A couple (man and woman) admiring a 2-story Florida house and asking questions before purchasing

Read This Before You Buy a House in Florida

Moving can be expensive, especially if you’re moving from out of state. Whether they’re moving for family reasons, a lifestyle change, a new job, or economic reasons, people are flocking to the Sunshine State. According to research by Move.org and the U.S. Census Bureau, 27.1 million Americans moved in 2021, and Florida was the #1 state people moved to (as it was in 2020 as well).

​5 Questions to Ask When Buying a House in Florida

Navigating a hot real estate market is hard because while the home inventory is low, there is a lot of competition. Buyers may feel stressed or rushed concerning finding their dream home, and they may just jump on any deals. To avoid making a rushed decision and having to deal with unexpected costs, here are 5 important questions you should ask before buying a home. 

Is My House in a Flood Zone?

A flood zone is an area where water will pool during torrential rainfalls. Buying a house in a flood zone can mean having to budget for additional costs and needs, such as:

  • Flood insurance. To secure a mortgage loan, your lender may require that you purchase flood insurance.
  • Protective measures. While living in a flood zone doesn’t mean you need to panic at the sight of heavy rain, you should learn what to expect in the event of a flood and how you can protect your home (i.e. installing a backup battery for your sump pump, having sandbags on hand, etc.).

To find out if a home is located in a flood zone, you can use the flood risk maps provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Flood Factor. While you can use FEMA’s map to research your insurance risks, Flood Factor can be used to assess the likelihood of flooding in the future.

What Are My Drains Made Of?

Until about the late ‘70s, drains were made from cast iron. These drains have a life span of 50 years, and most iron drains are now either corroded, eroded, cracked, or collapsed, which can cause backups. Drains installed today are made from Polyvinylchloride (PVC), and they have a much longer lifespan. However, if they are not installed correctly, they won’t do you much good and can cause backups as well.

Replacing drains is a very costly and intrusive process. Before purchasing a house, to avoid unexpected, costly repairs, you should:

  • Have a home inspection contingency in your sales contract. Typically, home inspections are not required, and buyers may skip the inspection to save time and money. However, you can include a time period, in your contract, for which you can have a professional inspection performed. A home inspector will look for drainage issues throughout the home.
  • Reach out to Watermen Plumbing. We offer camera drain inspections to potential homeowners so that you can have a clear picture/video of what plumbing issues you may inherit.

Is the House Running on a Septic or Sewer System?

While both systems have their advantages and disadvantages, many homeowners do not maintain their septic tanks, which means a buyer inherits the stress of getting repairs done. These repairs can also be costly and involved. Be sure to have an inspection done of the septic tank (when they are full and accepting additional sewage) and leeching beds. Beware of tanks that are empty as this may indicate a problem with the drain field.

Please be advised: Septic tanks should not be confused with holding tanks. While both store the wastewater from your home, a holding tank needs to be emptied once it reaches its capacity. A septic tank system treats your wastewater and empties itself into the drain field, and this system only needs to be pumped annually.

What Condition Are the Current Plumbing Fixtures in?

You should know your pipework before you move in, so you can avoid having to deal with costly repairs, restoration work, and/or mold remediation that may be needed after a water leak. Leaks can be caused by faulty, worn, or unmaintained valves. If you hired a home inspector, they should check for leaks and drainage issues. However, sometimes these issues only become apparent once you settle in, and depending on the severity of the leak, you and your family may have to temporarily move out of the house while work is being done.

Was This House “Flipped”?

It’s very convenient to move into a house that has been updated, but sometimes this can be a big red flag. Many flipped properties may look good on the outside but it’s what’s on the inside that really counts. There are home flippers who will get a house that’s in bad shape and spend a minimal amount of money to make it look good on the surface for maximum resale. You may find yourself having to tear everything down and do it from scratch, which often costs double.

How We Can Help Homeowners

We understand that buying a home and/or having to deal with plumbing issues can be stressful, which is why we are happy to help clients come up with solutions for plumbing needs, such as:

Known for our professional, high-quality service, and innovation, the experienced technicians at Watermen Plumbing are equipped to help you with your plumbing needs—whether you need help evaluating a home’s plumbing system, re-piping a home, fixing a broken water heater, etc. Contact Watermen Plumbing online or at (954) 800-6364 to book a service today.