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Dealing with a Flood: When and How to Sell Your House

Hurricane Harvey hit Houston on August 25, 2017 and caused more damage than any other natural disaster in US history besides Katrina, racking up over $125 billion in damages. Thousands of homes were devastated, and thousands more left in shambles to rebuild.

Harvey victims are left with huge decisions. Do I fix my home, do I sell it, do I fix it up to sell or just get rid of the hassle? These are all great questions with no hard and fast answers. Let’s talk a bit about how to make the decision to sell.

HOUSTON, TEXAS — TUESDAY, AUGUST 29, 2017: A house sits completely submerged in flood water in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, on Aug. 29, 2017. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Emotions vs Equity

If you are thinking about selling, consider all the factors involved in moving. Are you close to your community, have you lived in your neighborhood for years and how mobile are you as far as work and school? If you are moving to escape a stressful situation, just make sure you have seen the situation from all sides. Find support, take car of yourself and think things through. Try to avoid being impulsive.

If you have equity in the home, this could be a deciding factor. Higher equity could make it easier for you to obtain loans for remodeling and repairing. If you have more money invested in the property, you will be more affected by how drastically the market was affected by the storm (so for you, this means much more loss as opposed to repairing the property and waiting for the market to recover.)

How to Sell

The first thing you want to do is stop the water damage and repair anything that might cause further damage to protect your investment. Check with your insurance to see where you’re at. It can be a time consuming process to request an assessment and then have the adjuster come out, so be prepared to be patient.

If you do not have insurance and are unable to prepare the property selling it as is might be your best bet. Many realtors are going to ask you to repair the property to sell, so be prepared to do some footwork or find a realtor that has some experience with flooded homes (which you should be able to do in the Houston area!) I would love to help sell your flooded home, so if you need options you can always give me a ring.

What to Expect

If repairing the house is the course you decide to take, be prepared for snags along the way. Water damage is insidious, and if the home was not properly handled immediately after the flood you may have water or mold damage you don’t know about. Get estimates to determine the scope of the work.

Inspectors help put buyers’ minds at ease, so make sure to get everything checked out when the home has been repaired. It is important that all cosmetics have been amended as well. Any sign of water damage will scare a buyer off, even if it seems small and you know there is no underlying damage.

Remember simple staging can help sell a home 85% faster than a non staged house. Help buyers to envision themselves inside the home by creating a neutral space, focal points, conversations areas, a clear walkway and some bright, clean curb appeal.