The 5 Most Frequently Asked Florida Real Estate Questions
Home buyers that are new to Florida would make their home search far more successful if they knew the answers to just five of the most frequently asked Florida real estate questions. Here they are. Starting from least asked to the most asked.
Are there alligators in every body of water in Florida?
Answer: No. The salt water gulf coast and the Atlantic ocean do not contain alligators. Nor do the brackish water (mixture of fresh and salt water) inlets that lead to those oceans. However, there is a good chance that most fresh water bodies of water will be inhabited with our long-mouth friends. Yes, gators are a natural species to Florida, and although the Florida Wildlife, Fish and Game does a fine job of removing the bigger and older creatures from our neighborhood ponds and lakes, there are still routine sightings by travelers, passersby, and homeowners. So if you are considering buying a waterfront property on one of the thousands of freshwater ponds, lakes, or streams in Florida, you may want to seriously consider the safety of your pets and small children. Especially if they are allowed to run around out of doors. Although it is true that alligators are more afraid of humans and will scamper the moment they hear any sound or activity, your pet can be prey to the sneaky gator lurking around a nearby edge of water. Hence, all home shoppers should bear this fact in mind if considering buying or renting a water-front property.
Do I have to be a member of a home owners association?
Answer: Yes and No. That answer depends on if the subdivision you are considering living in has a legally established homeowners association (HOA). If it does contain one (based upon guidelines and by-laws) then YES, all residents of that specific subdivision must adhere to those rules and regulations. Most newcomers to Florida are familiar with HOA dues and regulations for townhome and condo communities, but many newbies are unaware of homeowners associations that are established in single-family home subdivisions. Some of those deed restrictions can be quite comprehensive and filled with many do not do regulations. A HOA investigation should be your first consideration before starting your home search. Know what rules and guidelines will fit your lifestyle BEFORE your purchase there. In addition, seek a well experienced local realtor who knows the various subdivisions and who will supply you with documentation so you absolutely know what deed regulations exists and the fees involved to reside in a particular area.
Do I need an attorney to purchase real estate in Florida?
Answer: No. The State of Florida does not make it mandatory for attorneys to close a real estate transaction, but if you choose to avail the assistance of an attorney, you may certainly do so. Interestingly, Florida Realtors do have some education and training in real estate law, but are not attorneys and can NOT give legal advice. In addition, all Florida-Bar purchase contracts and their associated addendums and riders are written by attorneys. If you are more comfortable having an attorney oversee your transaction, whether you are a buyer or seller, then by all means seek out their services. But most often, you can find a knowledgeable realtor, experienced broker, or title agent to assist you with most of your real estate needs.
Can a local licensed Florida Realtor assist me in buying or selling elsewhere?
Answer: YES. As long the property involved is located in the State of Florida. Interestingly in other parts of the world, a sole representative is attached to a particular property so that only one specific agent will have exclusive involvement in a real estate transaction. In the State of Florida the very same realtor of your choice may assist you in buying or selling anywhere throughout the entire state. For this reason it is important to establish a working understanding with your Florida real estate representative on how he will assist you. For example, you may have a trusted Realtor who has been showing you properties and you are quite happy with his (or her) services. However if you choose to visit a new home builder or visit an open house sponsored by a different realtor, you could very well jeopardize the relationship with your trusted Realtor, as he may no longer be able to represent you, or receive payment in a particular real estate endevour due to another agent or company who may have established a "procuring cause". Hence, to stay on the safe side, always communicate with your trusted Realtor on any real estate-related plans you are considering. Rest assured, an experienced Realtor can assist you in ways you may not be aware of. Such as saving you time and money no matter if the property is in a new home community, or featured at an open house, or a for sale by owner (FSBO). You'd be surprised on much your trusted Realtor cares about you and your objectives. He wants to see you truly successful. Take full advantage of his (or her) expertise!
My #1 MOST ASKED QUESTION
Do I have to worry about sinkholes??????
Answer: Maybe. As of late, we are hearing about strange and unusual accounts of the ground opening up and swallowing homes. Yikes! Sinkholes form in areas where water flowing underground has dissolved rock — typically limestone — below the surface, leading to the formation of underground voids into which the surface sediment falls, according to the website of the Florida Sinkhole Research Institute. They vary in size from 1 to 600 meters. However, Florida isn't the only place where sinkholes can occur. In the U.S., sinkholes are especially common in Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Florida, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. In addition to sitting on highly porous limestone, the state has additional factors that can lead to the formation of sinkholes, including extreme weather and aquifer pumping. A brochure issued by the Southwest Florida Water Management District lists several sinkhole warning signs, including slumping trees or fence posts; the formation of small ponds in areas where water has not collected before; wilting of small, circular areas of vegetation; and structural cracks in walls. Experts have concluded that despite efforts to spot sinkholes before they occur, there is no way of ever predicting where a sinkhole is going to occur. Some home owners insurance company's may know of neighborhood conditions that could be a cause for concern. In addition the local authorities will keep you abreast of any unusual ground occurrences. Lastly, feel free to ask your trusted Realtor to also do some investigating before you purchase.