Looking at this weekend’s storm coverage of Hurricane Matthew, that pounded the shoreline of four states – Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina – hundreds of thousands of homes are dealing with storm surge, wind damage and clean-up. The direct affects the storm has had on the housing market has yet to be determined in the southeast, but homeowners selling a home in those flood zones will continue to face the rough road of recovery months from now.
Many homeowners, including myself during Superstorm Sandy in 2012, have returned to waterlogged homes, insurance claims and dealing with utilities being restored, but it’s what happens next that will determine the future of those homes and neighborhoods. Whether you were selling a home during the height of the storm, now or anytime in the near future, everyone looking to buy and sell in those affected areas should protect themselves from further destruction and heartache.
Assuming you’re looking to get the best price you can, rather than unload the property at any cost, affected homeowners will want to consult with experts. When most homeowners or Realtors hire a home stager, they’re looking for a quick aesthetic solution, but did you know home stagers can help get a homeowner back on their feet quickly after a natural disaster?
Build It Back Before Selling a Home
If a home has sustained flood damage soggy carpets, warped hardwood floors, sheetrock, electrical equipment and furniture will need to be discarded. For example, old and outdated carpeting can be replaced with new carpet in a fresher color, which would instantly add value back into the home. Or upgrading your electrical panel and adding extra lighting can be a buyer bonus.
Selling a home is an overwhelming process for homeowners. After a disaster it’s important for a seller to remain calm and focused on the steps needed to return their property to sellable condition. A home stager knows how deal with these emotions and can help sellers recreate a space buyers will enjoy.
Find Qualified Resources
A home stager cannot only work as a project manager during this process, but they can refer qualified vendors like inspectors, contractors and restoration companies to assess and rebuild a home. For instance, repairs, like cracks in the foundation are signs of possible structural issues that a home stager would subcontract out. However, choosing what kitchen tile or flooring to pick out is a home stager’s specialty. Whatever the damage may be, make sure all of it is documented and when repairs are made you have receipts available to show buyers the work that has been done. This will provide buyers the peace of mind needed to make a purchasing decision.
Home stagers can also give homeowners guidance in choosing the right design layout, materials and finishes to get the maximum return on investment. Our industry follows the latest Homegain’s Survey when recommending repairs made to the home. The 2012 National Home Improvement survey suggests decluttering your home can bring in a 403-percent return on investment, improvements with lighting, plumbing, electrical and staging your home will also provide the biggest returns when selling.
While the storm damage has destroyed seller’s belongings, it gives them an excuse to remove unwanted clutter. The waterlogged structure also allows them to make the proper upgrades while the walls and floors are gutted. As devastating as these natural disasters are, they offer a chance to rebuild stronger for the future. Use this as an opportunity to make improvements to be better prepared for unforeseen disasters:
- Can you relocate your utility closet to higher ground?
- Where could you install a generator or how can green power prevent home blackouts?
- Is it worth raising your home?
These are all questions that can help in the event more storms like Matthew or Sandy pound our shoreline.Wherever you’re at as a recovering homeowner, remember taking the appropriate steps to assess the damage, repair it and document the entire process will pay you back well when it comes time to sell. Share your story below on how you’ve overcome a natural disaster, I’d love to hear from you.