Can I buy a house during a hurricane?

Real Estate Agent with Sullivan Enterprises, LLC

Hi all! I hope this finds you doing well! We've been having some interesting weather around the country lately. I honestly don't remember seeing a hurricane making it so far north along the eastern seaboard, but then, when I lived in the midwest, I really didn't pay attention much to weather along any coast-lines. Or maybe that was because we only had 3 channels back then, and no weather channel!

Well, now that I have the weather channel (or maybe because I live in Florida Panhandle just a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico?) I keep an eye on major weather systems. Here's the newest one out...

[Image of probabilities of tropical storm force winds]


Tropical storm Erika may or may not become a Hurricane, but this shows the expected area of activity from the website. This may be another one that goes up the eastern seaboard again, however, it looks like it is in line for Florida.

So, if you live in the Florida Panhandle, and don't even get a drop of rain from the storm itself, how does this affect you? Well, if you plan to have insurance on your home, once a tropical depression becomes a hurricane, and is within a certain distance of this Sunshine State, insurance companies immediately stop writing new insurance policies throughout the entire state. If you don't plan on getting insurance on your new home, it's not a big deal. Carry on and you'll be fine, however, for those of you that are getting a loan, your lender will require proof of insurance before the loan closes.

Does this mean you stop looking for houses all together if you are in the process of your diligent search? No, continue your search, but keep an eye on the weather. Insurance companies will begin writing (usually) once a hurricane has hit landfall and dissipated.

But what if you just got a contract? Does this put you on hold? It doesn't have to. When seeing something like this pop up, once again, keep an eye on it (it may never "grow up" in to a hurricane), talk to your insurance agent, lender, and realtor. You do have the option of locking in your policy before their "magic shut out" time. Locking in the policy means you can close as planned--even in the middle of a hurricane.

BUT, don't forget to keep other factors in mind...if the hurricane is heading or could head to your area, your closing could be delayed due to mandatory evacuations. Even if you and the seller are willing to sign the paperwork before getting out of town, the lender, title company, closer, and realtor may have all left town. OR, as the case with the military, when I was active duty, depending on the trajectory of a storm, we had mandatory evacuations--we were not given a choice.

Just make sure you keep an eye on the weather, and talk with your realtor if need be. If you have to extend closing, that's not necessarily a bad thing. If you come back to town, and the house you were planning on buying isn't there any more, you'll have to find another one. If it is still there, you have the reassurrance that your new home survived a hurricane!

With that do YOU prepare for a hurricane? Assuming you don't live in the mid-west, that is!

Until next time!
Valerie Sullivan
Owner/Broker, GRI, e-Pro
Sullivan Enterprises, LLC
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Comments (4)

Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Valerie,  I think the weather people make way too much of every storm 1700 miles out in the Atlantic !  Every year the predictions sound sooo scary and then they rarely materialize.  Also, when  a storm is " in the box " the FARBAR contract automatically extends the closing date.

Sep 02, 2009 08:00 AM
Valerie Sullivan
Sullivan Enterprises, LLC - Fort Walton Beach, FL


Thanks for stopping by!  I totally agree that the weather people seem to panic over every storm out there, but it sure is nice to just go to a website and watch the progress...just in case. 


Sep 02, 2009 08:06 AM
Sandy Shores FL RealtorĀ®, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast

Valerie, Here in Florida we have to be careful if there is a named storm out in the Gulf or the Atlantic.  During our storm season, it's a great idea to bind your insurance a couple of weeks prior to closing, so that you aren't held up if there is a storm on the day of closing.  Great advice and thanks for the reminder.

Sep 18, 2009 03:12 AM
Valerie Sullivan
Sullivan Enterprises, LLC - Fort Walton Beach, FL


HI!  thanks for stopping by!  Yes, it is best during storm season to bind the insurance a couple of weeks prior to closing.  This is what I tell my clients during storm season as well.  Just to be on the save side!  It helps give them some peace of mind as well.

Have a great day!


Sep 18, 2009 04:30 AM