How can I live with controlling parents

Routes to finance

There are advantages and disadvantages to owning property. While the pros tend to outweigh the cons, natural disasters are one of those times that can make us wonder why we thought real estate investing was such a great idea.

While hurricanes can cause severe devastation, they can usually be predicted days or even weeks in advance, allowing for some preparation time. Here are some ways you can prepare your property for a hurricane.

Have the right insurance

The first thing you should do before closing any property is taking out insurance. You need to make sure that the insurance is in effect as soon as you close the property. Once a hurricane is on your radar, it's too late to get the right insurance coverage.

Hurricane insurance is a must for those in hurricane prone areas. It is insurance that must be purchased separately from your regular homeowner insurance. Every policy is different, so you'll need to discuss your options with your insurance agent. Hurricane insurance usually covers damage from wind, but be careful as some guidelines only apply to storms classified as Category 2 or higher, or when the wind exceeds 75 miles per hour.

Hurricane guidelines typically do not cover damage caused by flooding. So if there is a storm surge or a river overflows you will not be covered even if the damage occurred during the hurricane.

You must have separate flood insurance for protection.

Are you in a flood zone?

It is important to know if your property or real estate is in a flood zone. Most cities will offer maps that outline the floodplains in the area. The zones are defined according to risk. They can be labeled as Zone A, Zone B and Zone C, with Zone A having the greatest risk of flooding.

Other cities can characterize them with numbers like 1, 2, and 3, or with words like high risk, moderate risk, and low risk.

In addition to your local flood map, you should also know the elevation of your property. For example, your property may be in a city that is known to be flooded. However, having your property on top of a hill can greatly reduce the chance of flooding.

If you are concerned that your property will be flooded, you can put sandbags in front of the doors and around the edge of the property to prevent flooding. You also want to separate the electronics in basements and, if possible, transport valuable items to higher areas.

See also: FEMA flood map

Safe window

Hurricanes bring high winds that can break windows. If your property is in a hurricane area, consider installing permanent blinds; these shutters can simply be closed to protect windows. If you don't have permanent storm shutters, you can clad windows with plywood. People often apply duct tape to windows thinking they are going to keep them from breaking. That's not the case. The tape could potentially prevent the window from breaking into such small pieces, but it won't prevent hurricane from causing damage to your property.

Include all outdoor furniture

Check the perimeter of your property for anything that could be airborne during the storm. The high winds that accompany hurricanes can catapult everyday items into the air, damage windows, damage property, and even injure people. Take out any patio furniture, umbrellas, trash cans, rakes, and anything else that could be thrown into the air. You should also scan your neighbors' homes. If they have objects outside that could cause damage, approach them and make the subtle suggestion that they secure the objects or bring them inside.

Check for vulnerable trees / branches

Check your property for dead trees, trees, or large branches that could fall from high winds. If you are able to hire someone to remove them before the storm, this is what you should do.

When it isn't time to professionally remove them, consider removing any branches that you can safely reach.

Clean gutters

Make sure all gutters are clear of debris so that the water can drain properly. This will prevent water from pooling and creating roof leaks and other flooding problems in the property.

Check the roof

Your roof should be checked for any leaks or loose shingles. These issues should be addressed prior to the hurricane to prevent further damage. You can also purchase roof hooks or hurricane straps that can help keep the roof attached to the building structure.

Consider a generator

You might want to buy a generator for your property. This allows tenants to do basic things if the power goes out for a long period of time. Generators aren't cheap, they can cost thousands of dollars, but after a disaster, you can be glad you invested in one.