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Should We Winterize South Florida Homes

Last year the title insurance branch of our operation closed on a Bulk REO transaction consisting of 105 properties located between the Midwest and the East Coast.  Of the 105 properties only a handful were located in Florida.  During the closing process I noticed that one of the line item expenses listed on the HUD-1 (still allowable in 2009), showed “Winterizing” as an expense.  I didn’t think much of it at the time because there were only a few Florida homes included in the package. 

Fast forward to 2010 — as one featured blog article headline sates today:  “Baby, it’s cold outside”.  Yes, it is! And with the cold comes mother nature’s wrath including:  leaky pipes, weatherstripping issues, broken glass, hot water heater issues, etc.  I never thought about winterizing a home in Florida, but now, with all the vacant homes, it’s probably not such a bad idea —- especially for older homes built in the mid 1900s.

From a liability standpoint a REALTOR should definitely mention the winterizing option to a seller.
From a safety standpoint, the REALTOR should definitely mention the winterizing option to the seller.
From a selling standpoint, the REALTOR should definitely mention the winterizing option to the seller.

Did I happen to mention that it may be a good idea to suggest winterizing a home that you are about to list?

The cold weather is not the only factor.  The winterizing process consists of all of the following and more:
1.  A full furnace/HVAC inspection
2.  Fireplace Inspection — yes, they have fireplaces in Florida!
3.  Inspection of the exterior doors and windows
4.  Inspection of the roof
5.  Removal of dangerous objects from the home
6.  Checking the foundation
7.  Testing the smoke detectors — especially important in condo’s
8.  Prevention of plumbing freezes or leaks – this is especially important in North Florida
9.  Trimming any potentially harmful or destructful landscaping hazards (i.e. – coconuts from palm trees)

While this list seems appropriate for winter preparation, many of the items listed should be tested and inspected during the other 3 months of the year.

Most Importantly:
Winterizing should not only be limited to homes in distress — to avoid any potential liability you should be sure to advise your seller’s of the potential risks in the event that they do not maintain THEIR property while it’s for sale.


Rick Schuster

Licensed Real Estate Broker – Jaycee Realty, Inc.
Licensed Title Insurance Agent – Home Guardian Title, Inc.
Licensed Mortgage Broker – Leading Edge Mortgage Corp
20283 State Road 7 – Ste 400
Boca Raton, FL 33498 

561-206-2835 – via Google Voice
561-988-2546 -Fax

 

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