In the fall we saw a dramatic increase in mortgage delinquencies in the regions suffering from severe weather, flooding, and fires. The good news we have learned from all of the research into this topic is that overall nationally, the serious delinquency rate was the lowest since 2006 in the last quarter of 2018. This is truly good news. Compared to 2017 the past due rates have fallen slightly with those 60-120+ days past due, while those in the 30-59 day delinquency range saw an even larger drop. For the Greater New Orleans area, overall delinquency rates are down and we are grateful. Our robust economy is helping families keep current.

“While the strong economy has helped families stay current and push overall delinquency rates lower, areas that were hit hard by natural disasters have seen a rise in loan defaults. The 30-day delinquency rate in the Panama City, Florida metro area tripled between September and October 2018 as a result of Hurricane Michael. Two months after Hurricane Florence made landfall in the Carolinas, 60-day delinquency rates doubled in the Jacksonville, Wilmington, New Bern and Myrtle Beach metro areas. And buffeted by Kilauea’s eruption in the Hawaiian Islands, serious delinquency rates jumped on the Big Island by 9% between June and October 2018, while falling by 4% in the rest of Hawaii.” – Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at CoreLogic

For some of our neighbors in other states, these severe weather events affected multiple aspects of their lives. Not only were people displaced from their homes, but from their jobs. The companies they work for were thrown into turmoil coming up with plans B and C to keep the doors open, money coming in, and paying their employees. If they were service businesses, they suffered the most since they rely on local foot traffic for their income.

Actions for Real Estate Professionals

real esate agents can do after weather eventSince our region has experienced the devastation of severe weather events, as local real estate professionals our firm decided to act when our neighbors are in need. When disasters struck, we decided to reach out to our past clients, local vendors and partners to check in and see what we could do to lend a hand. Sometimes it was as simple as sharing phone numbers for local rescues, directing people to where their pets or livestock ended up temporarily, or just listening to the sadness they were feeling at the loss of their home and belongings. Because we are so familiar with the resources our region has, we put a plan in place to lend a hand.

As a real estate broker or agent, or even a small business owner, what plan do you have in place for these natural disaster situations? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Keep your past client list clean and updated. A great way is to send a Homeiversary card, email, text and or call to them each year. This serves two purposes. First, you are letting them know you are still there for them, that you are remembering when you worked with them on the sale or purchase of their home and second, it keeps your list up-to-date.
  2. Make a note of the neighborhoods and counties that are typically affected by annual flooding, susceptible to fires, power outages. This is fairly easy to keep track of if you stay on top of alerts from the power companies, emergency alert services, and your local news, community boards.
  3. Have you considered creating a private map on Google of those you have sold homes, for, or both? You can create map layers and if you are a super agent, you can make a new map each year since they will fill up. This goes for HUD, short sales, and all purchases. These are your target audiences for reaching out when weather events strike. You can edit the map entries with details about the transaction and even add a photo of the home. This makes it easy to bring up the map when an area is affected to see who you can reach out to immediately. This is a great project for a receptionist or simply have each agent add to the map as they complete a transaction.
  4. If there isn’t one already, consider starting some key neighborhood pages on Facebook or groups on Twitter. Depending on how tech savvy the people in your area are, this is a quick way to reach out, update, offer assistance and be a good neighbor. You can create more than one page or group. Another resource to consider is the site NextDoor. You can be present in the neighborhood circles and get a pulse on the areas you can be of assistance.
  5. Have a list of resource numbers and locations for animal rescue, senior services, typical sites for temporary shelter, donation drop off places. If you don’t know it already, your clients of the past still think of you as their local concierge.

New Orleans Region Local Expert

Audubon Realty has been a member of the Greater New Orleans community for more than 15 years. We are a full-service brokerage specializing in traditional buyer/seller representation, bank-owned (REO) and investment properties. Contact Us today!