Things to think about when moving to the Villages

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Old 01-23-2008, 02:51 AM
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Default Things to think about when moving to the Villages

Things to think about when moving to the Villages

Update: This is my occasional post of my things to think about when moving to the Villages. It is mostly for the new TOTV subscribers that might have missed the original post.

After I first posted this list, I received input from many TOTV members. I have added their input to my original list. My thanks to them for their input. After reading some of the posts in other areas, I sensed some confusion so I have added info about amenity fees, bonds and property taxes. If you saved or printed the list, I would suggest that you do the same for the revised list. I have also dated the additions so you can decide if you want to save the new copy. New input or rebuttal is appreciated.


Since I have moved here I have compiled a list of things to keep in mind when moving to the Villages. I hope these help and I am sure that others that have moved can add and/or rebut my entries. Most of these are strictly my thoughts and experiences and can be considered, rejected, or talked over with others that moved to the Villages. Please check with the sales reps, neighbors, insurance reps, financial advisors, etc before making any decisions based on these items.

These are just to help you when you move. They are in no special order and have been helpful to friends that have moved to the Villages. I do not personally endorse any companies that I mention in this documentation. How is that for taking the fifth!

1. Telephone/Cable Service. Find out who your telephone carrier is in The Villages so that you can order your telephone prior to actually moving down. That way you can set up an appointment with them to have the telephone installed when you get here. We did not order until we were here and it took about a week to get the telephone installed. I was not a cell phone user at that time so it was difficult. Do the same with the cable service.

2. Electric and Gas. When you move to Florida, they are going to want a deposit. You can call your local gas and electric companies and get a form that says that you were a good payer for the past year. You can get a form from your new companies (TECO/SECO) and attach that form and send it in and get your deposit back right away. Apparently I got the waiver forms from the electric and gas company early as I have notations that I sent in the forms in June.

3. Papers. Be sure to bring your birth certificates and other ID with you. You will need them to get Florida driver's licenses. You should also bring your car titles. If you are still buying your car, bring the name and address of the car loan place and the account number. You will have to have proof of Florida car insurance before you can change titles and get tags. I stayed with my original company but they had to write me a new policy and cancel the New Jersey one. Of course you will also need home insurance on the new home and you cannot drop the old home until it is sold. I am sure you know that. This year we went with the Villages Insurance on Main Street. It was cheaper for both the home and auto than Liberty Mutual. They also cover the golf cart under the home insurance policy.

4. State Taxes. If you move from a state with state income taxes, you will have to file a resident and non-resident return for the year you earned income in both states. You will need to keep track on what your income was in your home state and out of your home state and what interest you earned on accounts both in and out of your home state. Of course, you should contact your home state and get the proper tax information so you do everything properly. TurboTax handles both resident and non-resident returns.

5. Bank. When we were down here to sign the contract for our new home, we also started a checking and savings account so that we could start funneling money to this account and get checks with our names and new address. This is important as some places will not take starter checks. We also started with a high number -300- so that it looked like we had been here awhile. For some reason the vendors like the higher check numbers. When we got here we had already changed the direct deposit for any accounts I had in my home state to the account down here. We transferred all of our savings to our checking account in our home state and then wrote a check down here to move the money to our Florida bank. This was a lot cheaper than a wire transfer. We closed the account in our home state after we were sure there were no more outstanding checks. We used the telephone system to check on the account up there. Don't forget to change all of the EFT accounts that you already have set up with your financial institutions. Don't forget to empty and cancel your safety deposit boxes.

6. Health Insurance. You should check to find out if you will be covered by your current carrier in this area in Florida and what you have to do to inform them of the change. If you are a HMO or Managed Care health Insurance participant, call and get a list of physicians, hospitals, etc in the Villages area for your coverage. When I moved here, Aetna had a different list of physicians I could use than what I saw on their website.

7. Change of Address. Don't forget to go to the post office and get the change of address kit. You will also have to figure out how to change all of your subscriptions when you move.

8. EMAIL. As long as you stay with your current ISP you should have no problem with EMAIL and those places where they use your Email address for a sign-on. I had to switch ISPs and it was really a pain. If you do have to change your ISP, don't cancel your old ISP before you switch any Internet accounts that use your email as the USERID as they won't swap you if you try to change it with your new ID.

9. Current Services. Make arrangements with your cable, telephone, heating oil, etc companies to cut off these services the day you leave the home state. Don't worry about the electric, as the new owner will get it switched to their name when they close.

10. Money. Be prepared to have your checkbook ready. You will be hit with the lawn mowing services, insect and pest control services, water softener, landscaping, awnings, lanai vinyl windows, not to mentioned food, kitchen stuff, cleaning and lawn stuff, ladders, etc.

11. Floor Plan. After you put in the down payment, you will get a copy of the floor plan. This plan is to scale and can be used to see where the furniture will fit, etc.

12. Wills. You might want to check with a lawyer once you settle in to verify that your wills are valid in the state of Florida. I think that the check is free.

13. Contractors. You will be told this several times but before you hire some one to do any work for you, you might want to check with the Villages to verify that they are a reputable company or ask your neighbors to see who they used for a particular service.

14. Florida Financial Information Dinners. After you move in, you will start getting requests to come to a meeting (includes lunch or dinner) to hear spiels about taxes, wills, trusts, Florida Intangible taxes, etc. It is well worth it to attend at least one - maybe two. It is free and there is no obligation. I did actually go and see one for a free financial check up. They tried to sell me some annuities but I said I was not interested and they did not seem to care. They did give me some insights on my retirement investments and well-being and pointed out a lack of sufficient Federal withholding from my job separation checks. Be careful I read an article in a newspaper recently that some of these are high pressure sales pitches. Do not sign anything or give any money to these organizations until you check out everything!!

15. Citizen First Bank. I have my banking accounts with The Citizens First Bank. They have online access and their debit card is free at all of the ATMs in the Villages. They also have safety deposit boxes. The ATM machines are conveniently located at all of the mail stops.

16. Florida Homestead Exemption. If this is your primary home, you will get a $25,000 homestead exemption when you reside in your new home as of January 1st of that year. Be sure to file for your homestead exemption if you are a permanent resident.

17. Amenity Fees. Amenities fees are used to pay for the upkeep of recreational facilities. The Deed Restrictions document outlines the Amenity process and the rate. Basically, if you are a new home owner, the amenity fee is frozen for the first three years. After that they go up annually based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Please check your Deed Restrictions to see what your terms are. If you purchase a pre-owned home, there are differences. The start of your amenity fees is the date of the contract for purchase of the lot. I am not sure but I think the contract signing date of the original house is used for pre-owned homes. Not positive on that. (updated 1/22/08)

18. Bonds. The purpose of the bond is to recover the costs of the infrastructure (sewer, water, streets, electric, cable, etc.) in your section. The bond is calculated based on the cost of the infrastructure for that section divided by the number of houses in the section. The annual amount of the bond payoff will be part of your property tax bill. I am pretty sure that the bond is a 30 year bond at 7% interest. It is like a 30 year mortgage. The bonds are fairly high south of 466. The bond goes down very little each year as most of the payment goes to interest. Be very sure to cover the bond, bond payment, length of the bond interest rate and payoff options with your sales rep or realtor. If you are buying a pre-owned property, be sure to find out how much is left on the bond. (added 9/15/07)

19. Property Taxes. Property taxes in Florida are not much different than anywhere else that I know of. You are taxed based on the assessed value of your house (less the Homestead Exemption if this is your primary residence). You also pay for schools, water management, and other services including fire services, waste management, etc. You will receive the property tax bill in September and you will get a 4% discount if you pay in November, 3% in December, 2% in January and 1% in February. You will be delinquent if not paid by April 1st. (added 9/15/07)

20. Medical Records. Before you leave for The Villages, ask your medical/dental providers for your files. If they won't give you the original files, ask them to give you a photocopy of all documents. Same goes for x-rays, if you have need for continuing care with these medical issues. These files could save you the time/costs of having some tests repeated when you find your new medical team(s). (added 9/15/07)

21. Pet Records. Also, when you get your medical records don't forget to stop by the vet and get the records for your pets - especially if they are on some kind of medication. (added 9/15/07)

22. Doctor Appointments. Be sure to make doctor appointments with area doctors ASAP so things will go smoother should health issues arise during your first months in the Villages. There are lots of doctors right here on Village property but some only see patients one day a week as their main office is in Leesburg or Ocala. (added 9/15/07)

23. Golf Cart Insurance. Research whether or not you want an additional insurance policy (uninsured motorist policy) on your golf cart. The golf cart insurance carried under the homeowners policy usually only covers property damage and not personal injury. There have been many, many accidents with golf carts where people were seriously injured and the little H.O. policy didn't cover squat. (added 9/15/07)

24. Other Licenses: Various other licenses (pilot, amateur radio, etc.) may require change-of-address with the agency within a defined time frame or they may be forgotten at renewal time or invalid upon the move. (added 9/15/07)

25. Immigration: For those with green cards, a change of address must be filed within ten days to USCIS or you are deportable. (added 9/15/07)

26. Organizations: Many clubs/organizations have their own change-of-address procedure to keep current. Many of these can be done on-line. If you decide to transfer your membership, make sure that any paid up for life memberships can be transferred. (added 9/15/07)

27. Firearms: This is a tricky one. For those with a concealed carry permit, if issued in several states (check yours carefully) it may be valid also in Florida due to reciprocal-recognition agreements between the states. However, that license may become invalid the instant you have moved to FL and became a Florida resident. (added 9/15/07)

28. Water Softeners. You will probably get calls about water testing. Typically they offer a free dinner for two at a local restaurant. That fact is that it is purely a sales pitch. You'll find the quality of the water in the Villages is really quite good compared to many locales in the U.S. If you do not currently have a water softener, tell the prospective testers "thanks, but no thanks". Personally after 30 years with one, I prefer the softened water over the regular water. This would be up to you. (added 9/15/07)

29. Executive Trail Fees. If you want to use a golf cart as a driver OR a passenger when you play the executive courses, you can pay $3.50 a round or you can pay an Executive Trail Fee. The annual Executive Trail Fee costs $141.24 as of this writing and covers one to four residents living in the same household playing golf for one year. There is a six month version available for the seasonal residents for $105.93. If you are a priority member, the Executive Trail Fee for you is included as part of your priority membership. If your spouse is NOT a priority member, the Executive Trail Fee will cost him/her $105.93. There is also a six month version available for $79.45. Please go to www.thevillages.net to see the Executive Trail Fee Rates and Application. (added 9/15/07)

30. Voter Registration. Once you make TheVillages your permanent residence, dont forget to register to vote in the state of Florida. (added 9/24/2007)

31. Florida Drivers licenses and Automobile Registration. As mentioned in #3, be sure to bring your birth certificates and other ID with you. You will need them to get a Florida driver's licenses. You should also bring your car titles. If you are still buying your car, bring the name and address of the car loan place and the account number. You will have to have proof of Florida car insurance before you can change titles and get tags. I stayed with my original company but they had to write me a new policy and cancel the New Jersey one. You do need a valid drivers license from another state (or country). You WILL get a vision test when you transfer your drivers license to Florida. You will not be able to keep your old drivers license. This site has all you need to know about getting a Florida Drivers license and registering your automobiles in Florida. http://www.hsmv.state.fl.us/ Look under Tags and Titles and New to Florida. (added 10/25/07)

32. Wind Inspection. The state of Florida offers a free wind inspection program. When I called my homeowner's insurance company to see what this meant to me, they said that if you qualify, you can get up a rebate on your hurricane coverage that is in your homeowner's policy. Go to www.mysafefloridahome.com and click on Wind Inspections on the left hand side and go to the Q&A to see if you qualify. Most of us do. Read the information at the site to see what you need to do to arrange for a free wind inspection for your home. Then click on the Application for Wind Inspection to fill out a wind inspection form. [b](added 1/22/08)[b]

Remember that these are strictly my thoughts and should only be considered or rejected in light of what you want or need and can do on your own. Check with the sales reps, neighbors, insurance reps, financial advisors, etc before making any decisions based on these items.

I hope some of this helps or at least gives you something to think about.


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Old 01-23-2008, 03:10 AM
pm10 pm10 is offline
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Default Re: Things to think about when moving to the Villages

Thanks so much zcaveman! We just printed out your newest version! It will be so helpful! :bigthumbsup:
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Old 01-23-2008, 03:32 AM
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zcaveman...Thanks for the great information. You guys make life easier for those of us thinking of coming to the Villages.
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Old 01-23-2008, 04:21 AM
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Default Re: Things to think about when moving to the Villages

If you leave a car in TV and need a FL plate on it, you need FL insurance and your out of state title. To get FL insurance you need to send the carrier a copy of your FL Driver's License (they will issue the insurance but if you don't produce the Driver's license in 90 days they will cancel your policy). DMV hands you the new License plate when you sign over the title and pay your money. To get a FL Driver's license you need either your Social Security Card, Birth Cert or Passport. They can issue a "Florida Only" Driver's License if you want to keep your out of state DL but you have to specifically ask for it - it says on the back "valid in Florida only". My wife's has our Calif address on it while mine had our FL address (we used different clerks at DMV). DMV hands you the new license when you are done with the application and pay the $25.25 Fee (like the song).

All this is much easier than here in Calif. (When we applied for the driver's licenses, the computer went down and they kept the office open for an hour past closing so that they could complete our licenses - it was a pain waiting for the computer but worth the wait when they handed us the driver's licenses)
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Old 01-23-2008, 12:24 PM
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Default Re: Things to think about when moving to the Villages

:bigthumbsup:Thank you zcaveman. This is the second one I have printed. God willing I will get to use it this year.
Thanks to you Chuck, too!
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Old 01-23-2008, 12:30 PM
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Default Re: Things to think about when moving to the Villages

Thanks so much Chuck and zcaveman. You sure make it a lot easier for us folks wanting to move there. Seems the housing market is picking up there again. We had two homes we wanted and both sold before we could get to the airport. I think the next one I will make the offer contingent on us getting there to see it within 72 hours. Or just wait until the snowbirds leave and then start looking again.
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Old 01-23-2008, 02:12 PM
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Default Re: Things to think about when moving to the Villages

always appreciate this list and any new thoughts,

I can hear Florida calling my name
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Old 01-25-2008, 06:23 AM
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Default Re: Things to think about when moving to the Villages

Thanks. I wish I had a printer. We want to move in avout 6 years.
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Old 01-25-2008, 02:57 PM
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Default Re: Things to think about when moving to the Villages

Thanks Caveman for your insight. I have printed it and hope to be using it real soon. Still waiting for the market to pick up. Hopefully the Spring will bring some results.
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Old 02-09-2008, 12:36 AM
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Default Re: Things to think about when moving to the Villages

zcaveman...thank you for all the time you spent to compile this list...it's a gem...
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Old 02-09-2008, 04:09 AM
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most appreciated, zcaveman
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Old 02-10-2008, 09:43 PM
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Default Re: Things to think about when moving to the Villages

Please accept my appreciation for all your effort; I've printed out my 5 pages and included them in my "Move To Florida" file ! 8)
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Old 02-11-2008, 02:15 PM
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I am glad I can be of service.

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Old 02-17-2008, 02:43 PM
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Default Re: Things to think about when moving to the Villages

Dear ZCAVEMAN: Your list of things to think about is very helpful , We are from Wyoming, where the cost of living is quite low compared to many other areas of the country. I have read the materials provided by TV which estimate the average cost of living in TV, and it appears to me that the following estimates are too low. I have therefore prepared my own estimated budget list, and it would be greatly appreciated if you, or anyone else out there could please respond, and let me know if they are in the ballpark, or if they are too low. Assuming that we purchase a home for about $300,000 (no loan) I have compiled the following figures:
TV estimate My estimate
Amenities Fee $130 $130
Sewer 21 21
Water 34 34
Gas/electric 168 168
Trash collection 16 16
Telephone 40 100
Cable TV 53 150 (with internet and fax)
Insurance (home) 100 200 (w/golf cart rider)
Taxes 240 500 Devel. District Devel. 135 300
Golf (prioity membership) - 500
Food & household costs - 750
Auto insur. (2 cars) and gas 150
Yard and tree care 100
Total 937 3019

I guess my bottomline question is whether or not a couple can live fairly comforably for around $5000 a month . If not, please provide me with a more reasonable estimate. Thank you. Mike Warren
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Old 02-17-2008, 02:56 PM
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Default Re: Things to think about when moving to the Villages

Hi Mike,

We just moved in. I am not to sure your figures are accurate.
Looking at your figures quickly, it seemed to me, that you might have annual fees and not monthly fees on some of the expenses you have noted. See my note below your figures.

Amenities Fee $130 $130 ok
Sewer 21 21 ok
Water 34 34 ok
Gas/electric 168 168 ok
Trash collection 16 16
Telephone 40 100
Cable TV 53 150 (with internet and fax)
Insurance (home) 100 200 (w/golf cart rider)
Taxes 240 500 Devel. District Devel. 135 300
Golf (prioity membership) - 500
Food & household costs - 750
Auto insur. (2 cars) and gas 150
Yard and tree care 100
Total 937 3019

Golf - Priority Membership, I think that is an annual fee and not a monthly fee
200 (w/golf cart rider) Our golf cart insurance was $60 for the year
Home insurance was about $600 for the year
Taxes - not to sure if you mean the bond or what
Auto Insurance also seems to high. Friends have a brand new Prius and I think they pay about $325 every 6 months
Yard and tree care - we pay $45 a month for mowing, our next door neighbors pay $55 a month and that includes lawn care
Food and Household cost - not to sure what you are including in this figure
Telephone and cable tv - they have packages here and I think your figure is to high.

Just my thoughts.

Hyacinth Bucket
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