Emergency Home Repairs

The recent storms have caused a lot of damage in the U.S., particularly in the South and Midwest, but in other parts of the country as well. Downed trees and power lines are the least of the wreckage wrought by all these storms, and many people now have to come up with the money for emergency home repairs.

Maybe you’re one of them. You might need to repair the roof, or replace a few windows, but whatever it is needs to be done now. You can’t wait months to get new shingles on the roof. Everything will mold from rain and squirrels will nest in the attic. If you’re short on cash and you don’t have insurance or you have a high deductible, what do you do?

First, don’t panic. It never helps and usually just makes things worse. Remember that you’re not alone; lots of people are in this situation with you and you have several options to choose from.

Option One: Call FEMA

If you live in a federally declared disaster area you can call on Uncle Sam for help. Many areas of the country have been declared disasters after the recent storms, including the area around Joplin, Missouri, the area around Tuscaloosa, Alabama and most of the towns along the Mississippi River.

Pros – The government provides low-interest loans to families who qualify. These loans can be used for repairs and to generally get back on your feet. Also, if you can provide proof of the damage you will almost certainly be approved.

Cons – There is a lot of paperwork involved in making a claim through FEMA. You may have to fill out dozens of different forms to get the loan approved. FEMA is also not known for its response times; you may get the loan quickly, or it may take them a couple of months.

Option Two: Get a Home Equity Loan

This is good option if you need to make extensive repairs and have good credit. A number of banks are offering low-interest rate loans with good terms to storm victims.

Pros - You can generally get the money within a week, usually inside of a couple of days. If you go to the bank that holds your primary mortgage they are likely to approve you because they have a vested interest in the house.

Cons - You have to have extremely good credit to get a home equity loan right now. Also, in these days of falling home prices you may not have enough equity built-up in the home to qualify.

Option Three: Apply for a Personal Loan

Banks will often make personal loans to account holders with good credit and solid histories. These loans differ from a home equity loan in that they aren’t secured by an interest in the house.

Pros – It doesn’t matter how much equity you have in the house because collateral isn’t required.

Cons – You have to have outstanding credit to be approved, and the interest rate will be higher than that for a home equity loan.

Option Four: Get a Payday Loan

Payday loans are another option you should consider. Emergency repairs can’t wait until payday arrives, and a payday loan can help you bridge that gap.

Pros - These loans are quick; you can usually get the money on the day you apply. It’s also easy to get a payday loan, provided you have a stable source of income.

Cons – The lender is going to charge you interest and fees in excess of what the bank would.

These are just a few of the best options we feel you can take advantage of when your in this particular situation. However, feel free to discuss these options (and any others you can think of) in the comments section below. We’d love to hear options that you’ve tried and the pro/cons around each of them.