Even in a place as accustomed to wildfires as Southern California, this latest Thomas Fire has been exceptional… Our thoughts go out to those directly affected by it.
Even if not directly affected, many are wondering if and how any lasting effects we can expect upon the local real estate market. And what lingering (more insidious) risks may emerge in the wake of disasters like this. Here is what to expect, and what to look out for.
History of Wildfires on Local Real Estate
We looked at this issue from a historical lens. We researched sales before and after both the Tea fire and the Jesusita fire to see if there was a noticeable difference. Having looked at the prior month, the two months that followed and compared these statistics to the previous year same months, we found that there was no noticeable difference in number of sales or sales price. With fewer homes being destroyed within Santa Barbara county in this fire (thanks to our amazing firefighters), it is unlikely there will be a noticeable change now.
Scams Specific to Wildfires
If you know of someone who has lost or had damage (even smoke damage) to their home, please make sure they are aware of scams and opportunities they have. The last two fires had scammers knocking on doors saying they were part of a well-known local company and took a lot of items that were to be cleaned and returned as part of the insurance settlement, yet those items were never returned. These people were not at all associated with the company. If someone knocks at your door, call the company they say they are associated with to confirm and be sure to get the number from the internet and not from the person knocking.
Insurance companies want to pay the smallest amount they possibly can on their claims. I have a friend who is a Public Adjustor, who goes up against the insurance adjustors and guarantees he will get at least double what the insurance company offers or he does not take a fee. His primary point is don’t sign off on anything while you are still in an emotional state. Take the time to evaluate your options. It could create more havoc and stress than you are already going through.
If you have more specific questions or concerns related to Santa Barbara area real estate, please reach out. Even during these troubling times, we are happy to help!