Whether you pay much attention to the climate change debate or not, it does seem like weather has become a bit more extreme in recent years.

It may or may not be El Nino, La Nina, or any of the other terms that get bandied around, but it does seem like Mother Nature is throwing punches a little bit harder than I remember.

Recent storms, flash flooding and power losses around a number of Australian cities made one thing glaringly obvious: our homes are pretty vulnerable.

You only had to watch footage of entire houses being swept down the street to realise that entire lives can change over the course of 48 hours.

With that in mind and with more wild weather to come, it’s important to prepare your property for the worst; especially if you are planning to sell it any time soon and don’t want to spend all your potential equity gain on structural repairs first.

First, get up on the roof, or at least hire someone else to, and remove leaf litter from drains and gutters. Too much of this debris clogging up can see rain water overflow into the roof cavity and enter the property.

This will cause structural damage and has a nasty side effect of rising damp or a build-up of mould, which can cause numerous health problems.

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Remember also that a home provides a roof over your head, so the roof is basically the most important part to keep solid in a storm.

Broken tiles can weaken the structure and get thrown around in high winds, which can be perilous. Checking them for damage every year goes a long way to early detection of cracks and keeping your roof strong.

Next, ironically, the very things that allow us to breathe are also the natural enemies of the rooves and walls that keep us physically safe.

Ensure any trees that you have on your property are healthy and free from infestation. Rotting branches are weak and more likely to fall during strong winds, causing damage to your home and car.

This obviously puts family members in danger.

If you have outdoor furniture that isn’t bolted down, at least make sure it can be restrained or put away in the event of a storm, because you don’t want tables or chairs flying around.

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Finally, check your home and contents insurance.

One only has to cast their minds back to the Qld floods a few years ago, when hundreds of families missed out on insurance payouts due to technicalities.

Make sure your policy includes all kinds of storm damage otherwise you might end up out of pocket.

Tim McIntyre is the senior real estate reporter for the Daily Telegraph and News.com.au.

Over the past decade, he has attained widespread knowledge of Australia’s many unique property markets and is an authority on all things buying, selling and investing.

His commentary appears every Saturday in the Daily Telegraph Real Estate lift out, as well as online at news.com.au. www.news.com.au/realestate

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