You can't live in Florida without hearing about hurricanes. Conversations are filled with details about the ones that skirted by, the ones that hit and the damage caused.
Even expert predictions, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's recent release of its 2008 forecast, make headlines.
Technology often is included in hurricane discussions, especially on how tracking the storms has helped save lives by warning people when one is headed their way. Still, all the talk and warnings may not be enough to help Florida residents protect their homes and possessions.
Dan Larson, sales and marketing director for AllState Homes, says that's the reason many residents are opting to replace older homes to better protect their investment.
"There is a growing demand for knocking down older homes and mobile homes and building new homes that meet tougher hurricane and construction standards," Larson says.
"Although the housing market is sluggish, this is one segment that is experiencing strong growth. Residents want to feel safer. They own their lots, have been saving their money and have the equity. Now, with the equity they've built up on the land value, they're able to afford to build at a time when many families cannot."
Larson says in addition to the advantages that come with having a more soundly-built home, rebuilding on your lot usually results in fewer, if any, impact fees.
"These impact fees were paid when you originally purchased your home," he says. "Similarly, connection fees for water and sewer or installation fees for septic and wells are already taken care of, so you may only need to pay the much smaller re-connection fees."
AllState Homes began building in the Tampa Bay area in 1955. In addition to building more than 15,000 houses, Larson says the company has built a strong
"Unlike many builders, we are vested in the community, a long-term member of every professional organization in the Tampa Bay area and a member of the chamber of commerce," he says. "Many of our subcontractors have been employed by AllState Homes for generations. We are a capitalized, financially safe, reputable builder with verifiable credentials. All of our homes come with a 10-year structural warranty backed by an insurance company."
AllState offers homeowners more than 100 floor plans from which to choose. Each can be modified to suit a particular lot and fit an individual family's needs and lifestyle, Larson adds.
Larson attributes much of the company's success to its drive to help families build their dream home on their lot, instead of focusing on new developments.
"There are many, many families who own their lots and don't want to move to a new location," he says. "Our homes are sprinkled throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties, not just clustered in pockets of new developments."
Plus, Larson says, if you don't own a lot, AllState Homes will help you find one, from those nestled in the heart of older, more established neighborhoods to those tucked away from the city.
AllState homes are priced from $77,900, excluding lot.
"We have the ability to deliver the right house based on your wants and needs," Larson says. "And, depending on your budget, we can create or add just about anything you want."
So while you're formulating your hurricane plan, Larson suggests that you consider reinforcing your home.
"We all know that the key steps that truly make a house able to withstand forceful winds and driving rain only happen when the home is being built," he says. "It only makes sense to rebuild a home into a stronger home."
For information, call (813) 935-2111 or (813) 933-6561 or visit www.allstatehomes.com.