Buying real estate is always going to offer differences, in line with the terrain, weather and types of housing offered in that location. Here in Florida for example, you will not find basements as often, and we don’t have to worry about digging into rock below us. We do have sand that shifts, flood zones, and trees with crazy roots that you should be aware of.
Because Florida is built basically on sand, there will be natural shifting in the ground underneath, and every now and then pockets of air where sinkholes open. Sinkholes usually happen quickly. Sand that shifts slowly, will make changes to the home above it, but over time. If you are looking at a slab home make of concrete, then it will show stair line cracks on the outside, or if major, cracks on the inside and outside. In severe cases, you can see the light from the outside shining in through these cracks. One of the most important aspects in how to buy a home for sale in St. Petersburg is always doing a good walk around the perimeter of the home checking for these stair line cracks. If they are minor, then they might very well be cosmetic.
If you see a wood frame home with unevenness in the flooring, this can be fixed by shoring up the piers underneath the foundation. I shored up a few piers with a truck jack and shims once, but I am not advising you do this! Shoring up a pier foundation home is easier than a concrete home on a slab however. If there is a concrete home with cracks, or a sinkhole situation, all of these will need to be professionally fixed by a structural engineer. What they basically do is dig 15 feet down under the house, pour concrete, then put pins under the house securing the base of the home; before filling it back in with dirt. Typically, after this is done, the home is not only stable, but more stable then the rest of the house! When buying a home in Florida, always keep structure of the home in mind.
Another thing to look for is whether your home is in a flood zone. If it is in a flood zone, then an elevation certificate will determine how high it is from the water table and how much flood insurance you will have to pay. If you are financing the home, your lender will require flood insurance. If the home is built high off the ground (as per new FEMA regulations), then your flood insurance might be as little as $500 a year. Something to note, if you are seeing a home for sale in St Petersburg in a flood zone, that does not mean it is going to flood. You will however have to pay flood insurance if financing. Figure on an extra $150 a month in addition to your mortgage payment for this. If you are buying the home cash, then you do not have to worry about paying flood insurance.
There are other obvious things you will want to look for as well, like staining on the ceilings, cheap flip jobs (and there are many) and homes that have a bad flow to them. Good Feng Shui (flow/energy) is vital to everything in your life: finances, relationships, health, family, and some other things. Having a home that has good flow and feels good, feels good for a reason. I am a Certified Feng Shui Consultant so I can talk about that stuff all day.
Some trees, like Umbrella trees and Ficus trees have crazy roots that travel and get big. These are two examples of trees you want far away from your home or your pool, for obvious reasons. When buying a home in St. Petersburg, don’t let bad landscaping or bad colors inside or outside influence your decision. These things can be changed! If you want a fenced yard for the doggos, don’t tell your Buyers Agent that you only want fenced homes, that will limit your agents searches to only fenced homes. Your agent’s searches might eliminate some great homes. Fencing, painting, and landscaping are easy fixes. So is putting a concrete pad down in the back or widening a front walkway.
Most of us that are buying want to invest as little time and money as possible, but when the market is crazy hot in Florida -like it is now, try your best to look beyond these things. We all want the 100% perfect home. I tell my buyers let’s try for that 100% home, but if we don’t find it, to be negotiable. If you can find the perfect home, in the perfect neighborhood, then maybe you can install a few new windows per year, or start a piggy bank for a new roof or pool. Please feel free to text/call me if you have any questions about buying a home in St. Petersburg or Tampa. _/\_ Beau Lucas 727-515-9728 / firstname.lastname@example.org