Buying a Property in Tornado Alley - Here's What You Need to Know

Written by Posted On Saturday, 13 February 2016 02:46

There are plenty of natural and man-made disasters to be on the lookout for when purchasing a new home. Regular seasonal weather can be a common influencer in choosing where to buy property: very cold or hot weather – as well as humid or dry spells – all can affect homes in various ways. Mudslides, flooding and other forms of disaster which may be naturally occurring or man-made also should be considered. Irregular types of weather such as tornadoes may not be common considerations, but areas in central Canada are much more active in this regard. Whether you are choosing to relocate to Alberta or Kansas, here is what you need to know about buying properties in what is commonly called “Tornado Alley”.


Where Is Tornado Alley?

Tornado Alley is a common moniker that refers to portions of both Canada and the United States. Beginning in Texas, Tornado Alley stretches north through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. It inevitably reaches portions of Canada, including southern Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Basement Concerns

Despite the prevalence of tornadoes in this part of the world, many homes in Tornado Alley do not have basements. Ideally, any property in this area should have either a basement or some sort of underground cellar. While the inclusion or a basement or cellar may add to the overall cost, such an inclusion may prove to be invaluable in a part of the world where tornadoes are three to five times more likely. This may mean looking for real estate that was built in recent decades; it is far less common to find basements in Tornado Alley homes that were built more than 30 years ago.

Mortgage Difficulties

Whether you intend to build a house from scratch or buy an existing property, it can sometimes be a bit more difficult to procure a mortgage in Tornado Alley. A public adjuster can provide information on whether or not additional insurance is needed in order to secure a home with a good mortgage. Usually, however, damage that results from tornadoes (wind and hail damage, to be precise) is covered by typical homeowner insurance policies. Any high-risk areas – such as river valleys, alongside cliffs and in coastal areas – can present challenges for those in the market for a new home.

Tornado-Safe Home Options

If you're really willing to go custom or get creative, then there are possible options that you can consider when searching for a property. One solution is concrete exteriors for the home. There are varying solutions available that can withstand tornadoes with winds up to 500 kph. Another excellent solution are homes that are built into the earth itself. You can consider either a home that is physically built underground, or a home that is built into a hill and surrounded on three sides. Both of these options provide homeowners with peace of mind and security during mother nature's worst temper-tantrums.


Let us know what concerns you most about living in Tornado Alley in the comments below.

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