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Protecting Your Florida Real Estate During a Hurricane

Aug 17, 2007
In Florida real estate, the summer months are the busiest time of the year. Thousands of new and existing homes are sold in Florida from April through August. But while summertime in Florida represents the peak buying season for Florida homes, it is also a time of year where all Floridians are keeping a watchful eye on the weather.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from May to November, with the peak of hurricane season falling at the end of September. At this time of year, Florida residents must remain on guard, and be prepared for severe weather. Luckily, Florida residents experienced a peaceful 2006 hurricane season after two years of regular, severe storms. But with the 2007 season right around the corner, Florida residents must once again brace themselves for whatever Mother Nature decides to send their way.

Preparing for hurricane season: How can you protect your family and your home?

At the start of hurricane season, most local grocery retailers begin stocking Hurricane Preparedness guides provided by the National Hurricane Center. These guides are filled with helpful information, from what supplies to keep on hand to evacuation routs, emergency numbers and shelter locations.

Stocking up on the correct supplies, purchasing a generator, and having an emergency plan in place is an essential part of hurricane planning for all Florida residents. But what about protecting a home from damage? There are hurricane shutters (both professionally installed and hand made using plywood) and sandbags to help with this, but for Florida residents who are in the market for a new home this summer, there are additional safety measures available that will offer much greater protection from storm damage.

Above-code construction

In the state of Florida, all home builders must comply with certain building codes before a home is approved for occupancy. These building codes are in place to ensure that all homes built in the state of Florida meet certain safety requirements. Florida state officials inspect each home upon completion to check for code compliance.

Despite the major overhaul in Florida building code after Hurricane Andrew devastated Homestead in 1992, home builders in most Florida counties are only required to build homes that will withstand a Category 2 hurricane, with winds less than 120 mph. A few counties adopted code requiring that all homes be built to withstand a Category 4 storm (such as Katrina), but they are definitely in the minority.

For today's Florida home buyers, a few home builders in the state have taken the initiative to go above and beyond in the hurricane protection they provide their home buyers. "Above Code" is a term used by these builders to indicate this additional hurricane protection.

Above-code homes may include steel reinforced, solid concrete walls and foundations, additional roof trusses, and impact resistant windows. Many of these homes will withstand winds of at least 140 mph (Category 4 strength), and the solid concrete construction protects against leaks and flood damage.

The best protection for your family and your home

There are many ways for Florida residents to protect themselves and their homes during a hurricane. Preparedness in regards to supplies, storm shutters, generators, and evacuation planning will serve any Florida resident well. But for residents who want to provide their home and family with the maximum amount of hurricane protection, and who are in the market for a new home this summer, purchasing an above-code home should be taken under serious consideration.

Most home builders who offer these above-code homes are easily found by searching the internet, local real estate listings, and by obtaining referrals from a Florida realtor. Before choosing a builder, home buyers should thoroughly research each candidate.

Requesting references from other home owners who have worked with that builder is a common practice, one that reputable builders are more than happy to comply with. Buyers should pay a personal visit the builder's sales offices to get a feel for the builder's staff, available home models, and price ranges.
About the Author
Concrete Florida Homes survive hurricanes - Tom Beaty a real estate broker and
home builders in Palm Coast, Flagler and Volusia County. Visit: Palm Coast real estate or Palm Coast home
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