I know that most of you are feeling the same way I am, now that Hurricane Irma has passed… a great deal of relief and gratitude! We are blessed that Irma did not hit us directly, that our area is up and running so successfully, and that most people were able to restore their properties quickly. But as we count our blessings, we should also remember that the 2017 hurricane season does not technically end until Nov. 30, and we should remain on guard for future storms.
I have been selling homes in Miami for more than 40 years, and I am proud of the active role that my colleagues in real estate take in preparing the people we know for hurricane season in general, and for individual storms as they approach and depart. While the safety of our family and friends always comes first in these moments, the security of our homes usually comes next on our list of concerns.
At the beginning of every hurricane season, my team and I send our customers hurricane check lists, reminding them to have water, medications, non-perishable foods, insect repellents, suntan lotion and other essentials; along with suggestions to trim trees, remove coconuts and other flying items. Below are a few additional tips to remember concerning your home:
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▪ When you prune your trees each year, be sure to use a vendor who understands how to trim a tree specifically for hurricane season. A well-trimmed tree will allow wind to pass through and give the tree a better chance to withstand high winds. (You will also appreciate this when you have less to clean up after a storm!)
▪ If you are replacing trees and landscaping, consider doing so with native South Florida trees and vegetation. Native trees are much better suited for our climate here in the tropics. Plant trees far away from power lines, and watch for mature trees that are close to power lines. Call Florida Power and Light right away if you see any growth coming close to the lines. (You are doing that for all of us!)
▪ Right now is a good time to contact your insurance agent, to make sure you understand your policy and confirm that your coverage meets your needs. We advise our people to get hazard, wind, content, flood and flood content insurance, even if their home is not in a flood zone. It is also important to store your policy in a waterproof container or safety deposit box, and to upload the document to a secure cloud-based website (such as Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.) so you can easily access it after a storm.
▪ Have a family hurricane plan, be sure everyone knows where each family member will be, and how to get in touch with each other after the storm. And while this may be obvious, as we prepare our “things”, remember that your family and friends are most important.
▪ If you haven’t already, get to know your neighbors! Your neighborhood can be a key resource after a storm, as people generally pull together in these situations to share resources such as barbecues, cleanup efforts, and information.
▪ The time after a storm is also a good opportunity to plan and prepare. Some of your unused hurricane supplies such as batteries, water and canned foods can be stored, so you do not need to buy them again. Buy a large plastic container (the kind often used to store holiday decorations), check the expiration dates on the items, and store them in a closet so you are not running out at the last minute to collect supplies as the next storm approaches. If the expiration date is before 2019, consider donating them.
▪ Enhance your hurricane protection with permanent solutions such as accordion shutters or impact-glass windows. Also, be sure that you get permits and use licensed vendors for these items, to ensure that they are Miami-Dade County-approved.
▪ After a storm, donate any extra supplies you don’t need — if you are able, donate money to those whose need may be greater than yours.
As Realtors, we are involved in many aspects of our clients’ lives, and that includes the times before and after they list or buy a property. When you are truly involved in a community and people’s lives, that commitment does not end with a closing.
To support the National Association of Realtors Relief Foundation, visit www.nar.realtor/programs/realtors-relief-foundation/donate
To support the American Red Cross disaster relief, or specifically for Hurricanes Harvey or Irma relief, visit www.redcross.org/donate/donation
Pat Klock Parker is a board member of the Master Brokers Forum, a network of real estate professionals in Miami, and a Realtor-associate with Coldwell Banker Real Estate. She can be reached at (305) 773-6343 and/or Pat@KlockParker.com
▪ This article, written for Business Monday in the Miami Herald, represents the viewpoint of the writer and not necessarily of the newspaper.
▪ Have a ‘’Brokers’ View’? If you are a Realtor in South Florida, consider writing about it for Business Monday. Pitch your idea to rclarke@MiamiHerald.com. Guidelines: Submissions should be around 600 words; should state a topic clearly, with supporting examples; and use examples drawn from South Florida. They should also be accompanied by a photo of the writer, emailed as a jpeg.