If you are thinking about purchasing a vacation rental property in Florida, there are a few things that are probably weighing on your mind. Last month we talked about why there has never been a better time to invest in Florida real estate. To recap that post, Orlando’s home values are steadily growing, and are projected to continue to increase almost 6% in the next year. Along with that, 62 million tourists visit Florida each year, and they all need to stay somewhere. Investing in Orlando real estate and using it as a vacation home can definitely benefit you. But you may be wondering about certain factors that could ruin your investment. This can be anything from concern about hurricane damage, to the fear that alligators may invade your property and attack your guests. In order to ease your nerves about making this investment, we’d like to give you some information on these concerns, and maybe you’ll realize that this isn’t something to keep you up at night.
Will A Hurricane Damage My Vacation Rental Property?
Hurricanes have obviously caused billions of dollars in damage in Florida, and we even have a designated “Hurricane Season” that runs from June through November. Usually September is the most active month for hurricanes. Thankfully, unlike other natural disasters, hurricanes can be actively tracked, and most areas will have adequate warning before a hurricane hits the mainland. Hurricanes are separated into five categories, of which three are considered major. Category 1 hurricanes have sustained wind speeds between 74 and 95 miles per hour, and can damage roof shingles, vinyl siding, and gutters, as well as topple shallow-rooted trees and snap large branches. When you get to Category 3 hurricanes, extensive damage can occur to well-built houses, including losing your roof entirely. Trees can snap and be uprooted, and electricity and water is almost guaranteed to be out for several days where the storm hit. Finally, Category 5 hurricanes, such as Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, and Matthew, are categorized as having wind speeds of 157 miles per hour or higher. These type of hurricanes can level towns and leave areas uninhabitable. Does purchasing property in Florida still sound like a good idea? Don’t get scared off just yet.
Florida has not experienced a category 5 hurricane since 1992, and not every part of Florida experiences devastating results from hurricanes. Some areas are safer from hurricanes than others, which is part of what makes Florida one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world. Our vacation homes are mostly located in Orlando and Kissimmee, which are further inland – practically as far away from water as you can be in Florida. In one study based on insurance claims after hurricanes, Orlando ranked in the second position for cities least likely to be hit by tropical storms, and Kissimmee came in fourth place out of all cities in Florida. While there is no guarantee that a effects of a hurricane or storm won’t affect Orlando or Kissimmee, both towns report almost zero hurricane damage, and experience very little flooding. This means that these areas might be better vacation home investments than Tallahassee or Panama City, for example. So while many may be weary of investing in a vacation rental in a state known for hurricanes, it is important to remember that certain areas are drastically less susceptible to damage.
Do Alligators Pose A Real Threat?
There is an estimated alligator population in Florida of about 1.3 million, and our swamplands make the perfect habitat for this animal to thrive. However, even though that seems like a high number, there is only an average of 6 alligator attacks on humans per year in Florida, and only 24 attacks in the last 70 years have been fatal. Alligators are in nearly every body of freshwater in Florida, yet the likelihood of a Florida resident being seriously injured as the result of an alligator attack is about one in 3.2 million.
Alligators will rarely attack a person for reasons other than food, and small children and pets are less threatening prey and therefore more susceptible. And while alligators can move quickly on land, they are more adept at capturing prey in the water or near the shore. If you have guests staying at your vacation home, you might be concerned that they would be injured on or near your property. Taking several precautions can greatly reduce the risk of human-alligator interactions. Some of these safety measures include the following:
Pay attention to surroundings when in fresh or brackish water, and do not approach an alligator if you spot one.
Supervise children when playing near water, and teach them about the dangers of coming into contact with even small alligators.
Swim only in designated swimming areas and only during daylight areas, as alligators hunt nocturnally.
Do not allow dogs to swim or drink near water that can contain alligators – even in designated swimming areas. Dogs more closely resemble an alligator’s natural prey, and their barking could attract alligators to the area.
Do not throw fish scraps or chum into the water, and dispose of these remains in trash cans.
If you see an alligator, leave it alone. It is illegal to harass, feed, or kill alligators without a proper permit. Alligators are part of the natural beauty of Florida and make it a unique place to visit, so only take photographs from a safe distance.
If there is an alligator on your property that could pose a threat to people or pets, call the proper authorities to safely remove the alligator.
If you are attacked by an alligator, fight back. Make as much noise as possible, hit and kick, and poke its eyes. Alligators are timid and will often release prey that it cannot easily overpower.
While this might seem like a lot of information, it boils down to this: use common sense, and you’ll be fine – and so will your guests at your vacation home.
Choose Vacation Pool Homes To Manage Your Florida Property
Vacation Pool Homes has a full-service real estate and property management division, and we love to help people break into the vacation rental business. Whether you are looking to purchase a Disney vacation rental, an Orlando rental home, or looking outside of the Kissimmee area, we can help manage your property so you don’t have to worry about anything. Our 24/7 staff can help guests should a hurricane watch be issued or an alligator wanders up to the front door (which is, of course, unlikely). Contact us today to learn more about our property management services, or check out our entire list of rental properties in Florida to get an idea of the kinds of properties we manage and book.