Welcome back to another post about Moving to Disney! I started writing this blog with about a month left until our move, but time quickly got away from me and now I’m back at it while sitting in our new home in Florida! I’ll do a Part 3 that will talk about actually being in Florida, but I want to be sure to share the below with you all. However, I will say, we absolutely love it so far – we’ve been here about 4 months and we are so happy with our decision to move from New Jersey to Florida!
If you haven’t had a chance to read Moving to Disney: Part 1, be sure to check it out to learn more about our decision to move to Florida from New Jersey and how we went about finding a home.
But now on to Part 2 – Preparing to Move to Central Florida. Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I will say that I definitely am an over-planner, so if you’re reading this thinking, “this woman is crazy; I am not starting packing 6 months out,” you’re 100% correct that I am crazy! However, I hope that what I’ve learned along the way will help you no matter how close we are to each other on the crazy scale.
Planning Our Move to Disney
We signed on our home at the end of November 2020 and we were estimated a closing date of mid-May. That target date wasn’t hit. We had been using our original closing date as a guide for planning until we found on that there was no way that would happen – a national window shortage stalled our build for 80+ days.
It wasn’t until the beginning of June that we had a better idea of when our actual closing date would be. I don’t share this to complain, but rather to explain why we made certain decisions. I also share to say learn from our mistakes and consider eating the cost of your apartment lease if it extends past your closing date… more on that later.
Move To Do List
- Book a Mover/Rent a Truck
- Finalize your Mortgage
- Purchase Home Insurance
- Determine how to transport cars
- Make a plan to transport your family – including fur babies!
- Sell your current home/end your apartment lease
- Figure out your work situation, if it has to change
- Book accommodations for the days before your closing/when you are traveling
Home Insurance and Mortgage
Pat and my decision for our mortgage company was pretty straightforward, as we took advantage of the parent company of our builder that offered some great incentives for working with them. We did shop around before we decided to go with them to ensure that we were getting the best rate possible, something that you should definitely do!
In the end, I have to say we were definitely happy we went with the parent company of our builder. When building delays occurred that affected our closing date and pushed us past the “lock date” (the date which your mortgage rate is held until), they worked with us to ensure we did not have to pay any penalties for passing the date. Not having worked with other mortgage companies, I don’t know if this is something we could have expected from them as well. But either way, that was a huge money saver for us due to the long delay.
In terms of home insurance, your mortgage company will ask you to verify that you are working with an insurance company throughout the process. We got quotes from three different insurance companies before landing on one that we have a relationship with already with our car insurance. For us, we knew we wanted to make everything as simple as possible, so it made the most sense.
One tip if you are moving to Florida from out of state, do some research about what kind of coverage you need to have. Coming from New Jersey, there are things that we have coverage for here that Floridians just don’t worry about, and visa versa. It was very helpful to compare and then ask the broker a ton of questions – which thankfully she was willing to answer!
Ending Apartment Lease
We terminated our lease a month before our move to Florida, but that was not the original plan. Once we signed on the home, I checked our lease agreement to see what penalty we would face for ending the lease early. We determined that we would have to let them know two months before our move out date, which we did. We left an extra month in there thinking that it would give us cushion if the house didn’t close on time – which we had been assured we would close within a week or so of that date. Unfortunately, we didn’t leave enough cushion, as our home build was stalled for 80+ days due to a window shortage.
Thankfully we were able to move our belongings into storage and find a temporary location to live, but definitely would have been nicer to move once, but that wasn’t in the cards for us! Moral of the story? Really consider your options before breaking your lease.
Find a Mover
There are a lot of different options for moving – rent a truck and drive it yourself, go the POD route, or hire a mover. We looked into all of the options and went with hiring a mover. We knew that driving a truck wasn’t going to work for us – we have two cars to get down to Florida along with two cats and ourselves. The POD is basically like having a moveable storage unit and is definitely a great option for some. Living in an apartment, we didn’t have anywhere to store the POD while we loaded it. Plus, while we were lucky to have people who could help us move from NJ, we don’t have as many family/friends in FL to help us out.
Finally, we landed on going with a mover. I can’t share too much about this experience yet since we haven’t moved, but I’ll be sure to add some information later on.
Figure Out Work
This can be the biggest hurdle to making a move and trust me, I worried about it a lot when we first started imagining moving. Thankfully, Pat’s job is remote, so we knew we’d at least have one salary once we moved. I was also able to take my job with me, which obviously is a HUGE blessing. Definitely have a conversation with your company before you make any decisions. Before we decided to do anything, I was honest with my manager and asked about possibilities. I would highly suggest doing this if you can.
If taking your job with you isn’t an option, consider networking with people who are in your industry in Florida before moving. There are a ton of “Moving to Disney” Facebook groups and lots of people to connect with who have been through the same thing and are willing to help out!
This is where my craziness really shines through! We started packing in December and slowly emptied the apartment over the next 5 months. Each time I got a box from Amazon or wherever, I would fill it. Doing this allowed us not to stress too much at the end. We made a list of all our boxes, furniture and any other items we’d be taking, labeling each with the room it went in and a number. I would highly recommend doing this if you’re hiring a mover, as they will ask for a detailed list – it was such a relief that we had this done before they even requested it!
Remember to keep out whatever you will need for the actual move and any time that you won’t have your items (we had a 5 day timeframe in which we can receive our items from the mover).
We decided to make the drive with our two cats, Pascal and Baby Rufus, so that we could transport some items and save some money. Thankfully, my parents were also able to make the drive with us, so we had a 3-car caravan heading down to the Sunshine State! There are definitely other options if you don’t want to drive – you can ship your car and fly. This might be a good option if you have kiddos (human or fur!) who might not be able to comfortably make the trip.
We were extremely lucky with our cats, as they sat in the backseat of my car in a pop-up crate and never made a peep. They were excellent in the hotel (check out pet friendly hotels and make sure that they allow cats) and all around just the best little world travelers we could have asked for! Of course, this isn’t the case with every pet. I would 100% suggest having a discussion with your vet before you make the trip if you plan to drive with your pets, especially cats. I spoke with my vet and he said we could give them a sedative, but didn’t recommend it because our cats are very adaptable and had each other for comfort.
Because we had a 16+ hour drive from NJ, we decided to stop about halfway for the night. If you have the time to spare, I would highly recommend stopping. It helped to keep us relaxed and we felt safer knowing we had a good nights sleep before driving the next leg.
I think that is it for now! if you have any questions about our adventure to Florida, please feel free to leave a comment!
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