Over the month or so, thousands of northerners will arrive to escape colder climates and spend the winter basking on the warm sunny beaches of the Treasure Coast. Working closely with seasonal residents for decades has given me the opportunity to learn from their experiences, and pass along these useful tips for those new to “snowbirding!”
Choose housing that reflects your lifestyle
A vacation is one thing, living for several months away from home is another. Choose a housing situation that offers the kind of activities you enjoy doing on a regular basis. If you enjoy being socially active at home, you might want to rethink that isolated beach house and opt for something close to shopping and restaurants with community social activities. Conversely, if quiet solitude is your default mode, you may want to avoid high-density housing and high-rises, and go for something a little more remote.
Choose an area that suits you
The Treasure Coast is a diverse region, and each city center has its own unique characteristics. Sebastian is a laid-back fishing town with an authentic “Old Florida” vibe. Vero is more populated with a variety of housing, commercial centers on the mainland, and a chic beachside shopping and dining district. Fort Pierce is vibrant and artsy, with a walkable downtown area, and is a popular site for festivals and street fairs. Jensen Beach is a surfing hotspot with a small and charming downtown area on the Indian River Lagoon. Stuart is more spread out with a “big city” atmosphere downtown, and beaches with unique features.
Take care of business
Take advantage of technology to keep up with the business of your daily life. Make arrangements before you leave home for automatic and online bill payments. Mail forwarding isn’t as efficient as it used to be. Think about any prescription medication you’ll need, and plan for how and where you will obtain refills.
Understand your contract
Once you land a vacation home, it’s natural to want to jump right into having fun, but don’t overlook the importance of the document you just signed. It explains what expenses you are on the hook for, and your liability in case of damages or if extra cleaning is needed. Make sure you understand who is responsible for things like internet, cable, phone service, and other utilities.
Start your search early
Good rentals in our area go fast. Once you have decided to winter in Florida, set a budget and start your search. Working with a licensed professional will not only make the search less of a hassle, but may also mean you’ll only have to do it once. When you find your perfect home away from home, you may be able to rebook it for the following season before you even leave!
About the Author
Barbara Foster is a broker and rental specialist with more than 40 years of experience specializing in seasonal rentals on Florida's Treasure Coast. If you're looking for assistance finding a rental or putting your own property on the market for rent, call her at
772-713-5038. Check out her latest listings at HERE.