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Hidden costs to living in Florida

People understandably judge the affordability of a certain area by home prices. While this is a good indicator in many cases, Florida has some hidden or lesser-known expenses that are unique that many people don’t consider when planning to make the move here. It’s important to factor these expenses into your overall plan when looking to move to Florida. Below are a few examples.

HOA fees

The most unusual expense people find when they move to Central Florida are the fees that come with homeowners associations. While HoA’s exist outside Florida, they are much more prevalent here, and people are often surprised at how much they can add to your monthly bill. We discussed HoA’s in a previous article, so if you want to understand more about them, here’s the link. Every HoA has it’s own set of rules, and it’s own set of fees. Not all HoA’s are the same, however. You can find HoA’s that only charge $50 a month. By contrast, there are some that charge $500 a month or more. It depends on what services the association provides. 24 hour manned guard shacks in gated communities are going to cost more. HoA’s that provide lawn maintenance and landscaping are going to cost more. The main purpose of these HoA’s is to protect the value of the property by establishing uniform rules and guidelines for how houses need to be maintained.

Homeowners Insurance

Florida is the most expensive state in the U.S. for homeowners insurance with an average annual premium of just under $2000. Often times, the cost of the insurance is bundled with your mortgage, as the bank requires it to protect their interests.

It is also more difficult to get homeowner’s insurance because of the risk of hurricanes. After 2003, when the state was hit with three major hurricanes, many insurance companies stopped offering homeowners insurance in Florida. As a result, the price of insurance skyrocketed and has never really come back down.

Tolls

Central Florida is known for its palm trees, (generally) great weather, theme parks, and world-class dining. But it’s also known for its traffic. As a result, those looking for less traffic tend to use toll roads.

There are several toll roads in Central Florida that you might find yourself having to use depending on where you live and where you’re going. They are:

  • Florida’s Turnpike – Northern Coin System
  • Martin Andersen Beachline West Expressway
  • Martin Andersen Beachline East Expressway
  • Seminole Expressway
  • Southern Connector Extension
  • Daniel Webster Western Beltway, Part C
  • Wekiva Parkway
  • Osceola Parkway / CR 522
  • Poinciana Pkwy

If you’re wondering what your tolls would be, there’s a great online calculator at https://tollguru.com/florida-toll-calculator

Electricity

According to the US Energy Administration Floridians on average pay about 13% more for electricity than the national average. Given our year-round climate, air conditioning certainly accounts for some of that. Pools are also a culprit – running pool pumps to keep the water moving takes up electricity as well. There are several power companies in Central Florida depending on where you live. On average, the cost is about $0.11 per kilowatt-hour

Property Taxes

While Florida isn’t the most expensive state for property taxes, it’s also not the cheapest. In fact, it’s pretty much in the middle. According to WalletHub Florida ranks 26th in the country for property taxes. Of course, if you’re coming from the northeast, the tax rate in Florida is less than half of what you’re paying now, but for people in many other states, property taxes here are higher.

Pete Werner

I'm an Orlando local and owner of The DIS (wdwinfo.com), DVCfan.com, DCLfan.com, and host of the DIS Unplugged podcast.

10 thoughts on “Hidden costs to living in Florida

  • July 2, 2020 at 11:06 am
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    Don’t forget CDD fees too, which are collected with your taxes. These Community Development Districts are entities unto themselves and usually float a bond issue to pay for infrastructure development in new areas being developed.

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    • July 2, 2020 at 11:40 am
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      Car insurance as well is a lot higher in Florida

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      • July 23, 2020 at 4:10 pm
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        It just depends on where you are relocating from, our 2003 echo with no collusion in Brooklyn was 2000 a year. We have no accidents or violations.
        That is what I now pay here for a Madza and Lexus with full coverage

  • July 2, 2020 at 11:15 am
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    Car insurance also seems to be above average. That’s probably the result of a combination of so many visitors unfamiliar with the roads, an aging population, and rental cars

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  • July 2, 2020 at 1:32 pm
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    Car insurance is much higher in Florida than it is in Ohio. Car insurance, for me, is double what I pay in Ohio. I’m sure it also depends on the county you live in.

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  • July 2, 2020 at 3:32 pm
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    Expenses are all relative. We have moved from Brooklyn. Our con Edison bills were considerably more for a 800 sq foot house in Brooklyn than our current 2800 sq foot house here. Our real estate tax is about the same. Our homeowners is about the same, umbrella policy is half of what we paid in nyc, our car insurance is half of what it was in Brooklyn. Gas is also cheaper by 40 cents a gallon

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  • July 2, 2020 at 4:23 pm
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    Also found that auto insurance was higher.

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  • July 2, 2020 at 4:24 pm
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    we moved were there is no HOA…..our property taxes are lower than Michigans were……..our electric for the year is less……living here awhile you learn where tolls are……we find is cost less to live here—if you know how to do it

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  • July 3, 2020 at 9:07 am
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    Coming from upstate New York I thought everything would be cheaper. Car insurance and house insurance were huge surprises as my bills more than doubled. However, the no state income tax sure helps a lot in that area. Still happy with the move!

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  • July 6, 2020 at 12:56 pm
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    Something that really threw us for a loop was registering our vehicles in Florida for the first time. It was over $500 for each one!!! They told us that it’s always that high when you’re registering a vehicle for the first time and it did, of course, go down substantially after the first year, but WOAH – it was a shocker. Almost makes me want to recommend buying a used vehicle once you’re moved down here already. The cost will always be that high when you buy a brand new vehicle down here.

    Reply

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