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:

FLORIDA
Affordable Home Inspection Services, Graham Bailey        
(561) 694-7716
Advantage Building Consultants, Inc., Tony Munroe        
(561) 844-2225
Amerispec Home Inspection Service
(561) 745-1188
Billings Home Inspectors, Bill and Mary                
(561) 644-0279
CGC Home Inspections, LLC, Perry Lap
(561) 262-9643
Fidelity Building Inspections, Kevin Rose
(561) 748-8874
Florida Inspection Services, Jude Endres
(561) 953-1212
Inspection Xpress, Marco Terminesi
(561) 742-7222
South Florida's Best Home Inspection, Joe Cosentino
(561) 478-4050
Brennan Companies, TJ Delaney
(561) 776-0505 or (561) 826-3645
Svane Home Inspections
561) 749-9725

SOUTH CAROLINA
Ace Preferred Inspections
(843) 849-0455
Low Country Home Inspections 
(843) 881-7842
Port City Inspections, Blake Keegan
(843) 906-2715
Pillar to Post Inspections
(843) 881-4740
Benchmark Inspections

(843) 801-8868
Knowles Inspection Services, Robert Knowles
(843) 991-8095

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!

FLORIDA
Mold Remediation/Flood
US Mold
(561) 748-2223
Enviro Team, Eric
(954) 978-8839
All Dry (Emergency Flood Service)                                   
(561) 207-8167
A Crystal Clear Interior (Carpet Cleaning), David Caponas
(561) 627-4968

Plumbing
Abacoa Plumbing, Boyce                            
(561) 379-2686
Buckeye Plumbing                                
(561) 282-5393
Jupiter Farms Plumbing, Richard Vickers
(772) 263-3903
Paradigm Plumbing, Matt Barrett                    
(561) 841-9008

Contractors
Able Gutters, Jeff Able                            
(561) 379-4711
Action Glass & Glazing, Tony Marzano
(772) 286-2060
Building Contractor, Harry Burchell                    
(772) 834-2210
Doug Petsel, Licensed Contractor
(561) 531-0458
RJS Builders, Rob Scialla
(561) 622-3090
Home Improvement, Tom Moore
(561) 309-7382
Roofing, Drywall, Painting & Crown Molding, Willie Serrano    
(561) 339-7462
Light Up Electric, Ralph Florio
(919) 986-2900    
LJW Associates (General Home Improvement), Carlos Ramirez
(561) 320-1559
Big Bear Construction, Mark Murdocco
(561) 718-2642

SOUTH CAROLINA
Mold Remediation/Flood
BioSweep, Mike Jager
(843) 375-6627
ServiceMaster

(843) 760-0404

Plumbing
Bohicket Plumbing
(843) 718-0762
Beverly Plumbing 
(843) 559-5732
LimRic Plumbing, B.J.
(843) 225-2665
Servant Plumbing
(843) 513-8393

Contractors
Toby Tyler Home Builders
(843) 343-2757
Alex Holdgate
(843) 270-3242
Fitzgerald Services LLC , James or Robert
(843) 303-1593 or (843) 813-4474
Big Bear Roofing
(843) 819-7650

Tree and Lawn Services
Rawson Tree Service, Randy
(843) 860-1117
Tree Trimming/Cutting, Pedro Diaz
(843) 345-6769
Cruz Lawn and Tree
(843) 559-5188

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.

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