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Old 09-25-2009, 07:19 AM
 
15 posts, read 38,063 times
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We are closing on our house next month and heading down to a new adventure in your area. We would appreciate your opinions so much.

Is there a big difference between wood frame and block built houses? What are they?

Is the humidity worse in any particular area? Is there a noticeable difference in breeze/heat between the three cities?

Has Florida passed a law to prohibit realtors from selling houses with the Chinese drywall without informing the buyer?

I know here inspectors do not need to really have any qualifications. How will we know if an inspector really knows his stuff and gives us good estimates on what it will cost to fix something?

Any general differences in house insurance? What should we look for?

Any general difference in electric bills between the 3 towns? (our electric is five times the electric of the next town over due to different electric companies in our state)

Any opinions on differences between well water or city water? Health issues? Taste?

Any GENERAL differences in taxes or house insurance??

Who would YOU recommend to TEST for mold, water issues, ants/termites issues?

Would it cost less to have window ac as opposed to central ac because then you can have one area of house cool and one not so cool? (we have never had central ac before)

I love reading all these posts. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply! I hope I can repay the favor once we finally settle in somewhere there. Thanks!
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Old 09-25-2009, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Wandering.
3,549 posts, read 6,664,095 times
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While I don't live in those three many of the questions are general to this part of FL. I'll answer what I can and leave the rest to those that know more than me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Englewoodever? View Post
Is there a big difference between wood frame and block built houses? What are they?

In my experience insurance on wood frame homes is going to be far more expensive, and termites will be an issue. We have both subterranean (underground) and dry-wood termites here, so they can get to a house from below the foundation or fly from trees, the neighbors house, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Englewoodever? View Post
Any general differences in house insurance? What should we look for?

Age of the house, type of construction, and location are critical. There were major changes to building codes at different points in time. Houses built after each change will have better rates (Discuss this with your Realtor and Insurance company to get exact details). Flood zones are another biggie since you are required to carry flood insurance in certain areas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Englewoodever? View Post
Would it cost less to have window ac as opposed to central ac because then you can have one area of house cool and one not so cool? (we have never had central ac before)

I would think not. Any area
not air conditioned might as well be outside from the standpoint of mold growth and humidity. I think that you would find that the window units would take forever to bring a room back down to temp once it had gotten hot. We have an old frame house that was built with no insulation. Prior to adding insulation the upstairs portion of the house would get up to 85+ during the summer days (with both central units running full time).

Your best bet is to find a house that is well insulated and sealed, and keep the entire house cooled. One thing most people moving here are not prepared for is running the central 24/7 for 8 months of the year.


Good luck in your move, You have chosen a nice area to look and should be able to find some great places to live there.
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Old 09-25-2009, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,511 posts, read 22,920,068 times
Reputation: 2879
Quote:
Originally Posted by Englewoodever? View Post
We are closing on our house next month and heading down to a new adventure in your area. We would appreciate your opinions so much.

Is there a big difference between wood frame and block built houses? What are they?

Is the humidity worse in any particular area? Is there a noticeable difference in breeze/heat between the three cities?

Has Florida passed a law to prohibit realtors from selling houses with the Chinese drywall without informing the buyer?

I know here inspectors do not need to really have any qualifications. How will we know if an inspector really knows his stuff and gives us good estimates on what it will cost to fix something?

Any general differences in house insurance? What should we look for?

Any general difference in electric bills between the 3 towns? (our electric is five times the electric of the next town over due to different electric companies in our state)

Any opinions on differences between well water or city water? Health issues? Taste?

Any GENERAL differences in taxes or house insurance??

Who would YOU recommend to TEST for mold, water issues, ants/termites issues?

Would it cost less to have window ac as opposed to central ac because then you can have one area of house cool and one not so cool? (we have never had central ac before)

I love reading all these posts. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply! I hope I can repay the favor once we finally settle in somewhere there. Thanks!
I'll give it a shot at answering your questions.

1. There is a big difference in wood frame and block. First is the fact of termites. This is a tropical environment and we do have them here. If your home is wood frame you're more likely to get them. Also I believe that the insurance is more expensive on wood frame than block. At least that's been my experience. And then again with Florida being a tropical environment you would have more of a chance that your home would be susceptible to wood rot.

2. It is the responsibility of the seller to disclose if there is any known Chinese drywall issues with the home. And the responsibility of the buyers to have the home properly inspected prior to purchasing the home. How would the Realtor know if the home has Chinese drywall? We wouldn't unless it was found on an inspection or disclosed by the seller. It's not like we purposely sell homes with Chinese drywall. There is however an addendum that would let you out of the contract if Chinese drywall was found within the inspection period and you would receive your deposit back.

3. I would say the closer you are to the coast the more breeze you will have and the cooler it will feel. I don't think there's a huge difference though in the humidity in this specific area.

4. Some inspectors are certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI Cert. or NAHI certified-National Association of Home Inspectors. I know that the inspectors that are on my list have worked with me for a while. I always tell them not to worry about messing up a deal for me. I want them to find everything. There are plenty of other homes on the market if a home doesn't pass the inspection. I get feedback from the people that use my inspectors and I keep in touch with my buyers after they have bought their home so I know if things come up that should have been caught. Your Realtor should have a list of trusted inspectors.

5. There are several pretty good companies right now writing policies one thing you need to look for is how they are rated. I always say go with a company that has an "A" rating. There are some companies that are better if the home is older and some companies that seem to be better writing on the newer homes. Again, I keep a list of the companies that have the best service, rates and coverage. This website is a good place to start: Compare Homeowner's Insurance Rates

Another thing that is very important to know when looking at home owners insurance is the state of Florida's wind mitigation program. Go here: www.mysafefloridahome.com This can save you a bundle on your rates. To give you an example, my home was built in 2003, has hurricane shutters, no pool, no flood zone, hip roof. Before having the wind mit done my insurance was $1986 and after it was $727 per year-big difference! The wind mit costs about $200 to have done. Some inspectors are throwing this in for free with a home inspection.

Some things to pay attention when house hunting are: the age of the home, whether it has a hip roof or not, how far it is to a fire hydrant or natural body of water, if it's in a flood zone and if so what zone is it in, if the home has hurricane shutters or impact resistant glass, etc.

6. All three towns would have FPL- Florida Power in Light. So no there's no difference. The difference is going to be in how well the home is insulated-the R factor in the insulation, the age of the home and the windows.

7. I have well water and like it. I don't get a big bill every month and it's less expensive, IMO. I have a filter on the sink and drink that water and it's hooked up to my ice maker. The guy comes out once a month to check the salt and refill it if it needs that. That costs $35. My husband could have done it for much cheaper but wasn't keeping up on it so I hired someone. The other thing is every six months the guy comes out and changes the filters and scrubs the tank out, which costs $100. I'm guessing my husband could do that as well. That's it. I will say that some people who aren't used to wells don't like them for whatever reason. I can't really comment on the city water part since I don't have it.

8. Taxes would be figured by the specific millage rate for each city. Each city is different. The millage rate for North Port is 14.9. I believe Venice is 12.9 and Englewood 12.7. Most of North Port does not require flood insurance. Much of Englewood and some of Venice does require flood.

9. All of your inspections would need to be completed during the inspection period stated on your contract. The customary inspection period is 10 days but can be longer or shorter depending on what was agreed upon.

10. Usually the cost would be more to run a window A/C but many things would need to be factored in. If you only ran it at night then it's possibly it might be a little less. Again, it goes back to the insulation question. How well is the home insulated, how large an area are you trying to cool, what temperature are you setting it at, etc.

Hope I've answered most of your questions
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:33 AM
 
15 posts, read 38,063 times
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2. It is the responsibility of the seller to disclose if there is any known Chinese drywall issues with the home
But what if that seller is a bank or mortgage company....how will they "know" if a family has had to move out due to getting sick? Also...how can you check for that? do the inspectors have to cut off chunks of the drywall or track down the building company which may have gone bankrupt? If we hired an inspector and he said there was no Chinese drywall and then we moved in and began to get sick, where would our recourse be?

Also, what is a HIP roof? Is that a good thing to have or not a good thing? Sorry to be so naive but so much of this terminology is new to me (drywood termites that fly/millage/etc)

Thanks to everyone that has answered....it is very very helpful.
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:42 AM
 
15 posts, read 38,063 times
Reputation: 10
4. Some inspectors are certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI Cert. or NAHI certified-National Association of Home Inspectors. I know that the inspectors that are on my list have worked with me for a while. I always tell them not to worry about messing up a deal for me. I want them to find everything. There are plenty of other homes on the market if a home doesn't pass the inspection. I get feedback from the people that use my inspectors and I keep in touch with my buyers after they have bought their home so I know if things come up that should have been caught. Your Realtor should have a list of trusted inspectors.

How much does an inspection typically cost? (is it normal to include water, mold, bugs, pool or are those added costs?)

We are debating about pros and cons of having our own pool. Which communities in those 3 towns have good and reliable and clean community pools open all year round? Are they inside or outside? Being able to consistently swim in a safe clean area is very important to us but we are on a low income due to my husband being unable to work and teenagers still at home.
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:44 AM
 
15 posts, read 38,063 times
Reputation: 10
Oh...just thought of yet another question! Can you have inspections of more than one house at a time? We are looking at short sales and foreclosures among others and what the inspection found and the estimation on costs of repairs/ "TLC" will factor into the decision on which house to make an offer on.
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:53 AM
 
Location: Wandering.
3,549 posts, read 6,664,095 times
Reputation: 2704
Quote:
Originally Posted by Englewoodever? View Post
Also, what is a HIP roof? Is that a good thing to have or not a good thing? Sorry to be so naive but so much of this terminology is new to me (drywood termites that fly/millage/etc)
A good description of hip roofs is here: Hip roof - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It's a good thing here since the wind from hurricanes and tropical storms has a harder time getting under the edges of the roof and lifting it off of the building.
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Old 09-26-2009, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,511 posts, read 22,920,068 times
Reputation: 2879
Quote:
Originally Posted by Englewoodever? View Post
2. It is the responsibility of the seller to disclose if there is any known Chinese drywall issues with the home
But what if that seller is a bank or mortgage company....how will they "know" if a family has had to move out due to getting sick? Also...how can you check for that? do the inspectors have to cut off chunks of the drywall or track down the building company which may have gone bankrupt? If we hired an inspector and he said there was no Chinese drywall and then we moved in and began to get sick, where would our recourse be?

Also, what is a HIP roof? Is that a good thing to have or not a good thing? Sorry to be so naive but so much of this terminology is new to me (drywood termites that fly/millage/etc)

Thanks to everyone that has answered....it is very very helpful.
The bank would not know this info unless it was readily apparent/visible. A few of the bank homes that I have been in the have had CDW, you could see and smell it. That's why banks homes have no sellers disclosure because they don't know the history of the home. If it was owned by an individual and they knew about CDW being in the home then they would be required to disclose this info on the sellers disclosure.

There are many ways to "check". Here are a few signs-the copper wiring behind the switch is black and corroded, the A/C has failed in a new home and/or the coils are corroded, the faucets are pitted, when checking in the attic the back of the drywall is stamped with Knauf or made in China, the home smells of raw sewage, Raid bug spray or burnt firecrackers. Keep in mind that I'm not an inspector but I have been in many homes with CDW and have seen the effects of CDW on a home. This website has some pictures of what you might see if it had CDW: Welcome to Chinesedrywall.com

There is a list of some larger companies that had issues with CDW. But this list doesn't mean that all of their homes had it or didn't have it. I have also heard of some people cutting a piece out to have it tested. I'm not sure how accurate the testing is.

I believe all home inspectors have a "hold harmless clause" in which case they would not be held responsible if they didn't find CDW and it was in the house.

Yes, a hip roof is good. It is much less likley to blow off in a hurricane. It's harder for the wind to get under the eaves. Here's a description of what a hip roof is: Hip roof - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Englewoodever? View Post
4. Some inspectors are certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI Cert. or NAHI certified-National Association of Home Inspectors. I know that the inspectors that are on my list have worked with me for a while. I always tell them not to worry about messing up a deal for me. I want them to find everything. There are plenty of other homes on the market if a home doesn't pass the inspection. I get feedback from the people that use my inspectors and I keep in touch with my buyers after they have bought their home so I know if things come up that should have been caught. Your Realtor should have a list of trusted inspectors.

How much does an inspection typically cost? (is it normal to include water, mold, bugs, pool or are those added costs?)

We are debating about pros and cons of having our own pool. Which communities in those 3 towns have good and reliable and clean community pools open all year round? Are they inside or outside? Being able to consistently swim in a safe clean area is very important to us but we are on a low income due to my husband being unable to work and teenagers still at home.
Home inspection typically cost anywhere from $150-$300 depending on the size and condition of the home. The inspector just checks out general things like electrical, appliances, crawls in the attic, checks the faucets, etc. If you wanted a detailed analysis of an A/C, plumbing, etc you would have to hire someone that specifically specializes in that field. Bugs are generally not covered. Usually an inspector can tell you if the see rat droppings, lots of roaches, etc though. We have a pest control company that comes out and gives a free termite inspection in hopes of getting your business. Or another company that comes out and does a pest inspection and charges $100 and guarantees the results for a year.

Typically community pools are outside. I would need more info about what you are looking for to suggest any communities-how far from the beach, price range, size of home, etc.
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Old 09-26-2009, 08:11 AM
 
Location: TexAss
66 posts, read 143,712 times
Reputation: 32
Quote:
It is the responsibility of the seller to disclose if there is any known Chinese drywall issues with the home.
that wasn't her question. she asked if the realtor, by law, is required to tell customers about chinese drywall. ..... i have wondered the same but i don't believe that there is a law protecting home buyers from unscrupulous realtors. florida lawmakers are a limp-wristed lot. there should be criminal penalties for ANYONE who knowingly sells a home with chinese drywall and does NOT divulge this fact.
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Old 09-26-2009, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,511 posts, read 22,920,068 times
Reputation: 2879
Quote:
Originally Posted by Englewoodever? View Post
Oh...just thought of yet another question! Can you have inspections of more than one house at a time? We are looking at short sales and foreclosures among others and what the inspection found and the estimation on costs of repairs/ "TLC" will factor into the decision on which house to make an offer on.
You wouldn't want to have an inspection until you have a contract on the home or you'd just be wasting your money. You would usually have 10 days to inspect the home but it would specify this in your contract.

I suppose you could have an inspection ahead of time but that's not typically the way it' done.
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