How To Recover Your Home After A Hurricane

How to Recover your home after a hurricane

The Hurricane Aftermath

In the aftermath of a natural disaster like a hurricane, people want to get back to normal. Unfortunately, strong winds and high waters can cause severe damage to homes in the affected area.

If your home was damaged in a hurricane, do you know what to do? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but understanding a few guidelines can simplify and streamline the process.

How Do You Know When It’s Safe to Go Back Home?

It’s never a good idea to attempt to return home until government officials open the area. Staff members from utility companies and local authorities are your best sources of information in these circumstances. Government officials typically are responsible for preventing access to severely storm-damaged areas or allowing people to return. Representatives from utility companies can tell you if downed power lines, gas leaks or other hazards are making it unsafe to enter your home in particular or even the entire neighborhood.

Whenever possible, ask a technician from the utility company to come with you to inspect the damage to your house. They can alert you to any potential safety risks and perhaps even get the repair process started. If it isn’t safe to occupy your home, you may need to secure temporary lodgings. If you can stay in your home, make certain that basic safety systems like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning.

While your home is the largest piece of property that you own and you are anxious to assess damages, remember that your personal health and safety are far more important than any possessions. Don’t disobey “do not enter” orders posted by government or utility company officials.

Does Your Home Insurance Cover Hurricanes?

Home insurance policies usually cover the basics, but they don’t necessarily cover damage caused by hurricanes. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, then adding hurricane coverage to your policy is the sensible thing to do.

The flooding that sometimes accompanies a hurricane may or may not be covered by a hurricane policy. Depending upon your insurance company, you may have to add separate flood insurance. Since the majority of hurricane property damage is a result of rising waters, flood insurance may be a necessity. If you live in a flood zone, federal law may require you to have such coverage.

Flood and hurricane insurance typically don’t take effect until the policy has been in place for at least 30 days. Take steps today to protect yourself.

Understanding Your Deductible

While your home insurance policy may have a deductible set at a dollar amount, hurricane coverage usually has a deductible that is a percentage of your home’s overall value. For example, your hurricane coverage may have a five percent deductible. On a $400,000 house, you would be responsible for $20,000 in repairs before your insurance begins paying.

Taking The Proper Steps

Once the authorities allow you back into your home, you’ll need to assess the damage so you can file an insurance claim. Take photographs of conditions in and around your home. List all possessions that have been damaged or lost as a result of the storm. The more documentation you provide, the easier this process becomes.

It’s sensible to cover leaky roofs and missing windows with tarps or boards but resist the temptation to start repairing or throwing away debris. It’s preferable for your claim to allow your insurer to see all of the damage before paying for any repairs.

Act with speed when it comes to filing a claim. Requests for visits by assessors are handled in the order they are received, so the sooner you file a claim, the sooner you will have an assessor at your property. Be prepared to share photographs and documentation about the damage with the assessor.

Give Yourself Time To Heal

Hurricanes may blow through a community in a matter of a couple of days, but the recovery effort typically takes far more time. When your home and possessions are severely damaged, the situation can feel overwhelming.

Try to take the recovery effort one small step at a time. In circumstances like these, even a new doorknob should be seen as a victory and bring you just a little closer to normal.

What to Ask When Choosing A Lender

When looking at purchasing a home and acquiring a loan, you’ll be doing some research on lenders. Here are a few questions to ask when choosing a lender to choose the one that best meets your needs:

1. What are the most popular mortgages you offer? Why are they so popular?

2. What fees are included in the loan; and what fees will be due at closing?

3. Are your rates, terms, fees and closing costs negotiable?

4. Do you offer discounts for inspections, homeownership classes or setting up automatic payments?

5. Will I have to buy private mortgage insurance (PMI)? If so, how much will it be and how long will it be required?

6. What are your escrow requirements?

7. What bill-pay options do you offer?

8. What would be included in my mortgage payment (homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, etc.)?

9. Which type of mortgage plan would you recommend for my situation?

10. Who will service this loan – your bank or another company?

11. How long will the rate on this loan be locked-in? Will I be able to obtain a lower rate if the market rate drops during the lock-in period?

12. How long will the loan approval process take?

13. How long will it take to close the loan?

14. Are there any charges or penalties for prepaying this loan?

15. How much in total will I be paying over the life of this loan?

16. Can you tell me how much my monthly payment would be for what I qualify for?

These questions can help prompt an educational discussion with potential lenders that keep you informed and aware of your options and the loan process when purchasing a home.

Ready to start? Contact us for a list of the lenders we trust and work with. Once you have your pre-approval, we’re ready to start the home search process.

 

Exterior Projects That Net You Cash

Thinking about making improvements to your yard? Here are the projects that provide the greatest return when you sell based on the 2018

Remodeling Impact: Outdoor Features report.

  1. Landscape Maintenance = 100%
  2. Overall Landscape Upgrade = 83%
  3. Tree Care = 100%
  4. New Wood Deck = 80%
  5. New Patio = 69%
  6. Landscape Lighting = 50%
  7. Fire Feature = 67%
  8. Irrigation System = 86%
  9. Outdoor Kitchen = 71%
  10. New Pool = 43%

Many times owners think that they’ll get more bang for their buck with improvements than they actually will. This infographic helps guide owners with what improvements can generate the highest returns.

Want to know what your home is worth? We can provide you with a FREE Home Valuation.

5 Tips on Safeguarding Your Home During Open Houses

This the season for open houses. We want to protect you guys with some great tips during an open house that you may or may not have thought about:

1. Hide or remove any documents (bills, credit cards…etc.) that have private information

2. Lock up or remove jewelry, antiques, keys, garage door openers, etc.

3. Don’t think your top dresser door is safe – Don’t hide anything in your top drawers

4. Lock up your medications and prescriptions

5. Make sure your Realtor signs everyone in before touring the home

When working with real estate professionals, it’s important to choose someone who knows the area and is an expert in the market.

At Waypointe Realty, we strive to stay educated about our market and understand our sellers and buyers, their needs, and how we can best serve them in one of the most important decisions they’ll make. Tips like these are just some of the ways we take care of our customers every step of the way.

Typical Closing Costs When Buying a Home

It’s an exciting time when buyer’s are ready to purchase a home, but many times they forget to consider the costs beyond just the down payment. Closing costs can be scary because of the unknown. So we want to help clarify the unknown for you.

Typical closing costs for a buyer are: Continue reading “Typical Closing Costs When Buying a Home”

Why Stage Your Home and the Best Rooms to Stage

iHeart Realty by Waypointe Realty is a fun, engaging show that brings you real estate news through authentic, clear messaging, giving you what you need to know about today’s real estate market, home design tips and tricks, and events happening around town with your hosts, Jenelle Ferrer and Hilda Hernandez.

4 reasons why you should stage your home when selling & the 6 rooms in your home that you should be focused on! Continue reading “Why Stage Your Home and the Best Rooms to Stage”