Hurricane Ian's recent wrath in Florida left thousands of homes destroyed or flooded. In a market where inventory was already lean in one of the hottest states for real estate in the U.S., hurricane or no hurricane, buyers are looking for deals.
According to The Wall Street Journal, investors and home buyers are flocking to flood-ravaged areas looking for a steal on damaged homes and distressed properties. The Journal reports that potential investors and buyers are finding that picking up distressed properties in a period of low home inventory may be the best way for people to find a home in Florida.
"It's pretty much business as usual," Coldwell Banker agent Kelly Baldwin told the Journal. "I haven't had anyone reach out who wants to stop their home search."
Local realtors throughout the state are seeing some homeowners throw up their hands in exasperation, unwilling to either spend the time or shell out the money needed for repairs to their storm-ravaged homes, which is good news for investors with cash.
Florida realtor Jennifer Grasso confirmed this with Florida News Channel 13. "People can't necessarily afford to have all of these repairs done, even if they have homeowner's insurance. You know there are still deductibles, so this can be very difficult for people. As well as it could be their main residence and they have to relocate, and maybe they don't have a ton of money to put down, and rent is really high right now," she said.
As a result, investors are flocking to see what they can pick up for a discount. Premier Sotheby's International Realty's Friley Saucier told the Journal she is working with a buyer who plans to spend as much as $50 million on picking up properties that were damaged by the hurricane.
"[The buyer] called me after the storm," Saucier said. "I've spent a week calling agents and others trying to find properties that are off-market because these homes are still being dried out and remediated, so they're not yet listed."
Warnings have gone out across the country regarding the dangers of buying used cars in Florida affected by the storm. Still, investors looking to flip damaged homes are not shying away. However, local realtors like Grasso are warning that extreme due diligence is needed before purchasing.
"I would never suggest purchasing a home without a home inspection, so they need to do the math on what the comps are in the neighborhood and how much the repairs are going to cost because it can be very expensive to fix a home that is flooded. We are talking drywall, floors, insulation and you really have to do your math on that," she said.
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