Time was, these three words were the mantra for buying and selling real estate far away from cities or suburbs. “Dream home” and “paradise” come to mind too. It is human nature to seek a desirable place to live, and for those who can afford it, this means an inspiring mountaintop view, a secluded place at the beach, a rustic lodge down by the riverside. A home with solitude, the sounds of nature, inspiring beauty. Who wouldn’t want this “good life?”
But every so often, nature sweeps across land and water with a powerful and violent hand. The Fourmile Canyon Fire in Boulder, the Atlantic Ocean hurricanes, twisters in America’s “Tornado Alley”, the dam-busting floods in Iowa, and other events are daily news.
And just as it is human nature to search for paradise, it is a sad and familiar human response to ask “why me?” when nature’s dark destruction roars down upon us. Those who live in vulnerable places should know and admit the risks.
Here are 5 secrets to help you determine if you are living in a safe or vulnerable location.
- Know the natural history of your home site. Do the research on the soil problems, erosion, flooding, wildfires, wind, and even tectonic (earthquake) risks.
- Frequency of natural events. How often have these events occurred in the past 5, 10, or 20 years?
- Severity of natural events. Find out how destructive past events were to lives, homes, and infrastructure.
- Recovery costs are always higher than you think. After disaster strikes, life does not resume normally. It may take many months, even years to rebuild and reestablish your property, landscape, buildings, and place of work. Post-traumatic stress is common following such events. Treating this condition takes professional help and plenty of time.
- Now, calculate the true worth. While insurance payouts may be available, factor in all the costs of living in a vulnerable location. Compare this true cost to the expense of living in a safer place.
Whether you stay or move to a safer place, remember: it’s about location, location, location.