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Do you really need an elevation survey?

Britton Hill is 345 feet above sea level!
On a clear day, you can see Alabama.
Don't forget to bring some oxygen.
In March of 2022, my cousin and her husband initiated the purchase of a luxury home in Vero Beach. It had a pool and a tiki hut. They were excited! A day or two after they made their offer, their real estate lawyer suggested that they get an “elevation survey.” The cost would be $750! Although they didn’t completely understand why it was needed, they went ahead with it. 

It was a wise decision. The property was eighteen inches below the level FEMA would cover in case of any storm that caused flooding. With one bad storm, my cousin and her husband could have lost everything. They backed out of that purchase and got their money back, minus some fees.

The highest point in Florida is Britton Hill at 345 feet above sea level. The average footage above sea level is about 100. Florida residents who live at or near either of the coasts usually live closer to sea level. High winds from hurricanes and tropical storms are dangerous, but flooding from a storm surge can be just as dangerous to people living in low-lying areas. 

It’s unpleasant to start a real estate deal and find out right off-the-bat that something unexpected has come up which will cost more out-of-pocket. However, in this case it was a blessing because my cousin and her husband found out in time to back out. If they hadn't hired a capable lawyer who suggested an elevation survey, they could have found out the hard way that buying that property was a big mistake.

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