Opinion Residential

6 Things to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home in Florida

Florida is one of the top tourist destinations in the United States and the world. Over 30 million tourists flock to the Sunshine State to bask on the sunny beaches, go on boat rides, enjoy local cuisines, and more, every year. Tourism has an economic impact on Florida of over $50 billion annually. Learn more about tourist population statistics in Florida. Taking a trip is one thing, but what about buying a vacation home in Florida?

It isn’t uncommon to find people who came to Florida on a vacation wanting to own a home in the state. If you don’t want to make your current home look like a vacation home, you may want to actually buy one. Florida is a great state but here are a few things that you should consider before purchasing a home there.

1. Real Estate Market Conditions

Market conditions are always important when buying a vacation home no matter the location. It will have a significant impact on the amount of money you will spend to pay for the property.

The real estate market in Florida is a very dynamic one. The value of properties has seen a tremendous increase in the past few years and shows no signs of slowing down. If you’re considering buying a vacation home in Florida consider the following market factors:

  • Interest rates and mortgage; when interest rates fall, real estate prices rise and vice versa. Same thing applies to mortgage rates.
  • Government taxes, subsidies, and deductions. Tax incentives tend to lower the overall price of residential real estate.
  • Seasonal sell-offs also affect the prices of residential properties in Florida. This usually occurs around areas affected by hurricane and floods.

You should carefully consider the market conditions of real estate in Florida at the time before you actually make the purchase.

2. Homeowners Insurance

Homeowner’s insurance is a must if you are looking to buy a home in Florida. The Sunshine State is prone to annual hurricanes and flooding, and so insurance is a very important factor. The cost of insurance will contribute significantly to the cost of the property you want to buy.

To lower the cost of insurance, you should consider buying a home that meets the current building code regulations. These typically are homes built from the year 2002 and above. A few things to watch out for before purchasing the home include:

  • Old roofs or roofs that aren’t compliant with current building standards for wind mitigation.
  • Dated plumbing such as those using galvanized pipes.
  • Dated electrical wirings.
  • Absence of hurricane straps.

These outlined factors can drive up the cost of insurance, making it expensive to obtain.

3. Building Code Regulation Standards

Beauty doesn’t always connote strength. This is true for residential properties whether condos or single-family homes. It would be a mistake to favor the aesthetics of a property over its ability to withstand the boisterous winds that come with hurricanes.

Paying attention to this does not only lower your insurance cost; it saves you the stress and time you would spend rebuilding your home every time a little wind blows it over. Believe it or not, everything is not built to current codes.

4. Property Location

The location of the property you are looking to buy is super important. Remember the old saying, “Location. Location. Location.” When you are buying a vacation home in Florida, you need to buy it at the right price.

First, you should narrow down the parts of Florida that suit you best. Secondly, you should consider the weather conditions of the location. Not everywhere in Florida is affected by floods and hurricanes, so you should expect the price of residential properties there to be different from those areas prone to these forces of nature.

There are cities with a slightly higher cost of living, hence the higher cost of purchasing a house. For example, Melbourne has a median home price of $180,000 while a city like Orange City has a median home price of $87,000. You can check out this list of 10 best places to buy a house in Florida.

5. Home Inspection

When you have found a home, you are interested in purchasing, you should have it thoroughly inspected. It is vital that you conduct this inspection before you conclude on the purchase. This is where a lot of homebuyers miss it and end up with years of problems on their hands.

Here is a list of what you might be looking out for during an inspection:

  • Drainage, soil, or erosion problems.
  • Foundation and structural integrity.
  • Pest infestation including termites, ants, roaches, etc.
  • Conditions that encourage the breeding of mold or the presence of mold.
  • Foul odors or unpleasant noise.
  • Problems with the heating and cooling system, electrical wiring & fixtures, and plumbing.
  • Defective flooring and basements.

Note that you will have no legal recourse against the seller of the property if you fail to thoroughly inspect the house. It’s in your best interest to hire a qualified and licensed home inspector to perform the home inspection.

Do you have a home in Florida to sell because you need the cash to buy another? If you are in the area, you can visit sites like Your Trusted Home Buyer’s Miami page to find out how.

6. Hiring an Experienced Real Estate Agent

In terms of chronology, this is one of your first tasks. Regardless of what you may have heard, not all real estate agents are dubious or shifty. You may not know this, but you will definitely need the help a real estate agent when you want to buy a home. An experienced real estate agent can smell a bad deal from a mile away and help you avoid any pitfalls. He or she understands the home-buying process better than you do and can make things much easier for you.

They can also keep scammers at bay and keep you from being taken advantage of. Therefore, you should seriously consider hiring a trustworthy agent. Another reason why you would need a real estate agent is the closing. Did you know that Florida has one of the most expensive closings in the United States? This is why you need an experienced real estate agent to help you navigate through closing formalities and maybe even negotiate the price.

Florida is an excellent place to live in with abundant sunshine, lush vegetation, and great culture but it’s not without its own flaws. You should carefully consider these six points if you are looking to purchase a vacation home in Florida as they will enable you buy the home of your dreams, at the right price, and save you from years of headaches.

About the author

Tre Pryor, Editor-in-Chief

Tre Pryor is the recognized expert Louisville Realtor who can:
  • List and sell your current home in Louisville,
  • Help you purchase your next Louisville home, or
  • Guide you in your relocation to Louisville, Kentucky
» Contact Tre now!