FORT MYERS, Fla. – With no expiration date in sight, plans for temporary living are hard to come by. According to popular rental sites like Airbnb and Vrbo, many places in Fort Myers and Cape Coral are unavailable, unaffordable or unlivable.
“Hurricane Ian basically put a big dent in our real estate market right now,” said Natalie Stout, real estate and design specialist for Realmark Realty.
Stout said for those currently buying or renting, it’s best to seek professional help.
“You should contact a real estate company that has a vacation rental program,” Stout said. “Seasonal snowbirds have been canceled this year and there is a possibility that you can move in as a temporary housing solution in those units.”
If you’re a seller and don’t have any damage to your home from Hurricane Ian, Stout said you could get a 10% increase. If you have damage to your home listed, you will likely see a reduction.
“If you have an open claim, it essentially makes it difficult, if not impossible, to close on a home,” Stout said.
Stout has been a local Southwest Florida real estate expert for 20 years. After Ian, she says she received many phone calls from homeowners with damage, asking if they should file a claim with their insurance.
“My heart goes out to all those damaged by the storm,” Stout said. “If you are not sure whether or not you should press charges, please feel free to contact me. I’m glad I can help.”
You can contact Stout for advice by email at [email protected]
Meanwhile, local Habitat for Humanity representatives said they are thinking about Ian’s long-term effects.
“Habitat is first and foremost a housing ministry,” said Katie Cribbs, public relations specialist for Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties. “As long as we have those willing hands and vision, Habitat will continue to serve.”
Habitat for Humanity will help our local housing recovery. During Irma, they partnered with 109 families to complete repairs.
They are even trying to help displaced residents in the short term at their Hurricane Resource site. They have limited emergency supplies on a first-come, first-served basis.
“We knew we were in that affordability crisis before Ian,” says Cribbs. “That’s why we want to continue to partner with families to alleviate the affordability crisis … which is now even worse.”
The Hurricane Resource location is located at 15800 Hagie Dr., Fort Myers, FL 33908, in the Heritage Heights Welcome Center. It is open from Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 6 pm.
“If you’ve been affected and have a housing need because of Ian … we’d like to hear from you,” says Cribbs. “We will put your information into our input form so we can assess everyone’s needs to help develop those plans.”