Longboat Key, Florida | September 18th, 2019 – Thankfully, as with Hurricane Irma in 2017, Sarasota dodged the Category 5 bullet of Hurricane Dorian early this September. It’s quite as gratifying too that Dorian’s near-miss of our area appears unlikely to have a long-lasting negative effect on the mindset of sellers and buyers of local real estate.
Just like the way Irma have had no long-term impact locally, Dorian’s visit is unlikely to shoo away residential buyers from our region. The vagaries of the weather, after all, have long been factored into the Florida market. Such a consideration, of course, includes, the state’s generally warm tropical climate that sharply contrasts with the cold winters in the northern U.S.
Mythical Hurricane Shields
On the lighter side, our escape from Dorian’s fury brings attention to some local folklore of supernatural forces protecting Sarasota from the wrath of severe hurricanes.
One claim of protection comes from the blessings of prehistoric American Indians who had chosen to live here, knowing it is a safe place. Their ancient burial grounds scattered in and around Sarasota are also said to be elements helping keep severe storms away.
Some folks also believe that the sand dunes that Mother Nature has so generously spread along Sarasota’s coastline keep us safe from strong storms. Still, others say that the pristine white sands of Siesta Key possess magical powers which, along with the barrier island’s underwater crystals, protect the Sarasota area from hurricanes. These myths certainly lend color to living and visiting Sarasota and its many points of interest.
Building Codes Toughened
These legends aside, there is a silver lining that could be drawn from the major hurricanes that have hit the Tampa Bay area and all of Florida. The effects of these severe weather disturbances became the bases for the state and local building codes enforced today.
Notably, the statewide building code to boost the hurricane resistance of commercial and residential construction in Florida started to be developed in 1992 after the devastation that Hurricane Andrew brought to South Miami-Dade. This code went into effect in 2002 and superseded all local building codes.
Given the recent Dorian episode, sellers of residential properties can expect prospective buyers to be more meticulous about checking compliance to state and local building code for houses built after 2002. Dwellings before that year which are sales listed on the marker, on the other hand, would most likely be subjected to tighter scrutiny not only on its hurricane-resistance upgrades but also to new flood zone standards.
With the current hurricane season yet to wind up, buyers could also be expected to be paying close attention to flood insurance coverage. Significantly, Sarasota County’s flood maps are now being updated along with that of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
For buyers of residential properties, it would thus be smart to engage the services of a local real estate and insurance agents who know exactly what’s happening in the neighborhood. Insurance companies, which hold the key in closing real estate deals, notably use the flood maps as one of the bases for writing policies.
It’s significant to note that Sarasota County started workshops this September to educate residents, homeowners, real estate agents, insurance agents, developers, and homebuilders on the local flood map updates. Information on the updated flood maps in Manatee County is also now available.
As a real estate concern with an extensive network in the trade, the Judy Kepecz-Hays team can assist both buyers and sellers arrange and settle various contract components of a property deal including building code compliance and flood insurance matters. Call or email us so we can plan a course of action to take.
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