It’s every seller’s nightmare. Your home is gaining interest on MLS and it looks like you might have some solid offers coming to the table. You lay your head down thinking that the process is unfolding smoothly, only to be awoken moments later by tornado sirens.
If your home is on the market and it has been damaged by a tornado or other natural disaster, what should you do?
“There are two basic steps if your property has been impacted by the storm,” says veteran Dallas Realtor Jenni Stolarski. “First, be sure to document everything. Secondly, notify key people. After your insurance agent and your mom, your next call should be to your listing agent, even before you post it on social media.”
Once the listing agent is in the loop, they can pass the information to those affected. If disaster strikes when you’re in the middle of closing, the title company will need to know about any damage the home took. Then come the buyer’s agent and lenders.
“If you are a buyer and currently in escrow, our Texas contract does a good job of outlining the options for buyers in this situation,” Stolarski added.
But not all tornado damage could mean disaster for a home that is active on MLS, says Christine McKenny.
“I think it is contingent upon how severe the damage is to the property,” the longtime Park Cities Realtor said. “If it’s slight damage, then it could be okay to leave on the market. If it’s severe, then it would need to be removed from the market.”
This is especially true if there is damage to the home’s interior, McKenny added.
“So much is based on what impression people will have about the property in its current condition,” the Allie Beth Allman agent explained.
If you were in the path of last night’s tornadoes, Stolarski offers a checklist.
“As you consider your options and next steps as a seller, some questions that you should think through ahead of calling your agent include: Is my home livable? Is my home salvageable? Has my insurance company already responded to me? Is this my current home or workplace and do I need an immediate place to relocate? Do I have any information on the timing of needed repairs?”
Once you’ve cleared those hurdles, should you relist it? Or should you offer a discount on the property to reassure buyers? It depends on the situation.
“If insurance is paying for repairs, a seller should not take a heavy discount due to storm damage,” McKenny advised.
“Your agent can assist you in determining if you need to take your home temporarily off of the market, or if just pause showings for a short time,” Stolarski said. “Allow your agent to support you through the process, and recommend options for your exact situation.”