After the Storm

After the Storm

Each year our country gets hit by storms and occasionally we get hit by storms which are capable of causing serious damage and you will need to claim on your home owners insurance.

This has been one of those years, with Hurricane Irma causing damage from the tip of Florida to the far reaches of the northeastern USA and Hurricane Harvey attempting to drown Houston, most of Texas as well as many other neighboring states. Prior to this in the spring, tornados ripped across the Midwest.

No matter where you live you can talk about wildfires or crippling snow storms and other major weather events.

Most people have homeowner’s insurance, however Continue reading

Of Wind and Rain

Of Wind and Rain

I have experienced severe weather in New England as I grew up in New Hampshire. I have experience the cold, the raw bone chilling rains of the northeast and those winter Nor’easter storms that rip through an area and paralyze a city.

In an effort to find better weather I moved the family to Florida. I have lived in Florida nearly twenty years now and have experienced a handful of tropical storms. Some just brush by as a few rode over us.

Many people ask why do you think it’s better weather in Florida with all those tropical storms and it’s so hot down there. It’s not an easy answer. Continue reading

Hurricane Irma Advice

As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida families are strapping in for the nightmare roller coaster ride of their lives. With the Category 5 hurricane expected through the Florida Keys and a path which looks as though it will rake the entire west coast, things are looking ominous.

Before Hurricane Irma

We all have about 24 hours left to finalize preparations and make our properties as safe and secure as possible. Now is the time to clear up your yards and collect anything which could become a missile when this hits.

Roofing, building, construction materials and excess pieces of wood and nails used during preparations need to be brought inside and secured in a room away from your family.

Terrace furniture should be put in your pool or brought inside the property.

If you use gas bottles, make sure that they are turned off, disconnected and secured in a room away from the family.

Find time to place copies of all personal and financial paperwork online. Should your property be damaged or be flooded, you will still be able to access important information. This includes passports, driving licenses, ID’s, credit card and banking information.

If you can get through try and increase your credit limit as things could be a mess for several weeks. Withdraw sufficient cash to last you a week or so.

For many the main form of communication during and after Hurricane Irma will be cell phone and internet. Ensure that your devices are fully charged and the same with extra batteries if you have them.

We expect many telephone landlines to be down and recommend downloading, Skype, WhattsApp and or Zello all of which are free to download. If there is a decent signal, at least you will be able to stay in contact.

Once you have secured your family and your own property, help your neighbors. Many older residents will struggle with both the preparation and aftermath of the hurricane.

 

During Hurricane Irma

While the hurricane passes, find a secure place – a bathroom is ideal – and remain indoors. Wherever you choose to hole up ensure that you can get out. Rising waters could trap you if not prepared. Move all furniture and heavy items away from the room where you intend to stay and preferably place them in another room behind a closed door.

If the eye is due to pass directly overhead head remember that their will be a period of time where it will appear as though the hurricane has passed. This will be the eye of the storm and at this point you are only halfway through.

Take a few minutes to inspect your property and make secure anything which could become airborne. Then get back inside again and buckle up.

Depending on where Hurricane Irma tracks, you could be suffering hurricane force winds for up to 12 hours. During this time there will be a lot of noise, the temperature will probably fluctuate rapidly and the air pressure drop could be felt in your chest. There is also the risk of tornadoes.

Keep any required medication with you and administer as necessary.

Although you will not feel like it remember to drink plenty of water in order to remain hydrated and eat on a regular basis. Fruit and nuts will provide energy and nutrients. Stay away from alcohol. Children will need to be kept occupied. Coloring, drawing and board games will help distract them.

 

After Hurricane Irma

If you plan on using a generator once the storm has passed, ensure that there is plenty of ventilation as dangerous and toxic fumes will creep up on you before you know it. Ideally your generator should be placed outside of the home.

Check on your family and deal with minor injuries yourself. Unless a situation is life threatening do not call emergency services.

Make a tour of your property and immediately remove or secure any items which could cause injury through collapse. Isolate electricity if there is any sign of damage to wiring in the property, outside of the property or in the street. Do not attempt to remove downed cables unless you are a professional who knows what you are doing.

Check with your neighbors, especially people who live alone or the elderly.

Make a tour of their property and immediately remove or secure any items which could cause injury through collapse.

Isolate electricity if there is any sign of damage to wiring in the property, outside of the property or in the street.

Text message family members to let them know you are OK. Try not to use phone lines as they will be either down or very busy.

 

Flooding

Tidal surge will add to the rainfall and this could cause extensive flooding in your area. Secure your belongings so they do not cause damage to property or impede emergency services.

Whenever possible try to remain dry. Should flood water get into the sewerage systems,bacteria can cause serious issues. If you need to go outside into flood water, rinse off and change your clothes once back inside.

 

Pets

Keep all pets either in a cage or on a leash before, during and after the storm. They will not understand what is occurring and their natural instinct could be to run. Keep them calm, watered and fed.

 

Insurance Claims

Make sure that you have video and or photographs of your entire property and belongings before Hurricane Irma hits. Being able to show documented proof of before and after will assist insurance companies and assessors. If you have receipts of items from clothing to household goods through to big ticket purchases, put them online so you have proof.

 

Looting

Several of the areas already hit by Hurricane Irma are now suffering from looters. Try to put some form of neighborhood watch in place with your neighbors to avoid this.

 

That’s all I can think of for now. Stay safe!

Marty

 

 

Balancing Your Total Scorecard

Balancing Your Total Scorecard

There are many factors that are needed for a full loan approval. It’s not that easy to say “Hey, I make over 100 grand a year, my credit score is in the high 700’s, why are you asking for all this stuff?”

In general, it’s easy to say the person with the 800-credit score, no debt and a large retirement income will be one of the simplest and fastest loans to approve. The system can easily throw a monkey wrench into the mix once a lender finds out the same person owns ten rental properties.

It’s not much different at Continue reading

Things Not To Miss

Things Not To Miss

I am sure you all can relate to having planned a business trip, vacation or simply just trying to head off to school or work only to find you missed or left something behind.  No matter how minor an item may have seemed at the time, later on it turned out to be a devastating thing to have forgotten or missed when getting ready.

I have seen very well-established business people, attorneys, doctors, engineers and others, overthink or feel something so little is so insignificant that it doesn’t apply to them. I have seen the most disciplined and the not so disciplined miss or forget the do’s and don’ts when going through the mortgage loan process.

All the same rules apply to everyone, no matter what your background or financial position is. Everyone is treated fairly and equally, whether you’re a financially strong or a millennium thinking you’re just entitled to it.

Here are some of the basics:

Do be accountable and responsive to your lenders request

Do pay the IRS and your student loans

Do pay your bills on time

 

Do not put cash in to your accounts, unless you are a very well documented cash business

Do not open or close any credit lines

Do not bounce checks

 

Do not spend money, rather save money

Do not go out and spend $400 a month on fast food, make your own coffee and bag a lunch

Do not move money throughout all your accounts without first asking

Do not hide that you own other properties

Do not lie on your application

Do not withhold information about alimony or child support

Do not lie about being married or not, no you cannot buy a house for your girlfriend without your wife knowing

Do not buy your new furniture before you buy the house

Do not buy a new car, put band aids on the old one instead

Do not schedule days off from work without a clear to close on your mortgage loan

Do not call your landlord bad names, I need them to fill out your verification of rent

Do not be afraid to ask questions.

 

Asking questions could save you thousands of dollars. Remember attaining home ownership is something you work for and earn, it’s not an entitlement.

Think about and plan everything you do and we will see you at a happy closing table

 

Why Inspections

Why Inspections

Purchasing real estate is a big move for most people. Most buyers are slammed fast with all the to do’s by Realtors, Title Companies, and Lenders. The process is works best when spread out over the first 15 to 20 days to reach that closing time frame of under 30 days.

Can the process be completed in under 15 days and closed? There is that possibility and in fact it does happen more than you would think, especially when everyone is on top of their game including the buyer.

Most home purchases include these following standard inspections:

Continue reading

Am I Ready to Buy

Am I Ready to Buy

Many people wonder when is a good time to get married or have kids. That’s a bit different to asking “am I ready to buyer a home? The fact is we all need a place to live, whether you’re are still home with mom or she’s now living with you.

The main drivers behind buying a home is need and desire. The combination of these do go hand in hand. You can have need but without the desire to purchase one you not going to get yourself ready.

How do you know when you are ready. Continue reading

About Property Surveys

Property surveys for your new home purchase provides much need information about the property you are about to close on. There are many good reasons to have a survey completed which include but not limited to:

  • boundary lines
  • easements
  • encroachments
  • zoning
  • and well location.

 

Additional Continue reading

Credit Success

Credit Success

I have worked with a lot of people in the mortgage industry with different credit scores. I have worked to help many people from all different walks of life to get into a new home. Some have been extremely grateful while others complained through every step of the process. While we are all different in nature, we are supposed to treat everyone the same.

So why are some people happy while others seem to always be upset. I have thought about this many times and it’s very easy to think it’s about the money. Whoever has more is happier, right? Not really, Continue reading

Prepared VS the Not

Every week we hear the same thing, “I want to get prequalified but I do not want you to pull my credit because it will lower my credit score.” This is most often followed by “What are your rates?”
Let’s first of all, get the rate question out of the way. Continue reading