What to Consider Before Buying a Home in South Florida

What to consider before buying a home

As a land use lawyer, I'm the one who usually deals with the tough stuff after the purchase of a property, the kind of real estate law that people who aren’t in the business really do not need to know unless it happens to them. But I want to discuss something else with you – let’s talk about how it is that you find and relocate your family to Florida ---without having to see someone like me later. And, trust me, it would be great to not have to see me.

If you're relocating to South Florida, probably the first thing on your mind is a house for you and your family. And of course, the name, Boca Raton comes to mind. But you'll soon find out that just like where you came from, you're relocating to a region, and that region is probably somewhere between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. And there are all sorts of little neighborhoods, and all sorts of little niches to consider for your family home.

If you have children, the first thing you're going to be thinking about, of course, is schools – and you'll take your own deep dive into that. However, if you're a couple, the first thing you're probably thinking about is amenities – country clubs, golf courses, tennis, etc. Or if you’re more prone to go out and about as your leisure time activity, you may be thinking about the small towns that are dotted along the ocean, the towns that provide for walking streets, restaurants, and nightlife. In any case, once you have narrowed it down and you determine what it is that you want, you're going to be in the South Florida System for buying a house.

What is that the South Florida System? Initially, you're going to see is a lot of pretty pictures and a lot of broad smiles. But let’s go beyond that. As I've said, the unfortunate thing is, you might see a person like me if you don't make the right choices. So, let's talk about some of those things that are going to help you make those correct choices, and not blinded by the smiles and the guile.

First of all, unfortunately, we have to talk about the Surfside tragedy in which a condo collapsed due to poor upkeep. It was on everyone’s mind a year ago, and you should still be thinking about it. Condominiums are still having their difficulties, trying to make improvements so something like that never happens again. Therefore, after you see that pretty sunset from your future bedroom windows, you're going to have to worry about finances for the condominium association based upon future repair requirements for the structure of the building. That's not the pretty picture.

On the other hand, if you're getting a home, of course, homes can be quaint. You'll have a beautiful garden in a tropical paradise. But now you have to think about hurricanes. How is the roof attached to the house? Are these impact windows you are looking through? There are many things that you probably didn't look for up north, but you now have to consider them down here. Get a real report on the condition of the house keeping in mind that cosmetic items are the most easily fixed items.

One word you are very likely to hear is FEMA. FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and they determine flood zones. That's probably something that didn't really concern you up north, but it's going to concern you a lot down here. There have been tremendous changes in FEMA, and they could make the difference with respect to whether certain insurance is even available, let alone what its cost might be. The likelihood of future flooding will depend on your flood zone and no broker is going to bring it to you attention. You should look into and determine how low your home may be.

There are many more things to consider when looking for a home in South Florida, and we at Sachs Sax and Caplan would love to sit down with you and have a frank conversation. So, come and see us, and we'll make sure that you make the right choices in the relocation of your business and your home.

View our YouTube video on this topic: https://youtu.be/iamfuAsKxMU


Michael S. Weiner

Attorney Michael Weiner is a Partner in the Real Estate, Corporate and Land Use practice area at Sachs, Sax Caplan. As an expert in re-adaptive use, the assemblage of properties, “grandfathering” and similar legal issues which often stand in the way of re-development of blighted areas, Mr. Weiner continues to assist his clients in searching for the proper re-development opportunities east of I-95. Making the older neighborhoods glorious once again reduces the pressure on westward expansion and the ever increasing commuter trips. The creativity that is required to work in these sorts of situations has given Mr. Weiner additional tools for working with government regulation, especially with respect to those uses which seem unpopular or misunderstood. His partners have joined him in this role and continue to work on finding solutions for businesses that seem to be plagued by government regulation. To learn more about Michael including how to work with him visit: https://ssclawfirm.com/michael-s-weiner?view=employee&id=22

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