Building a Home in the Florida Keys

Buying a lot and building your dream home may be the way to go. The cost of building will vary widely from $50.00 per square to $300.00 and up. 
Basically lots in Florida as far as price goes will run as follows.

Most expensive
• Open-water—Atlantic or Gulf

Open-water Inter-Coastal or other Rivers-Lakes

Canal Homes with Open water views (Bay or Atlantic-Gulf)

Canal homes-Boatable and quick access to open-water

Dry Lots—price varies widely, based on the community and area

*As to canal lots and how boating ability affects prices. 
If the depth of the canal and the width allows for a 50ft boat or sailboat-it will be more expensive than a lot on a canal that is shallow and usually not as wide. The bigger the boat, the more room needed to turn around.*Access to open water is another factor that influences prices. If you’re only minutes (half-hour) to good fishing-diving, expect to pay more. 
Also, homes on shorter canals will generally have better water quality. In the Keys, we call these swimming canals. The tides flush them out easier and the water is clear.

 For prices on the individual Keys please contact me. The prices will vary depending on the depth of boating etc—see information below.

Permit prices and restrictions will vary in each community. Generally, the more environmentally sensitive the area is, the more restrictions there are in getting a permit. (Since the water is one of the main reasons people want to be here, the state and the communities want to keep it that way. Important: Regarding pricing. The closer to the water and the deeper the boating,(boat draft-a 50 foot requires deeper water and wider canals than a flats boat) the higher the prices.

Another thing to do is find out what flood zone the property is in per FEMA maps and then talk to a local insurer on how that will affect your rates. Do this ahead of time.#In In all cases, if you find a lot that you like, my suggestion is that you ask for a letter of buildability from the local zoning commission as a clause in your sales contract.

Always-always, talk with the county yourself to get an update on the laws. So, yes, you can build here and it’s done all the time, but make sure you ask all the necessary questions and if you can, get it in writing. See the Biz directory for builders if that’s the way you want to go. If you want a new home contact a residential agent.


Ask the REALTOR that you pick to help find you a good builder that will respond quickly. Another consideration is to buy a lot and build later (be careful here as building codes and laws can change due to density controls) I would first see how long it takes to get a building permit and then if you get one how long you can wait. In the Keys when you get a permit there is a limit of a couple of years during which time you have to at least start the process (bring electric to the site-do a septic check etc)Since all this varies widely make sure you get all the answers, Probably best to go the permit department yourself and have a discussion Monroe County permits you will probably need a building permit if you are:

• Building a new building or adding to an existing building

• Renovating an existing building
• Demolishing an existing building

• Constructing a prefabricated structure
• Moving or installing a mobile home

• Installing/Modifying other miscellaneous structures

• including fences, pools, decks, fireplaces, etc. You probably also need a permit if you are working on your structure's:

• Electrical System
• Plumbing System
•  Heating or Air Conditioning

•  Ventilation Systems State and or Municipal Licenses required

• Plumbing

• Electrical

• Asbestos

Roofing Building Departments

• 2798 Overseas Highway
• Suite 300
• Marathon, FL 33050
• 305289-2501
• fax: 305 289-2515

• 88800 Overseas Highway
• Tavernier, FL 33070
• 305852-7100
• fax: 305 852-7103

• Juvenile Justice Building
• Room 2030
• 5503 College Rd.
• Key West, FL 33040
• 305295-3990
• fax305 295-3994

Florida Building Codes

The purpose of the Building Code is to protect the safety, health, and general welfare of the citizens through structural strength, stability, sanitation, adequate light and ventilation, and safety to life from hazards attributed to the built environment. This is accomplished through the implementation of the building, plumbing, mechanical and electrical codes along with various state and local codes and standards information on Complaints Against


Don't get nailed! Many citizens in Florida have fallen victim to dishonest, unlicensed, or improperly licensed contractors. Florida Statute 489 requires all construction contractors to hold a valid contractor's license prior to engaging in contracting. Always require that a contractor show you a valid contracting license before you sign a contract. Some indications that a contractor may be unlicensed are: the contractor requests a large deposit or all of the money upfront before any work has commenced, the contractor asks you to pull a "homeowner permit", the contractor pressures you to sign a contract "today or I can't give you this special price."