Given the circumstances, Palm Beach County, Charleston County, and the surrounding regions fared fairly well during Hurricane Irma’s destructive wrath. Now that the storm is over, many homeowners are starting to take down their shutters and clean up their yards. We are all eager to return to a sense of normalcy after the prolonged anticipation, continuous coverage, and seemingly endless duration of Hurricane Irma. Before you return to business as usual, be sure to protect your personal and residential investments by following these simple suggestions:
Call Your Mom
First, you can breathe a sigh of relief that this monster storm is over. Take a moment to call your friends and family and let them know you are safe. Check on your neighbors. Continue to pray for our friends on Florida’s west coast, who were not so lucky. No matter how frustrated you might feel--especially those without power--be grateful. By all accounts, a lot of us living in Palm Beach Gardens/Jupiter and Charleston/Mt. Pleasant experienced flooding, debris and power outages but we definitely dodged a major bullet.
Take Pictures and Document Everything
Do this before you start removing debris. Walk the perimeter of your house and take photos of every angle as well as pictures of your lawn. If water made it inside your home, be sure to take pictures and document this too. Be as detailed as possible with your documentation as insurance companies have a reputation for holding out on settlements. If you evacuated for the hurricane and are unable to return home yet, call Golden Bear Realty. We have a team of volunteers who are happy to help document your property.
Call Your Insurance Company
You will likely be placed on hold, but the wait time will likely only increase in the days to follow. Go ahead and make the call to start the claim process. An adjuster will come out to your home and assess the damage. Remember the adjuster works for the insurance company not you; so again, document everything. If you do not have hurricane or flood insurance, contact FEMA at 1-800-621-3362. Both Florida and South Carolina are affiliated with Region IV, and information regarding claims and coverages are outlined on FEMA’s website.
Schedule a Home Inspection
Depending on the extent of your damages, it is wise to get a home inspection to be sure that your home meets code and that no unseen damage has occurred. Certainly, you do not want to find water damage in your attic three months from now. A new inspection is especially crucial if you plan to file an insurance claim as it is proof of hurricane damage. Below is a list of some of our Golden Bear agents' suggested home inspectors:
Affordable Home Inspection Services, Graham Bailey
Advantage Building Consultants, Inc., Tony Munroe
Amerispec Home Inspection Service
Billings Home Inspectors, Bill and Mary
CGC Home Inspections, LLC, Perry Lap
Fidelity Building Inspections, Kevin Rose
Florida Inspection Services, Jude Endres
Inspection Xpress, Marco Terminesi
South Florida's Best Home Inspection, Joe Cosentino
Brennan Companies, TJ Delaney
(561) 776-0505 or (561) 826-3645
Svane Home Inspections
Ace Preferred Inspections
Low Country Home Inspections
Port City Inspections, Blake Keegan
Pillar to Post Inspections
Knowles Inspection Services, Robert Knowles
Contact Reputable Contractors
Though many honest companies and groups from other states come to assist after a hurricane, only use a state licensed contractor for remediation and rebuild. Unfortunately, sleazy scammers take advantage of weary homeowners and only cause further distress. Golden Bear Realty has a list of recommended and reputable home inspectors, contractors, mold specialists, tree trimmers, lawn care professionals, and all-purpose handymen. Feel free to call our offices if you need a suggestion!
Enviro Team, Eric
All Dry (Emergency Flood Service)
A Crystal Clear Interior (Carpet Cleaning), David Caponas
Abacoa Plumbing, Boyce
Jupiter Farms Plumbing, Richard Vickers
Paradigm Plumbing, Matt Barrett
Able Gutters, Jeff Able
Action Glass & Glazing, Tony Marzano
Building Contractor, Harry Burchell
Doug Petsel, Licensed Contractor
RJS Builders, Rob Scialla
Home Improvement, Tom Moore
Roofing, Drywall, Painting & Crown Molding, Willie Serrano
Light Up Electric, Ralph Florio
LJW Associates (General Home Improvement), Carlos Ramirez
Big Bear Construction, Mark Murdocco
BioSweep, Mike Jager
LimRic Plumbing, B.J.
Toby Tyler Home Builders
Fitzgerald Services LLC , James or Robert
(843) 303-1593 or (843) 813-4474
Big Bear Roofing
Tree and Lawn Services
Rawson Tree Service, Randy
Tree Trimming/Cutting, Pedro Diaz
Cruz Lawn and Tree
Secure Temporary Housing
If your home needs extensive construction, Golden Bear Realty personnel will assist in finding your family a temporary rental home. Often, insurance policies will partially cover the cost your rental home. To find a suitable home for your family that is up to code following the hurricane, contact a representative at Golden Bear Realty.
Replenish Your Hurricane Survival Kit
With Hurricane Jose lurking in the Atlantic and with hurricane season lasting another two months, go ahead and restock your hurricane bins. Avoid the long lines at the gas stations by filling up gas containers and storing in your garage. When roads are passable and business returns to normal, purchase batteries, water, a generator, and canned food items to have on hand in case another storm reaches the region.
Additional information regarding emergency responses and volunteer teams can be found through the Florida Division of Emergency Management or the South Carolina Emergency Management Division.