Florida: Its Own Real Estate Beast

Florida is notably an attractive destination for tourists and home buyers alike.  Largely because of its sunny weather and year-round warmth, Florida brings in a lot of people from colder climates.  It is a top place to visit, relocate to, or retire to.  But buying a home in Florida can come with some added requirements you may not know about.

First of all, we all know that Florida has some of the country’s most beautiful beaches.  But have you thought about the laws that surround owning ocean-front property in Florida?  For example, certain vegetation cannot be removed.  Also, you may not be able to use outdoor lights during turtle nesting season (yes, really).  And have you considered that beaches are owned by the state?  Meaning you may not be able to do anything about people being on certain parts of your property that are technically considered state beach domain, even though to you, it just feels like your front yard.

The biggest concern with Florida, as we have just seen, is the weather.  Hurricane Ian was devastating to Floridians and has made an already tight housing market even more scarce.  If you are considering purchasing in Florida, it is crucial to consider weather events like hurricanes when purchasing homeowners’ insurance.  Standard homeowners’ insurance won’t cover flooding, so you’ll need to take out separate flood insurance or risk a potential loss.

Closing costs are also going to be higher in Florida.  In fact, closing costs in Florida are among the highest in the country. 

Don’t forget about the down payment.  Florida is home to a lot of foreclosures, which means that private mortgage insurance for conventional loans is not available or may be more expensive in many areas.  This means you will sometimes need at least a 20-25% down payment on a single-family home to even get approved.

Listen, Florida is an attractive destination and is growing in population and popularity.  But if you are interested in purchasing an investment property or a primary residence there, it’s important to know what to expect.

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