Are you on the hunt for a home in Southwest Florida? That’s great! But be aware that there are some considerations when buying a house in this area. For instance, you want to consider the home’s ability to protect your family against severe weather. You also want to consider your ability to insure the home. In this article we discuss a few key things to consider when locating and buying a home in the Southwest Florida area.
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Why buy a house in Southwest Florida?
Southwest Florida is an amazing place to live. It has year round warm weather and a growing economy supporting employment. Best yet, most cities in the area are close to the beautiful Gulf of Mexico beaches.
As a result it is no surprise that a lot of people are moving to the Southwest Florida area. According to an article by Roofstock, the population has grown by 2.08% from 2020-2021. The current population in the counties that make up Southwest Florida is around 1.3 million. But the population is growing quick. Its estimated that it will reach 1.5 million by 2025.
The growing population and other factors have created a shortage of housing inventory. Because of this the prices have also been growing quick.
Consider a House with Adequate Storm Protection in Place
One downside of living in Southwest Florida is dealing with severe weather on a regular basis. Hurricane season is a real thing, every year from May to November. As such it is important to protect your home and your family. Storm protection helps to do this as well as provide you with peace of mind.
Finding a home that has storm protection allows you to move in without making the investment right away. It will also provide you with protection from the moment you enter the home.
There are different types of storm protection products. But they all serve the same purpose, which is to protect the vulnerable parts of your home.
A home may have impact windows and doors throughout the house. Or it may have permanent hurricane shutters, such as roll down hurricane shutters. It could also have storm panels, which are removable.
If you can’t find a house with storm protection already installed it is not the end of the world. You may prefer to select and install your storm protection yourself anyways. If so, look for a reputable, dependable company to install your hurricane shutters Fort Myers or Southwest Florida. Most established companies also install impact windows in Fort Myers and throughout Southwest Florida.
Pay Special Attention to the Age of the Home’s Roof
Getting insurance on a Florida home is getting more difficult. And having insurance on a home in Florida is critical. This is due to the potential of damage from hurricanes and other severe weather.
One of the biggest considerations to the ability to insure a home is the age it’s roof. According to Insurancebusinessmag.com “insurers are also increasingly unwilling to write new policies with asphalt shingle roofs that are over 10 years old.”
If the home you pick has a roof that is 10 years or older you may not be able to find an insurance carrier to cover it.
If it is older you may be able to find conditional insurance coverage. In this case you will need a signed contract for a new roof with a roofing contractor at or before closing. This may be required to satisfy the carrier’s policies. Each carrier will tell you what is required or if that is even possible.
Given the prices of roof replacement in the Southwest Florida area this is probably not an upfront cost you want to incur. Consider if its realistic to stack the cost of a new roof on top of your closing costs and your down payment.
In the end the age of the roof should be a strong consideration when choosing a house. If it is the only negative on a house you love then it might be worth it.
Ensure the Home is Insurable Before you Close
You find your dream home and get an accepted offer. The home looks beautiful. It’s perfect. And then during your inspection period you get the dreaded news. No insurance carrier wants to insure the home. Or the only carriers that will have quoted you an arm and a leg for your annual premium.
Roofs are one major reason why a home in Southwest Florida might not be insurable. But there are other reasons as well, such as a prior claim on the property or condition issues. Although this is not unique to Florida it is something that you should consider during your inspection period.
Its a good idea to have an insurance broker or list of carriers to reach out to. Make sure you have a carrier that will insure and bind a policy on the home before your inspection period ends. You don’t want to be left without insurance at closing.