What Happens After You Apply For FEMA Assistance?

House Raising in NJ is Serious Business

Having just lived through Hurricane Sandy, many residents of New Jersey and the surrounding East Coast states have suddenly found themselves taking a crash course in how to apply for FEMA aid and what happens when you do. Most people don’t want to deal with government agencies on a good day, so it’s no surprise that when dealing with the aftermath of a widespread natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, many found themselves ill equipped to deal with the pressures of figuring out how to successfully apply for and receive aid. Many had more immediate needs in mind, such as finding clothing and shelter, doing house repairs, or exploring the option of house raising in NJ to ensure they don’t get caught in future tidal flooding.

Thankfully, the reality is that applying for aid to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is easier than you expect. You may be busy coping with securing food, clothing, shelter and transportation, but if you can get access to a phone you can apply.

After you have applied, it is recommended that you create an account at disasterassistance.gov. While such an account is not required, having one will allow you to check the status of your application to FEMA, update your insurance and bank information so FEMA has the latest details, and add or update your contact information. In addition, you can also view and print correspondence from FEMA through the website.

You will get a copy of your application either through the mail or, if you opted to receive it digitally, through email or your disasterassistance.gov account.

When applying, please remember that FEMA assistance is intended for immediate needs or rebuilding and/or repairs not covered by your insurance. If you are one of the many doing house raising in NJ in order to get above future floods, it is unlikely FEMA aid will be available to you for that specific project. Apply, and budget your total funds, accordingly.

FEMA is going to review your documents, including your insurance (both homeowners and flood). Remember that FEMA assistance is intended to cover things your insurance does not cover. You can also expect an inspector to visit your property at some point to review your damage. In most cases, this is a mere formality. Generally speaking, only those trying to game the system need to worry about these inspections.

If you qualify for assistance, you should receive a check or direct deposit from FEMA very quickly, in some cases much quicker than you might expect.

If you do not qualify for assistance, you will receive a letter from FEMA explaining the reason for your denial. You do have the right to appeal if you disagree with the reason why you were denied.

When Mother Nature strikes, many will be inclined to look at the big picture first, thinking about house raising New Jersey, restorations, or even selling their home entirely. That approach is putting the cart before the horse. The first thing to do in the case of a federal disaster is to apply for aid.

3 Things No One Tells You About Buying Waterfront Homes

A Toms River Realtor Posing in Front of a Recently Sold Home

When it comes to finding a desirable place to live, few places are more desirable than properties on the water. People who live along the New Jersey coast know this well. With its abundant homes on the beach, bay and lagoons, there is a lot of waterfront property on the market and even more people competing to buy it.

Consider a Toms River Realtor when hunting for waterfront homes in the area.

However, buying waterfront property is not necessarily the same thing as buying property elsewhere. It comes with special considerations that must be taken into account before taking the plunge. Here are three things people often don’t tell you about buying waterfront property:

1) Pick A Property That Fits Your Lifestyle

People think that “waterfront” is one broad category, but the fact is, there is a lot of variety within that category. Understanding the differences between one kind of waterfront home and another should factor into your decision, since ideally you want a property that will fit your lifestyle. Some waterfront homes in Toms River are ideal for boating. Others are not ideally situated for boating but are ideal for entertaining guests. Some are close enough to the inlets so that you can access the ocean by water. Others are far enough away so that you’ll rarely make the trip. Some have spectacular views of the bay. Others are cozy and private lagoon homes. Any one of these could be your dream home, it’s just a matter of understanding your lifestyle and choosing a home that will fit it.

2) Research Local Zoning Restrictions

Waterfront property is not the same as property inland. It comes with its own rules, restrictions and zoning. Before buying, you’ll want to find out if you can put in a dock for that boat you plan on buying, or if the screened in back porch you want to build will be allowed (since sightlines are so important on the water), or if a pool is viable for the backyard, and so on. Knowing the answers to these questions before you buy can save you a lot of headache (and maybe money) in the long term.

3) Understand Your Insurance Requirements

In most cases, living on the water will involve insurance requirements above and beyond your normal homeowners insurance. Flood insurance is common and not something to fear – it’s also less costly than you might imagine – but it’s important for you to recognize the need for it all the same. In some cases, you might come across waterfront homes in Toms River that do not require flood insurance. In those cases, you will have to weigh the pros and cons of whether or not you want to forego flood insurance or purchase it anyway, even if it’s not required.

The good news about all three items is that they are not insurmountable obstacles or roadblocks, they are mere bumps that anyone can overcome if they truly desire to live someplace special.

And is there any place more special than a home on the water?