Florida has become a popular destination for those seeking a laid-back lifestyle in its quaint beach towns and retirement communities. The pandemic has only fueled this trend, with many people flocking to the state for its affordable housing and pleasant weather all year round. In fact, Florida was recently named the fastest-growing state in the country, a title it hasn’t held since 1957.
While Florida is known for its beautiful beaches and affordable housing, it’s important to note that owning property in the Sunshine State comes with its own set of challenges. Several Florida cities have been recognized as some of the best places to retire and live in the United States, but prospective buyers should be aware of the realities of homeownership in Florida. Here are five important things to consider before making a purchase.
1) Termites are a common problem in Florida, and it’s not a matter of if you’ll have them, but when and how often. With 20 different types of termites in the state, subterranean termites are the most common and can cause significant damage if left untreated. In fact, a report predicts that half of homes in south Florida will have to deal with subterranean termite infestations by 2040. Treatment options vary depending on the type of termites present and can cost anywhere from just over $1,000 to $6,000 or more. It’s important to note that treatment doesn’t guarantee protection for life, as new infestations can occur. Pest control companies often offer bonds to cover future treatments over a two- to five-year period due to the high likelihood of reoccurrences.
2) Did you know that Florida has more sinkholes than any other state in the US? It’s true! Sinkholes occur when the limestone foundation erodes due to groundwater movement, creating a cavern that can collapse under the weight above it. This is especially common in areas with abundant freshwater springs, like central and northern Florida.
Now, here’s an interesting fact about sinkhole insurance in Florida. While all homeowners’ insurance is technically required to provide sinkhole coverage, there’s a catch. The coverage depends on the quality of the ground structure, and most insurance policies won’t cover sinkholes that haven’t caused structural damage to the home. So, if you see a crack on an interior wall or floor tiles popping up, it may not be considered structural damage and might not be covered by your policy.
To minimize your risk of encountering sinkhole-related issues, it’s a good idea to conduct sinkhole testing before purchasing a home. This way, you can ensure that the property is on solid ground. Stay informed and protect yourself from the unexpected!
3) Living in Florida means being prepared for hurricanes. With 121 hurricanes hitting the state since 1851, it’s important to have a solid plan in place. Hurricane season lasts from June to November, and newcomers may not fully comprehend the extended window of vulnerability. Witnessing the devastation caused by these storms firsthand can equip homeowners with valuable knowledge and insights. Being proactive and resilient is key to safeguarding your home and loved ones.
Miller expresses gratitude for their luck during the storm, as they only experienced minimal damage to their property. They had a single blown-down fence, a few fallen tree limbs, and some flooding. Despite this, they are content with their decision to buy a home in Florida. What makes them even happier is the fact that they chose a home inland, which significantly reduces their vulnerability to hurricane-related destruction.
To safeguard their homes from storm damage, homeowners can rely on a standard insurance policy. However, it’s important to note that these policies usually only provide coverage for wind or debris damage, excluding flooding. Storm surge flooding, in particular, is typically not covered unless homeowners opt for an additional rider or a separate flood insurance policy.
4) Homeowners in Florida face high insurance premiums and the need for extra coverage. Flood insurance is mandatory in high-risk zones, and the cost depends on the home’s unique risk. The insurance market in Florida is shrinking, leaving homeowners with limited options and causing premiums to increase. After Hurricane Ian, Michelle Banks had to find a new policy and ended up with the state-funded program, Citizens Insurance. However, this is not a long-term solution, and homeowners must navigate the insurance landscape to find alternatives.
5) Florida’s real estate market is giving tough competition to New York, securing the second spot in terms of value. This has attracted homebuyers from out of state seeking a more affordable cost of living. In October 2023, the median home price in Florida was $403,700, making it a budget-friendly option compared to high-cost states like California and New York. The influx of homebuyers from these states has contributed to soaring prices in various cities across Florida, creating a fiercely competitive housing market with scarcity of available housing. Veronica Frost, a resident of Cooper City, shares her frustration of purchasing a house in 2019 and feeling trapped as the market continues to skyrocket.