In the midst of a devastating hurricane season, many real estate professionals are finding a new role as advisers, helping members of their community find temporary shelter, matching owners of damaged property with contractors or investors, and providing general emergency information.
Help from the real estate community is needed before and after a storm, whether that’s handing out information on what to do and how to protect a home or being an information resource for rebuilding or selling a damaged home.
Pat Klock Parker, team leader of the Klock Parker Real Estate Group at Coldwell Banker in Coral Gables, Florida, sends customers hurricane checklists at the beginning of each hurricane season. They include reminders to have water, medications, nonperishable foods, insect repellent, suntan lotion, and other essentials on hand. The tips also suggest trimming trees and removing coconuts and other flying items and offer other pertinent home care recommendations.
“As Realtors, we are involved in many aspects of our clients’ lives, and that includes the times before and after they list or buy a property,” Klock Parker wrote in a column. “When you are truly involved in a community and people’s lives, that commitment does not end with a closing.”
In light of the devastation from recent hurricanes, real estate professionals are encouraging clients to fully understand their homeowners’ insurance policy. Homeowners may need to purchase more coverage to better protect their properties against hazards such as wind and floods — even when a home isn’t in a flood zone.
After Hurricane Harvey struck Houston in late August, some agents have assisted clients in selling their damaged homes as is, while other agents say they’ve become a resource to those who need help in repairing their homes. Real estate pros, brokerages, and associations have also launched directories to help displaced homeowners find temporary housing.
The Houston Association of Realtors launched a housing section on its website to help Harvey victims find a temporary place to live. The site allows real estate professionals, property owners, landlords, and property managers to post homes they agree to make available. Also, real estate investment software provider Yardi joined forces with RentCafe to create a free online housing directory to help victims. To aid commercial tenants, HAR teamed with Xceligent and Commercial Gateway to help find short-term lease options in the area. Users can access the list at CommGate.com.
Real estate pros have banded together to donate financially, too. The Realtors Relief Foundation has been raising funds for victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The donations provide housing-related aid such as mortgage and rental assistance for disaster victims. The foundation will give 100 percent of all donations directly to victims of natural disasters. To make a tax-deductible donation, visit nar.realtor/rrf.
This article was contributed to The Log by National Association of Realtors.