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Posts Tagged ‘sandy’

View from Amityville - Great South Bay, October 29, 2014 Photo Courtesy of Loretta Del Vecchio WeberPhoto courtesy of Loretta Del Vecchio Weber, 10/29/2014

As a realtor in an area devastated by Superstorm Sandy everyone asks the same questions, “So how’s the market? Are houses selling?” and the truth is that it is a tricky and ever changing market to be involved in. Emotions are raw and for every one household that is home and put back together we hear 10 other horror stories of people unable to get the funds to fix their homes. The media coverage is showing empathy for the Sandy Survivors but little is actually being done to speed up the process of the rebuilding of the South Shore.

Home values here in the 100 year flood plain remain depressed. Statistics from the National Association of Realtors show slight increases in sale prices but this really is not so for our local real estate. Zillow “Zestimates” are so far off for our area, the system simply averages sale prices of homes that have sold over a period of time while not taking into account the homes that have sold “as is” meaning storm damaged.

Many people filed a form with their towns stating that they were 50% damaged. The form was filed with the intent to get some tax relief for the time a home spent vacant and inhabitable or to secure a $30,000 ICC grant to get additional money to lift a house for the short period of time it was offered. Unfortunately, if people have filed this piece of paper they are now red flagged and must bring their home to current codes in order to get a Certificate of Occupancy. This means they must lift or demolish and/or build new. There is such a lack of continuity in the NY Rising Program and the SBA program. Homeowners are buried under paperwork and are signing papers that may have serious repercussions later in time, everyone should read what is written in the small print.

Facebook groups have formed to support people that just can’t get answers and are still struggling. Without these groups a majority of the information would still remain unclear. Sandy Support,Massapequa Style and Adopt A House have had and continue to have a tremendous impact on sharing and getting the correct information out to the public. Beth Ann Huff Henry and Michelle Insignia volunteer to moderate and help so many people.  Without their services, and those that support their sites along with their own support staff, many people would have questions still unanswered.

So, to answer the question of how today’s market is doing two years after Sandy I give you the following example.   I took a listing 2 weeks ago. The home is located in Copiague Harbor. The home is “as is”. The funds offered for repair of the home are not enough to repair it. The family, a mom, dad and a young girl and their dog have been living in a one bedroom apartment for over two years while they fought to get the money to return home. 2 weeks ago the decision was made to move on and give up the fight. The home is now listed “as is” and will be a short sale as well.  Let’s turn to the opposite end, to people that have knocked down and built new.  Many quite possibly were at the top end of their budget when purchasing the home that was previously destroyed.  Now, forced with being homeless or securing any funding possibly they have managed to rebuild their homes.  We will now have higher accessed taxes on these homes.  Will the family now be able to financially support the old mortgage, new loans, and higher taxes?  Will these homes eventually have to be sold or be lost to foreclosure because people made emotional financial decisions under duress? There is no simple, accurate answer.  Each case is individual but the after effects of Sandy and what it is doing to our real estate market will be consistently changing.

Realtors are struggling to pay bills as homes are not moving quickly. The extended education and increased knowledge of flood plain levels, flood premiums, and the increased complexity of obtaining CO’s have made an already tuff market even more difficult to work in. The storm was two years ago and the after effects are sure to go on for quite some time. As I walk my boys to their bus stop in the morning I see tyvek wrap flapping in the breeze and houses that are vacant and dilapidated in my 2 block trek. There is an awesome video done by a young girl that shows her journey and is representative of what is going on now, 2 years later. Her name is Caity Donnely and this is her video  Be careful, tissues will be required!

If you are thinking about moving or buying or just have general questions please make sure you speak with a Realtor that knows about what is going on. All of the rules stay with the house and a new homeowner may be required to bring the house into compliance even if you did not own it at the time of the storm! My advice is to be knowledgable in what and where you plan to purchase or sell.  My advice for those that were not affected by the storm, please be compassionate. It is not over for so many.

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Additional Help for Sandy Victims

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This article from the NY Times explains how a 203K loan (typically used for homes that do not meet current codes to be brought current when ownership is transferred) can be used to help repair a Sandy damaged home.  Structured to release payments to the new owner to make repairs by releasing construction payments under the banks supervision to take a run down home (possibly a foreclosure or flood damaged) and in the end the final mortgage amount under the 203K process is for the appraised value of the rebuilt home.

It is slightly complicated and each circumstance is different.  Having a trusted mortgage broker who has successfully completed transactions with this process is key.  Feel free to contact me for some references!

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Power Washed DeckIt is amazing what the simple act of cleaning up outdoors can add to your selling value.  Buyers make snap judgements all the time.  They  look at how a home is maintained inside as well as outside.  Keep your outside well maintained this Spring to make sure all the potential buyers that do a “drive by” first see your home at it’s best.  Keep in mind that a drive by in our neck of the woods may also be by boat, not just by car in the front of your house…make sure your decks are well maintained.  There are fantastic stains available at your local hardware stores.  Keep it simple and neutral when picking your color choice.  Grab a power washer and clean off the walkways, your siding, and anything else that has the grime from the past seasons laying on it!  After it is cleaned up, treat your wooden decks with a one coat sealant available in so many different options.  Buyers will believe that your home is just as immaculately maintained inside as well as outside and we can’t sell your house unless we get the potential buyer to step inside….

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There is a tremendous amount of activity these days in the real estate market here in the friendly bay village.  I am going to give you the scoop on what is means when you read the words “as is” on homes for sale today by the bay…

“As Is” is a term that has always been used in the real estate industry.  In past years it may represent a home in disrepair, without appliances, possibly fire damage, or any other condition that is not typical.  It is almost akin to what you see is what you get. The owners will not be negotiating anything that a potential buyer may want and that the house is simply “as is”.  It may be a simple broken dishwasher that is “as is” or a wooden attached deck that is falling apart that is “as is”.  The term is broad in its scope.

Unfortunately in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy most of these “as is” homes refer to water damaged homes.  Some may have been remediated completely, some may have nothing done to them at all.    There may be mold, the house may be totally gutted down to the studs, or some repairs may be started.  Each home will be in a different state but the most important thing to remember is if the listing states “as is” there is to be no negotiations for things that a buyer may want.  It is up to the buyer to put back the sheet rock, fix the electrical system or purchase appliances.  Every situation will be different and buyers should be well-educated in the costs to bring these homes up to current building codes.  This leads us in the financing of purchasing homes in these conditions.

Many “as is” homes are being sold for cash.  Investors are seizing this opportunity to purchase lower valued homes and then fix them up.  Some may plan to rent for a few years as the market continues its recovery while others may fix and immediately flip it back onto the market.  Other progressive home buyers are purchasing the home of their dreams even if there is no sheet rock.  There are loan programs such as a 203K loan which will incorporate the construction repair costs into the loan and they will in essence re-build the house as part of their mortgage agreement.  This program allows a home buyer to purchase a house much cheaper than they would have been able to afford and then pick out the bathrooms and kitchens of their dreams.  The bank will have some limitations in place and of course help oversee the process to make sure the appropriate equity is invested into the home but it is a fantastic solution to rebuilding the neighborhood.

I will warn you that buying an “as is” home is not for the faint hearted.  There is a lot to consider and tons of research to be done to ensure all repairs are up to current building codes.  Make sure your realtor knows what to look for…or you can just call me and I will be happy to help!

Oh yes..one last thing…these homes can not be considered a fair comp when appraisals are performed…but that is a story for another day.

~Jenn

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2013 Spring Market is Here!

The market today is different than it was 6 months ago. We have regular economic factors as well as the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy to thank for all the changes both positive and negative. Call a proffessional when making the decision to buy or sell.

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Banks to Meet One on One With Homeowners

Five of the largest banks and mortgage servicers will have representatives available at the Copiauge Memorial Library and Cedar Creek Park as well as two other locations Monday March 4th, through Saturday March 9th.  See the attached link for more information and details.

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Regarding my post of earlier….the meeting has been cancelled.

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