What To Do After a Hurricane in South Florida | Property Damage FAQs

What To Do After a Hurricane in South Florida | Property Damage FAQs

Hurricane Irma has impacted us all in some way. On average us Floridians see 1.5 hurricanes make landfall with our beautiful state every year.

Florida Tropical Cyclone Statistics
In South Florida, we all have our routines and pre hurricane rituals and hopefully as you are reading this you and your family are ok. We hope your homes have not been affected but this was one of the worst hurricanes in history in terms of power outages.

Top 3 Power Outages from Hurricanes in Florida

The storm has inflicted heavy damage all across Florida; Original forecasts were bracing South Eastern Florida for a direct hit, insurers were bracing for a 200 billion dollar loss, but saw their stocks climb as much as 25% for a time during the first trading day after the storm with losses predicted to be between $10 – $60 billion. This was primarily due to the western shift taken by the storm 48-72 hours prior to landfall.

As a mortgage lender in South Florida we have our offices located in Sunrise, luckily no damage to our offices and we have power and are back up and running 100%, helping new clients get into the homes of their dreams.

What To Do After a Hurricane in South Florida Property Damage FAQ

What to do first if your home was affected by Hurricane Irma

Chances are if you are reading this you want to prepare for the next storm or you need to file a claim from damage caused by Irma.

If your house, condonimuim or office property was affected here are the first steps you can take to ensure that you handle this situation

Get in touch with the following entities:

  1. The Federal Emergency Management Agency. You can register with FEMA online, in person at a disaster recovery center or by calling 800-621-3362 FEMA assistance
  2. Your homeowners insurance company, plus your flood insurance company, if either applies to your situation.
  3. Your mortgage servicer aka the company that you send monthly payments to; it might not be your original mortgage lender.

Property Damage FAQ South FL after hurricane
For most people, the aforementioned steps will suffice as a short term plan for after the storm. For others, a more tailored approach is needed:

Tailored solutions to home big  home related problems caused by a Hurricane

It is safe to say we have all payed taxes to uncle Sam at one point in our lives, well , you could see some of these tax dollars help you in an hour of need. Federal aid is available for natural disasters such as Hurricane Irma.

The Small Business Administration or “SBA” is in charge of issuing disaster-related loans to individuals and families. In the case you don’t have insurance or your deductible is too high, SBA extends loans at competitive interest rates to replace or repair primary residences. An individual or family can borrow up to $200,000 to cover renovation or construction costs. In the case your personal property was damaged, both renters and homeowners can receive up to $40,000 to replace items such as appliances, vehicles, furniture and even clothing.

What To Do After a Hurricane in South Florida USA
What happens if you have a mortgage and your house was destroyed? The best answer is to keep paying your mortgage on time until you have been able to talk to your mortgage servicer and have reached a settlement with the insurance company. By paying on time while you sort out the details with mortgage servicer and insurance company, you will be able to protect your credit score from decreasing and adding more unnecessary headaches.

Mortgage Forbearance Will Keep Your Credit Score Intact and Delay Your Mortgage Payments

What if you can’t pay your mortgage because you’ve spent your money preparing and recuperating from the storm? One word… “Mortgage Forbearance”. You are able to ask your mortgage servicer for a forbearance, which will excuse you from making payments up until six months and can be extended up to another six months.

It is important to note that interests still accrue during the forbearance period, but the lender won’t charge late fees or report you to credit bureaus, thus lowering your credit score.

Property Damage FAQ SOFLA
Note that you will have to make up the difference of your missed payments after the forbearance period is over. Your lender might require you to pay extra every month or you can modify your loan and reach another negotiated agreement.

In life timing is everything, and unfortunately for some of us, Hurricane Irma came at one of the most stressful time in our lives.

Buying a Home During a Hurricane

Let’s say you were two weeks away from closing on the home of your dreams, you get a call from your realtor after the storm and they say ” I have good news and bad news: The bad news is,  a tree branch crashed through the living room window and flooded half of the house. The good news is; It could have been much worse!”. At this point, after releasing your anger out on a punching bag.

Coordinate with your realtor and make sure the lender is contacted and they are taking prudent and reasonable actions to determine whether the condition of the property may have materially changed since the effective date of the appraisal report. Take in mind, appraisers may take longer to perform the inspection due to the high amount of orders, so it may be a matter of several days or weeks until you get a final answer.

The appraiser will publish an updated inspection report. This report may contain relatively minor damage that is covered by insurance, at the lenders discretion, the loan can close. On the other hand, if the report comes back with major damage or damage not covered by the insurance, then you can’t close until the repairs are completed.

What To Do After a Hurricane in South Florida
It is important to keep in mind that the clock is still running on your purchase contract; make sure your realtor extends the closing date by 15-30 days, depending on  the extent of the damage. Last thing you want is for you to lose your deposit over something that could have been avoided with proper anticipation.

As Florida residents, we all understand the pros and cons of living in the sunshine state. Hurricanes are inevitable, the best we can do is hope for the best and always be prepared.

If you have any questions please contact us or leave a comment below.

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