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Inspection Report Helps New Homeowners Prepare for Weather Emergencies

Hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and wildfires, even a torrential downpour. When severe weather threatens, the best protection for new homeowners is to know what to do.

Without proper connections and coverings, high winds from a hurricane or tornado can damage a home’s garage door, blow out windows, and even rip off a roof. Roof coverings might fail in severe rain or hail, leading to costly water damage inside a home. Even minor weather events can lead to serious injuries and expensive, time-consuming repair jobs.

Severe weather preparation most likely isn’t a high priority for most new homeowners. They’re more likely to be preoccupied with room decor and mortgage payments. But with Mother Nature causing havoc across the country this year, it’s wise to protect such a large investment by having a plan in place.

For homeowners, a good place to start may be reviewing the home inspection report on the house or condo they recently purchased. Not only does the report detail a home’s current condition, it also gives homeowners a basic assessment of the major systems of the home — including how they function and where they are located — and can help prepare for possible weather-related emergencies.

Plan and Prepare
Property owners should regularly inspect all of their home’s mechanical systems – from heating and air conditioning to plumbing. All structural components should also be examined, including roofing, gutters and downspouts; exterior siding, cement sidewalks and steps; flashing around doors, windows and chimneys; caulking on doors and windows and stairs to ensure they are secure. Copies of vital home records should be stored in a safe place (such as a safe deposit box), and it is also a good measure to document the contents of your home, including photos, in case you need to replace them.

Review and Report
After any severe weather, a home’s mechanical systems and structural components should also be the first items checked for possible damage. In particular, do a careful review of the roof. Even if it looks solid, search for any evidence of leakage. Check the foundation for cracks or erosion, even if you don’t have moisture or water inside your house. Make sure that major systems like the furnace and air conditioner are working. Turn on all light switches and appliances for an electrical check.

Make a written list of any damage you find and review the home insurance policy accordingly. It’s also a good idea to corroborate any damages by taking photographs. Pre-storm pictures of a property and belongings will also help substantiate what was damaged or how strong a hit the home took.

Having a basic understanding of how a home functions – including the major systems of a home, how they operate and where they are located – helps to better prepare for possible weather-related emergencies. The best protection is in knowing what to do.