While some people purchase a home in Florida so they can retire there permanently, others do so intending to occupy it only a portion of the year. If this is your intention, then you are a snowbird, i.e., you spend the warm months up north then return to Florida when it gets colder.
There are advantages and disadvantages to the snowbird lifestyle. Before you commit to a home purchase in Florida, you should consider whether it will be for part-time or full-time occupancy.
Cons of being a snowbird
Maintaining two separate properties can be a hassle. Whenever you vacate one property, you have to arrange for someone to take care of it while you are gone. There is also a lot of work involved in switching residences, such as forwarding your mail and informing service providers of your change in address. In many cases, these tasks must take place every time you move.
If you are close to family and friends back home, it can be difficult to be away from them for a portion of the year. You may miss some significant events that take place while you are away.
Pros of being a snowbird
The most obvious advantage is avoiding dangerous weather conditions in winter. Snow and ice can cause driving hazards as well as potential slip-and-fall injuries on your own property. Being a snowbird allows you to enjoy nice weather all year.
Being a snowbird allows you to keep relationships with family and friends back home while meeting other people in your new location. You get to spend at least part of the year with family, including grandkids, then return to Florida to meet up again with people your own age. There are also potential tax advantages of establishing residence in Florida if you meet the requirements.
Whether you become a snowbird or not, you should choose early on. Your decision may influence the type of home you want to purchase.