When a huge storm moves through our area like it did last night, the average person only has one home to worry about. Last night I was worried about 21 homes! My real estate team sells well over 100 homes per year so at any given time we may have 10 to 25 homes under contract. When thunderstorms move through the Kansas City area, I’m watching the radar to see how high the winds get, or whether there is hail or tornados in the area.
We actually have a template email to send out the next morning to our sellers and buyers, letting them know what to do. If it’s our seller and they had hail in the area, they need to quickly call their roofer (or ours) to get them out there and take a look at the house. When a big storm hits, these guys get booked up super fast. Hesitating more than a few hours could mean waiting a week or more before they can get out there to check the roof, gutters, and siding.
If it’s a buyer, we send out an email to assure them we will be contacting the listing agent for the home they’re buying. In a worst case scenario, we may be forced to delay our closing date so a new roof can be installed. Typically we can work around that though by having the roofing contractor pre-paid at closing or working with the homeowner’s insurance company to guarantee the roof will be replaced after closing.
Tornados though are a different matter all together. When a home sustains major damage, you simply have to put everything on hold. Many times, you’ll lose the sale completely because the buyer needs to move right now and can’t wait six to twelve months for the seller’s insurance company to assess the damage, then contract with a home builder to make repairs or sometimes rebuild the entire home.
When the EF5 tornado blasted a one mile swath through Joplin, MO on Sunday, May 22, 2011, it destroyed hundreds and hundreds of homes. I personally knew a Keller Williams agent that lived in Joplin who had five of his listings completely demolished. He told me he was forced to cancel all five listing agreements and was only left with one home to sell. Overnight, literally 80% of his future income vanished into thin air. Keep in mind, this was 2011 at the very bottom of the real estate market, so those who did have their home for sale immediately canceled their listing agreement and decided to rent their home to one of the hundreds of people who lost their home in the tornado. Most people will regroup after a major storm and go back to work within a day or two, but a Realtor can be wiped out completely in a situation like this.
Thank goodness we didn’t have anything like that last night, but I did see some photos on Facebook of golf ball or even baseball sized hail. I guess we’ll see what happens. I certainly feel for our clients, but I love the way our real estate team comes together as the calm voice to all our clients, assuring them that we’ll get through this together.