How to Build on Your Lot in Florida
Property is one of the smartest investments you can make. Property values increase regularly; even decreases seen during economic downturns are usually short term, with values rising again as the economy improves. One of the biggest reasons property owners choose to buy empty lots in Florida rather than existing homes is the freedom of building exactly what you want from the ground up. If you're a Florida property owner looking to build on the lot you own, there are several steps you must take before you can begin any type of construction on your property.
Read the rules and regulations regarding building permits in the Florida county where your lot is located. Building permits are required for all construction in Florida for safety reasons, to ensure the building passes all public health and safety laws. This information is available on your county’s website.
Hire a contractor if you're not doing the building yourself. Before signing any contracts, require that your builder provide you with proof of insurance and a valid state of Florida contractor's license.
Apply for the proper building permits. Each structure requires a different permit. Permits are available for new construction, remodeling, demolition and building additional structures on land. Building a shed requires a different permit than adding on a garage; be sure you get the right one.
Submit your application to the county and wait while inspections are done to your property. The length of time required to obtain a permit once your application is submitted varies depending on the county and how backed up the permit offices are at the time. For example, Florida is a state that sees many tropical storms and hurricanes; if you apply for a permit after a hurricane has done damage in your area, you might wait longer because the permit office is backlogged. Usually permits are issued within 10 business days.
Obtain your building permits and get to work. Be aware that even though the state of Florida doesn't require you have a professional contractor do the work--as long as you own the property--if the work is not up to the state’s standards, your construction project will not pass inspection.
Schedule the required inspections listed on your building permit. Inspections vary based on the type of permit you have, but the county provides a list of inspectors and their contact information. If you forgo your inspections, you'll face fines and construction will be halted. It's the responsiblity of the builder/contractor to schedule the appropriate inspections prior to and during the building process.