Considering buying real estate in a hurricane zone? What should you know before you decide to make a move?
We recently witnessed one of the strongest storms ever hit just south of California. So what do you need to know before you buy in an area that carries such risks with it?
How High is the Risk of Being Hit by a Hurricane?
How likely is it that the property you are looking at will actually be hit by a major storm?
Looking a flood maps, building guidelines and the history of hurricanes is a good way to see how prone your area is to major storms. If you buy along the coast in South Florida, you just have to except the fact that storms will occur regularly. It’s probably not an if, but when, and how bad. Yet, there are also many areas that you might not immediately think you’ll be at risk, but could be. All the way up the east coast to Long Island is exposed, and Gulf Coast states have obviously taken severe blows in the past.
Hurricanes aren’t that Bad
Hurricanes are no joke. However, very few cause the cataclysmic damage we saw with Katrina. If you are not investing in a home in a hurricane zone, then you are probably signing up for another type of risk. For example; sink holes, tornadoes, floods, wild fires, and earthquakes. Put things into perspective. It may not be the worst place to invest. If you are building a rental property portfolio, on the other hand, it may be wise to spread out your holdings so that no one storm or disaster can completely wipe you out.
Built to Last
Ever more stringent building codes aim to ensure that homes, condos, and even manufactured homes can withstand most storms. In fact, even glass sun rooms in Florida are built to withstand wind speeds of up to 175 miles per hour today. A solid concrete block home, with hurricane resistant windows, and shutters may see little damage from most storms. However, you do need to know what you are buying. What were the building codes when this property was built? What level of storms can they handle? At what point will you or your tenants need to evacuate? Don’t just go on looks alone.
You’ll Need Insurance
If you will be taking out a mortgage, then you’ll be required to take out insurance in these areas. Beyond regular homeowner’s insurance, you may also be required to have wind, storm, and flood insurance. It may not be cheap. Recognize the need for different insurances to be fully covered. It is also wise to have interior insurance coverage if you live in a condo, and to have renters obtain their own insurance so they aren’t trying to sue you for damages.
The Most Serious Risk can be After the Storm
Sometimes the most severe risks and impacts are seen long after the storm has passed. This ranges from downed power lines to a lack of business communications. This can make it hard for real estate business owners to do business, and impacts the ability of contractors and renters to live up to their agreements. You’ve got to have a plan to weather these times in advance.