As the smoke cleared from the fire that made its way into Colorado Springs, we learned that 346 homes were lost to the Waldo Canyon Fire. For the first time for many of us, this is not just a distant disaster affecting strangers somewhere else on the globe; those affected are our friends and neighbors. While none of us at Solid Rock have personally had our homes lost or damaged, we feel a deep sense of loss as a community and want to do all we can to help rebuild.
We have seen a great outpouring of charity from our fellow Coloradans – shelters for those displaced popped up immediately but were under-filled because so many residents took the temporarily homeless into their own homes. Shelters were overwhelmed by donations of Gatorade and bottled water because so many citizens wanted to help. We saw Chil-fil-A offer free meals to evacuees. We saw people waiting in long lines just for the opportunity to make a donation.
Unfortunately, not everyone is as altruistic as the community at large. While there has been a tremendous amount of community support, there have also been looters in evacuated buildings, multiple car break-ins at hotels housing evacuees, and scammers posing as collectors for the Red Cross and Flying W Ranch. It’s a sickening reality. As you look at rebuilding, or help a friend or neighbor rebuild, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Beware of out of town contractors that are willing to help you re-construct your residence in a quick manner. Out of town contractors will not be around after all of this is over to offer you warranty services.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org, 719-636-1155) for licensed contractors in the area to make sure that you are dealing with a reputable community contractor.
- Confirm that your contractor is properly licensed and insured before engaging their services. If they are asking you to pull the permit, that probably means that they are not licensed or insured. Whoever pulls the permit is responsible for the work if there is a problem in the future.
- If you have lost your home, having an engineer, a contractor, and your insurance agent involved will help determine if the foundation is a total loss or can be salvageable.
- If your house has been damaged but can be repaired, have the contractor explain to you in detail the appropriate methods to ensure a proper restoration. Check with the BBB and the Housing and Building Association (www.cshba.com, 719-592-1800) for reputable fire and restoration companies that can assist you with restoring your home.
- Review the contract thoroughly and make sure you understand it in its entirety. If something is unclear, ask for more clarification. When possible, have an attorney look it over. Do not pay large deposits up front to secure the contractor. Make progress payments to the contractor to ensure your work is getting completed.
By following these tips, hopefully your life and home can be restored in a timely manner and be less stressful. When you are ready to rebuild your home with a proven custom home builder, we would be honored to take you through the process. Whether or not you choose to involve Solid Rock in the process, we pray that your life and home will be restored and you can go back to enjoying life with your family and friends. We will be here when you need us.