I don't know how many people are aware of the home improvement program offered to homesteaded property owner in Florida. The program is offered by The Florida Department of Financial Services and is titled 'My Florida Safe Home". This is a program to help people better hurricane proof their homes. Not all home are eligible, but the program is FREE and if your home qualifies, the State of Florida will pay you $5,000.00 to assist with the repairs. I don't remember how I found out about this program, but I registered for it on-line back in April 2007. How the program works is:
1. You go on-line to http://www.myfloridasafehome.com/ and register for the program.
2. A few months later you will be contacted by a home inspector hired by the state to inspect your home. This individual comes to your home, for FREE, and does a thorough inspection of your home. What they are looking for is how your home is built and what needs to be done to strengthen it against hurricane force winds. When they are complete, they will then send your report to the state.
3. Then in about 45 days, maybe longer in some cases, you will get a packet of information back from the State letting you know what they see needs to be improved. From this list you can decide what items you want to repair, upgrade, or replace. This is the stage I am currently at.
The report we got back list various areas of improvement and lets you know what repairs, upgrades, etc the program will contribute state fund to. The main area we will strengthen our home will be by replacing the windows with shatter proof windows and installing hurricane shutter in front of some doors.
The way you get your $5,000.00 from the state is that the state will pay for 50% of your upgrades/repairs to a maximum of $5,000.00. Sooooo, to get your $5,000.00 you have to spend $10,000.00. Hey, I think it is an awesome program to help replace my windows. When I have the work done I have to use a contractor who has been "approved" by the states' program. I pay the full repair, replacement fee up front (or get a loan) and then the state reimburses me the $5,000.00.
Some good friends of ours took advantage of the program and got new windows and storm shutters for their home and are very pleased.
We just had a local company who is approved by the "My Florida Safe Home" program to give us a quote on installing shatter proof windows and an electric shutter for the front entry way. The estimated cost to replace our windows and install this shutter is $17,000.00 of this amount the program will pay $5,000.00 which means I can have a very safe home that should survive a huricane for on $12,000.00. That is an awesome deal. Plus, I can finance the balance so that I do not have a large out-of-pocket expense all at once.
If you live in Florida or if you have clients who recently purchased a home, one of the best things you can do for them is to refer them to the website http://www.myfloridasafehome.com/ to have their home inspected. They may benefit from the program too and have a Safer Home as a result.
Lic. Mortgage Broker
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