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Impact of Sea-Level Rise (SLR) on Coastal Homes

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

Sea-level rise (SLR) implications for coastal regions continuously pose as a threat to the real estate industry. These may refer to disruption in the daily life of not just the people living along the coast but also of the whole coastal and marine ecosystems, animal extinction, shore erosion, wetland flooding, and from a financial perspective, possible huge losses. Developers stand to lose profits and property owners who are leasing their homes face the risk of having to pay for costly repairs and higher mortgage fees.

Image source: NOAA

 Causes of sea-level rise

An article from the journal Science reveals the two main causes of sea-level rise: increase in ocean thermal expansion and melting of glaciers and small ice caps in the recent decades, most notably during the 1990s. Increased heat brought about by climate change has caused ice loss from Greenland and West Antarctica.

Extent of sea-level rise

According to NOAA’s Arctic Report Card, the Arctic is experiencing a rise in temperature at two times the rate of the world and in 2017, scientists have observed a new record low for the maximum sea ice extent. The figure has so far been the largest magnitude decline in sea ice in 1,500 years.

You can use the NOOA Office for Coastal Management’s web mapping tool if you want to visualize the effects at community-level from coastal flooding or SLR, which may reach up to six feet above average high tides.

Impact on US Coastal Homes

A recent study reveals that more than 300,000 coastal homes face the risk of flooding every two weeks within the next 30 years. The Union of Concerned Scientists warns that if left unresolved, these properties will become inhabitable by 2045.

And for the real estate industry, this would mean possible collapse of the mortgage value when investors begin to be wary of properties in these areas. Freddie Mac’s chief economist explained the possibility of properties becoming uninsurable and unmarketable and insurers eventually incurring losses if property owners decide to default on their mortgages, especially if their homes are already underwater. Thus, the importance of having a comprehensive insurance plan that will both protect your needs and those of your insurer as well should any of these possibilities happen.

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Climate Change Impact on Real Estate Properties

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

Image source: WXXI News

The effects of climate change in the US has been the subject of debates and discussions by experts, environmentalists, and ordinary citizens for years now. The National Climate Assessment report, which was directed by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee, reveals that the US average temperature has grown by 1.3 to 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895, with most of the increase happening in 1970. As a result, Americans have become aware of how climate change could impact US real estate prices, given the continuous rise in sea-level over the years.

This threat creates bigger issues for waterfront real estate properties. In fact, a 2015 study from the University of North Carolina Wilmington found that oceanfront property values in the US could decrease if federal subsidies were removed. Higher insurance costs and surges in property values will obviously follow.

A study using data from Zillow, while still under peer review, found that properties exposed to increasing sea levels sell at a 7 percent discount to comparable properties that are not exposed to climate-related risk. In Alabama for example, a wide range of impacts of climate change have been observed, as outlined in the website of Sierra Club – Alabama Chapter, in terms of temperature, heat and wildfire, drought and precipitation, agriculture and farming, forestry and ecosystems, and sea level rise and coastal flooding.

More wildfires, unforeseen calamities and floods are expected to worsen the situation, so real estate developers and property owners alike are continuously finding ways to deal with this looming scenario. If you are a shoreline owner, you can start taking precautionary steps to avoid the possible losses associated with calamities brought about by climate change. Keeping the surrounding area of the property as natural as possible, maintaining and taking care of your property’s health and biodiversity, and managing pests to prevent the occurrence of diseases are just a few examples.

Finally, do not wait for catastrophic events to happen before you consider protecting your property, whether you intend to sell it in the future, rent it out or just simply keep it. Talk to an expert that specializes in writing high risk coastal properties, so you can secure the best insurance coverage there is.

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Taking Care of Your Coastal Environment

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

With the issue of climate change and the warning it poses to the world in general, it comes as no surprise that environmental activists are trying to ensure that their campaigns reach the right people. The Alabama Coastal Foundation (ACF), for one, has been working to find solutions to the state’s coastal environmental challenges since 1993. If you are living in a coastal area in Alabama, taking care of your coastal environment can help prevent the likely damaging impact of climate change.

Here are a few tips you can do to make a difference:

  1. Be conscious of how you use energy, whether it is by how you use your car or what types of bulbs you use at home, or your preferred temperature setting for your furnace or air-conditioner.
  2. Both public and private entities are one in minimizing the use of plastics because for one, they are a huge source of ocean debris, thus, is a great threat to marine life. Use other alternatives to plastics as much as possible.
  3. Coastal living is something most people in the city dream about. One of the benefits is being able to stroll along the beach and relax anytime you feel the need to. Always clean as you go and remember that there is another life other than you that depends on the ocean to live.
  4. Do a regular maintenance of your home or if you are unable to do so, seek the services of property management firms especially if you are renting out your home. Their expertise will help you determine what areas in your property need further protection.

Research studies have proven the likely correlation between living along the coast and health, noting an increase in one’s mental health among people who live by the water. And while you are busy with your daily activities and responsibilities, don’t forget to get a credible coverage for your home to protect it from likely damages that may arise in a coastal environment.



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Condominium Unit Owners: Knowing Your Rights and Responsibilities

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

Image source: VRBO

Thinking of purchasing a condominium unit along the Gulf Coast? Or need guidance in managing your current property? Whichever it is, condominium unit owners should bear in mind that while they can exercise their rights as owners, they also have responsibilities not just to their tenants if they are renting out their property, but to the whole community as well.

Let’s start first with the costs of maintaining a condominium unit. The monthly dues will usually include insurance on the unit, sewer and waste management, regular maintenance, and utilities, which account for most of the monthly costs. The owner should make sure that these are paid on time to avoid the risks of more damages should unforeseen events happen.

If you are renting out your property, you have the right to demand from the renters to treat the unit with care and you can set out limitations in your contract, so everything falls in its proper place. If you want greater protection, you can choose to purchase an optional contents policy to protect yourself from any future damage caused by your renter(s), accidents that may bring harm to your renters, and outages.

As a condominium owner, you own a share of the common elements in the whole building itself, such as parking lot, pools, tennis courts, playground, hallways, and many others. The condominium association should ensure that roofs, elevators, and other building elements are immediately restored if defective or damaged, or are undergoing regular maintenance, for the protection of both the owners and renters.

While living in a condominium would give you instant access to security, building facilities and other privileges given to owners, you should be responsible enough in making sure that you are not disturbing your neighbors. Avoid hosting late night parties, dragging chairs or furniture in the middle of the night, owning a large or barking pet, and well, arguing in a loud manner with household members. Bear in mind that your neighbors are just a few meters away and would probably love (or hate) being involved with your domestic issues.

Finally, as a condominium owner, you should have access to important documents, be spared from discrimination in relation to age, sex, race, etc., and be able to practice your role and right to elect directors to the association’s board. Everything too much to handle? Consider getting the advice of a professional so you’ll know when and how to set things in motion.