Buy and Borrow

Buying a House During Hurricane Season? Here’s What You Need to Know

Erin Palmer

June 18, 2018

Buying a House During Hurricane Season? Here’s What You Need to Know

People flock to Florida because it’s a wonderful place to live. But Floridians know that hurricane season can make life complicated, especially when you’re in the process of buying a house.

Hurricane season is from June 1 – November 30. As you prepare for hurricane season while buying a home, keep in mind that an active storm or even an approaching storm has the potential to impact the sale.

Here are the things you need to know when buying a home during hurricane season:

What happens if the home I’m buying is damaged during a hurricane?

Unless you’ve already closed on a house, it still officially belongs to the seller. This means that the seller is responsible for taking care of the home as a storm approaches to try to prevent potential damage to the property.

Any damage that the storm caused should be documented and reported. If the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared a natural disaster, you may need to take a step back in the process.

For example, if the appraisal or home inspection took place before the storm hit, it will need to be inspected again to reflect potential damages. If there is damage, the process might slow down further to give the seller time to get the damages repaired.

Even if you were on the cusp of closing on the house before the storm hit, the timeline may need to shift afterward, depending on the situation.

How does a potential storm impact homeowner’s insurance?

Depending on where you are in the process and where the storm is, there could be a temporary delay in your ability to get homeowner’s insurance.

When a named storm forms, the path projections include a “cone of uncertainty” that encompasses the areas that may be impacted by the storm. If the home that you’re buying falls within that cone and the area is placed under a tropical storm or hurricane watch or warning, insurers may not write new policies until the storm threat has passed.

If you already have a contract on the home and your inspections have been completed, you should secure insurance as soon as possible.

Since homeowner’s insurance is often a requirement for lenders to grant a mortgage, this delay might impact the overall mortgage timeline.

Will title insurance be impacted by a hurricane?

Since title insurance focuses more on the deed and ownership of a home rather than the physical property, it might not be impacted by a storm as much as other policies. If the closing date gets pushed back due to storm-related reasons, the title company will need to be kept up to date with the latest information. So unless the sale is postponed or cancelled, the title insurance policy should be good to go.

There can be a lot to do after a storm, but don’t get discouraged. As long as your loved ones are safe, everything else can be managed.

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