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Things You Should Know Before Moving to Fort Lauderdale, FL

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Besides sandy tropical beaches and cruise ships busying Port Everglades with tourists looking for a relaxing getaway, Fort Lauderdale offers a premiere cosmopolitan scene with friendly snow bunnies and local professionals - a great place for young singles and families alike.

Thinking about moving to the yacht capital of the world? The following guide offers the ins and outs of relocating to this electrifying city.

Fort Lauderdale Climate

With no real dry season to the city, Fort Lauderdale is characterized by a tropical rainforest-like climate; with relatively consistent weather year-round - flip-flops and umbrellas will be a necessity. Summers are hot, humid and rainy with temperatures averaging around 80-90 degrees, with some lows in the 70's. Afternoon thunderstorms are the norm for this season.

Winter months are warm with temperatures ranging from approximately 75 degrees up to 87 degrees, with occasional cold fronts and very rare winter freezes. The average precipitation per year is approximately 64 inches.

Hurricanes are a threat to this area, mostly between September and October, but hurricane season runs from June through November.

Fort Lauderdale Neighborhoods

Moving to Fort Lauderdale means moving to a community, with over 60 tight-knit neighborhoods in the area to choose from - all with different distinctiveness.

If you're looking to reside near the excitement of downtown or the beaches, Victoria Park offers a great location and reasonable prices for apartments. Las Olas ("The Waves") is another area that runs through the central business district and Fort Lauderdale Beach. Its commercial draw is an abundant nightlife with bars, clubs, boutiques and art galleries and a nearby IMAX theater.

In the northeast section of Fort Lauderdale, just north of Sunrise Boulevard are areas like Poinsettia Heights, Lake Ridge and Middle River which are abundant with quiet and brightly colored single family homes and condos - a perfect family setting for new Florida residents.

Registering Your Car

If you're making a permanent move to Florida, you have 10 days to register your car from the date you begin working in the state, or register a child in a Florida school. You must have proof of ownership of your vehicle, verification of your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), and proof of Florida insurance requirements.

You have 30 days to transfer your existing out-of-state driver's license to a Florida driver's license. To do so, you will need your primary identification, proof of Social Security Number and two documents verifying your Florida address. The Florida DMV issues over 400,000 new resident licenses per year, and advises you to know your requirements and have your documents ready prior to going to the office.

Fort Lauderdale Schools

Broward County Public Schools, the sixth largest public school system in the nation and the largest fully accredited school system in the country, is responsible for the education and operation of 315 schools including 141 elementary, 1 K-8, 42 middle schools, 33 high schools, and a number of charter and virtual schools.

For those looking to relocate to Fort Lauderdale for higher education, some reputable institutions include Broward College, Florida Atlantic University (satellite campus), Florida International University (satellite campus), Keiser University, Nova Southeastern University and The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.

Fort Lauderdale Employment

Tourism is the industry that keeps Fort Lauderdale buzzing, being a hot spot for college spring breakers, cruise goers and boat lovers. The boating industry, responsible for yacht sale and maintenance, employs over 100,000 people.

As of late 2012, Fort Lauderdale's unemployment dropped to 7.5 percent, with healthcare services and manufacturing jobs responsible for a large part of the city's economy.

Job hunting can be a difficult part of the moving process, so here are some of the top employers in the Fort Lauderdale area (private and public sector): Broward County School District, Tenet Healthcare (5,000 + employees), Memorial Healthcare System, American Express (4,000 + employees), Bank of America, Sun-Sentinel, Nova Southeastern University, Maxim Integrated Products and the Ed Morse Automotive Group.

Employees with business degrees are successful in the area, and the average salary range is $40,000-$75,000 and upwards based on qualifications and experience.

Living Costs in the City

Before you hop on the next flight to the Sunshine State, be aware that the cost of living in Fort Lauderdale is about 8 percent higher than the national average overall, while utility costs are about 4 percent lower than the national average. You'll pay more for some food items that can't be locally grown, and costs of indigenous foods can rise if there's a particularly cold winter (example: the price of Florida orange juice goes up if the crops freeze).

Houses range from small two-bedroom ranches for $160,000 to multi-million dollar beachfront mansions. However, don't forget, as a Florida resident you may be eligible for the Homestead exemption, which can decrease the assessed taxable value on your property, saving you hundreds to thousands in taxes annually.

One-bedroom apartments can range from $700-$1,500 per month depending on the neighborhood, and they usually don't include utilities. Electric will cost more in the summer if you run the air conditioner a lot, averaging about $150 per month for a 1,100 square-foot space.

Don't neglect the cost for entertainment, even if you are a soon-to-be local. With an abundance of restaurants, casinos, beaches and shopping areas, your entertainment costs could increase significantly.

Fort Lauderdale Moving Resources

There are many moving and storage companies eager to help you with your move to Fort Lauderdale, whether you're moving from out of state or from another county in Florida. When it comes to hauling all of your belongings, make sure you get estimates from multiple moving services before you commit to hiring any (at least three estimates). Check back to our guides for tips on how to choose your moving service wisely with important questions to ask, differentiating between types of estimates, and mistakes to avoid. Visit the following pages at Movers.com to get quotes for the following services:

Fort Lauderdale Transportation

If you live in Fort Lauderdale, there are a few options for public transportation. Broward County Transit provides the bus system throughout the county, and has connections to the Miami-Dade County Metrobus and the Palm Beach County Palm Train. There's also a Tri-rail commuter system, taxis, water taxis and the Sun Trolley.

Fort Lauderdale and the entirety of Broward County has three major interstates: I-75, I-95 and I-595, as well as Florida's Turnpike, Highway 869 (Sawgrass Expressway), US 1, US 27 and US 441. Many people in the area commute using personal vehicles, so the traffic can be heavy during the morning and evening hours on these major highways.

Culture & Contemporary Life

No longer an epicenter for college debauchery, Fort Lauderdale has become a city of tropical sophistication in recent years, with its college visitors decreasing from over 350,000 in the 1980's to 10,000 by the mid 2000's. The city's entertainment district (Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District) is along Las Olas Boulevard from the beach to downtown, and features Broward County Center for the Performing Arts, the Museum of Fort Lauderdale, a variety of cuisine and Swanky shopping.

For the sports fan, the local teams include the Miami Marlins (MLB), the Miami Dolphins (NFL) and the Florida Panthers (NHL). The FIU Panthers and University of Miami Hurricanes are college teams in close proximity, and Fort Lauderdale also houses the Fort Lauderdale Aquatics Complex at the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino offers a unique experience of gambling, dining and live entertainment. Hard Rock live shows are housed in a 5,500-seat arena, and include music, comedy and sports events.

Fort Lauderdale Relocation Tips

  • If you're raring to getting acclimated to your new residence, subscribe to the Sun-Sentinel to get a better vibe on the happenings in your new area.

     

  • It rains in South Florida often, so prepare your vehicle with good quality windshield wipers and tires that will keep you from hydroplaning.

     

  • If you will be commuting to various parts of South Florida, using the Florida Turnpike or other main highways, look into getting a Sun Pass - it will help cut your commute times with access to faster lanes and you won't have to stop to pay certain tolls. There are also many HOV lanes that only allow travel for two or more people in one vehicle, so carpool!

Jenna Farmer  Posted by Jenna Farmer on March 3, 2013

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