Santa Rosa Beach is part of the Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin Metropolitan area in Florida. It's a world-class travel destination and has one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Florida. It's always kept clean and free of trash, so there's no need to worry about the beauty of it being anything less than perfect. The community is a popular place for home buyers, and it certainly lives up to its name. So, what do you need to look for when searching for a home in Santa Rosa Beach though?
1. Structure of the home
When buying a home in any beach city, or Florida in general, the structure of the home is especially important. It often rains in Florida, and hurricanes are common during the spring and summer months. A poor foundation and/or home structure can mean trouble due to these reasons. Knowing how good the foundation is is also extremely important if you're purchasing a beach home. Building a home on top of sand can be difficult, and the foundation isn't always properly constructed. Always ask questions about the foundation and structure when purchasing a home in Florida.
2. The roof
The roof of a home can last for up to 25 years, but that doesn't mean you're in the clear when buying a home. You may make the mistake of expecting the roof to last for years to come, only to find a leak six months later. Never skip out on asking how old the roof is, even if it looks perfect to the naked eye. There's always a chance you'll regret it later.
3. Gutters and siding
Unpredictable weather brings unpredictable consequences. The gutters and siding of a home are meant to protect it from the elements; gutters help keep water from damaging your home, while siding keeps most other elements from damaging the insulation. If you notice one or both of these are damaged or old, bring it up to your agent.
While the price of a home may be within your budget, it doesn't mean you should put in an offer. You may be pre-approved for a loan or have fallen in love with the house, but the price of a home can say a lot about it. If the amount of money being put down seems too good to be true, you might want to trust your gut.
People typically aren't willing to sell a home for less than it's worth. There could be a major issue with the home or something about the area that makes a person want to get out of there as soon as possible. On the other hand, people are going to sell a home for more than it's worth; that's how they make a profit. This is a fine and normal practice, but there comes a point where you may be paying too much, especially if the seller is vague about issues with the home or previous tenants who may have lived there. Always pay attention, and don't be afraid to say no.
Take note of whether the attic in your potential home is vented or unvented. While both are energy efficient and likely won't run up your energy bill too much, vented attics tend to accumulate moisture and may cause mold to grow in that part of your home. Typically, your attic won't be very big, so the temperature in that "room" might not be a concern for you, but it's still something to keep in mind as both vented and unvented attics have their own pros and cons.
Leaks can cause a world of problems in a home. If the leak is due to a plumbing issue, then it could cause things like black mold or even an entire flood in your house. An entire flood may be a bit of an exaggeration, but homes often flood because of plumbing issues. If you notice a leak or any kind of water damage in the home, be sure to notify the current homeowner or realtor immediately. If the problem is ignored, it might be in your best interest to skip out on the home.
7. For Sale By Owner
It's not unheard of for homeowners to try selling their homes on their own. The process works out for some people but not for everyone. When someone is selling a home themselves, there are probably going to be things they've brushed over. They may not have known about issues and/or refused to perform a home inspection, so you'll have to be even more cautious when considering purchasing an FSBO home. It never hurts to ask questions.
8. Home Owners' Associations
More than likely, you've heard horror stories about HOAs in other neighborhoods. Maybe someone was overwhelmed with fines, didn't know what they agreed to, or an HOA just had ridiculous rules in the neighborhood. This does happen sometimes, so always ask if the home you're purchasing is part of an HOA. Read the fine print and think about whether you can adhere to the rules of the neighborhood.
HOAs often come with their own fees too. There could be a monthly or annual fee to support the association. Ask the neighbors what it's like to live there, how strict the HOA is, and whether any nosy neighbors like to report others for petty things.
Just because a neighborhood has an HOA doesn't mean it's a bad place to live, though. HOA rules are usually put in place to keep a neighborhood looking neat or to keep solicitors out of the area. If that's something you're concerned about, joining an HOA may be beneficial for you!
9. Vague Answers to Questions
One of the biggest red flags when it comes to buying a home is a closed-off seller. If they're not willing to answer your questions or tend to give vague answers regarding the home, you probably don't want to buy from them. It's not always worth the trouble to go digging through the internet for answers. A seller should be open and honest about any problems with the home and/or its history.
Everyone has preferences when it comes to their house. Some people want hardwood floors while others want carpet, and some want a big bathroom while another person would rather have a porch, or maybe you want everything! If there are certain amenities you want in a home, don't try to settle for anything less. You may not find everything you want, but figure out what you cannot do without, and make sure those things are up-to-date and well kept.
Just as an example, you might want a marble or granite countertop, but the seller might have a fake one. If you can settle for fake marble or granite, and the seller is honest about the countertop being made of fake material, then that might be something worth settling for. However, if you only want real marble/granite or notice that the seller is lying, too, it's probably better to steer clear of the place.
Is There Anything Else to Know About Searching for a Santa Rosa Beach Home?
A very important thing many buyers like to skip out on is hiring a realtor. It might seem unnecessary and/or a waste of money, but a realtor knows their way around the home buying and selling process. They're often expert negotiators and are prepared to tell you when it's time to back out of a deal. They know what to look for in a home, how to read over the contract, and what homes are currently on the market. It's better to have a realtor on your side when purchasing a home in any part of the country.
Don't skip out on shopping around. There will always be a better home for a better price somewhere on the market. An expensive home doesn't mean it's perfect, but an inexpensive home doesn't mean it isn't worth it. Tour every home that looks interesting to you, and don't be afraid to spend a lot of time doing so. It'll be worth it in the end.
Another thing to note is that you probably won't find your dream home, but it doesn't mean you should give up. If your ideas adhere to city and HOA guidelines, you can always fix a home up. With a bit of time and effort, any home can be your dream home. Still, this doesn't mean you should settle for just any home. Tell your realtor what you're looking for, and they'll help you get as close to it as possible, even if it takes a bit of looking.
Find Your Santa Rosa Dream Home with Rachel Hutchings
Are you ready to do some house hunting but don't know where to start? Lucky for you, Rachel Hutchings is one of the best realtors in Santa Rosa Beach. Your luxury home is only a few steps away from being a dream come true. Contact Rachel today and watch the magic happen!