real estate

7 tips to renovating after a natural disaster

The bright side of a disaster -- renovating?
The bright side of a disaster -- renovating?

When your home is damaged from a natural disaster, there is some good news: You can make the changes you've always wanted to your home while strengthening it against future weather damage.

Finding the right contractor before you start renovating is key. "Don't just let the insurance company tell you who to use," says Jeff Ellis, vice president of First Call Construction in Grimes, Iowa. While the insurance company can suggest a contractor, "Make sure the contractor working on your home is the right contractor for you and not just who they pick."

Lucas McCurdy, of Coastal Reconstruction Group in Winter Park, Fla., recommends hiring a licensed reconstruction contractor instead of a new homebuilder or other general contractor. While all licensed contractors can properly renovate a home, a reconstruction contractor speaks the same language as the insurance adjustor, says McCurdy. This speeds up the process of getting payments approved and may get the homeowner a better settlement.

Some contractors even use the same computer program the insurance company uses so any paperwork is already insurance-ready. "If you have a contractor who can take the bull by the horns, you can minimize your loss time," says McCurdy.

Before you begin renovating your damaged home, pay attention to these seven tips.


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