Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Safe Home Grants

An email from my neighbor Diane:

"Here is the website for the grants to upgrade homes. Sadly, hurricane windows are not amongst the choices, which I was hoping for, but perhaps some of you may want/need the other upgrade options. Good luck. http://www.mysafefl oridahome. com/FreeHomeInsp ections.asp "

. Who will be eligible for free home inspections?

A Floridian whose primary residence is a single-family, “site-built” home and
who has a valid homestead exemption, and
whose home has an insured value of not more than $500,000.
A Floridian whose primary residence is a unit in a residential building of up to four units, and
who has a valid homestead exemption, and
whose unit has an insured value of not more than than $500,000.
NOTE: All unit owners in a residential building must agree to participate in the program to be eligible for free inspections.

Properties not eligible for free home inspections include:

• Mobile homes or manufactured homes
• Second homes
• Rental properties
• Apartments
• Businesses

2. When can I request an inspection?
We will have information available by August 2006 to inform Floridians when they can begin to apply for free inspections.

3. How do I request an inspection?
By August 2006, we will begin to offer qualified homeowners options for applying for free inspections, including an on-line application that homeowners may fill out and submit electronically or by mail. Floridians who do not have internet access will be able to call our Department’s toll-free consumer helpline – 1-800-342-2762 – to request an application be mailed.

4. Who can I use to do an inspection?
When your application is approved, the Department of Financial Services will notify you who will be available to perform the inspection. The new law requires the Department to assemble a group of qualified inspectors who have undergone background checks, have verified inspection experience and have received specialized training in strengthening homes against hurricanes.

5. What will the inspection report tell me?
The new law specifies that the inspection report must:

Outline what eligible improvements may be made to your home to increase resistance to hurricane wind damage.

Provide a range of how much each improvement would cost to do.
Explain what insurance discounts may be available for each improvement.
Offer a hurricane resistance rating scale that shows the home’s current ability, and future ability with improvements, to withstand hurricanes.

NOTE: There are seven categories of improvements that are eligible for matching grant dollars. The inspector’s report will detail each of these as they relate to your home.

6. Does obtaining a free inspection obligate me to make any repairs or upgrades to my residence?

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