Bought a house, now what?

Discuss those "what if" or "what would you do" scenarios you've been wondering about.

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Bought a house, now what?

Post by Bahamut » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:25 pm

Basically, I will be buying my first home :clap: (hopefully only home) within the next year and was wondering where I should place my priorities.

A few factors about me:
-Being single, I do not have a need for a house full of furniture, as of now, plus I already have the minimal furniture needed.
-I have already started an aquaponics garden that is doing well. :clap:
-Possess firearms that I am profficient with (still need a .22 rifle for small game).
-Have the ability to reload ammunition.
-My debt will only consist of the remaining amount on the house and some student loans (the debt is well under control).

I live in FL, so my biggest contigency to plan for is hurricanes. Aside from obvious upgrades like hurricane shutters, what should I priotize on my shopping list for my central command? Essentially, if you were in my shoes, what would you do?

I was thinking of starting with alternate energy sources, but would love to hear from more experienced people and their approach.
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:40 pm

1. Insurance. Understand your policies, what they cover, and what you're required to provide. Msot homeowners policies do not protect against flooding, and you may need to provide serial numbers or receipts for different stuff.

2. Urban, rural, what are we looking at?
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by DarkAxel » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:43 pm

Step one will be fixing up the problems that the previous owners either didn't know about or that got me a discount on the price. Problems like replacing older single-pane windows with new low E windows, damp basements (if available), roof damage, etc.

Second on the list would be to up-armor the doors and windows (door jamb armor, Tapco window sheeting, etc).

Third would be replacing a shingled roof with a painted metal roof and putting up new gutters and downspouts (water collection).

After that comes exterior lighting, a security system, and backup power systems like emergency generators or wind/solar.

On a related note to your home buying:

Make sure you aren't buying a spec house. You'll be able to tell because most of the materials used for construction will be blemished or damaged (this is very apparent in a newly-built home). Look for things like condensation between the window panes (in low E windows), excessive use of Durabond in the dry-wall, mismatched siding colors, etc. During the housing boom a lot of contractors would get a loan to buy land and put a house on it, then they'd hit up the local lumber yards and home-improvement stores for blemished or damaged materials to build with. They'd keep the interest on the loan payed up and then unload the property on some unsuspecting mark.
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by Vicarious_Lee » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:45 pm

Comprehensive risk assessment, and then reasonable risk mitigation.

Every house, every neighborhood, every set of threats, and every person's needs are different.

You're a single guy that's independent, mobile, got guns, and making apparently decent financial decisions. So what I'm saying is you don't need much because you don't have young or infirm dependents. This is huge, because your biggest SHTF threat is a major hurricane that loses you power, water, climate control, and services for an indeterminate amount of time. Example: Hurricane Ike 2008. Even after that devastating hurricane my neighborhood was only without power for 23 hours! :clap: But.....I had a baby that was not tolerating the heat, and that day ended up spending about 8 hours driving around in an air-conditioned car. I had gas, though.

For hurricanes you'll need food and water, but not lots of water because it's just you. If you WANT to have uninterrupted power and cooling, then your fuel, generator, and window AC needs go way, way up. You can decide to take the heat however you want and can afford.

Got good insurance? Are your windows and doors up to code?

Next thing is non-violent break-in when you're not there. That means your guns aren't tools to protect your life, they're high-value pickings while you're at work. Get them secured but accessible in the event of a violent home invasion, which is very low likelihood, but very high consequence.

After that, I dunno. Plague of toads? Gators? Burmese pythons? Locusts? What's next for you?
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by Evan the Diplomat » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:01 pm

Congratulations but "First and hopefully only house?" Wrong attitude. You've bought a home and a potential asset, treat it as such.

You don't need a full household of furniture, but living on a futon and eating over the sink will ensure your single status far into the future.

I second the good advice by Vicarious Lee and others. Knowing a little more about the house, lot size, region of Florida might help us give better advice.

For example, in Orlando I find the municipal water to be undrinkable. So I would recommend some charcoal filtration if living in that area.
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by Bahamut » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:14 pm

Doctorr Fabulous wrote:1. Insurance. Understand your policies, what they cover, and what you're required to provide. Msot homeowners policies do not protect against flooding, and you may need to provide serial numbers or receipts for different stuff.

2. Urban, rural, what are we looking at?
Thanks Doc, your posts are always informative and helpful. After the spiel with my car (which is why I wasn't in a house sooner), I have learned to read any contracts and insurance policies thoroughly before signing. Also, I am looking at semi-rural to rural. Basically, not in the suburbs, but not a ranch with 100s of acres.
DarkAxel wrote:Step one will be fixing up the problems that the previous owners either didn't know about or that got me a discount on the price. Problems like replacing older single-pane windows with new low E windows, damp basements (if available), roof damage, etc. [...]
DarkAxel, I agree completely, especially since I am considering homes that are not brand new. I definitely will beworking on keeping my home in top shape and having family that have been in construction (and eager to show me a thing or two) this shouldn't be too difficult so long as I don't blow my monthly budget. Also, thanks for the related note. I will definitely scrutinize my selections thoroughly.
Vicarious_Lee wrote:Comprehensive risk assessment, and then reasonable risk mitigation. [...]

You're a single guy that's independent, mobile, got guns, and making apparently decent financial decisions. So what I'm saying is you don't need much because you don't have young or infirm dependents. This is huge, because your biggest SHTF threat is a major hurricane that loses you power, water, climate control, and services for an indeterminate amount of time. [...]

For hurricanes you'll need food and water, but not lots of water because it's just you. If you WANT to have uninterrupted power and cooling, then your fuel, generator, and window AC needs go way, way up. You can decide to take the heat however you want and can afford. [...]
Lee, thank you for your response as well. After making the wrong financial decisions, I learned my lesson and have been fixing the results of those decisions. I know what you mean about the hurricane killing power for who knows how long. I was living with my father during 08 and we didn't have power for a week or two (lived in the country), but he did have a nice size generator from his business. So we did have our own power when needed. As for the guns, a gun safe (that will be bolted to the floor) is already on my list. I only mentioned the guns because I was just demonstrating that I have the means to defend myself, but more importantly can hunt wild game.

So for a quick summary, (1) Take care of future problems, (2) understand my home's insurance, (3) Secure my home to prevent setbacks. Thanks guys.
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by Bahamut » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:22 pm

Evan the Diplomat wrote:Congratulations but "First and hopefully only house?" Wrong attitude. You've bought a home and a potential asset, treat it as such.

You don't need a full household of furniture, but living on a futon and eating over the sink will ensure your single status far into the future.

I second the good advice by Vicarious Lee and others. Knowing a little more about the house, lot size, region of Florida might help us give better advice.

For example, in Orlando I find the municipal water to be undrinkable. So I would recommend some charcoal filtration if living in that area.
Yes, of course, I guess I kept my initial post too short. I will be purchasing a home in Brevard County of FL. I am hoping for at least a half acre, but may end up with a third instead. One of my requirements for a home is a well, so I'm not too worried about the municipal water. I do intend to fill the home with furnishings over time, but I don't need 3 Beds right away for example. As for my attitude, I am a realist that automatically accounts for all possible scenarios. I look forward to whatever home I end up with and will cherish it.
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by Stercutus » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:39 am

Thats easy now you gotta get married and have kids. :oh:
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by Arnost » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:00 am

Hi, Bahamut,

Congratulations in advance on becoming a homeowner!

I just bought a house last year, so I've recently gone through the same thought process. Here's some things I did that you might find helpful:

1) Use spotcrime.com to see all criminal activity in the neighbourhood within the last 3 months: http://spotcrime.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

2) If the house requires rennovation, use that as an opportunity to install the built-in survival features you always wanted -- compartments between walls, built-in gun racks, armored rooms/doors/windows, hidden openings, etc.

3) If there is a yard involved (sounds like you're looking to get some land with your house), do an analysis on where the sun will be during the summer months to ensure that any gardens you plan on planting won't end up in the shade of trees or other buildings

4) Once you know the town you want to live in, do a thorough search on what the local zoning laws allow you to do, urban homesteading wise. In some places, you can buy land, you just aren't allowed to do anything with it . . .

That's what I can think of off the top of my head . . . Good luck!
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by Sins » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:37 pm

Bahamut wrote:Basically, I will be buying my first home :clap: (hopefully only home) within the next year and was wondering where I should place my priorities.

A few factors about me:
-Being single
I hope you plan on staying single, or it won't be your only home.

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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by Bahamut » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:56 pm

Arnost wrote: 2) If the house requires rennovation, use that as an opportunity to install the built-in survival features you always wanted -- compartments between walls, built-in gun racks, armored rooms/doors/windows, hidden openings, etc.

3) If there is a yard involved (sounds like you're looking to get some land with your house), do an analysis on where the sun will be during the summer months to ensure that any gardens you plan on planting won't end up in the shade of trees or other buildings

4) Once you know the town you want to live in, do a thorough search on what the local zoning laws allow you to do, urban homesteading wise. In some places, you can buy land, you just aren't allowed to do anything with it . . .
Arnost, thank you for the incite. I will definitely keep number two in mind during any required renovations. As for analyzing the best location for my garden, I am already doing that with my current starting garden. As for the zoning laws, my dad has taught me many lessons on them, but that had slipped my mind. Now I won't forget to keep them in mind when making my final decision on a home.
Sins wrote:I hope you plan on staying single, or it won't be your only home.
Sins, I understand many ways your statement could be true and hope that I can avoid that or be able to upgrade if it does occur. Thanks for the realism. I had forgot of a Mrs. Bahamut wanting to move.
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by Evan the Diplomat » Thu Jun 20, 2013 1:56 pm

Bahamut wrote:
Yes, of course, I guess I kept my initial post too short. I will be purchasing a home in Brevard County of FL. I am hoping for at least a half acre, but may end up with a third instead. One of my requirements for a home is a well, so I'm not too worried about the municipal water. I do intend to fill the home with furnishings over time, but I don't need 3 Beds right away for example. As for my attitude, I am a realist that automatically accounts for all possible scenarios. I look forward to whatever home I end up with and will cherish it.
Ahhh, the space coast. I was actually looking at cashing out my Washington townhouse and buying property there for the kids and retirement.

VA loan? As a first time buyer, and if you are willing and able to but in some sweat equity, consider a HomePath property. You can get a lot of house for your money. This one looks nice. http://www.homepath.com/listing?listingid=39576037" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Wells are well and good, but ask around how deep you have to drill and the quality of the water, it can be rough on your pipes.

I'd build a re-enforced bathroom in case of hurricanes before I build any secret gun rooms, but that's just me.

Since I have a large family, my first upgrade in a house is always tankless water heater. Laundry, bathing and dishes can empty the largest of waterheaters.

Regarding attitude, some people buy a house and put down roots, and will never leave that hilltop/valley place. When I was in the Navy I had a WO2 tell me to buy a house at every duty station and rent it out when I transfered. He had five homes when I met him. Lesson from this is I always check my projected monthly mortgage payment with the comparable rents of where I'm buying. That keeps me from buying a house that is over priced for the rental market. Keep that in mind for a few years from now when your married and your wife just had twins. You're going to need a bigger place.
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by zombieapocalypsegame » Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:29 pm

Are you able to build, or buying a resale?

If you can build, do so with integrated concrete forms. In FL, that will have a major impact on hurricane survivability, is much better insulated, keeps you cooler during summer, cost you less utilities, keep repair bills low for flood damage, etc. Construction cost is only about 2-4% higher than stick built, and FL now has plenty of contractors who can build ICF properly.

I just moved to Springfield MO (not too far from recent tornado craziness) and this is what I am planning toward, myself.

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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by silversnake » Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:00 pm

All this good advice, but I don't see one other good piece here:

Now more than ever, you need to have your backup supply of emergency cash. At a minimum, you want to have $3,000 or so in a savings account somewhere on day one of moving in to the house. This is separate and apart from your cash reserve for an emergency. This money is for medium to large repairs that present themselves during the course of home ownership such as the water heater that fails your first month in the home or the electrical panel that unexpectedly needs to be rebuilt or the pipe behind the wall in the shower that springs a leak. Some of these may be things that you think you can do yourself, but you should still have the cash on hand because hardware costs money and you'll likely want to just pay someone who can do the fix in 1/10th the time.

Hopefully, nothing will go wrong but the peace of mind of knowing you have the resources to replace your refrigerator before the contents spoil when it fails can be priceless. This home repair reserve can then be built up over the years as you save for things like eventual roof replacement, repainting/siding, upgrades, etc.


Beyond that, all the others in this thread have covered the good stuff. Congrats on home ownership.

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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by Bahamut » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:55 pm

Evan the Diplomat wrote:Ahhh, the space coast. I was actually looking at cashing out my Washington townhouse and buying property there for the kids and retirement.

Wells are well and good, but ask around how deep you have to drill and the quality of the water, it can be rough on your pipes.

I'd build a re-enforced bathroom in case of hurricanes before I build any secret gun rooms, but that's just me.

Since I have a large family, my first upgrade in a house is always tankless water heater. Laundry, bathing and dishes can empty the largest of waterheaters.

Lesson from this is I always check my projected monthly mortgage payment with the comparable rents of where I'm buying. That keeps me from buying a house that is over priced for the rental market. Keep that in mind for a few years from now when your married and your wife just had twins. You're going to need a bigger place.
Evan, the space coast is quite nice. Great fishing and not too far from hunting. I had never thought of the depth for a well, that will be handy in case I ever need to redrill or want to install a hand pump. A tankless water heater? I honestly have never heard of those, but then again I am new to a lot of this so I will be investing in that. Since, I am always advising other homeowners to rent out property they can't sell right away, I will definitely keep the rental value in mind when making my decision.
zombieapocalypsegame wrote:Are you able to build, or buying a resale?
ZAG, I am looking at resales. I would love to build the home of my dreams, but I am doing this on my own so a resale is fine for now. If it has the right amount of land, I can always upgrade or build new later.
silversnake wrote:All this good advice, but I don't see one other good piece here:

Now more than ever, you need to have your backup supply of emergency cash. At a minimum, you want to have $3,000 or so in a savings account somewhere on day one of moving in to the house.

Congrats on home ownership.
Silversnake, while I am putting most of my money on my car loan to pay it off ASAP this year, I am still putting money away. I get paid weekly :awesome: and put a percentage away each week. Plus, I will begin the house game the beginning of next year (when the banks say I am good to go) and expect the process to take a couple of months minimum. This should enable me to have saved up a couple of thousand towards household emergencies. I am expecting repairs down the road since I will not be jumping into a brand new home. Of course, I don't wanna jump into a mortgage unless I have at least 20% down anyways. Thanks again.
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by eugene » Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:13 pm

I see a lot of suggestions already so mine are in addition to and not replacing any.

New smoke detectors, co2 detector, etc unless you know the ones there are recently purchased and good.
Fire extinguishers

Get one of those little three light plug in circuit testers, a contractor pack of switches, outlets and covers, box of assorted wire nuts a bucket to store them all in. I've seen the inspectors just check one plug in each room and you may find others that are cracked or loose. plug your tester in all of them and replace any that are loose or painted over.

Drain cleaner and plunger.

Locate and check all the shut off valves, water, gas, etc. Get any wrenches or tools needed to shut them off in an emergency. Get a binder to start your emergency procedures and document where they are, when you last tested, etc.

Flush the water heater and check the over pressure valve, change any air/water filters unless they are clean and /or clearly marked when they were last replaced.

Plan for a good workbench in the garage.

Wait until after Christmas or Fathers day (best time for sales is right after) and get some basic tools USA made Craftsman at minimum. Look for a halfway decent cordless drill/driver set.

Change all the locks as you don't know why may have a spare key.
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by Ten Eight » Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:12 am

As a fellow Floridian near the coast, be prepared for a shock when you go to get homeowner's insurance. If you're east of 95, your policy doesn't come with lube or a dinner out with drinks first before they bend your checkbook over the couch. West of 95, you might get Olive Garden and they'll stick the lube in the microwave for you beforehand. Save accordingly. There are very few options for homeowner's insurance here in Florida. I think Citizen's is the state insurance, and they suck. Again sock away money for repairs, especially if you're buying an older home. I say this not just because of eventual repairs, but in order to pass an inspection for homeowner's insurance. They can be very picky. If you end up with a smaller type insurance company or whatever, prepare for the fact that you may get randomly dropped if the company pulls out of the Florida market. Since 1998, this has happened to me four times. Each time required a new, more stringent inspection to have the same level of coverage as before. With each inspection each company found something expensive that required updating before they would issue coverage. The last go around it was my main electrical panel. That was a $2900 hit right there, as a lot of work had to be done to pass inspection. Make sure you hire a knowledgeable contractor who will do the work right, and is on good terms with the county inspectors. Make sure your contractor pulls the required permits for the work!!

Make sure your property has excellent drainage. With FL hurricanes it's not always the fast moving storms with lots of wind that cause lots of damage. It's slow moving storms that just hover over the state slowly and shit rain for weeks on end that cause lots of problems. Francis in I think '04 is a good example. Find and talk to people who have lived in the area during those slow, rainy storms, and ask how the area floods and if your specific property collects a lot of water.

Hmm. Brevard county. Stay away from the Mims area. Meth head city. Palm Bay is ok, but has a decent hood. Try to stay out west of 95 and south in the county. Remember, you're buying a home on a peninsula...three friggin' sides surrounded by water. When shit goes down (and it will go down, don't worry), all the derps at the bottom of the state have nowhere to go but up. I'd leave FL if If I could. It's impossible to live here without AC, and the population density is just way to high for any sort of long term survivability. Me, since I live among the masses of derps, my goal is to obtain my private pilot's license in the next two years in case I have to leave. I've worked the highway during previous storms. You do NOT NOT NOT want to be stuck on or near a designated state evac route. If you're near 95, try to live between exits, not close to one. Up near where you'll be, this is easier to do.
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by Sins » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:04 pm

You're not kidding about insurance.
I had insurance years ago at about $600 a year. Sold my home and rented for a bit. I just bought a home in Florida. About dead center in the northern parts.
I pay $2,000 a year now.

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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by Ten Eight » Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:22 pm

Yep. Lots of people forget about the cost of insurance and in most areas in North Cuba, 350+ a month HOA fees as well and gape rape property tax. Your $800 mortgage payment is now $1500. Congrats. Enjoy your foreclosure.
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by BigDaddyTX » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:58 pm

I'd look into getting a natural gas generator if I lived in FL. It'll auto-power up if the power goes out, and very rarely do the NG lines have a problem in any sort of emergency. They're quiet and as long as you make sure to check on them 2-3x a year it should fire right up at the first sign of a problem.
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:09 pm

BigDaddyTX wrote:I'd look into getting a natural gas generator if I lived in FL. It'll auto-power up if the power goes out, and very rarely do the NG lines have a problem in any sort of emergency. They're quiet and as long as you make sure to check on them 2-3x a year it should fire right up at the first sign of a problem.
Natural gas liens aren't really a thing down here, at least not in my area. The whole "the entire state is a swamp" sorta puts a damper on burying things. When we had NG it was run from an above ground tank that a truck came and filled/topped off.
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by Ten Eight » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:44 pm

Plus with NG you have to be close to an already run supply line. I checked into this. The closest line was about an 1/8 mile away and would've cost me a pretty penny to have them run a line to my house.. you know, having to rip up streets and such.

It's a good idea though. When you do your house hunting research look where the gas lines run in your community. Find a neighborhood that has gas already run.

On a related tangent, are there appliances that you can run on gas and electric? Kind of like a multi fuel engine I guess.
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Stercutus
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by Stercutus » Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:01 am

Doctorr Fabulous wrote:When we had NG it was run from an above ground tank that a truck came and filled/topped off.
You sure that was not LP? LP makes a great back up heat source (especially in central FL where it does not get cold) and can be used for cooking and other tasks. If the gas lines get shut down for some reason you still have your tank.
On a related tangent, are there appliances that you can run on gas and electric? Kind of like a multi fuel engine I guess.
RV fridges can. You can find them all over the place in Florida too. They run on AC/DC/LP.

A few other things:

Wells in Brevard County:

This won't work well. You dig down, hit water. It is loaded with sulfur and it stinks. If you are in the far West of the county, maybe but it is hit or miss. If you want more water, rain water collection tanks are the way to go.

Tankless HW Heater. With most tankless heaters you can not also use a solar heater. In FL a solar water heater is an outstanding idea. I would look into the "free" heat before getting a tankless heater. A tankless heater also means less stored water for back up as you will no longer have a tank. A solar heater means more stored water.

Get that hurricane plan in place now. Brevard gets hit frequently with storms.
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Re: Bought a house, now what?

Post by zombieapocalypsegame » Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:08 pm

I understand buying resale - I did that 2x before building my first house. I had a basement and everything - why oh why did I ever leave there? :)

If you buy resale, I would strongly consider a safe room or other dedicated shelter against hurricanes. You're going to get some gnarly thunderstorms regardless, and if you live there for more than a couple years, you are bound to find a hurricane at some point.

And, since FL = swamp, you're pretty much out of luck on a basement. So your shelter will need to be on ground level. The closer you are to waterways and/or low-lying ground relative to your neighbors, whatever your shelter plan is it'll need to be much more resistant to flooding than other parts of the country. Storage items should be water tight, plenty of rain gear items, sealed flashlights, etc.

If you can do it cheaply enough, I'd get a super basic boat. Your car won't be of much use.

Far too much water in FL for me, and as others have said there's only one direction to go to get off of the peninsula. It complicates a lot of preps quite a bit. At least it's not New Orleans and actually lower on land that at the ocean. :\

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