Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Save Money on Homeowners Insurance

Another tip from my great builder friend, Felix Beukenkamp, can help you save money on your homeowners insurance.... Some companies will reduce your premium if you retrofit your property with wind-resistant features. Some of those potential features include: enhancing roof decking, hurricane shutters, hurricane straps, upgrading the connection from roof to walls, protecting skylights, and upgrading garage doors. The criteria for measuring any of these improvements is strict, and a report by a building professional stating the nature of your improvements may be required in order to received a discount from your insurance company. One company that performs these Wind Certification Surveys is Applied Research Associates, with costs starting at $150 for homes under 5000 square feet. ARA's website is, and the toll free number is 1-888-936-4272.

Florida Home Improvement Grants!

My good friend, and 2006 BIA Builder of the Year, Felix Beukenkamp, alerted me to a great state benefit available to Florida homeowners who meet certain criteria. You may be eligible to get a matching grant for up to $5000 for wind-resistance improvements through the Florida Comprehensive Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program. First, you must find out if your property is eligible, and if so, apply for an inspection online. If chosen, a Florida approved inspector will report what improvements might be done on your home to help it resist damage from hurricane winds. If approved for a matching grant, you must use the funds toward one of the following categories: improving the strength of your roof deck attachment, creating a secondary water barrier to prevent water intrusion, improving the survivability of your roof covering, bracing gable-ends in your roof framing, reinforcing roof-to-wall connections, upgrading exterior wall opening protections (like hurricane shutters) or upgrading exterior doors (like a hurricane-rated garage door). The details of the program and application are available on

Emerald Coast Building Codes

The Florida legislature is discussing suspending the less stringent building codes that have been in effect in the Panhandle since 2000. Those codes, unlike the rest of Florida, only require homes within one mile of the gulf to comply to the 120 mph wind-borne debris construction standards for new homes. Those building codes are set to apply further inland in March, 2007. The legislature's concern is that the weaker codes throughout the rest of the Panhandle region contribute to higher insurance costs to all Floridians. The Florida Home Builder Association disagrees, feeling new home buyers would be harmed. They say the cost of construction will be higher and negate any savings reaped on homeowners insurance.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Press Release Sneak Preview

Rulnick Realty, Inc. is the new real estate firm headed up by Wendy Rulnick, seventeen-year real estate broker with the CRP, CRS, GRI and ABR designations. The firm serves the Emerald Coast specializing in the areas of residential, resort, land, new construction and commercial sales. Rulnick Realty features an in-house marketing branch, the Addy award-winning Alan Iris Design, with John James serving as Art Director. Additionally, the company's property management branch, Rulnick Properties, is headed by Rhonda Therrien, CRS, GRI. Rulnick states the firm is currently seeking experienced real estate sales personnel with a record of "integrity, innate work ethic, and exceptional customer service skills". Rulnick Realty is located in the Miramar Plaza at 12889 Emerald Coast Parkway, Suite 107-A, Destin, telephone (850) 650-7883.