How to Prepare for Hurricane Season as an Agent
Last year’s hurricane season was one we will want to forget…and one we should remember. Hurricane Irma was the strongest Atlantic basin hurricane ever recorded and tormented Florida for nearly two weeks. It stretched 650 miles from east to west turning streets into rivers and causing general chaos from downed powerlines to stranded communities. As we reflect on last year’s damage, it is important to think about how best to prepare in advance of a major event like a hurricane.
With that in mind, our very own Ted Brown has made some really helpful suggestions for making preparations as we move into this year’s hurricane season. Here are some tips from an agent’s perspective to help keep you and your families safe this season:
Most listing agents will have multiple properties to deal with. With an impending storm, that’s a lot of responsibility at a time when you should be focusing on the safety of your personal property and family.
Do everything you can to be organized in advance so you can take care of your top priorities quickly if a storm does materialize. Here are some things to remember:
- For starters, yard signs need to come down (although the posts can remain) and be secured well in advance of wind arrival. If the property owner is there to deal with it, that’s great, but remember that unoccupied properties are the agent’s responsibility.
- Prepare a simple “Exterior Check List” to share with your owners. Items on that list might all become agent responsibility if the owner is not able to complete them.
- Remember to bring in pool and patio furniture
- Secure garbage and trash bins
- Patrol for loose items that could become windborne missiles
Trees & Landscaping
If not already done, tree pruning should be an immediate priority. Remember that it can be difficult to find an available arborist, and it takes significant time to have the debris hauled away.
In response, many municipalities are adding extra bulk collection days as they were absolutely overwhelmed with the last minute piles of procrastinators’ debris.
If you are not fortunate enough to have impact glass, the owners should make arrangement for the professional installation of their storm shutters.
As an agent, you should be provided with contact information to make certain it is done promptly.
Also, agents should be able to have the shutters taken down promptly so that the property can quickly get back to showing condition once the storm has passed.
Evacuation and Travel Plans
If the owner is intending to evacuate the property, they should inform their agent of travel plans and secondary contacts.
If at all possible, pets should only be left unattended in a home if it’s an absolute emergency and last minute shelter conditions make it impossible for them to be taken with you.
If so, agents should be made aware of the animal’s continued presence and what arrangements have been made for feeding and care.
If Owner does their own pool maintenance (even if they don’t) pool should be hyper-chlorinated prior to arrival of heavy rains and possible electrical outages.
It is a good idea to have a couple of extra jugs of chlorine on hand just in case of extended electrical disruption. It is easier to maintain the levels rather than lose the balance completely.
Lastly, it would be a good idea for the owner to review their current Homeowners Insurance policy to make certain they are adequately covered.
Time to re-consider Flood Insurance if it was optional – and definitely time to be sure all premiums have been paid!
Agents should have a record of the insuring agency, contact person, policy holder name and policy number just in case.
Remember that fortune favors the prepared mind…and that not everything is done by the owner!
If you want to learn more, get in touch to speak to Ted or one of our other local experts!
Stay proactive, and stay safe.