How to Quickly Find Sinkholes in Florida

How to Quickly Find Sinkholes in Florida

In this video, Felicia talks about how to find sinkholes in Florida, if sinkholes are near your Florida property, and how to find a sinkhole consultant. If you’re looking for Florida land for sale, knowing whether or not the property has a known sinkhole will help you understand its value, what you can use it for, and ultimately help you find the right Florida land for you.

From the video:

Are you looking to buy Florida land and don’t want your investment to fall out from under you?

My name is Felicia I’m a land investor and a partner at Compass Land USA.

We’ve bought and sold hundreds of properties in Florida, and not one of those has been in a sinkhole.

If you give me just a few minutes of your time here I’ll show you how to quickly find out if your Florida land is in a sinkhole, so you can feel really comfortable with your next property purchase.

Ok so this is a fairly rare occurrence, but honestly it happens. And the last thing you want is to build find the perfect property, build your Florida dream home, and then have it sink into the ground.

I’m going to quickly tell you what a sinkhole is, how it happens, and then we’re going to look at some maps.

I’m not a soil expert, so we’re going to keep this high level.

Typically a sinkhole will occur where the rock below the land surface can be naturally dissolved by groundwater circulating through it.

This groundwater doesn’t have anywhere else to go, so it just keeps working it’s way through the rock.

So as the rock dissolves, spaces develop, and the spaces get bigger and bigger until the land above it just collapses.

And what’s scary about this is sinkholes form really slowly, it’s hard to notice while they’re developing, so the collapse can be quite dramatic and catch you by surprise.

These collapses vary in size, they’re not always going to be disastrous, some of them are small, like a pothole. But they can look also like this.

This can be incredibly dangerous, and is obviously something you want to avoid, especially if you are buying Florida land to build a house on.

It’s not as easy to find sinkhole warning signs with land as it is with a house. Inside a house you would look for things like:

  • doors jam or fail to latch
  • cracks in walls, over doorways
  • windows that don’t open anymore
  • slanted floors
  • sloping stairs

With vacant land it’s a little more difficult. Some sinkhole warning signs you can try keep an eye on for land include:

  • slumping or sagging trees or fence posts
  • wilting of small, circular areas of vegetation
  • deep cracks and separation of paved concrete sidewalks and roads
  • if the neighboring lots had or have confirmed possible sinkhole activity

If you have any experience with sinkholes on vacant land please leave a comment below, I would be really interested in hearing more on that, and how it worked out for you. 🙂

So how do you check for sinkholes in Florida?

I have a couple of free resource maps to share with you so you can check.

So let’s start here.

From Active Rain

This image is from a site called Active Rain, and it shows the top 10 counties in Florida that are most prone to sinkholes.

Red is very highlight prone to sinkholes. I’m pretty sure this area here is called sinkhole alley.

If you’re looking to get into specifies, we can look at county level maps.

Link to FCIT County Sinkholes Maps

This first map is from the Florida Center for Instructional Technology, and you can see they have a couple of resources.

We’re going to look at county sinkhole maps. You’ll notice that most of them are dated back to 2008. So it’s not the most up-to-date data.

So click on that link, and it will show you sinkholes by county. If you click on the colour PDF link at the bottom, it will be easier to zoom in and see the legend.

But, it does seem for this resources that the data might not be current, so here’s another resource for you

Link to FDEP Florida Sinkholes Map

This one is maintained by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. I would like to think its database is more current than 2008. You can always cross-reference these 2 maps as well.

This one is pretty straightforward, you can drill down to a specific address, or use the map features to zoom.

This one is pretty cool because you can click on the data point, and it will give you characteristics of the sinkhole.

That’s pretty neat.

Now if you want to be really certain, like 100%, your best bet is to get a sinkhole consultant out to your property.

In Florida especially, there are lots of companies and engineers that do this. You might even be able to get a recommended consultant from your insurance company.

And of course you can check Google reviews, yelp, sources like that to get one.

Personally I’ve never had this done on any of our properties, we focus on areas that are not prone to sinkholes, where a sinkhole would be extremely unlikely, so I don’t have an exact cost estimate to share with you.

My guess would be around $500 to $700 for a quarter acre property, but I could be off the mark on that.

Ok so there we have it, you know roughly what a sinkhole is, some warning signs to spot one, and how to use free resources to check for one.

I hope you found this video helpful! If you made it this far, thank you so much for watching, and for taking the time to educate yourself on how to become a smarter Florida land buyer.

Please don’t forget to leave a comment, let me know if this was useful for you, leave a question – I’ll reply with your answer. And make sure you subscribe to our channel. We do lots of informative land buying videos like this as well as pretty cool custom property tour videos.

Thank you so much for watching, and I’ll talk to you soon. 🙂

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