Mortgage company puts another hurdle in hurricane Ida roof repairs
Early last Wednesday (or late last Tuesday), when you were busy moving from November to December, the 2021 hurricane season ended.
About the weather. Ida was all the stormy season I needed; way more than most of us needed.
Either way, local hurricane chasers are wary; any storm you find now will be out of season, possibly illegal.
During this time: We renew our attention at Christmas. Commercial Christmas has been going on since Halloween. And the owners of our region have started to decorate their garden with at least three kinds of colorful objects. We see string lights, season-themed painted cutouts, and plump “fluffy” inflatables. Sometimes a yard has a combination of all three.
At night, the demonstrations can be spectacular; houses with glittering icicles lining their eaves, or herds of bouncy reindeer, big Santa Claus, snowmen, trees and the like, often lit from within in one way or another.
During the day, the light garlands disappear, leaving the work of decoration to the inflatable structures and the marked painted cutouts.
But early in the morning is something else. Thrifty homeowners typically unplug their screens around midnight and then plug them back in after sunrise.
The early risers, out and driving in the dark, see what appear to be corpses in the courtyards decorated with inflatable structures. Off, the plump silhouettes crumble into piles of dark crumpled fabric. Depressing.
Help spread the word! If you have encountered any special note displays; a single spectacular backyard or several clustered together on a street or in a neighborhood, let me know so we can share a highlight of the season. Call or write.
Reptiles? Careful homeowners try to protect themselves against disasters like Hurricane Ida with insurance aimed at repairing the damage without destroying the family budget. We fell in love with a “bundle” offered by the “lizard” GEICO and have paid hundreds of dollars in monthly bonuses since, to a subsidiary of a subsidiary of the cute green reptile.
Shortly after we returned from our mandatory evacuation to homestead in northern Louisiana, we filed our first Ida damage claim and received a nice check to cover the losses we were experiencing. Great? Not really.
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The check was made out to my name, my wife and Quicken Loans, the company we share ownership with. We had borrowed money which was secured by a mortgage on our property. Presumably to prevent us from taking the money and being away (out of wanting to run away or leave town), the mortgage holder had to endorse the check with us.
Somehow, the owners of Quicken decided that “fast” was not fast enough. They rebranded themselves as “Rocket Mortgage”, to make their operations appear faster than swift.
Instead, the result was confusion and delay. Rocket, instead of sending us the check we needed to pay our roof and interior repair contractor, Joey Russ, put the entire sum, thousands of dollars, in “escrow” out of our reach. . Two problems there; Russ appears to be overwhelmed and financially constrained himself.
More from Bill Ellzey:This GEICO lizard has some explanations to do
Keep in mind that repairs will restore the property to its full value. Since Rocket, as the mortgage holder, is a co-owner of our residence, it should be obvious that their delay is preventing us from making our house habitable, even marketable, and we must continue to reside with relatives.
Some contractors, as I understand it, do the job first, pay the subcontractors themselves, then submit the invoice, and wait for the insurance company. Russ wants the money before he puts the roofers or drywall to work. And we have to fight with Rocket to get the money released.
In short, the roofing which was to start on Monday is still pending, and we are still in blue tarpaulin. And Russ is so busy with other projects that he hasn’t been available to provide rescheduling information. Disappointing.
If not, we’re fine, and hope our things, which Russ insisted on putting away weeks ago, will be back in our finished house in time to collect the Christmas presents from the dozens of packing boxes. If you don’t get anything from us this Christmas, blame Rocket and Russ.