- Episode 55 -
As Florida prepares for its first hurricane in nearly a decade, we are all reminded of the impact that Mother Nature has on real estate.
Whether it’s a blizzard in the north, a tornado in the Midwest, floods and fire on the west coast, or hurricanes churning in the Atlantic, as Realtors we have to be aware of how such disasters can wreak havoc on our industry and how we can provide help after the storm hits. While some forces of nature are easier to predict than others, action plans need to be in place so that you can educate and help your buyers, sellers,
When the Florida “Cone of Terror” (also known as the “Cone of Uncertainty”) for a brewing storm includes our area, all eyes are glued to the forecasters who are giving their best guesses as to what will happen next.
The minute a tropical storm warning is issued, all real estate transactions in the affected areas come to a screeching halt. Closings are postponed as titles cannot be transferred, because in most cases insurance carriers cannot guarantee that they can bind coverage. Loan processes stop because the lender will not approve a mortgage for a home that might be damaged before the buyer ever takes possession. Showings don’t continue because of the added liability placed on homeowners while preparing their homes for the storm, or cleaning up their properties afterwards. And agents are taking cover as well, preparing their own properties for the days that lie ahead.
When a storm is approaching it’s a good time to contact your current clients and notify them of that term in most contracts that no one ever seems to be able to pronounce – “Force Majeure”.
This term means hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fire, acts of God, etc. that can cause delays in the transaction. In most contracts that include this term, neither the buyer nor the seller are required to perform any obligation under the contract so long as the performance or non-performance is the result of “Force Majeure”.
There is usually a timeframe given to be able to extend the contract without penalty or cancel it should the impact be more intense.
If you have clients that are new the area and might never have experienced what lies ahead, provide them with a list of supplies they may need and information that would be beneficial for them such as hotline numbers or shelter locations.
After the storm passes, it’s always nice to check in on your clients to be sure that they are all ok and provide help with anything they may need.
While there is no area that is immune to Mother Nature’s wrath, having the proper plans in place and being up to date on your contracts and processes will better assist everyone with weathering the storm.
Kay Conageski is a professional Realtor® with The Keyes Company based in Plantation, Florida. Check out her RESAAS profile ›