How to test for sinkholes before buying your home

If you’re considering purchasing a home in Florida and are concerned about the threat of a sinkhole, you are ahead of the game! Sinkholes are incredibly common in Florida, and while we wouldn’t suggest you be too anxious, it is worth being prepared. Prior to purchasing your Florida home, you might consider a more extensive home inspection before purchasing. In this case, you’ll need to know how to test for sinkholes, and if it’s worth it in the first place.

Testing for sinkholes comes at price

Unfortunately, the cost for a certified sinkhole inspection makes it difficult to pay for one unless absolutely necessary – a sinkhole investigation can run you $6,000-$8,000. This is a steep fee for a buyer who hasn’t even purchased the home yet, with all the costs that go with that first step. If it’s really important to you, you may consider asking the seller to foot the bill, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

First, this is expensive! Tampa’s rapid growth means it’s very easy for homeowners to sell their homes, so they’ll likely be more interested in waiting for a cheaper buyer to come along! Second, ignorance is bliss. If a homeowner knows there is sinkhole activity present in their home, they will be obligated to disclose it to any potential buyers; if they don’t know, they don’t need to mention it! Therefore, asking your seller to provide you with a sinkhole investigation is more risk than it’s worth for the seller.

Is a sinkhole investigation necessary?

The answer to this question varies on a case-by-case basis, but there are ways for you to consider whether or not is necessary to go down this route. The State of Florida does not enforce any rules requiring builders to test for sinkhole activity prior to new construction, however, sinkholes are not difficult to find!

When touring the home, look out for cracks in the home. If there are no obvious cracks, and the house looks like it’s fitting together, you should not be concerned about the potential of a sinkhole. Go ahead and ask your realtor to keep an eye out for you as well if you’re concerned.

Another way to satisfy your anxiety regarding sinkholes is to investigate the surrounding neighborhood. You might ask your realtor if they know about the history of sinkholes if any. If they’re not sure, they can do some research for you to calm your fears.

However, if you’re really concerned about the potential of a sinkhole opening and don’t have the money to pay for a professional investigation, taking a good look at the foundation and the walls of the home should be plenty of proof either way. This is the most reasonable, easiest method of how to test for sinkholes before you purchase a home.

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