Property Damage & Disaster Restoration Blog: Long Island & New York City

Purchasing a Foreclosure Needing Repairs?

Posted on Wed, Jun 17, 2009 @ 03:31 PM

You see the perfect home in a Long Island neighborhood, and the house is a foreclosure. The exterior of the home is nice, but the inside has water damage, structural damage and mold. You want to buy this house and the selling price is excellent...What are your options as a homebuyer? Will you be able to "close" on a home that is in disrepair?

Of course you can...

When a homebuyer wants to purchase a house in need of repair or modernization, the homebuyer usually has to obtain financing first to purchase the dwelling; additional financing to do the rehabilitation construction; and a permanent mortgage when the work is completed to pay off the interim loans with a permanent mortgage.

Often the interim financing (the acquisition and construction loans) involves relatively high interest rates and short amortization periods. The FHA 203(k) mortgage program was designed to address this situation. The borrower can get just one mortgage loan, at a long-term fixed (or adjustable) rate, to finance both the acquisition and the rehabilitation of the property.

To provide funds for the rehabilitation, the mortgage amount is based on the projected value of the property with the work completed, taking into account the cost of the work. To minimize the risk to the mortgage lender, the mortgage loan (the maximum allowable amount) is eligible for endorsement by HUD as soon as the mortgage proceeds are disbursed and a rehabilitation escrow account is established.

The types of improvements that borrowers may make using Section 203(k) financing include:

  • Structural alterations and reconstruction
  • Modernization and improvements to the home's function
  • Elimination of health and safety hazards
  • Changes that improve appearance and eliminate obsolescence
  • Reconditioning or replacing plumbing; installing a well and/or septic system
  • Adding or replacing roofing, gutters, and downspouts
  • Adding or replacing floors and/or floor treatments
  • Major landscape work and site improvements
  • Enhancing accessibility for a disabled person
  • Making energy conservation improvements

The 203(k) Program is somewhat complicated and you must deal with an FHA approved lender, however, the program will allow you to obtain a mortgage and incorporate the necessary repairs into one mortgage payment. In addition, when selecting a general contractor to perform the rehab, you need to ensure the company is familiar with the 203k process and appropriate forms required. Streamlined 203k loans are also available for rehab/ home repairs under $35,000.

Advanced Restoration Corporation is located in New York and is a general contractor/ restoration company that specializes in the rehabilitation of homes in disrepair. We partner with various mortgage companies and have experience with contractor requirements associated with a 203 (k) loan.

For more information on partnering with an experienced 203(k) company ready to rebuild your dream house, contact Gary Matzelle at (516) 903-4107. Our service area includes: Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn and The Bronx.

Tags: disaster, foreclosure, 203(k) loan, fire restoration, restoration companies, water damage, structural drying, toxic mold, advanced restoration, homeowner tips, disrepair, flood damage, home repair

Property Damage: Flooding/Water Damage

Posted on Tue, Dec 02, 2008 @ 10:00 AM

RECOVERING FROM FLOOD DAMAGE
Source: Disaster-Resource
By Pat Moore

The very recent horrific flooding situations throughout the United States and the rest of the world exemplify how disastrous extreme water damage can be. Along with the tragic loss of life came almost irreparable physical property damage.


DAMAGE ASSESSMENT
Until the water recedes, a proper and thorough site/damage assessment cannot be performed. Water and silt, associated with floods, can carry contaminants such as bacteria, heavy metals, pesticides, PCBs and hydrocarbons. In some cases, metals, including lead, chrome, cadmium, barium and mercury, along with maintenance chemicals, oils from mechanical rooms, waste oil storage or fuel oil tanks, paints, solvents, and house-keeping chemicals may also be present. When these and other unknown chemicals are found, specific procedures such as taking a complete physical inventory of each container and product segregation should be performed by certified, trained, hazardous material technicians. The water and silt must be tested and analyzed so that the proper health and cleaning protocols can be employed.

The affect of the water and silt upon the facility and its contents can be extremely detrimental. Mr. Ian R. Chin, SE, AIA an external consultant to BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association), states that, "Many buildings affected by water infiltration can be exposed to loading conditions that they have never seen before, and possibly were not designed to withstand. After the water is pumped out, all structural walls, beams, and columns should be investigated to determine if water-related forces have adversely affected their structural capacity and serviceability. When existing conditions have been evaluated, the structural engineer should design repairs to provide immediate stabilization as needed, and to provide long-term measures to address distress conditions. Structural intervention must be coordinated with measures to address architectural, mechanical, electrical and environmental concerns in areas affected by water."

For example, the water’s ionic content, acidity, suspended solids and organic content should always be analyzed. Inorganic salts from building materials and atmospheric particulate matter can be deposited on exposed circuit boards. It is also important not to let the sediments in water settle on the equipment and then dry. When addressing water damage in a facility and to the contents of that facility, you need to review all the water variables which could exist, including total alkalinity (pH), total dissolved solids (TDS), suspended material, dissolved gases, pathogens, organic material, microorganisms, electrolytes, oil and chemicals.

ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT RECOVERY
In most cases, de-energizing electronic equipment before exposure to water allows for successful restoration. Electronics, as well as finished products, should always be carefully examined and, if necessary, be tested by experienced technicians to make sure they still meet the manufacturer’s original operating and performance specifications, as well as general cosmetic appearance. If this equipment remains in a moist, humid environment, severe corrosion can occur within 48 – 72 hours. Emergency restoration procedures, such as removal of standing water, facility dehumidification, and corrosion control are crucial loss recovery factors in reducing damage to critical components of the facility.

It is possible to remove hundreds of gallons of water from thousands of square feet in a facility over a 24-hour period by dehumidifying moist air through the use of high efficiency refrigeration or desiccation techniques. Restoration specialists use dehumidification equipment in conjunction with overhead fire sprinklers and fire detection sensors to provide the maximum protection for expensive telephone switches or electronic data processing environment.

SICK BUILDING SYNDROME
In addition, where you have had standing water or moist, humid conditions in a facility for more than 24 – 48 hours, you must be concerned about the development and growth of mold and mildew spores. This affects not only the structure, HVAC systems and critical contents such as documents and magnetic media, but can produce sick building syndrome as well.

A proper and thorough damage assessment, performed by a certified industrial hygienist and decontamination of the HVAC systems is critical to insure the building will be returned to the proper criteria of clean for re-occupancy.

VITAL RECORDS RECOVERY
In addition to understanding and mitigating what water damage can do to a facility and electronic equipment, it is equally important to understand and mitigate not only what it can do to vital records, but the health hazards it might pose while attempting vital records recovery. During flooding, for example, sewage backup normally occurs. The typhoid bacteria can be present in sewage and therefore, in order to protect your resources that are assisting in the retrieval and restoration of the records, you will need to institute the proper health and safety procedures.

In the event of water damage, vital records can become a total loss very quickly. For example, chilled-water systems often contain glycol, which can adversely affect certain types of paper and magnetic media. Different types of documents, photographs and vellum items, as well as magnetic media, need immediate and extra-special care. Every effort should be made to reduce high temperatures and vent the areas as soon as the water has receded or been pumped out. Water-soaked materials must be kept as cool as possible by good air circulation until they can be stabilized.

Freezing and storing documents can buy you time to finalize arrangements for proper recovery. Although freezing itself is not a drying method - and does not kill mold - it definitely controls its growth if done properly.

Using proper hygiene methods, washing away accumulated mud, sewage and dirt must be completed prior to freezing to avoid additional damage. Do not attempt to pull documents apart while wet. Remove all documents in blocks, if possible, so you do not increase deterioration. Leave a space about the size of your fist in the packing box for proper air circulation. Once the documents are frozen and/or in cold storage, choose the proper drying method of either freeze-drying through sublimation or descicant drying. (It is important to point out that, depending upon the degree of water damage and volume of documents, both processes can require substantial time (generally a minimum of 7 - 10 days, and quite a bit longer in a regional disaster). In addition, check with your insurance company to ensure that your policy adequately covers the costs involved in restoring vital records. Typically, freeze-drying costs are priced per cubic foot of records. Determine whether your present coverage addresses the retrieval of data from the damaged medium. In addition to valuable papers’ coverage, you should research whether or not your business interruption insurance responds to a loss of vital records containing integral operational information.

MAGNETIC MEDIA RECOVERY
Due to the sensitivity of magnetic media, its successful recovery will require mitigation procedures of immediate and proper damage assessment, climate control, and proper handling and cleaning, generally within 72 – 96 hours of damage.

Improper handling of wet microfilm, such as allowing it to dry on its spool, can result in data loss as well. Keep silver or emulsion films wet in clean cold water and immediately contact your microfilm service bureau or film-processing lab to mobilize recovery operations. It can be assumed that the archival quality of microfilm has been compromised once it has been restored, and therefore you will always want to duplicate these records, and store the originals off-site.

Documents exposed to hazardous contamination cannot be moved or handled, except by trained and certified hazardous materials decontamination specialists. Clearance testing, performed on the records, will also be necessary before they can be released.

FINE ARTS RECOVERY
You must also consider the protection of any type of fine art that is housed in your facility. For example, the value of paintings in your Chairman’s offices or on loan for a special exhibit in your facility, can far exceed the sum total of the physical premises, its contents and inventory. Gordon Lewis, a fine arts restoration specialist with the Fine Arts Conservancy, West Palm Beach, Florida states that " in twelve to forty-eight hours, water will migrate to the interior of art on paper, damaging the sheet and image and creating the opportunity for overwhelming mold outbreak. Paintings and furniture can develop serious mold damage in the same time frame. Paintings, when exposed to water or saturating humidity, can flake away from their canvas upon drying (six plus hours). Rare books absorb saturating humidity, expanding and warping with irreversible damage to spines and bindings within twenty-four hours. Today there are sealed systems or microclimates which are suitable both for paintings and works of art on paper and can totally encapsulate the object without the system itself being visually seen". Lewis also cautions us on understanding the importance of art conservators directing a fine art pack out of a damaged building, and that in most cases, improper handling of fine art can cause more substantial damage than the damage event itself.

Through preparedness, training and mitigation, we can greatly reduce the billions of dollars being spent today on trying to salvage flood damaged homes and businesses.

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Frozen Pipes in Your Home!

Posted on Fri, Nov 21, 2008 @ 12:38 PM

Although Winter officially begins on December 21st, the New York Metro area has already posted FREEZE WARNINGS during overnight conditions.

Homeowners in need to start thinking about the possibility of pipes freezing in their homes and how to prevent property damage, including water damage to a structure.

Preventing Frozen Pipes
Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:

Outdoor
Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.

Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.

Water Supply Source
Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located and are in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated. A hot water supply line can freeze just as a cold water supply line can freeze if the water is not running through the pipe and the water temperature in the pipe is cold.

Insulation
Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Many products are available at your local building supplies retailer. Pipes should be carefully wrapped, with ends butted tightly and joints wrapped with tape. Follow manufacturer's recommendations for installing and using these products.

If you have an issue related to frozen pipes, contact Advanced Restoration immediately to alleviate the potential of further property damage to your home or business . Our team is ready to respond 24/7 to your situation.

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Water Damage and Mold Remediation

Posted on Sat, Nov 15, 2008 @ 03:10 PM

Once again, Long Island and the NY Metro area is getting hit by heavy rains and flooding.
Here are a few more tips on water damage and mold for our friends in Nassau County, Suffolk County and New York City:

Mold Issues
If you have a serious mold problem, calling a specialist is in your best interest. Leaving a mold problem untreated can result in structural damage to your home and possible thousands in repairs.

Mold Detection
If you're not sure if you have a mold problem or not, a water damage specialist can assess your situation. After a very rainy season, it's a good idea to get your house checked for leaks, water damage, and mold.

Water Removal
If you've encountered a large leak or a flood, a specialist will have all the equipment needed to take care of the situation quickly and simply. If there is a lot of water but you think you can take care of it yourself, assess whether you think structural damage can occur within the extra time it may take you as opposed to a specialist.

Drying
After a major leak or flood, it's important to dry out the affected area. If you do not have the necessary equipment to do this, most water damage teams own several large, high power drying fans to prevent further damage.

Deodorizing
If a strange smell in your home just won't go away in your home, consider calling a water damage specialist for this as well. Most people don't know they handle strange odors, but they do have anything you're going to need to dispel most bad smells.

Restoration
If your home was hit by flood, mildew, mold, or leaks, structural or other damage may have occurred. To guarantee your home looks the same way it used to, call a specialist as they specialize in restoring homes after this particular kind of damage.

Assessing Damage Whatever water damage you come across, a water damage specialist is the right person to tell you exactly how severe a situation is and what action to take as a homeowner or business owner. Before hiring anyone to do any work, make sure you have an idea of just what is damaged and what needs to be done.

For more information about water damage, contact Advanced Restoration.

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