In the midst of South Florida’s continued seller’s market due to low inventory, buyers must contend with several factors to secure their home purchase. Some may appear obvious, but others are more obscure for home buyers who are beleaguered by lost home buying opportunities or limited options.
While the rest of the country is showing cracks in their housing markets, demand here remains strong, prompting some buyers to forgo inspections in the hopes of presenting a more attractive offer to home sellers. I urge my clients not to forgo this critical step, unless they are purchasing a teardown. An inspection is critical in uncovering unknown defects in a structure and overall function of the home. A few inspections that should be considered in addition to general inspections are plumbing (or sewer scope), mold, septic and roof inspection.
Roof inspection is becoming increasingly more important, as Citizens insurance recently changed the requirements for binding a policy as it relates to a roof’s age. A flat or shingle roof over 25 years old or a tile roof of 50-plus years must have proof of roof replacement documentation in order to be insurable. There are work-arounds for homes with newer roofs without permits, but it’s not simple and may be a deal-breaker if a home buyer requires a bank mortgage. If you are considering selling your home in the next year or so and your roof is old or in need of repair, you may want to consider replacing it. Newer roofs are a huge selling feature.
Another significant factor buyers must be mindful of is flood zones. Given our competitive real estate market, a buyer may downplay the significance of flood zones and its mandatory insurance if enamored with a home. Flood zones are established on a national level, and the insurance rates depend on which zone the home is in and its elevation. An Elevation Certificate, which is obtained along with a survey of the property, will specify this information. Flood zone insurance premiums have been increasing significantly, so it will affect your monthly payment. It is ideal to have an established rapport with one’s insurance agent when shopping for a home. They can help you obtain a quote using the Elevation Certificate.
Inspections, roof insurability and flood policies are important considerations for homeowners and can impact the value and marketability of a property. I endeavor to educate my clients on every aspect of their home purchase and assist them when making informed decisions in order to protect their assets.