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Five Helpful Things To Know When You Move To Miami

October 17, 2011 By Jess in Miami: Travel News  | 3 Comments


Last week I wrote an article about how I moved to Miami from England. You would think the hard part was planning the international move and when I finally got here it was plain sailing. However, this was definitely not the case. Miami is not like other cities where everyone smiles and says “Have a nice day!” or where a repair man shows up on time. It took me a while to figure out how things worked here, so I am happy to pass some helpful hints on to you. Here are five things I wish I’d known in my first weeks living in Miami.



When you sign for your new place, you assume that when you move in, everything will be perfect. However this is not necessarily the case. Well, it hasn’t been for any of the three apartments I’ve lived in, and I can say the same for my friends. When you do the walk through with the realtor or pick up the keys, make it your first priority to find out what’s broken. Whether it is the AC leaking, shower door not closing, faulty light bulbs or a freezer that hasn’t been defrosted in ten years, write it all down, let the realtor and landlord know and get it fixed straight away. More often than not, they will leave it to you to repair these things yourself so make sure you don’t have to pay for it, and that the owner does. Write everything down, keep receipts and take the repair costs out of the following months rent if your landlord allows it. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that you will be paying for these things out of your own pocket.



Furnished or unfurnished, you are probably going to need some new things for your new home. I made it a point on my very first day in Miami to buy new bedding and sheets. Back then it was a lot harder to buy household items as nowhere on the beach sold them so off I went in a cab downtown. Nowadays it is much easier for new Miami Beach transplants to spruce up their new place. The newly opened shops at 5th and Alton in South Beach have a Ross and TJ Maxx and both sell everything you may need for your new apartment. And if you still can’t find what you need, Target is in Midtown just over the bridge, roughly a $15 cab ride away where you can shop to your heart’s content.



If you are lucky, you may find that your new place comes with utilities included. But if not, you will need to sign up for internet and electric and possibly have a few days wait while you arrange paperwork. So in the meantime, what do you do without internet? Luckily Miami Beach has free wifi throughout the city which you usually can pick up in your apartment. However if the signal is weak, free wifi can be found at any starbucks and at the public library on 22nd street. Most days you will find people emailing in starbucks or skyping with their loved ones on the library steps.



This one may be more for the girls reading this than the guys, but it’s still a good one to know. I moved here in November, dreaming of sunshine and sunbathing on the beach. As a result I only packed summer clothing and left all my warmer clothes behind in England. Big mistake. Yes, we’re in South Florida but we get cold weather too. Every year we have cold spells when the temperatures dip into the 30s and 40s, and not all apartments have heat. Couple that with the freezing cold AC that blasts in every store, office, bus and movie theater and you’ll soon be wishing for your favorite sweater. So when you’re packing all your summer clothes, pack a few winter ones too.



When I first moved to Miami, my new apartment’s AC leaked water all over the floor. I called a company who told me the repairman would be at my apartment the following day at 8am to diagnose the problem. I figured it shouldn’t take too long and I could get on with my day from 9am onwards. Or so I thought. When I told my new boss that the AC man was coming at 8am the following day, she laughed and said not a chance. This was the first time I heard about the infamous ‘Miami time’.

Miami time means just that. Miami does things in its own time. Whether it is the hot weather, Hispanic influence or just the nature of this city I do not know. What I do know is, you can’t fight it, it will infuriate you but you eventually become used to it. You may even end up becoming someone who is late. I also know that back at my apartment that day, the AC repairman turned up 3 hours late. Miami time indeed.


My first few weeks in Miami not knowing these things were tough, but luckily I learned this information so I could pass it on to you. The above advice isn’t intended to scare you away, but to help you have a successful move here. And if it doesn’t leave you thinking what on earth is this city all about, then come on down. Miami is a fabulous place to live and welcomes new residents all year. So if you are thinking about a move to Miami, just remember the above and start packing!


Related Categories: Miami: Travel News,

A SoBe resident for 5 years, Jess’s writing focuses on healthy living in South Beach with a dose of British humor and a cheerful outlook on life in Miami. She can be found moderating the forum Miami Beach 411.

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3 Comments on

"Five Helpful Things To Know When You Move To Miami"

Christy says:

Great article! TJ Maxx is good for housewares but don’t bother shopping at Ross Dress for Less. To stock up on the basics I think it’s worth a trip to Target.

Posted on 10/17/2011 at 3:56 PM

Dani says:

I agree with Christy…Great article! LOVE the photos that accompany each segment.

Regarding the repairman arriving a few hrs late—while Miami certainly has its own view of time, just know that repairmen, in any part of the country, are usually not punctual.

I’ve never had a repairman arrive on time. (not in Miami or in the much smaller city that I grew up in, in the Northeast)

8am should mean 8am, I agree! But a lot of these guys have to respond to a job first thing that may have appeared as an emergency overnight. And I suppose some are just slow to start. 

So whether it’s for the cable guy, the A/C guy, or the roofer, in Miami or in a small town, it’s wise to block out a good half of your day, if not more.

Posted on 10/21/2011 at 4:35 AM

JMarieDirect says:

I would add buying rubber boots. If you live in South Beach it tends to flood without warning. I keep mine in the car!

Posted on 11/06/2011 at 2:21 PM

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