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Weather risks and costly repairs aren't dampening Florida housing market


As we just heard, severe flooding in Fort Lauderdale has caused massive damage to many people's homes. With extreme storms and flooding becoming more common, we wanted to know if this is affecting the housing market in South Florida. So we called real estate broker Wendy Newman-Scheppke. She sells properties in Fort Lauderdale and across South Florida. And she said storms are a way of life.

WENDY NEWMAN-SCHEPPKE: We live in a beautiful place. You know, we live where people vacation. But with that comes big nature, big storms.

NADWORNY: But this particular storm that hit Fort Lauderdale with over 2 feet of rain in one day is causing some homeowners to reconsider their ZIP code.

NEWMAN-SCHEPPKE: As I was checking in on my clients that live in the affected areas, there are a few of them that are kind of done, and they will be putting their houses on the market after they do the repairs.

NADWORNY: And selling a previously flooded house is a lot of work.

NEWMAN-SCHEPPKE: First of all, disclosures have to be made. We have to disclose material defects that affect the home, whether that's roof leaks, whether that's flooding. And in terms of marketing the house, you know, it really is - it's a little tough sometimes. A lot of these houses will be tear-downs and rebuilt. And when they're rebuilt, they'll be built back, you know, stronger with the new codes. But some of these houses, believe it or not, that flooded, are built with, you know, acceptable building codes, with newer roofs, with impact windows. It just depends on where they lie in elevation.

NADWORNY: But despite the severe weather risks and potentially expensive home repairs, Wendy doesn't see it affecting the housing market too much.

NEWMAN-SCHEPPKE: South Florida market is very different than the rest of the country. We are generally always busy. So there's always somebody that's going to want the house. We go through the disasters and then we build back. And every time, you know, it happens, the houses are stronger, the houses are built better, the houses are built higher.

NADWORNY: So if you're considering buying in South Florida, here's some advice.

NEWMAN-SCHEPPKE: Oh, never, never, never, never - you never waive your inspection. You may shorten it, but you always want that opportunity to inspect the house and make sure that everything is what it's supposed to be.

NADWORNY: That was real estate broker Wendy Newman-Scheppke of Royal Palm Realty of South Florida. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.