive stroke care center
  • Recognized for excellence in bariatric surgery

Local Tax Rates

One of the most enticing advantages to living in Florida is the fact that there’s no state income tax. If moving from out of state, this means that you could get between two and 13 %of your income back. There is also a homestead tax exemption available. Of course, you have to prove that your Florida home is your primary residence in order for this to happen. In addition to no state income tax, there is also no estate tax.

The state sales tax is six % and the average property tax is 1.1 %. Each county in Southwest Florida varies in relation to the average. Listed below is a summary of the sales and property tax rates for counties in Southwest Florida.

Sales and Property Tax Rates as of 2019 for Counties in Southwest Florida

County

Sales Tax Rate*

Property Tax Rate*

Sarasota

7%

1.054%

De Soto

7.5%

1.159%

Charlotte

7%

1.221%

Lee

6.5%

1.145%

Collier

7%

0.810%

Monroe

7.5%

0.732%

Source: Smartasset.com & Salestaxhandbook.com

Rates are averages and vary based on individual cities and districts within each county

Nearby Airports

You’ll likely be spending significant time in your new home, but thankfully you’re not too far from major airports. Even some smaller airports in the area have daily flights to major cities that include Chicago, Boston and New York.

The Following Airports are Within Two Hours of Cities in Southwest Florida:

  •        Charlotte County Airport
  •        Immokalee Airport
  •        Marco Island Airport
  •        Naples Airport
  •        Page Field (Fort Myers)
  •        Sarasota Bradenton International Airport
  •        Southwest Florida International Airport
  •        St. Petersburg International Airport
  •        Tampa International Airport

Finding Your Perfect Home in Southwest Florida

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You have plenty of choices when it comes to where you decide to settle down in Southwest Florida. Based on your individual wants and needs, one area will be best suited for you. Our real estate agents know Southwest Florida because they live here. They’re ready to find out exactly what you’re looking for to match you to the perfect home.

Contact one of our agents today and we’ll get you one step closer to living the Southwest Florida lifestyle.

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