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Things You Should Know Before Moving to Miami, FL

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Situated on the Atlantic coast at the southernmost tip of the state of Florida, the city of Miami has witnessed an unprecedented growth in the last century which has earned it the nickname, "The Magic City". Being Florida's center of finance, entertainment, and international trade, the city offers new vistas for growth to both citizens and expats alike.

The city is known for its cultural diversity and party atmosphere, where everyone - both young and old -- is invited. White sand beaches, crystal clear waters, tropical weather, and numerous parks and museums allow you to indulge yourself in wide range of activities.

Here is a guide that will help you make a smooth relocation to Miami.

Miami Climate

A semi-tropical climate that is devoid of extremes in temperature characterize Miami's climate. This is large owing to its proximity to the Tropic of Cancer and its geographic location on the Atlantic coast, which has a moderating effect on the city's overall climate. The city receives a bountiful amount of rainfall from mid-May through early October, which shows a degree of variability across the regions. Miami is also susceptible to hurricanes, and hurricane season typically reaches its peak from mid-August to September.

Miami Neighborhoods

The city of Miami is broadly divided into four distinct areas - north, south, west and downtown. Downtown is the central business district, where you will find most of the city's banks, courthouses, schools, parks, and tourist attractions. Major hospitals and research institutions are located in this district as well, at the Civic Center.

Situated in the southern part of the city, Coral Way is known for its historic homes that were built in 1922. Coconut Grove is another historic neighborhood with its Bohemian shops, nightclubs, bars, and restaurants, and the area is largely popular with the college crowd.

Western Miami is a big favorite among immigrants coming to the United States from Central America and Cuba. Allapattah, which is a relatively well-known neighborhood in this region, is known for its different ethnicities. European Americans, Bohemians, Hispanics, and West Indians contribute to the diversity of northern and western Miami. The Design District and Upper East Side are inhabited by wealthier residents.

Living Costs in the City

Miami offers a wide range of options when it comes to real estate and living costs. From the multimillion dollar beachfront estates to the more moderately priced condos located near Biscayne Bay and further inland towards downtown Miami, you can find a place that will be able to suit any budget, large or small. In Miami you can live on any kind of budget, and the city has a wide range of accommodations that fit just about everyone's needs.

A seven percent sales tax is levied, out of which six percent goes to the state while one percent goes to Miami-Dade County. One of the advantages to living in the city of Miami, and the state of Florida as a whole, is that there is no income tax and most services are not taxed. However, there is something called an intangibles tax that you will be subject to if you are in possession of a significant amount of stocks, mutual funds, or any such assets.

Whether you intend to purchase a house or rent an apartment, the prices will depend on the neighborhood's proximity to the shore, as well as downtown Miami. For example, the average selling price of a home in Downtown Miami was around $1.7 million for the last quarter of 2012. In Coconut Grove, the average was around $520,000. However, if you move outside of the downtown area and away from the coast to Coral Way, the average price drops significantly, to just over $300,000. Other outlying areas like Little Havana hover in the $120,000-$125,000 range.

If you are looking to rent in Miami, the average price per month you can expect to pay is around $1,200. Again, however, if you are looking in the downtown area or near the beach, that figure will shoot up very drastically.

Registering Your Car

You have 10 days to register your car in Florida from the date of the beginning of your residency in the state. Registration can be done at any Florida DMV office, and you must produce proof of ownership, get your VIN number verified, and show proof of Florida insurance requirements.

If you have a valid out-of-state license, then you can get it converted into a Florida license without having to take the written or road test by producing proof of identity, proof of Florida insurance, your original out-of-state title and verification of physical inspection of the vehicle's VIN. Every year the DMV offices issue over 800,000 licenses, so it is advised to check your requirements and prepare before going to the office.

Miami Schools

The public school system in Miami is governed by Miami-Dade County Public Schools and contains over 392 schools, making it the largest public school district in the state of Florida. Miami is also home to a few of the best schools in the nation, including Design and Architecture High School, MAST Academy, and Coral Reef High School, which was recently ranked as the 20th best public high school in the nation.

In addition, the city of Miami is home to several public and private colleges and universities for students looking to continue their education at the college level. Some of the more well-known universities in the city are Florida International University, Johnson and Wales University, Miami International University of Art and Design, Miami Culinary Institute and the University of Miami.

Miami Employment

The city of Miami is a booming economic and financial hub, not only for the state of Florida, but for the entire United States as well. In fact, Miami has one of the strongest international business communities in the world and ranks 20th worldwide with a Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP) of $257 million, also good enough for 11th in the United States.

Many major corporations have their headquarters in the city, including such well-known companies as Bacardi, Burger King, Norwegian Cruise Lines, CompUSA and Perry Ellis International. Miami is also the home to many major companies' Latin American operations, thanks to the its proximity to Cuba, Puerto Rico and the rest of Latin America, as well as its large Latin American population. Some of these companies include American Airlines, AIG, Disney, Exxon, Cisco, FedEx, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Wal-Mart, Sony, and Kraft Foods.

Miami Moving Resources

There are hundreds of reputable and reliable moving companies in the city of Miami to help you with your move and get you unloaded and unpacked in your new home. Whether you're moving from within Miami, or whether you're moving from the Midwest or even the West coast, you'll find moving companies that can help you get settled in Miami. Here are just a few of the movers you can find to handle your relocation to Miami:

  • GM Van Lines
  • Allied Van Lines
  • Ocean Moving & Storage
  • Father and Son Moving Headquarters
  • New Way Moving Service
  • US-1 Van Lines

In addition, there are also many storage companies located within the city in case you need a place to store some of your belongings, whether it's for a short amount of time until you get settled in your new home, or for more long-term storage. You can find yourself a Miami storage company to help fulfill your storage needs right here.

Miami Public Transportation

The public transit authority in Miami is one of the largest in the United States. It is comprised of the Metrorail and downtown Metro mover, Metrobus, as well as all Paratransit services. Metrorail, with 23 stations scattered throughout the city and outlying suburbs, takes passengers to and from the city center and the outlying neighborhoods.

Metromover, with its 22 stations, helps passengers commute to the Downtown and Brickell neighborhoods. Around 110 routes are traversed by the Metrrobus, and the Paratransit is a special type of transportation service operating 24 hours, seven days a week, including some holidays, and is for those who are mentally or physically challenged.

The Miami International Airport is one of the busiest international airports in the country and is one of the hubs for American Airlines.

Culture and Contemporary Life

Miami has risen to become a hub for popular entertainment and many of the nation's biggest media companies are headquartered here. The city houses many performing art centers, theaters, venues, and museums. Miami Fashion Week and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Miami are two annual events which are quickly gaining significance in the international fashion scene.

With South Florida's year-round tropical climate, the city's 80 parks and gardens are a perfect setting for outdoor activities throughout the year. The music scene in the city is highly varied and features an eclectic array of Dominican, Brazilian, and Caribbean influences. Some of the most popular dance music of 80s and 90s had originated in this city.

The cuisine of the city is distinct and unique, borrowing influences from cuisine all over the world, namely Latin America, the Caribbean, and the southern United States. Called Floribbean, which is the result of the amalgamation of Caribbean, Latin American, and American cuisine, it combines indigenously grown fruits, vegetables, seafood with strong spices, marinades, dressings and sauces. The people of the city have an accent that has a distinct rhythm to it and a unique pronunciation that has been heavily influenced by Spanish.

As far as professional sports go, the city has three teams that draw thousands of fans to their games. The Miami Heat, in the NBA, play at the American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami. The Miami Dolphins are the city's NFL team, playing in SunLife Stadium just outside of the city, and the Miami Marlins represent the city in Major League Baseball with a brand new stadium that was just completed in time for the 2012 season.

Moving to Miami

Whatever might be the reason for your move - warm climate, diverse culture, and better employment opportunities, you will encounter similar kinds of hurdles that you might experience no matter where you move. Exercising caution while choosing a moving company will prevent you from getting scammed and also save you a lot of money on moving costs.

It is always best to take at least three quotes from different moving companies before making your decision for your move. Before hiring a moving company, it is good to check its rating with the local Better Business Bureau. Always pack your valuables, important documents like medical prescriptions, certificates of education, employment, and other such documents separately and move it along with you. Inquire with your mover about insurance and, if it is required, buy additional insurance to protect your goods while they are in transit.

Miami Relocation Tips

  • For most of the people of Miami, Spanish is the first language. Don't be surprised if people address you in Spanish. It would be helpful if you learn basic Spanish before you move to the city.


  • You can get to know more about the local vibe by subscribing to a local newspaper. The Miami Herald and Miami New Times are your first stop for researching about real estate and neighborhoods. City Link is a cultural magazine that covers pop culture, music, and events.


  • The Save Our Homes provision, part of the benefits to homeowners in Florida, states that a property's assessed value should not be more than three percent per assessment. This provision excludes taxes on $50,000 worth of a home's value. Every home has a different tax situation and it is better to hire a tax accountant to figure out the respective tax rate.


  • Hurricanes and tropical storms are not new to the city. It is mandatory to have a weather radio. A hurricane kit consisting of water, canned food, blankets, outerwear, waterproof shoes, flashlights, batteries, first aid kit, toiletries, cash, and important documents like your social security card should be prepared in advance.


  • If you have your own car then expect to spend a good amount of time in traffic during your commute as traffic jams are a frequent occurrence, especially during peak hours of the work week. Give yourself more time to get to your destination.


  • Being an entertainment hub and hosting international events annually, Miami is home to a very large annual tourist population. As they are not familiar with the city, they drive slowly and you should be patient with them and offer help regarding directions.

Robert Moreschi  Posted by Robert Moreschi on January 7, 2013

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