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Springing Into A New Home

home buying tips Miranda Ferreira April 2, 2024

Spring is here. Along with the welcomed warm weather, Fernandina Beach and surrounding areas typically associate this as the start of the "busy season" for home buying and selling. The unique Floridian climate calls for a tailored approach when you're on the hunt for your dream abode. Here's a condensed checklist, specifically crafted for the Sunshine State's seasonal nuances and warm climate. (Disclaimer: this is not an all inclusive list and each potential home purchase will have it's own unique inspection needs. Please use this as a broad over view and consult your buyer's agent and trusted professionals.)

1. Inspect the HVAC system: Inevitably, the AC will stop working when you have a gathering planned on the first hot day of the year. It has happened to our family many times. In a state where the HVAC system is closer to you than your siblings (at times), ensuring the system is functioning correctly is paramount. Check the age of the unit, maintenance records and listen for any unusual sounds. A professional inspection can also determine if the the system can handle the hot, humid months ahead.

2. Roof Condition: Yes, this has become a more talked about topic recently. Florida's spring can be a mixed bag of pleasant sun and sudden downpours. The roof should be free of damaged shingles, leaks and have a good number of years left on its expected lifespan. Since Florida can also be hurricane-prone, the roof's resilience is crucial. A trusted roof installer is a great source for information during your inspection period (and at time of insurance renewals).

3. Scrutinize the Landscape: Lush landscapes are beautiful but can demand a lot of grooming and maintenance. The first question to answer is it in your home buying checklist. If you are looking forward to having a yard, be sure to examine for invasive plant species and current condition of the existing irrigation system. Management of both items is crucial to maintain the health of a yard. Irrigation costs can create a strain if left unchecked as well. Finally, don't forget that we do have "seasons" and consider the cost/effort to maintain the landscape through the changing seasons.

4. Energy Efficient Features: I have written a previous blog post on energy efficiency for the home. This is especially true in Florida to help manage costly utility bills. Look for properties with energy-saving windows, proper insulation and green features.  

5. Unwanted Guests and Pests: Wood loving pests, such as termites, are common in the humid climate of Florida. Walk around the exterior of the home to not any potential entry points or damage. A pest inspection can give you peace of mind and save from future headaches. Ask if there is a current termite bond in place, and if it is transferrable to the new owners to help with continued coverage for treatment.

6. Community Amenities: This is a great time to see if the amenities of a community are maintained and appropriate for your goals/needs. This is also a good time to confirm the HOA and/or CDD fee amounts and billing cycles. Also consider if there are additional community requirements, such as social memberships and food/beverage spends. 

7. Location, Location, Location: This is a known motto with real estate. When looking for a home, keep in mind the proximity to regular needed items like grocery, work, healthcare and school. Be sure to look at traffic patterns at rush hour and off hour. Another good point is to ask if there is anything special occurring, such as spring break or local festival, that will shift traffic patterns.

Buying a home in Florida this spring is an opportunity to find a piece of paradise tailored for comfort and joy. Keep this checklist in hand as you tour homes, and you'll be better equipped to make a savvy and informed decision. A knowledgeable real estate agent is an invaluable asset in your home search. they can provide you with detailed local knowledge, especially important in Florida's diverse climate and market conditions. 

Happy house hunting -- and hoping you find your "Golden Egg".


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