VA loan borrowers whose homes were affected by Hurricane Sandy and its remnants should take a few key steps to start the path toward rehabilitation or rebuilding.
If you haven’t already, the first step is to contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and start the disaster application process at 800-621-3362 or visit FEMA online. Homeowners may be able to obtain housing assistance and other forms of aid from organizations associated with the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort. This application is key for obtaining any kind of federal aid.
Call the Servicer and Insurer
Your next call should be to your mortgage servicer. This is who you send your mortgage payment to each month, not necessarily the company that provided the loan. The reality is you’re on the the hook for mortgage payments even if your home isn’t livable. Natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy can obviously impact employment and income, so it’s important to talk with your servicer as soon as possible if making the monthly mortgage payment may prove difficult.
Once you’re off the phone with your servicer, place a call to your homeowners insurance company. Making an insurance claim quickly is important, but don’t be in a hurry to accept a settlement. If your home is damaged, get repair estimates from reputable contractors. Make sure they’re properly licensed and bonded, because scammers will often prey on unwitting disaster victims.
Local veterans groups may offering additional services and forms of assistance to veterans in need. Consider spotting a call to your local Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion or other military-related organization.
Contact your nearest VA Regional Office and your local post office if you receive monthly benefit checks but aren’t currently able to receive mail.
The VA urges mortgage services to work with veterans affected by natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, whether it’s through loan modifications and supplemental loans or delaying foreclosure proceedings in disaster areas.
Affected homeowners can always call the VA at 877-827-3702 to learn more about what’s available.
For more info on finding help after natural disasters, check out: 5 Steps for VA Borrowers After Disaster.
Photo courtesy of Pam_Andrade