Real Estate Community Focuses on Disaster Preparedness

September 6, 2018

Natural disasters such as floods, fires, hurricanes, and mudslides pose threats to more communities than ever before, and the real estate community is keeping an eye on how this affects housing. The costs associated with natural disasters in the U.S. reached a record high of $306 billion in 2017. Recent reports have warned that more is to come: Rising sea levels and climate change could put 2.4 million homes and 107,000 commercial properties at risk of flooding events by 2100, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Natural disasters

© Matthew Davidson - EyeEm/Getty Images

September marks National Preparedness Month, and the real estate industry is working to raise awareness of how homeowners can better protect their greatest asset as well as how to recover when disaster does strike.

Adequate insurance is one key to keeping homeowners protected, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR is a strong advocate on Capitol Hill for greater national and private flood insurance coverage as well as general property insurance. NAR supports the development of a federal natural disaster policy that promotes the availability and affordability of property insurance nationwide.

“Without federal involvement, affordable property insurance will continue not to be available in many parts of the U.S. to protect against the next mega-catastrophe caused by a hurricane, earthquake, or other act of God,” NAR states on its website.

After a disaster strikes a community, real estate professionals often find themselves in the role of advisers in helping their current or former clients navigate the terrain of either repairing their home, selling it, or finding temporary corridors. NAR provides several worksheets for real estate professionals to help guide clients: Transaction Guidance After Natural Disasters as well as this video from NAR’s legal team on helping clients in the aftermath of disaster and how real estate professionals can disaster-proof their own business, too.

For those who’ve been through natural disasters in their communities, they are quick to point out that recovery—although at times may seem painfully slow—is possible. Real estate pros in New Orleans who faced Hurricane Katrina’s devastating aftermath in 2005 say they’re now more ready to weather a disaster. “I have a plastic box packed with all of my important papers in it—cash, phone numbers,” Lynda Nugent Smith, a Keller Williams real estate professional who faced Hurricane Katrina, told REALTOR® Magazine. “We have learned you want to be able to pick up your box and go and not have to be thinking about it.” Preparedness is key, they say, among other real estate lessons from Katrina.

Disaster Relief Infographic

© National Association of REALTORS®

The Cost to Recover,” (September 2018)