Chinese drywall has certainly been an issue in the south Florida real estate market but it is not widespread. However, you want to ensure that any property you put under contract that was built or significantly remodeled between 2004 and 2007 is free and clear of this material. There are home test kits available but your best bet it to ensure your professional inspector has the qualifications to properly test for the material.
There are some things you can do yourself, or a qualified agent can assist you with, and one is the smell test as the material emits a sulfuric odor if it has been activated. If the home has been kept conditioned and dry the odor is not always easy to detect. Another thing to do is check any exposed copper and see if there are any signs of corrosion which will turn the copper black. Check refrigerator coils, copper piping under sinks and at the air handler and hot water heater.
But Chinese drywall can also create some excellent opportunities for astute buyers that can pick up infected properties as bargain prices. If the purchase price, remediation costs and carry costs during the remediation are below true market value it may be worth pursing. You will find that qualified contractors who do a professional remediation will end up costing $25 to $35 per total square foot so it is not inexpensive. The process can also take 3 to 4 months depending on the size of the property and the scope of work.
Tread carefully and best of luck,
Tom Priester e-PRO
"Results Driven Real Estate"
Keller Williams Realty