by Jonathan Rodriguez
(NAPSI)—No state is more prone to hurricanes than Florida—for Floridians, it’s not “if” but “when” the next hurricane will strike. Then, once the storm passes through, the real work of recovery begins. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, it’s more important than ever for homeowners to know their options as they rebuild, strengthen and upgrade their homes.
It is possible to learn from past disasters and take steps to protect your home from future storms, but learning the hard way can be incredibly costly. It takes only one storm surge or a 150-mph wind gust to demolish a home. Property owners may avoid these terrible experiences if they know how to prepare for extreme weather. And, keep in mind, it’s not just hurricanes that can cause real damage. Powerful winds, for example, can damage roof shingles and drive debris through doors and windows. It doesn’t matter if the wind is caused by a hurricane, a tornado or a severe thunderstorm; the result is the same.
The most common anti-hurricane measures include installing storm shutters or upgrading to impact-resistant windows and doors, designed to improve a home’s odds of surviving hurricane season unscathed. However, many lesser-known projects can bring just as much benefit, if not more. Under-the-radar improvements such as storm-ready roofing and tie-down systems, hurricane-ready shingles, seawall installation and gable-end bracing can increase the odds of withstanding hurricane season.
These upgrades could help you rest easier knowing your home is protected from the harshest weather. The cost of making these improvements, however, can be high.
Fortunately for many Floridians, there are financing options available that can make improvements less costly.
PACE—or property assessed clean energy—financing is a way to help Floridians create a storm-resistant home with no up-front costs. Instead of taking out a bank loan, homeowners can leverage their home equity to pay for their eligible retrofit, then repay the amount over time on their property tax bill. Eligibility is based on the homeowners’ equity in their home (among other factors) and not on their credit score, proof of employment, income or financial statements.
Ideally, the improvements financed through PACE will lower—and perhaps even eliminate—the cost of post-storm repairs. The storm-proofing features installed with PACE financing could pay for themselves throughout the years.
Named one of the top 20 “world-changing” ideas by Scientific American magazine, PACE financing also creates jobs, promotes economic development and protects the environment in communities in which it’s been approved by state and local governments.
• Mr. Rodriguez is CEO of American Storm Protection Corporation.
On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)