How to sell a house on Long Island if you’ve had major water damage and need to sell quickly
Did you recently have a flood or water damage in your home on Long Island? This can happen for a number of reasons including a hurricane or severe storm, or it could be due to water seeping into your home from the ground (especially if the water table is high during the spring when the snow melts and it often rains to make the ground saturated with water). Or perhaps your water heater burst, or a toilet overflowed or some pipes burst. No matter what the cause of the water damage is, it’s never fun. And, of course, it can cost a lot of money to fix and restore the house.
Of course, if you have a good home insurance policy, this usually isn’t a major problem, and that’s what your insurance is for. While it may be inconvenient and time-consuming, if your homeowners’ insurance covers the damage, you should be able to restore your home. You’ll just need to file your claim with the insurance company (do this right away), make sure you remove all the water super quickly (and insurance will cover this…and even recommend contractors to help you), then make arrangements to repair and/or replace all of the items. The only cost you’ll have will be your deductible.
But, what if you’re not covered by insurance for the water damage?
This is where the problem lies for some homeowners on Long Island. Water damage (no matter what the cause) can be costly to repair. And, if you don’t take care of the water right away, you may cause additional problems to your house, such as mold. Mold can develop with 48-72 hours, so you want to remove the water and the extra moisture ASAP.
But, sometimes this doesn’t happen. If you’ve been away for a week, you may not have noticed the damage. Or, you may not know how to remove it, or you may not have enough money to hire the proper contractor. But, once you have mold, all of your repairs will become exponentially more expensive. And, of course, some molds are dangerous.
There may be many reasons why insurance doesn’t cover you for the damage. The most common reason is that you’ve had what’s termed a “flood” by the insurance company, and you don’t have flood insurance.
You see a standard home insurance policy and flood insurance are 2 separate things!
Most homeowners don’t realize this…and most homeowners on Long Island don’t have flood insurance.
What is the difference between water damage and flood damage?
It all depends on how the water entered the home. According to FEMA’s definition, a flood is a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of 2 or more acres of dry land area or 2 or more properties. Flood damage can only be caused by the following water sources:
- An overflow of inland or tidal waters
- Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source
- The collapse of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above
The main difference between a flood claim and a water damage claim is that the water comes from a natural source and two or more properties are involved. If you and your neighbors are all having water issues due to heavy rains and/or rising waters, then you are likely dealing with a flood insurance claim.
There are 2 types of policies that cover losses by water: 1) Homeowners insurance and 2) flood insurance.
Homeowners Insurance: Most policies cover damage covered by a sudden or accidental water event (e.g. burst pipe, wind, storm driven rain or melting snow). But generally, water damage caused by poor homeowner maintenance (e.g. poorly maintained roof, clogged gutters, unrepaired leaks) is not covered. And, it doesn’t cover flood damage.
Flood Insurance: This is usually a separate and additional policy, and it is offered by the National Flood Insurance program (and managed by FEMA) A flood is defined as a rising and overflowing of a body of water onto normally dry land. For insurance purposes, the word “rising” in this definition is the key to distinguishing flood damage from water damage.
Most homeowners don’t realize that these are 2 separate policies, and they often get caught off guard and learn the hard way after they’ve had flood damage.
Flood insurance policies are usually very expensive (and have skyrocketed in price over the last several years due to all of the hurricanes and storms we’ve been having. In fact, since the prices are so high (and frankly unaffordable to many), many people opt out of these and take the risk. And, some, due to financial reasons, may let their policy lapse as they can’t keep up with their bills.
Other reasons you may not be covered by your insurance:
There are other reasons that you may not be covered or fully covered if you’ve had water damage:
- Policy lapse – If you’ve been behind on your bills, your policy may have lapsed (or may not have renewed)
- Very high deductible – Sometimes, to save money, the homeowner has a high deductible on their policy. This is often done to reduce monthly payments. But, then if an issue does occur, the first chunk of money needs to be covered by the homeowner. And, sometimes, the homeowner just can’t afford this. I have occasionally seen extremely high deductibles in the $25,000 -$50,000 range. And, as you might imagine, many people just don’t have the money sitting in a bank account if an emergency arises.
- Specifics of the policy – Every policy is different in what it covers. And, some policies may cover you but only up to a certain allowance.
- Negligence or cause of damage – This depends on the cause of the damage and whether there was anything the homeowner could have/should have done to prevent the problem. This might include not keeping up with home maintenance or not repairing known issues. Or it could involve a slow reaction to the problem and let it fester to make it worse. Every policy and every situation is different. Check with your insurance carrier.
- You don’t have or didn’t convert to a vacant home insurance policy. Many people don’t realize that if a house is vacant for 30 or more days, they need to convert their policy to vacant home insurance. This could happen if you take a long trip, or if you are a snowbird and have a 2nd home down south, or if you bought a new house and moved, or if you’ve inherited a house. Likewise, if you are renting the house out, you need to convert to a rental insurance policy. As you might imagine vacant and rental insurance policies are more expensive, as these types of homes tend to be more susceptible to damage. If you haven’t lived there more for than 30 days and haven’t converted, most insurance policies will not cover your claim, regardless of the cause.
So what can you do if your Long Island home has water or flood damage and your insurance won’t cover it?
Of course for some on Long Island, this may be a Catch-22. You can’t afford to get your house fixed or to pay the deductible. But, you also can’t afford to leave your house “as is.” And, pending on the damage, you may not be able to even live there.
So, how do you get out of this mess?
Many who find themselves in this dilemma want to sell their house fast to cut their losses. Then, you can avoid the cost to repair your house and at the same time, you can move to lower cost option.
But a regular home buyer won’t purchase your house “as is”…in fact, most mortgagees won’t even allow a mortgage on this type of house. Furthermore, it can take a long time to sell a house…here on Long Island, the average time on market is 6.5 months…and during that time, you need to continue paying your mortgage and taxes, even if you’re not living in the home.
A better bet is to sell your house quickly to a cash investor. They have the capital to buy your house “as is” and then fix it up afterward and resell it. We here at Long Island Cash House Buyer LLC do this all the time. We help homeowners like you who are in difficult situations so they can move on with their lives.
We can buy your Long Island home for Cash and close fast. In fact, we can often close in as little as 2 to 4 weeks, if that’s what you need. We do buy houses “as is,” even if your Long Island house has had major water or flood damage.
If you’d like to speak about this further, call me.
- How to sell your house after a hurricane or natural disaster
- 11 tips to prevent flood damage in your home
Do you need to sell your Long Island house quickly?
Since 1998, we have been a trusted source for the latest information in regards to selling your home fast for cash on Long Island. We will have an honest conversation with you about the benefits and disadvantages of a quick cash sale of your property. If it is not right for you then it will not be right for us. It must be a win-win situation.
- We have purchased hundreds of homes with cash since 1998
- We have over $5,000,000.00 in funding available to purchase Long Island homes.
- You will always get cash at the closing.
- We always keep our word and will always tell you the truth.
- We will purchase your home as-is, in its present condition, no matter how much work is required.
- You can avoid all the costs and frustrations of fixing your property for sale.
We are the buyers. We are interested in buying your home- not in listing it as a Real Estate Broker.
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