The hurricane is gone; now what?

With Hurricane Dorian effects on the east coast of the United States, there are a number of things homeowners need to consider when it’s time to assess material damage in the wake of a major hurricane.  Here are some great tips from an article I just read.

Your home has sustained damage, now what? Document the damage by taking photos/videos and save all receipts for supplies for repairs. It’s a good idea to make temporary repairs to prevent further damage. This can be as simple as covering a hole on the roof or window with a tarp or plywood. Also, contact your insurance company as quickly as possible to get the claims process started.

What’s covered by my insurance policy? Property damage from wind is usually covered under your standard policy. However, flood damage is not. This coverage is normally purchased separately through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program or a private insurer. Renters’ policies only cover the renters’ belongings, whereas the structure is insured by the landlord. Damage to your vehicle from wind and flooding is covered under your auto insurance policy’s optional comprehensive coverage.

What else is covered? Ask your insurance agent, but most insurance policies help cover some costs beyond structural damage or belongings such as the cost to evacuate, temporary housing if your home is uninhabitable from damage sustained during the storm. Also, talk to your employer about lost wages because of missed days of work – many businesses have insurance policies that allow them to pay employees for a set number of missed work days due to mandatory evacuation.

Can FEMA help me? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides assistance once a disaster is declared a federal disaster. To find out if you qualify, visit http://www.disasterassistance.gov and enter your address. The site also has information on FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers.

How do I avoid being scammed on repairs to my home/property? Beware of door-to-door solicitors. Contact your insurance company before signing contracts for repairs. Only work with licensed and insured contractors and obtain more than one estimate. Get everything in writing, including material and labor costs and a schedule of work to include a completion date. Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until all work is completed. Contact your state’s department of insurance if you think you’re being scammed or to report suspected fraud.

I hope this article helps!  Let me know if you have any comments or questions.

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Posted on September 6, 2019 at 12:09 pm
Jim Smoak | Category: General Real Estate, Insurance, Maintenance

Selling A House With Solar Panels

Solar panels are something many buyers are looking for and appraisers make note of when assessing your property, but can add a bit of complexity in the sale of the house depending on local ordinances and whether they panels are owned or leased. Make sure to have your agent mention solar panels in your listing and discuss them in your negotiations with potential buyers. Generally, a house with a solar panel lease can be sold or bought in the following ways: Continue reading

Posted on August 12, 2019 at 1:48 pm
Jim Smoak | Category: General Real Estate

Some Home Renovations Can Actually Harm Resale Value

Sometimes home improvements are necessary due to major issues; however, the worst thing a seller can do is make renovations that aren’t supported by the local market.  Here are a few good examples that this article points out.

Over-the-top kitchen remodels costing more than 25% of the home’s value do not generate much of a return when selling your home. If you’re going to add an addition to your home, it is wise to seek professional help with the layout and design to avoid destroying the floorplan/function. Continue reading

Posted on August 12, 2019 at 1:36 pm
Jim Smoak | Category: General Real Estate

Construct your dream property or renovate an existing one?

With the aging inventory of homes in the US, this decision is becoming more and more common. Should you build a new home or renovate an existing one? There are many considerations and this article lists 11 questions to get answers to which will help you qualify the best decision for your situation. All 11 questions are good, but here are some of my favs.

Continue reading

Posted on July 27, 2019 at 12:07 pm
Jim Smoak | Category: General Real Estate

Amazon sells a $19,000 DIY tiny-home kit

Are you an empty nester and want to scale down?  The tiny home trend certainly classifies as scaling down!  To date, most tiny homes seem to involve stick built homes from the ground up.  However, Amazon now sells tiny home kits ranging from $6000-65,000.  Amazon!  And many of them are shipped for free!  Do you think a tiny home could be for you?  Continue reading

Posted on July 9, 2019 at 2:59 pm
Jim Smoak | Category: General Real Estate