Whether you are buying or selling a home or just dealing with your insurance company, there are some critical decisions being made that will change Mountain Metro real estate transactions. Fire mitigation has always been serious and important in our community, however a new fire risk rating system for homes and insurance companies may be heading our way.
Several months ago, I received a letter from my insurance company saying they were sending someone to photograph my home to be sure it was in a “fire safe” area. My insurance agent warned me about mitigating so that my insurance did not discontinue my coverage. He said that I should have ten feet in between trees and no tall grass within a 30-foot perimeter of my home.
As we regularly work with buyers and sellers in the mountain areas, we see clients with more challenges obtaining homeowners insurance because of too many trees too close to the home and other fire mitigation issues. Governor Hickenlooper commissioned a task force to identify ways to encourage fire mitigation and to create policies that would reduce the risk of loss in “wildland-urban interface” areas. You can read the recommendations of the task force here.
One recommendation that came from this report is to create wildfire risk scores for homes and areas (called CO-WRAP scores). High scores trigger fire mitigation audits by the state and challenge insurance policies. Right now, the Colorado Association of Realtors® has a committee researching the impact of such scores. Some are concerned it could lower home values in certain mountain areas by unnecessarily frightening prospective buyers. The Mountain Metro Association of Realtors® has a representative on the committee to help mountain area Realtors® keep a very close eye on the decisions made and how they will affect our clients.
In the meantime, it would be a good idea to check out the Colorado State Forest Service website for more information on fire mitigation. You can even ask them questions and have someone come to your property to perform a “homesite assessment.” They can help you assess the health of your trees and the surrounding forests.
I recommend taking pro-active steps through these types of services and contacting your insurance company for help and information to keep your insurance rates down and your home values up.
If you are thinking of selling your home, please contact me today. I am happy to provide additional information on this topic.
Jon P. Terry, J.D., C.M.A.S.
Alaris Properties, LLC
Current Board President of the Mountain Metro Association of Realtors®