By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor
 
Disaster can strike a home at any time. Even the day before it’s scheduled to be sold. Be it hail, wind, fire or water, a casualty loss to property while it’s under contract can be disastrous.

But, there are remedies. The Texas real estate contract folks thought of many ‘what if’ scenarios and they’ve incorporated them in the standard sales contract. A casualty loss results from a sudden, unexpected event like a storm or fire. Casualty losses are addressed in paragraph 14 of the contract. It states that if any part of the property is damaged or destroyed by casualty loss between the time the contract is executed and the closing, the seller shall restore the property to its previous condition as soon as reasonably possible.

That sounds simple on paper but not so much in real life. Often the damage can’t be repaired prior to closing due to no fault of the seller. For example, when a hail storm hits the neighborhood two days before closing, it isn’t likely the roof will be replaced or repaired that quickly.

The seller has obligations and responsibilities for the property when it is under contract and before closing. They must make efforts to restore the property to its previous condition by the closing date. No messing around here. If the seller doesn’t comply, the seller can be in default. There are options available if the seller cannot restore the property before closing due to factors beyond the seller’s control. Note that I said, “due to factors beyond the seller’s control.”

If the seller cannot restore the property by the closing date due to factors beyond their control, the buyer has three options:

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Not the newspaper you want to see on your vacation over coffee and croissants

Events of the past few weeks in Hawaii should send second home owners looking for their home insurance policies.  Regardless of whether your property is located in the mountains, by the sea or anywhere else, insurance is critical. Remember, there’s always some disaster to be protected from. And in the case of second homes, their often far flung location may catch you off guard in insurance matters.

Think about it. You’re used to the potential disasters where you live, but those risks are often different elsewhere. My Dallas home owner’s policy has little need to discuss avalanches, hurricanes, tsunamis or volcanos.  Homes in Hawaii may fall victim to all four, but are unlikely to be concerned with tornados.

Head over to SecondShelters.com for more.

The world is captivated by the images coming out of the big island of Hawai’i this week as Kilauea erupted into the Leilani Estates subdivision. Thus far there are 10 fissures opened along the Eastern Rift Zone that runs along a historic volcanic path, marked by ancient volcanic ridges to the south.

Heat Map listing the 10 current fissures.

Next week, I’ll be in Hawaii on special assignment (ha!) looking into the perils of natural disasters and how insurance is likely the best defense in areas prone to a host of potential disasters. As you can see from the heat map above, there are a lot of homes near this unfolding eruption. There are already multiple stories out about how many regular insurance policies won’t cover homeowners’ damage.

 

Remember:  High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement. In 2016 and 2017, the National Association of Real Estate Editors recognized my writing with two Bronze (2016, 2017) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards.  Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make?  Shoot me an email sharewithjon@candysdirt.com. Be sure to look for me on Facebook and Twitter. You won’t find me, but you’re welcome to look.

 

Hurricane Harvey put many previously safe areas underwater. If you’ve never coped with rebuilding from a flood, the Dallas Builders Association has some advice.

By Phil Crone
Special Contributor

The Dallas Builders Association extends its heartfelt thoughts to our friends on the coast who are suffering from the wrath and devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. To help those affected, please text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross or visit redcross.org.

While storms of this magnitude bring out the best in most, they can bring out the worst in others. Often this comes in the form of unscrupulous contractors from out of state who follow major weather events looking for work. Sadly, the damage left in their wake is usually financial, adding to the suffering of storm victims.

Please use the information below as a guide on how to rebuild with confidence. Additional information is available through the Texas Association of Builders and the Greater Houston Builders Association.

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Trulia Heatmap Tornadoes Dallas

 

(Graphic: Trulia Heatmap From NOAA tornado data)

love what Trulia manages to do with a little data. This company is consistently making the best tools that break down statistical information, helping homebuyers decide which areas best suit their needs. 

Their newest tool, the Natural Hazards heatmaps, are perfect for seismophobics, potamophobics, brontophobics, and pretty much any other weather-related phobia you can think of. With data from the USGS, FEMA, NOAA, and the Forest Service, Trulia has created color-coded models showing which areas pose the greatest risk for these natural disasters.

Of course, if you plan buy wherever you want — data be damned — I’m sure these maps will help you negotiate your homeowner’s insurance policy. Take a minute to click around on their Trulia Local page for Dallas. It’s interesting stuff.

On the flipside, if you want to avoid natural disasters altogether, Trulia Economist Jed Kolko has compiled a list of the top-10 U.S. cities least likely to be hit with an act of God. Topping that list is Syracuse, N.Y., with Cleaveland and Akron, Ohio, in second and third, respectively. Fourth is Buffalo, N.Y., and fifth is Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, Md.