**First, always be safe!**
In case you haven’t heard, there’s a hurricane coming. Its name is Matthew and as we write this, it’s too early to tell if it’s going to be bad or it’s going to be a whimper. We were in Publix and all the water is gone, so it’s clear what people think!
So how do you prepare for a hurricane when you’re selling your house or buying one? You will be inundated with advice and things to do and it should all be followed! But it is also important to consider how these storms will affect a real estate transaction.
But did you also know that a named storm in the state of Florida can halt your real estate closing in its tracks. If a storm is named (meaning it’s no longer just bad weather but a tropical storm or hurricane) and is heading your way, insurance companies won’t write insurance policies for new homes until the storm has passed and the damage is assessed.
This is a major problem for several reasons:
First, if you’re getting a mortgage you need to have insurance. If you don’t the lending company will not provide the money at the closing. Your transaction cannot take place without insurance and you cannot close on your house if you can’t pay for it!
There is a solution however. During hurricane season (from June to October) some insurance companies will bind their insurance policies before the storm hits. In this case, the borrower and policy holder needs to pay the full premium ahead of time. You will have it ready for the closing. But if you don’t have a policy that is binding, then you risk having to delay the closing for who knows how long.
Protecting Your Home’s Sale During Hurricane Season
If you are selling your home, you do need to make sure that it maintains its condition throughout the transaction and that it is provided to the buyer in the same condition as when the contract was signed (unless there is language in the contract to change its condition for the better). As a seller consider protection your home by doing the following:
- Inspect your home before the storm strikes to make sure you can find any problems afterward.
- Repair any issues that you find that may be exasperated by high winds and heavy rain (like loose shingles, broken windows, etc.)
- Pick up any loose debris, furniture, etc. from outside. (By the way, don’t forget the hoses on the side of your house.)
- Protect your windows with storm shutters. If you don’t have them, get plywood and secure it firmly to the outside of the windows.
It is important to talk to your realtor about the necessary preparations and how storms like this will affect your real estate transaction.