Superstorm Sandy

The devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy this week is the worst that the eastern seaboard has seen in a long time, possibly the worst that New York City has ever experienced. Along with major water damage, debris and the mess caused by downed trees and electric lines, the damage to homes and personal property is acute. In Queens, NY, a massive fire broke out, destroying over 100 homes and damaging at least 20 others. Homes in several New Jersey towns, including Seaside Heights, sustained severe flooding and major damage caused the storm.

Superstorm Sandy is a powerful reminder that homeowners have little control over nature and natural disasters. It’s a scary prospect. For many unlucky homeowners, Sandy demolished their most valuable assets. What now? What, if anything, can they do to recoup their losses?

Government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have implemented emergency response strategies to help homeowners who have fallen victim to the devastation caused by Sandy. The GSEs and Freddie Mac have requested that foreclosure and eviction proceedings be suspended for up to 12 months and that servicers waive assessments of penalties, late fees and delinquencies caused by the storm. Hopefully other lenders will follow suit, offering some temporary financial relief to homeowners in the wake of the destruction. Separately, HUD announced that it plans to provide foreclosure relief and mortgage insurance to homeowners impacted by the storm in New York and New Jersey.

Turning our attention away from the east coast to the California coastline, homes in our state face the threat of several types of natural disasters, including earthquakes, fires, mudslides and floods. If you have recently purchased your home or if you are soon to be a homeowner, ask residential property insurers about earthquake and natural disaster coverage. They are required under state law to offer earthquake insurance. The offer must be in writing, describe coverage amounts, list the deductible offered and state the policy premium. For more information about insurance protection against natural disasters, visit the California Department of Insurance.

If you are currently facing foreclosure or have trouble meeting mortgage payments for any reason, please call us at McFarlin LPP. We’re here to help you understand your options, and it’s our goal to keep you in your home as long as possible.