When it comes to buying land, every state has its own pros and cons, this is the same case with Florida as well. Although Florida has some massive pitfalls when it comes to buying land, and if you don’t know them then you might end up with the worst deal of your life.
When buying land in Florida make sure that the seller actually has the permission to sell the land or is in fact the owner, you can easily find out who owns the land by looking at the property tax records. Make sure to find out what zoning the land has, if you want to build an alternative house then you might want to check if you are allowed to build one as not all counties will allow them. Wetlands and flood zones can be expanded, which will limit how you will use the land, and usually, they are done without asking the owner of the land.
Buying land is a big investment so take your time, do not jump and buy the first cheap land you find in Florida, make your research and be as thorough as you can be. The price of land is slowly increasing every year in Florida, but there are new plots of land being sold every day, and there are still a lot of counties in Florida where you can buy land for cheap. Make sure to determine what the actual goal of the land will be, building a house, homesteading, mobile home, and so on.
Different counties in Florida will have different restrictions, and you might find that not all of them allow alternative housing like mobile homes, rv’s, tiny homes, and so on. If you want to buy a plot of land and live in an alternative house then only search for land in counties that do allow them. If you want to know the most common mistakes when buying land then check out my recent article Buying Land Mistakes ( Top 9 ).
Buying Land In Florida
Florida offers a diverse range of landscapes, from lush tropical forests to pristine coastal areas, making it a desirable location for land buyers. However, there are important factors to consider. First, I prioritize understanding the specific zoning regulations and building codes in the area I’m interested in to ensure it aligns with my intended land use. Additionally, Florida’s geography presents unique challenges such as potential flood zones or hurricane-prone areas, so I carefully assess the land’s elevation and flood risk before making a decision.
Another consideration is access to utilities and infrastructure, as some rural areas may require additional investment for power, water, or septic systems.
Land With Mineral Rights
What not a lot of people know of Florida is that there is a lot of mining going on. Anything from sulfur, oil, gas, and so on is mined in this state. Areas that have been farmland in the past but now are residential plots might not have mineral rights. This tends to be relatively frequent as most farmers simply sold the mineral rights of the land just to make some quick money. Buying the plot of land doesn’t guarantee that you have the mineral rights for it, and the last thing you would want is for a company that owns the mineral rights to start digging on your property.
In this case, make sure to use a real estate agent, or inform yourself about the mineral rights of the plot of land which you are interested in buying. If you want to buy an off grid property then check out my recent article ( Top 12 Secrets ) To Buy Off Grid Land & Property.
Find The Property Owner
There are a lot of scams when it comes to buying land or real estate, so make sure that the one who is selling either has permission to do it or is the actual owner of the property. You can find this info relatively easily by taking a look at the tax records for the property floridarevenue.com. Even if the property is sold with a real estate agent that doesn’t mean that the one who is selling has the rights to do so.
Wetlands And Flood Zones
Florida tends to have a lot of wetlands and designated flood zones, you can find these with the county GIS maps, FEMA flood maps, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Even if you find a plot of land that isn’t considered to be a wetland or a flood zone, this doesn’t mean that it won’t be in the future. County officials can designate a portion or all of your land as a flood zone or a wetland without even asking you.
You might buy a nice plot of land that is zoned for residential or mixed-use, only to have it designated as a flood zone or a wetland in a couple of years. Flood zones tend to expand from one year to another, if you have the possibility to look at flood zone maps from the past decades and you will have a clear idea of how fast they are expanding or shrinking. You will be able to find these at the local library or ask the real estate agent for them.
Land With Back Taxes
Make sure that the plot of land which you want to buy doesn’t have any unpaid property taxes or other debts tied to the property. Once you buy the land or the property you will have to pay these off especially if you want to build a house. If there is some kind of debt associated with the property or the property taxes have not been paid in a long time then you can use this as a bargaining chip, just make sure you know about them.
Even if the land is subdivided by the local county it doesn’t actually mean that they will issue a building permit. This usually tends to happen if the local county can not provide services and utilities to the area. Although this can change with time but it can mean years or decades if you are unlucky. Make sure to look at the area with google maps, if you see a lot of subdivisions but no houses built then don’t buy the land, if you see a couple of houses then this is usually a good sign.
It is extremely important to find out the zoning which is applied to the plot of land, larger plots of land might have several zoning. The zoning will determine where you can build and for what you can actually use the land. If you want to build a house then find out where the residential or the mixed zonings are on the plot of land, if the plot of land doesn’t have either residential or mixed zoning then you can not build a house on it.
You have to make sure that you either own the road access or are allowed to use the road access to the plot of land. If there is no way to legally access the plot of land then I do not recommend you buy it. Usually, verbal agreements are held up when it comes to road access but these agreements can be risky.
There are some areas in Florida that are under HOAs, some work as intended but some can make your life a nightmare. Even if the piece of land is fairly remote it can still be under a HOA. All HOAs have certain restrictions and these usually will determine what kind of house you can build. You can ask for the HOA rules and restrictions from the real estate agent or by visiting the HOA.
Alternative Housing Restrictions
Different counties in Florida will have different restrictions when it comes to housing. If you want to build a regular house then this shouldn’t be a problem but if you want to build an alternative house then you will definitely need to know which counties actually allow them. For example, some counties do not allow tiny houses, mobile homes, or RV’s. If you want to build an alternative house then search for counties in Florida that actually allow them, and look for a plot of land in those counties.
If the land doesn’t have access to utilities like water for example you have to find out what are your options. In case you want to live off the grid, you might want to dig a well or harvest rainwater, although there will be some restrictions. Make sure you find out what are these restrictions before you commit to buying the land, especially if you want to live off the grid and also homestead.
- Before buying land in Florida, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local zoning regulations and any restrictions that may apply to the property. This will help you determine if the land is suitable for your intended use, such as residential, commercial, or agricultural purposes.
- Due to its unique geography, Florida is prone to hurricanes and flooding. It’s essential to research the flood zones and environmental factors that may impact the property you’re considering. This includes understanding the flood risk, coastal erosion, and any environmental protection regulations that may apply.
- When buying land, consider the availability and accessibility of utilities such as water, electricity, sewage, and internet connectivity. Additionally, assess the proximity to essential amenities and infrastructure like schools, hospitals, shopping centers, and transportation networks to ensure the land meets your lifestyle and practical needs.