Front view of a typical house found in Southern Florida.

What to Look for When Buying a Home in South Florida

Florida has long been a hot real estate market, but that is especially true today with the increase in remote work opportunities. No longer bound by location, Americans are leaving colder locations with higher costs of living for the warmer, often less-expensive Sunshine State.

Home buying is an exciting time. Buyers put together their checklists of must-haves and like-to-haves. From bedrooms to lot size, there are many things that buyers consider. Scrolling through photos on real estate sites is an obsession for some, critiquing countertop, paint, and flooring choices.

A home’s esthetics are undoubtedly important, yet there are many things the eyes don’t necessarily see that must be considered. Hurricanes, tropical storms, high winds, and flooding can undermine plumbing systems. Pipes can shift and leak leading to a host of additional problems.

A Home’s Hidden Problems

A residential plumbing system is within the house’s walls, foundation, and surrounding property. At Watermen Plumbing, we see plumbing issues even in newer homes. Don’t let the date of construction fool you. Always check all aspects of the plumbing system.

Below are some of the specific plumbing problems to be vigilant about when considering buying a home:

  • Water Pressure. To properly check for water pressure, turn on all faucets at once. Improper pipe size could lead to less-than-optimal water pressure. In most cases, you will want a ¾-inch pipe from the water source to the home and a ½ -inch pipe from the home entry point to the faucet. If the water flowing from the taps is not clear, it could be a sign of erosion in the pipes.
  • Toilets. Notice whether the toilet bowl rocks or moves when you apply weight. Also, look for discoloration around the toilet’s base and sponginess of the floor around it. Improper seals, flanges, and other issues could be the source of the problem. Leaks can mean the toilet isn’t draining properly. Check for clogs by flushing each toilet. A constantly running toilet may mean flappers or chains need to be replaced.
  • Sewer. A professional can use a video camera to inspect the pipes from the house to the street. They will look for tree roots, clogs, and corrosion that can create big problems in the future.
  • Septic Tanks. Strong smells, standing water, and seepage are signs of potential headaches. A septic inspector can verify how effectively the system processes solids and disperses liquids. Septic tanks require occasional pumping, and an inspector will see whether the system is due for service.
  • Wells. Some homes have city or other water services while others rely on a private well. Before buying a home, you can buy a testing kit to check for harmful bacteria and other issues. If you are considering a home with a well, you should also find out how deep the well is and its overall capacity. Since the lifespan of most wells falls between 30 and 50 years, knowing when it was drilled is important.
  • Water Heater. Water heaters generally last about a decade. When you are considering a home, make sure to find out the age of the water heater. Signs that the heater is approaching the end of its life include dampness and corrosion around and on the tank.
  • Faucet Leaks. That drip-drip-drip of a leaking faucet can do more than waste water and disturb your sleep. Those little drops may mean you have corrosion, defective gaskets or washers, or harmful mineral deposits. It also can mean a problem with the water pressure that could develop into damage and flooding.
  • Drainage. Run water in each sink and note how quickly the water drains. An improperly draining sink can lead to bigger, more serious issues down the road. Look for signs of mold or leaks under the sinks.
  • Water Damage. Don’t forget to investigate under the house in the crawl space or basement for visual evidence of water damage as well as musty smells that might be caused by leaks and standing water.

Hiring a Professional Inspector

Not only should you scrutinize plumbing and other aspects, but a professional should also fully inspect the home.

Watermen Plumbing

In addition to plumbing, a home inspector will investigate the following:

  • Heating and Cooling Systems
  • Electrical Systems
  • Windows and Doors
  • Condition of the Roof
  • Gutters, Exterior Cladding, and Woodwork
  • Foundation Stability
  • Signs of Pest Infestations

Waiving a home inspection can speed up the buying and closing process but can also leave sellers with unexpected and expensive repairs. Choosing to forgo a professional inspection is risky.

Other Considerations

When considering the cost of insurance for a home, make sure to account for additional flood insurance. Standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover those costs. If plumbing or other damage is caused by floodwaters of a hurricane or storm, you may be out of luck without the extra coverage.

Ocean-front property is beautiful. Before buying, check on the laws about the land. Turtle nests and other wildlife can’t be disturbed. Keep in mind that anything below the mean high tide line belongs to the state.

Many homes in Florida are part of a homeowners’ association. Take time to understand all the neighborhood’s policies and regulations before you buy.

Expert Plumbing Solutions

Whether it is a leaky faucet or a whole-house repiping, you can trust the skilled technicians at Watermen Plumbing for all your plumbing needs. We take pride in our work and exceeding customer expectations. We don’t cut corners and provide the highest level of service. We back up our work with a one-year warranty.

If you want a professional opinion on the plumbing system on a home you are considering, or you have discovered a problem in a home you have already purchased, contact us right away.

Call Watermen Plumbing at (954) 997-5797 or reach out using our online form.