How Can A Realtor Assist You During A Natural Disaster

So last week was quite an event for our region with regards to Ida. In Greater Philadelphia, we saw several tornados which wrought destruction that is super rare for the area. A not so rare (and increasingly common) occurence was the flooding. The remnants of Ida brought with it an enormous amount of property damage and subsequent calls to emergency services and insurance companies. People are still digging out from a total loss of their home, airing out their basements or in some cases trying to find their car which floated away. Today I will talk about how real estate agents can be useful in times like these.

When I settle on a property with my buyers I nearly always tell them the following: “Congratulations! Just so you know, this isn’t the end of the road for us. If you have any questions, concerns, need contractors, etc. I want to be your first call.” The purpose of this statement is to make sure my clients do not feel alone after the homebuying process and that I am always available to assist either directly or through my network of contacts. This holds true even during the worst of natural disasters… the following are a few ways we can help/

Leverage our relationships: This one is the most obvious. Whether it’s contractors or those who provide professional services, the rule is the same. In times of distress, you almost always need someone’s help. Calling someone out of the blue from Google means you could be rolling the dice. Keep in mind that everyone will be calling them since that is how many homeowners find people in the first place. This could lead to slower response time and performance. An added bonus is your agent will have their finger on the pulse of what’s going on all the way to completion of the task at hand. Realtors can also provide context to this person so they know best to help you as quickly as possible. My team makes fun of me because I always say “I gotta guy” and guess what? I usually do! If I don’t, I 100% have someone in my network who knows someone who can help you!

New Finishes/Restoration: If you do suffer a total loss or severe damage there is a high likelihood you will replace what was there. Insurance policies make this possible through their claim process, but keep in mind that the exact thing doesn’t have to go back into the home. As tragic as it is, this scenario will allow you to update things and you should consult with your realtor to keep up to date on market trends. For example, I assume many who suffered a loss will go with predominantly grey finishes. Might not be the best idea at this point. This is blasphemy to some who read that last sentence but grey is starting to be called “flipper grey” which implies run of the mill and perhaps even cheap finishes. Another example is many of my buyers are claiming the granite in homes will need to be “replaced on day one” as it has fallen out of favor with market in many respects. Consult with an agent for the latest and greatest ideas in design and finishes.

Just a Helping Hand: A small community in Fort Washington, PA was devastated by a tornado where many of the homes are now condemned. We know many of the residents there and my real estate team was on the ground within 24 hours assessing the damage and just being there to help with logistics. Agents in these times can assist physically, financially and emotionally. I always tell my team this is a relationship business and these situations are no exception. There is a trauma that occurs when someone’s home is damaged and/or destroyed. People need support…plain and simple.

Insurance Quotes: The best way to avoid an insurance issue is to button up your policy and be absolutely sure that you’re covered just in case. Insurance is super cheap for those one-off events like fire or flood (when you’re not in a flood zone), so it is super important to go through all those scenarios with a skilled agent who has seen at all. Ask your realtor for someone they trust in order to at least shop the rate. Beware though that ot all agents are created equal.

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