When living in south Florida, there are a few things of which you can be certain. One of them is that our winter weather is great and sure beats the cold and snow that’s part of so much of our country for 3-6 months every year. The second is that over time, our summer weather will include some very heavy storms and on occasion, a hurricane.
Working in real estate, sellers and home owners often ask me, “What are the best ways to enhance the value of my home?” Many times my answer is to do little in the way of updating the home as more often than not it doesn’t increase the property value and I hate to see my clients put good money into bad. The one suggestion for all upscale properties that I make is, if you don’t have impact windows throughout the home, this is one investment they should consider.
Impact windows that meet current building codes are critical underwriting components for luxury home buyers, as most domestic high net worth insurance companies are reluctant to provide hurricane coverage on luxury homes that do have a qualified windstorm protection system.
The payback on your impact window investment is both obvious and subtle. First, there are substantial savings for having impact windows on your home, especially since the hurricane insurance rates have skyrocketed over the past several years.
Another, but more subtle reason is that a growing number of buyers of luxury homes are coming to the Palm Beaches to buy a second home, where they’ll spend the winter months enjoying golf, tennis and our beautiful beaches. These buyers of exclusive properties go north during our hurricane season, and they aren’t interested in being bothered to secure their homes by having to put up storm shutters. Impact windows are the trouble free way to solve that problem.
I mentioned savings, and to put that reference into context, Mark Montgomery with the Celedinas Insurance Group told me of a recent situation in the Palm Beach market where Citizens Insurance, the primary carrier in south Florida, did not renew a windstorm policy with an $8000 annual premium because the home in question exceeded their new $1-million policy limit.
The owners were able to get coverage from Lloyds of London at an annual cost of $30,000. If the home had approved shutters or impact glass protection, they would have qualified for a preferred luxury home insurance policy at an annual cost of about $10-$12,000. That potential $20,000 annual savings alone would have paid for the cost of the installation within just a few years.
The last reason has to do with increasing the sellability of the home. Buyers especially after the hurricane season of 2005, are much more in tune to hurricane impact windows and protection. It’s usually one of the first questions a buyer asks when previewing a home for the first time. Many buyers over the years have even instructed me in doing a property search for them to rule out any homes that don’t have hurricane impact protection.
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