Remembering the 50's and 60's(88 posts)
Bartman, since you asked:
1. One tip is to look for a house that is on the market. Either a recent built or a spec home. That is usually a lot cheaper than building one yourself. And if it was preowned, it should be debugged - and believe me, the builders make a lot of mistakes. Other advantage is that you can check out the neighborhood. If you build in one of those new developments, you never know how things are going to develop.
2. Another thing to watch out for is housing taxes. They can vary a lot.
3. Further, don't build near the water or a river or creek. You will have trouble getting flood insurance. House insurance is anyhow a big problem in Florida. Most companies do not write insurances any more. Hurricans, floods and sinkholes being the most common reason. So get an idea of what the insurance bill will be before closing.
4. Energy efficiency is becoming more and more of a problem. Most houses in Fl are single pane windows and the insulation on the walls is reduced to a sheet of foil. That, of course, you could control better when you build yourself.
5. Pools are a pain in the neck. I know that this is one big thing for northeners when they move to Fl. But the cost is going to eat you alive - cost of maintenance and the cracks most people seem to get. We have a large hottub which is very easy to maintain (if you get an ozonator). No chemicals and I refill it every 6 weeks. This is very nice, especially if you have a courtyard house like us. See here http://i260.photobucket.com/al.....isk004.jpg
6. You must have your own well for the sprinklers, the hottub, etc. Else you end up with a $500 water bill during the winter months - during the summer it rains enough.
There are a lot more things, I am sure. Maybe techgranny has a few tips too. She is a builder, I think.
Yeah, we're builders. Bartman, the area you're looking in is a lot more expensive than the Panhandle where I live, but there are some real bargains right now. As a builder, I disagree with whs about the new or spec homes. They use the cheapest possible building materials and labor. As a former realtor, I always recommend an older home that has been renovated up to code. Just be sure to hire your own inspector. Never rely on the realtor or lenders inspectors, they don't work for you.
techgranny, you got a good point about the spec homes. I forgot about that. But the panhandle would not be my deal - you guys shiver in winter. The problem with the older homes is that they are very often built in wood - who wants that in the middle of termite heaven. They also have low ceilings - that may be energy efficient, but it is depressing. The point about the inspector is excellent. I built with a builder (whilst I was in Europe) and had a lawyer and inspector supervising it. Still, there were nits and lice.
Yes, I learned from my Aunt, the one who lives in Bradenton, she's about your age, btw, that insurance
is a big problem down there. Oh well, the price of living in paradise, I suppose. Maybe I'll look into
rentals, for the short term anyway. Well, this is alot to digest. I'm going to give this some thought
and do some investigating while I'm down there this winter. Aunt is a snowbird so she is in Ohio right
now. Thank again for your help whs, you are truly a kind and generous person.
The only problems I've seen with termites is people who don't treat their homes. You can usually find most any ceiling height your looking for. We actually love people who buy new homes. They always end up calling us to fix them:) Also, the homeowner insurance in FL is a nightmare! If one more insurance company pulls out of the state, we're all going to have to be self insured.
Oh! Just saw your post techgranny. The bargains you speak of, are they in the panhandle?
Yes,an older home was kind of what I had in mind. Actually, I would prefer to live in a
smaller town, but close enough to the best employment opportunities, if you follow my meaning.
The traffic and congestion of the bigger cities would be too much for me to deal with.
The panhandle area would be fine with me, still much warmer than Indiana!
Bartman, actually, the bargains are throughout Florida. I think we have the largest glut of homes for sale in the country. The panhandle has plenty of small town charm but the employment opportunities are not that of larger cities depending on your profession. The weather here is fantastic and very much warmer than Indiana!
How is the home building industry doing down there? My profession has been in the home building area.
I say has been because I've been laid off since January due to the conditions in this part of the
country as well as many others. I'm really in between a rock and a hard place here.
The panhandle is not really warm in winter - they get freezes very often (if I can believe the weather report). This is not the Florida you see on the picture postcards (in winter I mean). Even 30/40 miles north of us, it is already a lot colder. And that is far south of the panhandle. I live 40 minutes outside metropolitan Tampa (area of 3 million). There should be jobs there for anybody. But you should come and look around next winter. I am sure you will find the area you like. Rule of thumb: The further south you go, the pricier it gets. And near the water, it is unaffordable.
PS: just saw your post. There is very little building in Florida because of the high inventory that techgranny mentioned. And they say, that will last for at least 3 years.
It's a good opportunity to travel all around the country and see places you might not otherwise get to see. But it takes a toll on you after a while, alot of time stuck in that truck, you could be away from home for 1-2 weeks at a time.
True, new houses aren't being built, but we're not speculators. We're small mom and pop community builders. People can't sell their homes so they're staying put and adding on and renovating. It's all good for us!
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