Buying and selling a property (home or land) with sinkhole damage
The truth is, there are many sinkholes in Florida, sometimes we don’t even know where they are and they are right under our house or our land. We may have inherited a piece of land and we don’t really know what to do because we know that there is a sinkhole under it.
It is important to talk about it, we know how difficult it can be for you but we want to help you better understand what to do if you want to sell or buy a land or a house where there is a sinkhole.
In case you decide to sell, you can’t surely hide from having a sinkhole under the house, when the sale is made, it is done through a public document and when you sell your house, you are obliged by law to reveal the state of the house and then all its flaws and inform who is going to buy or who is going to buy your home.
Even if you have had the house repaired both inside and outside, you must keep all the documentation on file, both the engineer’s report and the documents with all the repairs performed in the house or if you have made use of the insurance to repair damage from a sinkhole. This will be very useful when you need to sell, so you can evaluate the selling value of the house.
If you decide to sell a house that is not repaired, you must report it because the house will obviously be very devalued and it is a risk that you have decided to run even if you want to buy another house.
Having an insurance in the case of a sinkhole is very important because you can repair the house thanks to it, so in any case our advice is to activate an insurance that is optimal for you and your needs.
You will have to go to an excellent real estate agency both in the case of sale and in the case of purchase so that it can help you in this delicate operation.
You will have to provide all the information and all the maintenance work that has been done in the house, so that those who buy your home or if you buy, you can immediately understand what is being talked about.
Is sinkhole damage covered by homeowners insurance?
When disasters hit our home, we should already have an excellent insurance that covers every damage and bears for us important expenses to do to repair.
Even if you have another home, our advice is always to take insurance.
However, there are limits to insurance coverage, which is why we advise you to always refer to professionals in the sector so as not to have problems, otherwise you will have to face alone the expenses that are not few in the case in which they are sinkholes.
Many people do not even take the time to be aware of the damage that the insurance covers and therefore they sign not aware of the fact that for some damages, the insurance will not pay and therefore will have to face great expenses.
A survey by Bankrate found that 81% were aware of the fact that floods are not covered by a normal insurance for homeowners for example, but almost nobody knows.
So we recommend that you first take out home insurance, read every part of the contract and ask the professionals a lot of questions, so you don’t have any nasty surprises.
However, there are insurance companies that cover the costs of the damage in the case of sinkholes, there are insurance companies in Florida that deal mainly with this, also because in the last damages the sinkholes, they have really done a lot of damage.
In the case of sinkholes, it will seem like a horror film and you will want to escape from your home, stop however, wait a minute, if you consider the idea of a good insurance you will have no problems.
We don’t want to make macabre examples of people who have been literally and practically swallowed by the sinkhole but we want to focus more on what you should do if you just bought a house and wanted to keep yourself safe.
The sinkholes are voids that form suddenly in the earth’s surface and occur after the groundwater gradually dissolves the rock, thus forming huge cavities, terrifying chasms, the earth above collapses thus creating a sinkhole.
In the United States, sinkholes tend to cause most problems in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, according to the United States Geological Survey.
You should know, that many insurance companies do not cover earthquake and sinkholes, so we ask you to pay more attention when choosing an insurance company.
We also advise you to consider contacting a company that certifies that parasites are present in your home or not, because in that case many insurances do not cover the damage of a sink.
You can avoid the damage in your house, preventing and doing a good maintenance but in the case of sinkholes it is better to have a specific insurance because often these damages are unpredictable.
How can you spot sinkhole damage?
Identifying the damage of a sinkhole is not always easy, because maybe you will think that it is the fault of a movement of the earth or you will not notice some details that take into consideration only experts in the sector.
But we want to help you, we want to give you some tips so that you can identify for yourself what the sinkhole does and sometimes can be imperceptible if you don’t see a crater.
Below are a few warning signs that can signify that you have a sinkhole. If you’re experiencing a number of these signs, please contact your local emergency management:
· Cloudy water is pumped from nearby wells where the water was previously clear
· Small ponds of rainfall forming where water has not collected before
· Cracks in walls, floors, pavement and the ground surface. This is most noticeable in a concrete block structure
· Slumping, sagging or slanting fence posts, trees or other objects
· Fresh exposures on fence posts, foundations or trees that result when the ground sinks around them
often bad smell that comes from the earth as if it were sewer
What to do when looking for real estate in Florida sinkhole prone areas?
Don’t panic, if what you want is to have a home in Florida, where you know there have been sinkholes, our advice is to go to a specialized real estate agency, so that professionals can always advise you the best.
There are areas where it is certainly more common to have sinkholes, before buying in these areas you need to know what you are doing.
The area is primarily made up of Pasco and Hernando counties – the leading counties in reported sinkholes.
Another question you could ask yourself before buying in one of these areas with houses already sheltered by sinkholes is: Is it safe to buy a home with a repaired sinkhole?
We cannot answer this question for you, but we can give you a dispassionate suggestion: it is good that you and the agency that is helping you in the sale, view together the documents relating to the house, the sinkhole and the damages repaired so as not to have damage that can then become irreparable.
The second piece of advice as we said before is to always have insurance and find an insurance company that is specialized in sinkholes.
How much does a sinkhole repair cost?
Structural engineers do repairs to sinkholes, unfortunately we cannot calculate the costs with you because they depend a lot on the damage and on the size of the area involved and on what needs to be repaired.
In fact there are no equal sinkholes, it is difficult for this reason to make an evaluation of the cost that occurs when repairing damage from a sinkhole.
We can tell you that the costs start at a minimum of $ 10,000, but there are also damages from $ 100,000 so it’s all very relative.
Repairs are sometimes very expensive, especially when the foundations need to be redone, the tests to be performed and the procedures are numerous, such as: hydrological analysis of the water, compaction grouting plans, visual inspections. Repair is also done so that it no longer happens.
However, if you have specific questions, we always advise you to contact a structural engineer even before any damage, so that he can answer you about what you could do if your home suffered such expensive damage.