It’s been a windy November, and this is just a reminder of how much windier it can be in years that we are more affected by tropical storms and hurricanes. It brings up the question of how hurricane-proof our houses are here. Anyone in the market for a house on Anna Maria Island should certainly pay close attention to the quality of the construction, starting with the roof.
Anna Maria Island has been very lucky this 2009 hurricane season, as has the entire Atlantic region of the United States. Unlike some recent years, in which life on the island was interrupted frequently by approaching hurricanes, this year, it has been possible to almost forget these great storms are part of life here. By the middle of November, the only storm that came nearby was Hurricane Ida, which passed by with less interest than we’ve paid to any of the previous storms, such as Hurricane Bill in the Atlantic, earlier in the year.
It has been a difficult few years for anyone wanting to sell a home on Anna Maria Island. Having been part of Florida’s spectacular growth, prices on island homes had risen tremendously since the 1990’s, and therefore were subject to the same kind of fall that all popular markets experienced starting a little over three years ago. But at least there always is something about a beautiful island that sets its properties apart from the larger inventories on the mainland. There is only a finite number of island homes, and people will always want to live on an island. So there is reason to believe properties on Anna Maria will be in demand again sooner than the general market.
The question is whether the nation is beginning to see a general upturn in housing sales and prices yet. There have been articles in highly regarded publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, indicating this may be the case. In a recent article in the Anna Maria Island Sun, Louise Bolger points out that Maureen Maitland, vice president for index services at Standard & Poor’s, has speculated that we may look back on April, 2009, as the trough in home prices.
Speaking of speculation, that would mean this could be a very good time to buy an investment home in Anna Maria Island … if you can afford the high property taxes. At least there is the possibility of covering some of those taxes and carrying costs through rental. And rumor has it that if the house has a swimming pool, it is much easier to rent. Of course this all is speculation, and speculation is largely responsible for the bubble and its bursting that put the market where it is today.
A month ago I got the renewal notice for my home owners insurance premium. Although it had actually gone down a little after the policy was sold from Citizens Insurance, the Florida-run insurer of last resort, to another carrier, I still thought that it was a lot of money.
But how can I save any more on the cost of home owners insurance? The last thing I needed was being underinsured with inadequate coverage.
One mistake that was made on the Citizens policy was the description of the roof type. It was marked ‘gable’ when it was actually ‘hip’. I had asked for a correction to the policy but from the renewal notice I found out that the correction had not been made a year ago.
But I also requested a discount for having hurricane clips or anchors on the roof trusses and framing. It is easy to see from the outside what a roof shape is, but not so easy to prove there are anchors in the walls and rafters. I needed a certified inspector’s declaration to satisfy the insurance company.