If you have ever lived in Denver, Colorado in the spring, you know it’s beautiful and it’s also hail season. Now, I am not a meteorologist, but here is how the hail phenomena was explained to me.
Denver has an average of 300 plus days of sunshine every year (good for us). As such, the sun is out just about every morning. The sun heats up the snow on the mountains, and the snow melts. That moisture is absorbed into the atmosphere, creating storm clouds almost every afternoon in May and June. The air high above is still considerably colder at this time of year than what we are experiencing down on the ground. When the storm clouds fill up, the moisture is frozen into hail and thus damages Denver and the surrounding areas. The strange thing is that hail is very fickle. It’s normal for it to be hailing in one part of town and just raining a few miles away. It’s safe to say that during the storm season in spring, one part of Denver is usually getting hit with hail. This is white gold for the roofing business.
So what do you need to know about hail if you are buying or selling a home? Here are a few tips:
- For sellers: Please make sure that your homeowner’s policy is updated to cover you for hail damage, and I mean more than just the roof. Many times your siding, windows, gutters, screens, paint, and fence are all damaged and may need to be replaced. Also, make sure that you have a reasonable deductible. I see people with $7,000 deductibles and the whole roof doesn’t cost $7,000 to replace. In this case, you will be paying for the roof replacement out of your pocket. Also find out how many times you can replace your roof with that same insurance company. My company, Farmers, will replace the roof once a year if we get damaged that badly. You’ll also want to ask under what conditions will they cancel your policy.
- For buyers: Let’s say you are under contract and the home you are about to close on gets hit with hail. The Colorado Real Estate contract says that if the seller can fix the damage before closing, he or she is obligated to do so. If it cannot be fixed prior to closing, the parties can agree to an extension on closing or an escrow for the repairs to be made after closing (provided there is no loan involved. Lenders will not lend on a home that needs a new roof. The lender will want the roof replaced before closing). If the seller refuses to replace or repair damage from a hailstorm, the buyer has the right to terminate the contract. If the damages exceed 10% of the home value, the seller has the right to terminate the contract, but could also choose to make the repairs.
- If there is damage from a hailstorm, the key is to get on it as soon as it happens. The minute the storm is over, check if you can see any visible damage. If you suspect damage to the roof, get on the phone with your insurance company and get a claim started. Right after the hailstorm, insurance companies are bombarded with claims, and you could be waiting weeks and months for insurance adjusters to get out to your home. The quicker you get in the claim, the faster the adjuster gets to your home. In most cases, the insurance adjuster cuts you a check for the roof on the spot.
- Please, please, please make sure that you get a reputable roofer with lots of references. Get the roofer involved as soon as possible. A good roofer will meet with your insurance adjuster at the house and walk the roof with them. You’ll also want to get on the roofer’s schedule as soon as possible. In most cases, entire roofs can be torn off and replaced in one or two days.
In closing, there is not much you can do to prevent damage to your home in hail season, but you can be prepared with the tips we have given you above. As I mentioned, if you are in the middle of selling your home, we hope you have hired a seasoned real estate professional that knows how to guide you through this process smoothly.
Dan Polimino is a Broker/Owner with the Colorado Dream House Team, Keller Williams Realty DTC. Contact the Colorado Dream House Team at 720-446-6325, Follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook, Watch us on YouTube, Questions?