Selling after Hurricane Irma
Selling your house after a memorable and historic storm like Hurricane Irma is no different than selling at any other time. In every home sale, you will be asked to disclose what you know you have repaired and what you know does and does not work. As a Realtor, I always encourage every seller to honestly let the potential buyer know absolutely everything they know about the condition of their home. We use a seller's disclosure with basic questions and provide to a buyer so they are in the know.
Ideally, every home owner keeps their home in tip top condition and that includes knowing what damage you may have sustained after a major storm. Taking the next few steps now could help you avoid a home inspector's red flags. Your potential buyer is also going to need homeowners insurance at an affordable rate and insurance agents often let buyers know if a claim has previously been filed on the property they are considering. The reality is that almost every home may have one, two or a list of items that a licensed home inspector may flag to a buyer and they need not be major items that would be a deal breaker if you do a few things immediately after a storm to avoid future issues.
3 property checks to make a priority after Hurricane Irma
1. Have your roof inspected: In South Florida, many areas entertained Irma's wind gusts up to and exceeding 100 miles per hour for hours on end until the storm cleared. Roof damage can be obvious immediately after the storm when you can see shingles on the ground, obvious missing shingles in spots, patches or entire roof coverings. Roof tiles may show signs that they have slid out of place or even randomly blown off. A licensed roofer will tell you that only they should "walk the roof" for damage that your eye may not catch what could potentially cause leaks. It is common for roof tiles to loosen in a hurricane and for nails to come loose. What our untrained eyes may not catch, a roofer will note so that you have a chance to correct what may be leak sources for leaks later in time or even a compromised spot or section that could cause failure during the next hurricane or strong storm.
2. Check for water intrusion and water damage. Simply walking around the outside of your home and really looking at every surface may help you spot areas of concern directly after a hurricane. Sometimes, pressure washing leaves and grass that were plastered to your exterior surfaces from a hurricane's wind, may uncover the need to repaint. You could have walked by these small spots daily and seen the trouble spots but overlooked them as a necessary to do priority. Front door wood casing and the bottom couple of inches wood on both sides of the garage door are often the first places that water tends to attempt to sneak in when it is being pushed in by hurricane force winds. Down the road, these could warp, rot or worse, end up on an inspection report under the very scary heading of "wood decay". The soffit wood under your roof line should also be checked. A handyman or even your roofer may replace soffit wood damaged by blowing rain or a roof leak from a strong storm.
3. Check your insurance policy for coverages and deductibles. While you may be rushed to get to the insurance company quickly, if your potential repair cost is obviously a small amount and less than your deductible, it may make more sense for you to pay for the repair out of pocket. Insurance experts say they log every call and certainly every claim could impact your insurance rate in the future. Large items such as roof replacement may need an adjuster to inspect before your insurance company will cut a check for the repair or replacement. Knowing what your policy says so you can be in the know before you call your insurance agent could save you big money. When you sell, the rate for the next owner could also be impacted by the claims placed on your current home.
While hurricanes are a risk we take by owning property in the State of Florida, the risks of damage to your home may be lessened in the future by taking these steps now. For more home selling strategy customized to your situation, please request a home valuation today.
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