Buying a home in Florida can be an exciting experience with the state’s beautiful beaches, warm climate, and popular attractions. However, Florida’s climate also makes it prone to pest problems and hazards from severe weather that require close inspection before purchasing a home. This article will provide an overview of key areas to inspect during a home and pest inspection process when buying a property in Florida.
Inspecting the Home’s Exterior
When evaluating the exterior of a Florida home, some important areas to look at include:
- The roof – Since Florida experiences heavy rainfall during certain times of the year, the roof should be examined for any cracked, missing or damaged shingles as well as signs of leaks and water damage. The age and material of the roof should also be reviewed.
- Exterior walls – Look for cracks, deterioration, or signs of water intrusion. Also check for proper sealing around windows, doors, wiring and plumbing.
- Gutters and downspouts – Check that gutters are clear of debris and can adequately drain water away from the foundation. Downspouts should direct water at least 5 feet away from the home.
- Grading and drainage – Make sure the grading slopes away from the home’s foundation to prevent water pooling. Check for standing water or signs of poor drainage.
- Entries and decking – Inspect entryways, porches, patios and decks for damage. Ensure railings are stable and entryways do not leak.
- Hurricane protection – Examine hurricane shutters or impact resistant windows and doors to ensure the home is properly equipped for storms.
Inspecting the Home’s Interior
A thorough inspection inside the home will catch issues that may compromise safety or comfort:
- Plumbing system – Examine under sinks for leaks or corrosion. Check water pressure, drain speed, and pipe materials. Ensure toilets flush properly. Run shower and baths to test.
- Electrical system – Check for exposed wiring or outlets not properly mounted. Test switches, lights and ceiling fans. Have an electrician evaluate the electrical panel and wiring.
- Ventilation – Turn on exhaust fans and check for unusual noise or vibration. Ensure bathroom and kitchen fans vent outside properly.
- Air conditioning/heating – Have an HVAC professional inspect the system. Ensure it can properly handle Florida’s climate. Check for leaks or odd sounds.
- Foundation and framing – Look for cracks in walls or ceilings. Check for sloping floors. Examine the foundation for shifting or sinking.
- Attic and insulation – Inspect for proper ventilation and sufficient insulation. Look for leaks, condensation or pest infestations.
- Major systems – Test appliances, garage doors, security systems and sprinklers to ensure function.
Checking for Common Florida Pests
Due to the warm climate, there are a number of pests that can easily infest homes in Florida if left unchecked:
- Termites – Florida has over a dozen termite species. Have a professional inspect for signs like mud tubes on walls or droppings. Use termite baits or treat soil before infestations occur.
- Ants – Carpenter ants, Argentine ants, fire ants and other species are common. Seal cracks, store food properly and use baits or sprays if ants appear.
- Roof rats – Agile climbers that can infest attics. Look for droppings and nests. Use traps and reduce clutter to deter rats.
- Silverfish – Small insects that destroy paper products and fabrics. Look for them in bathrooms, kitchens, attics and basements. Use dehumidifiers and pesticides.
- Centipedes and millipedes – Fast moving pests with painful bites. Remove piles of leaves, mulch and debris where they live. Use insecticides if needed.
- Snakes – Though not a widespread issue, snakes can enter through small openings. Seal any cracks around home exterior.
- Mosquitoes – Can enter the home or bite on patios. Drain standing water. Install screens on windows and use sprays.
Taking the time to thoroughly inspect both the interior and exterior of a home in Florida for damage as well as common pest problems will help buyers avoid expensive repairs down the road. Partnering with qualified home and pest inspection professionals provides expert guidance through the home purchase process. Ensuring the property is structurally sound and pest-free before buying will lead to years of enjoyment in a Florida home.