Moving to Miami, FL? Sweat the heat, not the move.
Dade County watch out! You're making the move to the sun-drenched shores of MIA and you're not looking back. Let's talk about it.
Full disclosure, this article is really geared towards anyone who will be looking to rent an apartment in Miami. That's my area of expertise. I'll offer some insights on planning and executing your move and direct you to some other helpful resources that can assist as well.
And of course, you can always reach out to [email protected] if you have specific questions and I'll get back to you personally. And if you need to get centered before diving into this guide, check out this awesome aerial footage from Higher Copters!
Here are the broad strokes on moving to Miami.
Soon, you'll be a Miamian...a Floridian...? Someone from Miami. Awesome!
Now that you're planing your move, here are the broad strokes of the rental market in Miami:
- Miami is the 8th most expensive U.S. city to rent in according to a report from Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University. And we won't sugar coat it — prices are only going up as we'll detail below.
Miami has 25 neighborhoods — with about 40 other "sub-neighborhoods". We just wanted to prepare you if you're not familiar with the area, so you can start to understand where in the 305 you'll want to live. We've put together a list of the best neighborhoods for young renters to help you get you acquainted with them.
- Pick any 3 attributes — In Miami / close to the beach / reasonably safe / cheap — this wisdom from a Miami redditor offers a starting "formula" to help you get in the mindset of looking for apartments in Miami. Use it as a guideline, not a universal truth!
Now, buckle up because...
Here's how this guide is going to go down.
We'll walk you through the "answers" to the following questions...
"What does it cost to live in Miami?" Every metropolitan market has a unique profile of costs, from everyday expenses like groceries to the cost of renting an apartment. We’ll help you get a grasp on how what life in Miami will cost. From there, we can focus on helping you understand...
"Where should I live in Miami?" There are 25 neighborhoods with 40 "sub-neighborhoods" in Miami, each with their own flavor. You’re a unique person with specific interests and preferences, so we want to help you find which one is your speed. Three major elements that factor into choosing a neighborhood in Miami are price, lifestyle fit and safety. We’ll help you get context on Miami’s neighborhoods to make the decision about which area is right for you.
"How do I find an apartment in Miami?" You’re probably well aware, but this is typically the most stressful part of the moving experience. Planning can be fun. Moving your possessions has become fairly streamlined and at least is straightforward. Finding an apartment, on the other hand, has a lot of nuance and moving pieces. We’ll help you get a handle on what the best apartment search approach for your style is.
"How do I physically move my possessions to Miami?" Whether you’re moving from another country or from the outskirts of Miami, moving isn’t easy — and can be really expensive with the wrong moving plan/partners. We’ll walk you through some moving options recommended by locals/current residents. The goal is to show you some less stressful and/or cost-effective solutions to physically moving your life to your new apartment in Miami.
"What do I need to do to get settled quickly?" I wanted to put together a little “epilogue” section in this article to help people quickly tie up all the loose ends that come with moving. Won’t be long, but could save you a lingering post-move headache.
What does it cost to live in Miami?
Spoiler alert: Miami is pretty darned pricey. But before we jump into the details, I want to reassure you that my goal here is not to get you down — I want to equip you with as much accurate informaton as possible so you feel confident you know what living in Miami will be like. With that said...
For renters in Miami, the baseline monthly cost of living is from $1600-2400 — depending on roommates and not including entertainment, transportation and other expenditures.
This figure is definitely a guideline. A renter sharing a 2-bedroom apartment in Miami can expect to pay around $1,400/month on rent. Other essentials like food, utilities and cable/internet add around $600 extra. OK, cable and internet might not be "necessities" for everybody, but you need to watch the Dolphins and stream Game of Thrones, right? Yes.
Adding or removing a roommate from this 2-bedroom scenario can decrease or increase your monthly cost of living by about $400 — all because rent is by far the largest monthly expense for the vast majority of people living in Miami (and other major cities like Boston and Chicago).
Check out these broad cost comparisons for a second, then we'll jump into a more in-depth breakdown of the monthly cost of living for renters in Miami.
Let's talk rent prices in Miami (insert scream emoji here).
Living alone will definitely cost you.
This infographic paints a pretty clear picture — having a couple roommates can cut your monthly rent payments in HALF.
Note: if you're on mobile, flip your phone horizontally!
And space is definitely scarce. Here's a snapshot of how much space $1,000/month will get you in Miami.
Source: Imgur (click to watch a full animation showing other cities as well)
Even more good news...rents are rising across Miami.
Just take a look at the map below — anywhere you see green means that the rent has increased from last year. That's pretty much everywhere. Some areas have gone up 20-30% as well, as you can see from the report from Zillow below.
Why bother telling you this? It's actually really important to know how the rental market is changing around you. The last thing you want to do is work your butt off for a 7% raise only to see it completely eaten up by a 20% increase in your rent. If you're optimizing for saving, you may want to live in an area where rents are growing more slowly or remaining relatively flat.
So, what are rents like in different neighborhoods in Miami?
We put together this infographic that uses a mixture of rent price information from Zillow, Realtor.com and Zumper, three of the more reliable sources of rent price information in the industry.
Where should I live in Miami?
We won't presume to make any recommendations here, but we'll give you some good, solid information to help you decide for yourself.
For starters, here's a cool overview.
I stumbled upon the map below on a forum thread when doing some research about neighborhoods in and around Miami. Basically a guy with some GIS (map data) made a map to help people unfamiliar with Miami neighborhoods to learn more about where the more desireable areas of town are. Here's the full description:
"A map guide with all neighborhoods and Cities within Miami-Dade County rated by quality of life (safety/crime issues, poverty, aspect/how well kept is the area, amenities, reputability, etc); showing from the best areas to the places to avoid. Based on factual available Gov. & public / opensource data, research plus community feedback.
- Dark Green | Very nice, well kept and very safe areas
- Standard Green | Quite nice, well kept and quite safe areas
- Light Green | Above average areas nice enough, mostly well kept and safe areas
- Blue | Avg. decent to reasonable areas, decent aspect and partially safe
- Light Blue | Fully/Mostly Non-Residential Areas -Neutral/Variable - See neighboring areas
- Yellow | Below average areas, below average aspect and partially/mostly unsafe
- Orange | Mostly bad areas, shoddy aspect and unsafe
- Red | Bad areas, poor aspect and quite/very unsafe"
You'll need to zoom in a little bit to get started — and if you're on mobile, flip your phone horizontal!
What about official crime and safety statistics?
Safety is a primary concern for many people when choosing where to live. The map above was definitely a more "qualitative" or opinion-driven analysis — helpful for getting a ballpark of what the "feel" might be like in Miami's neighborhoods.
If you're looking for more official statistics on neighborhood safety and crime, definitely click the image below, which is a screenshot of Trulia Local's analysis of crime data in the Miami area. This interactive map will help you understand where the safest areas of the city are.
Done with safety research? Now get a feel for the vibe in some of Miami's coolest neighborhoods.
When it comes to creating rich profiles of neighborhoods, no one does it better than Airbnb. Check out the preview below of Airbnb's profile of Miami Beach — they pull together high-quality photos from local photographers, commute information, input from locals w/ "tags". Definitely check it out!
How do I find an apartment in Miami?
Again, finding an apartment in Miami is a pretty involved process. There's a lot that goes into it and a lot to sort through. We've done our best to lay it all out — in clear, plain English — so you can feel as prepared as possible and set yourself for a more successful and less stressful search.
"Get a Realtor" (a.k.a. a rental agent)
I never underestimate thoughtful comments written by long-time locals. The following image/table is inspired by a true nugget of wisdom — which we've confirmed with a number of residents, landlords and real estate agents in Miami — from a redditor in Miami detailing the pros and cons of different apartment search approaches in Miami. Without further ado...
TL;DR: If you have considerable knowledge of the area/real estate law, the Owner does not have a [rental agent], and you want the lowest possible price, go with Scenario 1. If you are new to the area/real estate law, get a [rental agent]. If the Owner has a [rental agent], hiring your own [rental agent] will not increase transaction cost, so get a [rental agent].As a renter, there is no additional cost to hire a [rental agent], since the commission is paid by the owner/lessor. I cannot stress that enough.
Here are the four scenarios (from a renter's perspective) — heads up, avoid #3!
Get a full in-depth walkthrough on the apartment search process with our how to find an apartment in Miami guide too.
How do I physically move my possessions? First, you need an awesome checklist.
Next, you need movers you can trust.
Moving from out of town?
Check out Unpakt. Unpakt brands itself as a kind of "Yelp for moving" — essentially, you can enter your move details, compare prices and reviews, choose a verified mover, and book online. They'll instantly show you exact prices based on how much stuff you have—no ballpark estimates or hourly rates.
What I really like? They have customer service standards for all the moving companies on their platform. If there's a complaint from a customer, the moving company is placed on probation. From a values standpoint, I really appreciate seeing a company that is looking to protect customers while also rewarding good partners.
And check the forecast in the days leading up to your move!
The last thing you want to do is to be unprepared for a downpour on move-in day. Ugh! Tarps, boots and rain jackets will be key to have at the ready (not at the bottom of a suitcase or box!).
What do I need to do to get settled quickly?
Changing your address? Updater is an awesome free service — but it's invite only.
Updater used to be open to anyone moving, but now it's invite only. Still worth looking into, since they do an awesome job helping you transfer, set-up and close existing utlities and other key services/subscriptions.
We all know that there are a few address-related changes to make after moving into your apartment:
- Mailing Address
- Subscriptions & Loyalty Programs
- Cable & Internet
Updater helps you easily change your address with the USPS and transfer subscriptions and utilities.
Get a preview of what's going down in Dade County.
The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau has a pretty bossed out site full of awesome events, locations and things to do in Miami. Take a break from planning your move and bask in the awesomeness that you're about to be living in. What a town!
And with that — I'll let Will Smith handle the rest.
Welcome to Miami...
Not Miami specific but here's a useful guide I came across:
- The Ultimate Guide for Couples Moving in Together: by ultimate, they do mean ultimate. This guide gives you an outline of the topics to address with your partner before the move instead of during and also gives some great tips logistics wise about how to downsize from two apartments to one.