How Vulerable Are Our Properties?



Last night’s newest Malibu [tag-tec]fire[/tag-tec] really hit me broadside. 


Exactly how vulnerable are our properties?   Are we adequately protected? 


From the reports coming in this morning four multi-million dollar homes and one guest house were lost.  Three homes on that street were for sale with prices ranging from around $7 million for the cheapest to about $16 million. 



My friend Eleni Melirrytos, the Greek author and chef, recently enrolled her daughter in Pepperdine University, less than one mile away.  The youngster, who was only seventeen at the time, was having difficulty with homesickness even though she was attending what is reputed to be the most beautiful college campus in America. 


“Dear, if you get depressed just look at your dorm window,” the Athens mother told her daughter. “That’s a million dollar view out there.”  


This area  is among some of the choicest, most exciting real estate in the world with views of the ocean many of us can only dream about.  We buy mags like Architectural Digest just to peak at a world that is almost surrealistic sometimes.


But apparently paradise comes with some warnings.  Fires are a common threat for that area because of those evil Santa Ana winds.   And of course they’ve had their share of mudslides.


You can  ask yourself if paradise is really worth spending the night at the Malibu High School wondering if you’ll have a home to go back to come daylight.  To me that’s a no brainer.  The answer is no.


Are we ready?  What about earthquakes?  Do we even know the history of where our properties are located?  Is there a fault underneath? 


But mostly I think flooding is the biggest problem facing most investors.  Is that property you’re about to invest in located on a flood plain?  Have you investigated?  Doing a quick search online for 30 minutes or so is not too much effort to find out.


But here’s my real advice  for today.  What about insurance?  Are we completely covered?  It doesn’t take a fire on the Malibu level to destroy a property.  One careless cigarette can do it.  In fact, rumors  circulating last night was  that’s how the Malibu fire started. 


Take an hour or two during January to do an insurance check-up.  Go over your polices.  If you don’t understand them, you’re certainly not alone.  There is  help available.  We’ll cover  the best up-to-date sources in future posts. 

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