As many of you know, we in Central Texas, have been dealing with wildfires, that have destroyed over fifteen hundred homes. The stories of loss, despair, heroism and emotion fill our local evening news. The daily broadcasts are filled with images that are stunning to say the least. But today that news became reality, as I met with some folks who suffered a loss, and are looking for a new home.
Real estate professionals see homes on a daily basis. We sell, lease, and look at homes through what are usually favorable conditions. Divorce and foreclosure happen, but the actual structure is still intact. But unfortunately, sometimes there is another side of real estate. Today I encountered a couple that literally only have the clothes on their back, from the home they lost. They were understandably emotional, because losing a home, with possessions and memories, is something they don't prepare you for in home ownership 101. Furthermore, with a devastating event like this fire, entire neighborhoods are lost, and communities are damaged.
In most instances, there isn't much to say to someone who sustains such a loss. But as real estate professionals we are in a position to do even more. On my drive back to the office, I tried to put together a list of things we can do as agents, to take extra care, to help folks who suffer the loss of a home:
- Work closely with the insurance company, to ensure a smooth transition to housing of some sort
- Stay in constant communication with the affected parties, since this is already a confusing and unsettling time
- Be prepared to go to the client, wherever *there* is, to deliver contracts, paperwork or recieve funds
- Communicate with contractors, furniture delivery companies, and other vendors to gain acces and answer any questions.
- Work with other real estate professionals, who are likely aware of the challenging circumstances
Most folks are pretty resilient after the shock of a devastating natural disaster occurs. I met two fighters today, who will get on their feet. But we can use our role, as real estate professionals, to ensure that road back is a smooth one.