The State of Florida also does not enforce any concrete rules requiring builders to test for sinkhole activity prior to new construction. The best indicators to look for as a purchaser are visible cracks to the home. Take a good look and if none are visible, the concern should be low. You may also want to check the property appraiserâ€™s website to see if any neighboring homes have had confirmed sinkhole claims although this may be a tedious project.
This is an example of an active sinkhole, which is using water and pressure to grow in size. Many times, once these sinkholes stop growing, developers will literally fill these in and build on top of them. When we get involved later, we find stories of about the history of the property, or even find arial photos taken prior to the construction. These then show how the homes were built right on top of these geological conditions. Never a good idea.
However, sellers will typically downplay the damage as â€œjust minor settlementâ€ or that â€œthere was never actually a sink hole foundâ€. Just as you would want to see a Carfax report on a used car, donâ€™t just take their word for it and demand the seller provide you with copies of the original testing and also of the repairs performed and make sure the repairs were certified by a professional engineer.
ABC Action News in New York shows here a video of how a sinkhole forced the demolition of a home in York last week. They also reported about some large sinkholes causing damage in both Dauphin and Adams counties. The problem is underground limestone, a type of rock that runs under much of the midstate. But there is a way to protect your home. Purchasing sinkhole insurance.
You may also want to find out if they have been involved in homes with other stigma as well (e.g. fires, hurricane losses). Some homes may be difficult to sell, too, for other reasons (e.g. a death at the home). You would want to ask them how they dealt with that issue. Be comfortable asking for references from prior clients for realtors, or for any other professional you hire (e.g. contractors, lawyers, accountants, etc.). Any professional who is uncomfortable providing references for matters similar to yours is likely to be someone you do not want to work with anyway.
I would suggest going to the county of a home where you are interested and obtaining a copy of the building department file, and search the building permits. While you are at it, you may want to do the same thing for the homes on the lots adjacent to the home, to see if there has been any damage. Sinkhole problems are very common in Central Florida, and it is worth taking these additional steps before you commit to buying a home.
This is the kind of information that a realtor can provide that really assists the buyer in the transaction. By telling you this, you can make an informed decision as a buyer, which is key. Having said that, I cannot tell you from the mere mention of sinkhole repairs next door whether you should walk away. That will be something you will need to discuss with your family and your realtor.
My realtor found a great home for me in Ocala, but it turns out it had previously been repaired for sinkhole damage. It appears to be in good shape, but I’d like to have it inspected. What kind of inspector would you recommend? Sinkhole repairs involve a wide variety of professionals, including geologists, geotechnical engineers,…
I filed an insurance claim for sinkhole damage, and was pleased to learn I did not have a sinkhole problem. While I did have some cracking damage, which is why I filed the claim, do I need to tell a potential buyer about the claim, even if it was not paid? This question crosses two…