We are looking to buy our first home, but our area just had a category 5 hurricane in fall. Would it be a bad idea to buy a home this soon?

  • by aj95
  • Mar 10,2019
  • 5 answers

We live in panhandle Florida, and Hurricane Michael smashed our town pretty good. Its been almost 6 months and some areas and homes still look devastated. Well, my wife and I were in the process of buying a home last year when the hurricane disrupted our search. And now that its been 5 months, I figured things have settled enough to begin searching. Well, all that said, I've been hearing multiple factors that make me hesitant. For one, the market isn't great. There are less sellers because several have taken their house off the market, but in general, there is the same number of buyers. And secondly, my father (who is the king of making me second guess myself) has made me nervous about buying any house that doesn't have a new roof. He advised that in the future, regarding roof repairs, the insurance companies are going to give me a hard time. He said that your new insurance company will not want to pick up preexisting damages, so any future roof repairs will be met with resistance (more than the usual) because of the storm. He said we would be better off buying a home with a post-Michael roof, or even better, have a home custom built. Does anyone have any details on what he is warning me about? I have always rented, so I just don't know what I'm getting in to. Thanks


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Insurance Answers (5)

mbrcatz last week

The market has been bad in Florida for years, and the insurance rates are astronomical because of the frequent, severe claims.
Yes, any pre-existing damage won't be covered. You don't know if the prior owner had a roof claim - but there's a database, so the insurance company is able to look it up.
Look, I wouldn't buy a house in Florida, period. I think it's a mistake, regardless of the timeframe. Go rent a house. Don't buy.

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BullRooster last week

Lots of good points and things to think on but there will always be reasons not to buy a place no matter where you are and when you are looking. If you just buy a house with a good roof (post or pre hurricane doesn't matter, just make sure its in good condition when you buy) and where everything else is in good shape (get an inspection) and make sure you get all the insurance you need (make sure you can even get hurricane insurance) then you should be fine. Its possible a hurricane will come blow the house away next year and its also possible you will never have a problem with that but get the right insurance (and make sure its from a solid reputable company) and you should be fine.
I guess option 2 is to move somewhere else that doesn't have hurricanes but I don't really think that's a good idea.

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Casey Y last week

I don't think the insurance company will give you a hard time for a roof a few years from now...but you really need to obtain the Wind Mitigation Report on the property. Depending on the age, it may pre-date building requirements which have continuously been made more stringent.
If you want a house with a truly good roof, make sure you find one up to current building codes. If memory serves, Miami Dade actually had roof requirements in excess of the state building codes...find a house up to those specs.
Just look at Mexico Beach...
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/14/us/hu...
Remember that one house left standing...that's the house you want to buy in an area prone to Hurricanes. You might be fine for 50 years....or you might be rebuilding in 2020...nobody knows. Sure, you can buy insurance, but wouldn't you rather buy a house built to sustain the damage...?
You can always get some insurance quotes on a potential property, just don't waste an agents time too much...sending them 5 different houses to quote.

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Beverly S last week

No insurance company will pay for previous damage, so he's right there.. However, I would think that if there was damage the current owners would have, by now had the roof repaired or replaced since Homeowners Ins. would have paid after the storm. If you buy a home with a pre-Michael roof have a roofing company do an inspection before you buy it. You can put that in the contract stating must pass inspection or contract is void.

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car253 last week

Your dad is right about a lot of things. Make sure your roof is hurricane proof. I am not an expert. In California we have earthquake insurance. If you have hurricane insurance in Florida or through FEMA, buy it. And, flood insurance too. Flood insurance is not covered by your homeowners insurance. Get it through your insurance agent or contact FEMA.

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