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Hurricanes and Houses: Buying, selling and closing when the weather is wacky

Thu, May 31, 2018 at 10:30AM

Hurricanes and Houses: Buying, selling and closing when the weather is wacky

We all know that a hurricane causes outrageous meteorological events such as heavy wind, torrential rains, loss of electricity and an insane urge to stop in every open gas station to “top it off”. We have come to accept that such phenomena cause windblown, slicker-clad reporters to wax philosophic about the historical value of former boat docks, how hurricanes compare to blizzards or twisters, and what happens to all the wildlife? But when it comes to the really important stuff, like buying or selling real estate, what happens in a hurricane?


It really depends on where you are in the process of buying, selling or building.


Closings that are already planned may need to be rescheduled, so contact between the buyer and seller, and their respective real estate agent, lender and the title company, is very important, according to Southern Title President Shelley Stewart. “With Irma last fall, we managed to reschedule quite a few closings fairly quickly by working with our customers on their evacuation plans, bank schedules and status of electricity. We understand the challenges faced when a closing is disrupted and work diligently with all parties to keep everyone informed - and safe – before, during, and after a storm.”


Homeowners’ insurance

Most insurance companies stop writing homeowner’s policies when a storm is given a name, so it’s a good idea during hurricane season to pre-pay for the homeowner’s insurance policy sooner to be sure it is in effect. If the title company is express mailing the check to the insurance company and the delivery is delayed, coverage could be impacted.


Of course, all papers relating to property should be kept safe. Original deeds, surveys, and title insurance documents should be kept in a waterproof file that is part of your personal “go box”.

Document safety and security

One way to ensure the safety and security of documents is to keep them online. Southern Title utilizes a secure online transaction management system, which allows all documents to be saved safely and online, protecting them from flood damage, mold or even a collapsing roof. That’s a cool thing about the internet – hurricanes can’t get to it!


If a homebuyer is getting a mortgage, most lenders will require a re-inspection of the property after a hurricane to be certain there is no major damage that would impact the marketability of their loan. No point in financing a house that doesn’t exist, right? Paying cash? It is still a good idea to have your home inspection company re-examine the premises for underlying damage that may not be apparent to the casual observer.


The good news

It isn’t all doom and gloom, this hurricane season. For one thing, it will be over at the end of November.  By including secure document storage into your hurricane preparedness plan – and prepaying homeowner’s insurance if you are buying a home -  you’ll have a few less things to worry about when the waters are rising or the wind picks up.


Contact Southern Title to find out more about our business continuity and emergency preparedness planning.


The information provided by Southern Title Holding Company, LLC on our website does not and cannot contain legal advice. The legal information provided is for general informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice.

Before taking any actions based upon such information, you are encouraged to consult the appropriate legal professionals or licensed attorneys. We do not provide any kind of legal advice. The use or reliance of any information contained on this is is solely at your own risk.

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