Hurricane Aftermath: What Real Estate Investors Should Know
As we get further into hurricane season, real estate investors should consider the safety and security of their investment properties. In part 1 of this 2 part blog series, we discussed the important preparations an investor should make if a hurricane is nearing an area where they either own a rental or are in the middle of fixing and flipping a property. In part 2, we are going to dive into what investors should do and how they should respond after the storm is over.
Check In With Tenants
If you are a landlord, you should contact your tenants to see to see if they are safe. They can likely provide a quick update on any serious damage that needs to be addressed.
Initial Damage Assessment
When you are finally able to visit your property, do a brief assessment of any major damage that your property may have suffered. First, walk the exterior and look for any smashed windows, cracked tiles, damaged roofs, collapsed porches or carports, knocked-down fences, or broken doors. Next, check the interior of the home for flooding, shattered glass, exposed wiring that could cause a fire, or leaks from the roof.
As you do your walkthrough, be sure to take pictures or even video that you can provide your insurance company. Documenting all damage will be very important for your insurance company when you are ready to file claims.
Contact Your Insurance Company and/or Agent
The faster you can get your claim filed, the quicker you can start the process of getting your insurance company to cover the costs of the damages. Call your agent or company and report your property’s condition and provide them with as much detail on the extent of damages.
While you wait for your contractor and insurance company to do a full overview of the property, you’ll want to do what you can to prevent any further damages from occurring. Secure your property by boarding up or covering broken windows with tarps. If there are broken pipes, turn off the water valve so your property doesn’t flood. Turn off any appliances that may have been in use when the power went out for risk of a fire starting when electricity is restored.
Update Your Contractor
If you were in the middle of a fix and flip, talk to your contractor and update him on the status of the project. Let your contractor come to the property and give his own assessment of the damage, and how long and how much he estimates it will take to repair and fix. If the home was seriously damaged or is without power for an extended amount of time, it will be up to you and your contractor to decide what is the best way to proceed.
Call In Specialty Contractors
A general contractor may not be equipped to do a thorough inspection of some complicated areas such as plumbing, mold, electrical or the roof. Schedule an inspection as soon as possible with these specialists, so they can conduct a more extensive review and catch any issues before they worsen.
Only remove what you can safely without injuring yourself. Pile any loose debris like tree branches, roof shingles, tiles, bushes, lawn furniture, or wood sidings carefully on your front lawn for your local sanitation or bulk collection and recycling department to haul away. Especially if you own a rental property occupied by tenants, you don’t want to leave dangerous debris lying around. And, if your contractor and his team need easy access to the property, trees blocking the driveway can become problematic.
Repair and Rebuild
After the storm, the best you can do is just start repairing and rebuilding as much as possible, as quickly as possible. As a fix and flip investor, the faster you can get your renovations back up and running again, the faster you can prepare it for sale. As a buy and hold landlord, you’ll want to do what you can to make the property livable again so tenants can return home safely.
In the aftermath of a hurricane, investors looking for that next investment property may need financing to help with the purchase or repairs. Apply for a fix-n-flip or rental loan with LendingOne. Get started today and receive your free instant rate quote.