Help recovering from Harvey in Houston and Katy, Texas

Neighbors come together to help remove drywall and clean up a home affecting by flood waters.

My heart goes out to our community as we recover from this devastating storm. I know many are working on rebuilding…and some may not even know where to start as they weren’t in a flood zone and had never flooded before. Attached is a very useful document for your review that will help you know where to start and what to do if water entered your home.

A few items I want to point out:

1) There have been some misconceptions about the new insurance laws and filing by Sept, 1st. Please read this before you freak out:

2) You may have seen that you can contact your mortgage company about delaying your payments. Delaying your mortgage and other bills can be a solution to help you out – HOWEVER, what you haven’t been told is that the mortgage company MAY still count your mortgage late on your credit and that payments are still due. Asking for reprieve and the mortgage company granting it are 2 different things. Once you start making payments again all money may be put toward interest only and none toward principal. It MAY be best to continue paying your mortgage so that your credit is not affected. HOWEVER, you need to thoroughly discuss this with YOUR lender as this can vary lender by lender.

3) See the attached document from the City of Katy on separating debris and where to place it for pick up.

4) Many people may not have had flood insurance. However, you may qualify for federal disaster assistance through FEMA’s Disaster Application Center (DAC). You can find a Disaster Recovery Center by texting DRC and a Zip Code to 4FEMA (43362) or visit this site:

5) Before you start demoing your home TAKE PICTURES. Go into each affected room and take 360 degree pictures – noting EVERY affected item in it. You’ll want this for your insurance claims.

6) If you had standing water in your house you should remove the dry wall. It is easiest to remove a 4 ft tall section as when your contractors come in to replace the dry wall they come in 4 ft by 8 ft or longer pieces. It’s less work/time/cost for the installation.

7) If you had standing water ANYTHING porous should be discarded. This means wood, too. Yes, your beautiful wood cabinets may very likely have water in the drywall behind them; a contractor friend of mine saw it today as they ripped out drywall in a friend’s home. Make sure you have that evaluated before you decide to save them.

8) There are certain types of mold that grow where bleach water can actually make it worse. (Here’s a little more info on that: If it’s all you have then use it…but better solutions are in the attached document or also a product called Mold Armor (you can find this in Home Depot).

9) WCA hasn’t resumed trash pick up because their landfills flooded.  This likely means that Best Trash and others haven’t either since they all use WCA landfills.  You can check for updates on trash pick up at (for WCA) and (for Best Trash); when you throw out your trash (if you’ve had to gut your home) separate things into piles.  This is also attached.

10) Samaritans Purse is here and needs volunteers. However, one of the things this organization will do is help gut homes – and it’s all volunteer based. You can find more information here:

11) If you’re cutting out drywall, it’s by far the easiest to use a circular saw set at the right depth for cutting drywall. When we started doing this today at a neighbor’s house it made the job go SO MUCH FASTER! Dry wall saws were also helpful.

12) Use gloves for pulling out insulation and pull out ALL insulation…the insulation sucks up the moisture pretty far up into it.

13) There will be A TON of contractors, roofers, etc coming to town from everywhere. I strongly recommend you do some research. Use people who are recommended to you and companies that have a good reputation. The last thing you want are crews coming in, over charging you and doing a crappy job…and, believe me, there will be plenty of them (I see it when home inspections are done with my clients). Even if it takes a little longer…don’t go with the cheapest; you WILL get what you pay for.

If you need a list of contractors, roofers, etc that can be a trusted resource, then please feel free to download my HomeKeepr app. This is completely FREE to you – you just create an account, then download the app and sign in. I have contractors broken up into many categories who I’ve either personally used or who have been referred by clients, friends and neighbors that have used these companies:

Please let me know how I can help! I was out in my community today demoing a flooded home and will be volunteering at my church. I’m happy to assist however I can.

Erica Stietenroth, your trusted Katy REALTOR

979.574.4909 |