After Katrina and Sandy, New Orleans and New England sustained heavy damage and spent billions of dollars and several years rebuilding (and still is to some extent).
Now, Texas is dealing with the aftermath of Harvey while the east coast faces possible landfall hurricane Irma. It seems the devastation brought from major hurricanes isn't a rare phenomenon anymore. The impact of these storms goes well beyond the immediate damage and aftermath. The economic effects are wide-ranging and can reverberate in an affected area for years and years afterward.
The first wave of cost and economic impact begins with the immediate aftermath of landfall. Depending on the degree and length of the storm, the damage can range from minimal to devastating. Flood waters can cause a lot of damage, especially if they sit in the area for several days at a time. In certain parts of New Orleans, you still can see the line where the water level sat in the aftermath of Katrina.
In response to the devastation, government on all levels work to raise money to cover the cost of rebuilding. After Katrina, Louisiana received around $142 billion in federal funds to help rebuild. After Sandy, New York and New Jersey received $56 billion for recovery efforts. In response to Harvey, President Trump has proposed a $9.7 billion allocation to Texas. Before Katrina, federal aid made up only about 17 percent of hurricane damage. Additionally, the money spent by the federal government has national effects.
To have a vibrant and growing economy, you need a lot of people with some disposable income. These people must be willing to spend their money at local businesses with some regularity. This is the backbone of an economy. If no one is buying anything, things tend to slow down and degrade over time.
While rebuilding cities and public areas definitely takes time and money, private property also suffers damage. This includes homes, apartments and businesses. Often, the allocated funds don't cover these damages. If you own a house in an affected area and have insurance, you could still be waiting for months to get your check. Without insurance, the owner is eating the entire cost. Only about 20 percent of those affected by Harvey actually had flood insurance. In New Orleans, about half of households had purchased flood insurance before the storm. Without insurance coverage, these are massive expenses that could tie down income for a long, long time. That has a significant effect on the local economy. If a lot of people have much less disposable income, the economy could slow growth or even degrade.
Another economic factor is relocation. After Katrina, many lower income households relocated to other parts of the state or even to Houston, Texas. Without a home to return to, it made more sense for many people to restart somewhere new. Obviously, relocation will decrease the population in an affected area. This in turn has an economic effect. Often, cities need to grow their population to also grow their economy. With less people to spend money in a city, the local economy could suffer all the more.
The effects of the storm don't end on the city level. Especially if that city is a major metropolitan area of that state — like Houston is for Texas — the statewide economy can be similarly affected. Tourists will be less likely to visit. Businesses will set up shop somewhere else. This situation only gets worse with more damage and destruction. If people are more readily able to return to work shortly after a storm, the economy will likely not suffer quite as much. After Sandy, the New York and New Jersey areas were able to rebound fairly quickly in comparison to New Orleans after Katrina.
In the immediate rebuilding, the economy will likely experience small boost from the act of rebuilding itself. More people will be working in the area than normal. Also, the faster a city can regain some semblance of normalcy and functionality, the easier it can avoid a possible economic downturn. The economic effects of different hurricanes on different regions lead to varying results. However, for the most part, there is a path to recovery — even if it might take several years.
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Between buying a new home and transporting yourself and your belongings to it, moving can be an expensive process. One often underrecognized cost of moving occurs before one's original house has even been sold, and that's staging the house. Homeowners often spend hundreds of dollars making a home appealing to potential buyers. To ease the financial burden of moving, here are several tips for staging your home on a budget.
Downsize Instead of Storing
The goal of staging a home is to create a blank canvas that potential buyers can imagine their own lives painted upon. To accomplish this, homeowners should depersonalize the home as much as possible, removing items that are specific to their family and eliminating clutter. This is where homeowners often incur their first costs as they rush to put as many older things in storage as possible.
To cut costs, focus on downsizing rather than storing items. Look for items that you can sell, donate, or give away. For remaining items, look for alternative places to store them, such as a friend or relative's house. This will also reduce the cost of moving your belongings when it is time to go to the new house.
DIY What You Can
There are times when homeowners should bring in a professional to manage home renovations and decorating, such as when a task requires specialized skills. These types of jobs, when done incorrectly, will incur even greater costs if attempted on your own. However, many of the home improvement tasks that go into staging a home are simple enough that the homeowner can DIY them, such as painting, installing a backsplash, or refinishing the deck. Doing these tasks yourself will save you a significant amount of money.
Don't Redo, Update
Homeowners are often eager to make their houses look as appealing to buyers as possible. However, recall that the point of staging is depersonalization, making a home presentable so buyers can mentally impose their own style onto it. When staging a home on a budget, focus less on completely transforming the space and more on making what is there look presentable. For instance, if you wanted to give your bedroom a facelift, trying to replace the furniture and flooring would be pointless unless it was damaged or unkempt. Simply organizing the space and replacing the bed's comforter would be sufficient.
Another way to update the space without entirely redoing it is to rearrange it to maximize the space that is already there. For instance, pulling the furniture away from the walls will make a room appear bigger and allows more space for those touring the house. Using window trimmings that maximize natural light and incorporating wall mirrors can also make a room seem more spacious.
Raising a larger family than most means that your lifestyle is going to change. Costs will continue to multiply as your family grows larger. However, just because your family is large doesn't mean your quality of life needs to suffer. It just means you need to make a few adjustments to help things work smoother and more efficiently. We've compiled a couple of money-saving tips for larger families to help you get the most out of your dollars.
Always Buy in Bulk
The benefit of having a larger family is that things you buy in bulk rarely ever go to waste. Smaller families can benefit from buying in bulk, of course, but your large family will see the most use out of shopping in large quantities. You'll want to avoid going to smaller stores for necessities such as groceries and clothes, as these places generally have higher markups on their items.
Buy Wholesale Items Online
If you want to take buying in bulk to the next level, one of the best money-saving tips for large families is to buy online from wholesalers. Buying online comes with a number of benefits that you won't get when you go to a physical store:
- You don't have to drag your kids to the store with you
- You have a lower probability of making impulse purchases
- You can search for exactly what you need
- Wholesalers sell in very large quantities for a lower price per item
Never Throw Away Something Useful
When you have to buy things for multiple children, your costs to replace items will be much higher. That's why it's so important to keep everything you can. Clothing is a big part of this. Hand-me-downs can prevent you from needing to replace entire closets every year. Try to repair or upcycle any clothes that may have damage, as this is usually much cheaper than buying brand-new items.
Stick to a Budget
When you support a large family, expenses can sometimes get away from you. Proper budgeting helps to keep the extra purchases that add up to a minimum. Budgeting correctly can save you a lot of heartache in the long run. It's up to you how much control you want to take; you can make your budget weekly or monthly, depending on how tight a ship you need to run. What's important to remember is that making the budget is only the first step—sticking to it is where you'll really need to enact some willpower.
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Sometimes there is no choice—a home needs to be sold in the winter.
Spring may be the most popular time to put your house on the market, but homes do sell in the colder months. With fewer houses available, your home may be someone's only choice when house hunting in your neighborhood. As your neighbors hold out until spring, you'll already be done and ready to shop for your next house!
Here are a few tips for selling a home in the winter to get you on the right track.
Keep Paths Safe and Landscaping Fresh
Landscaping is the last thing on a homeowner's mind in the winter. Everything was cut back in the fall and may now be covered in snow. Still, take a walk around the house and yard to check everything out. Branches may have fallen from heavy snow, leaving a mess in the yard. Keep everything neat and tidy.
The last thing you need is a potential buyer slipping on the ice-covered walk in front of your house. Buyers often consider those moments bad omens, and this can affect their decisions. Shovel, snow blow, spread salt—do whatever you have to do to keep the driveway and walking paths clear, and don't forget the porch and deck.
Make the Inside Warm and Cozy
In cold weather, buyers won't spend a lot of time examining a home's exterior. Instead, impress them with the inside by creating an atmosphere which causes them to want to move in.
When there's time, leave wintery types of snacks and drinks, such as hot cocoa and cookies, available on a table during showings. This gives your home a welcoming feel to buyers.
Light the fireplace (if you have one) for a lovely ambience and set your thermostat to a comfortable setting. A warm home in the winter is much more appealing than a chilly one.
Make Your Home Less Personal
Understandably, this can be a tough thought for homeowners. After all, you've spent years creating memories in your home. To buyers, though, they need to picture it as their own. Too much personality makes that difficult.
It's always important to stage your home in a way that makes it look clean, comfortable, and move-in ready. Don't feel offended by the idea of taking family pictures down and replacing them with generic décor. This will help your home sell faster by helping buyers envision their own things there.
Cleanliness and Maintenance
Clean, clean, and clean some more. Make appliances, counters, and floors shine. No matter how old your home is, it needs to feel like new to potential buyers. If you aren't into dusting, now is the time to try. Don't forget window coverings that might need washing.
Be prepared ahead of time for home inspections by taking care of maintenance now. HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical should all be up to code and running smoothly.
Use these tips for selling a home in the winter, exercise patience during the slower months, and your home will sell before you know it.