Official Start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season

Happy month of June!  The Orlando job market, real estate market, and weather are HOT!

We noticed there are a lot of relocation homebuyers this year.  This continues the trend of the recent years.  It’s not a surprise when we learned that Orlando is one of the nation’s fastest growing labor markets.  Orlando is adding more than 3,500 new jobs per month!  This bodes well for a strong local economy, and extends the strength into our housing market.

The demand for housing remains strong.  The current average Orlando home sale price is $252,700, and median price is $215,000.  With all the activities, the market is still a balanced one.  By that I mean the price is actually stable and not escalating.   Buyer and Seller appear to be on similar footing in terms of leverage.  What we experience daily in the “trenches” is more negotiation and more problem-solving in each transaction.  Unofficially but from experience, all these suggest a mature market.

Weather-wise, the heat is raising and the rain is coming.  We hope our local drought condition will be ameliorated.  The recent fire in Chuluota reminds us of the bigger environmental picture that affects us all.

Starting with June, we officially enter the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.  It lasts through the end of November.  We have had a nice long run of 11 years without a hurricane making landfall. (Until Hurricane Hermine hit the Panhandle last September and Hurricane Matthew swept along the east coast in October).

It’s easy to get complacent in central Florida because hurricane crossing is a rarity.  But the memory of the 3 hurricanes that hit Orlando in 2004 is still vivid for some of us.  Even now, many homes that we list still have plywood boards left in the garage for covering windows and doors during a storm.  It’s always a good idea to heed the motto “be prepared”.  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts “above average” hurricane activities this year.

It’s a good idea to make sure you have a supply of nonperishable food and water to last 3-7 days, as well as supply to deal with loss of power for the same duration.  The Florida Legislature approved a 3-day “disaster preparedness” sales tax holiday June 2 through June 4, to encourage the public to be proactive in preparedness

As homeowners, you should also check and make sure your property insurance is adequate.  Understand the difference between the regular deductible, and the separate deductible for hurricane damages, which are generally based on a percentage of the home’s insured value rather than a flat dollar amount.  For example, you can have a $1,000 deductible for regular damage claims, but a separate 2% deductible for hurricane damages.  If your home is insured for $350,000, then 2% of that is $7,000.  That means if a storm causes damages, you will be responsible for the first $7,000 of repairs!

The hurricane deductible usually goes into effect only when a storm is categorized as a hurricane by the National Weather Service.  In some policies, it kicks in when a storm is named, even if it doesn’t become a hurricane.

Is your property insurance adequate?  The Florida Department of Financial Services offers a hurricane financial prep toolkit in PDF form.  It has an insurance checklist that includes adjuster contacts and emergency service contacts, such as the Red Cross, FEMA and the Department’s consumer helpline, as well as a log of calls made to insurance companies about claims.

You can download a copy here.

Once prepared, I hope we do not see a hurricane making landfall this year!

As always, if you are planning on buying or selling a home in 2017 or even 2018, it’s never too early to have a conversation with us.  Many of our clients today started planning with us last year!

Give us a call if you have questions, or know of someone we can help!

Until next month, take care!

Yien and the Yao Team.

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