With the first tropical system of the season threatening the British Virgin Islands, this is a good time to start thinking about smart real estate choices.
Our advice is simple; when purchasing BVI real estate, check to see if the property is low lying.
Ideally, if you are buying a seafront home, you’ll want the property to be elevated or, at least above sea level. Be careful of homes built close to the water on a sand beach. Hurricane force waves are very destructive and you may find your real estate has shifted.
However, having said that, there are smart ways to build on the coast. We know of a homeowner who suffered serious house damage during a hurricane in the 1990s. Her home was one block from the sea. She noted that nearby residents directly on the coast weathered the storm without damage. So she rebuilt on a piece of real estate she owned on the beach. The new home is built on concrete pilings and, when put to the test a few years ago, it came through with flying colours.
A word of warning: insurance on seaside homes can be high.
Another piece of advice; we love planting shade and fruit bearing trees on our property in the Caribbean. The trees provide large green umbrellas to picnic under, food, shelter for our native birds and they are environmentally appealing.
Do not plant trees within falling distance of your home; they can lead to severe roof damage. Your insurance may not cover roof damage.
A lot of us inherited large trees growing close to our homes, so we make sure any large branches are trimmed during hurricane season. It’s also important to trim coconuts as they can turn into cannon balls during a bad storm.
Although several storms typically threaten our islands every year, the vast majority skirt the British Virgin Islands. If a bad storm does come our way, our homes become our refuge. Many of us have generators in case of power cuts. Some of us will make a batch of conch fritter batter or some other comfort food, invite family and friends over and have a ‘hurricane party.’