By Anessa V. Cohen

So many people are wringing their hands, trying to decide how or whether to rebuild their damaged homes after Storm Sandy. Given the different levels of damage, this is not surprising. It is a major decision that many have to make. It may mean redoing a first floor that was flooded, possibly together with a basement; or, in some really difficult situations, a first floor, basement, and maybe a foundation that shifted, cracked, or crumbled from the pressures of the flooding.

We have discussed and dealt with pumping, cleaning, and mold removal until it is coming out of our ears and eyes! I am skipping this part since I think we are all nauseated by dealing with it–although there was no choice.

Homeowners whose foundations have shifted or just been damaged are in the saddest position of all. Those in this situation must face the extraordinary expenses needed to repair the foundations, if possible. If that’s too costly, they may need to tear the house down and start from scratch–a painful, awful dilemma.

A flooded basement, probably the easiest type of damage to deal with after the flood, still entails a good deal of time and thought prior to restoration. Typically, even if a basement is unfinished, a boiler, hot-water tank, washer, dryer, and maybe even a sump pump may need to be replaced, not to mention all electrical wiring and outlets that were below the flood line, possibly even an entire electrical box if it was located in the basement. These are all considerably costly items that need to be budgeted and priced thoughtfully before even contemplating their replacement.

Add to this the burdens placed on a homeowner when the basement was finished prior to the flood. Sheetrock walls, ceilings, and all kinds of different types of flooring must be ripped up and replaced. This is an overwhelmingly large project to even think about, much less have to deal with.

Are you stressed just listening to this? Imagine what the homeowner having to deal with this is going through! Now, add to this scenario a first floor that needs to be totally gutted as well–new kitchen, walls, appliances, floors, electric wiring, and what have you. You can see the nightmare that has unfolded for many of the victims trying to deal with the aftermath of this storm. This is obviously not a situation which many people have been prepped for in advance. Most of the affected homeowners facing these restoration projects are finding themselves first over their heads and then, for survival purposes, learning the ropes of putting these projects into some kind of “seder” in order to salvage their investments and restore their homes for the sake of their families.

These are all daunting undertakings that need to be faced. The light at the end of the tunnel is that hopefully down the road, when the project is completed, the homes involved will be better and stronger than they were to begin with and we can put this nightmare of a storm finally to rest. v

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker and a licensed N.Y.S. mortgage broker with over 20 years of experience, offering full-service residential and commercial real-estate services (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and mortgaging services (First Meridian Mortgage) in the Five Towns and throughout the tri-state area. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to


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