Sandy wiped out all appliances - Please advise
Let me say first off that I am incredibly lucky as no one in my family was hurt. In addition, while some of my hometown family and friends suffered damage to their primary homes, my loss was to our vacation home. That said, all of us need some helpful advice. We have been busy ripping out carpets and floors, throwing away housefulls of appliances and furniture, tearing out drywall and insulation, fighting mold, and compiling inventories of losses for FEMA and insurance companies. We have had little time to research the best way to put things back together.
I am not talking about the sanity of owning a home on a barrier island or the philosophy of whether we should abandon these islands to mother nature (of course it's insane and mother nature will win in the end). Trust me, I have a running commentary in my head on those issues. Let's save that discussion for another thread, please.
The cold financial fact is that I convinced my husband to buy a vacation home in my hometown where my extended family still lives. We have a mortgage. We cannot afford to abandon the home. (Yes, we are undewater in more ways than one). I am also speaking of primary homes for my family and friends which they cannot afford to abandon. The maximum amount of flood insurance coverage for any home on a barrier island through the NFIP is $250,000 regardless of the size of your mortgage or the "value" of your home. Our modest home, about 1,000 square feet, has a mortgage well in excess of $250,000, but, the damages appear to be less. We do have insurance, with a $4,000 deductible. The homes I am in charge of (mine and my Mother's) were built in the 30s/40s and have never flooded before.
I have no idea what that insurance will pay us for our loss but I know it will be far less than the cost to replace everything and put the house back together. For vacation homes, payments will be made on the depreciated value of the structure and contents. Primary home owners will be paid for the actual cost of repairing the structure and the depreciated cost of contents.
With that background in mind, please share your research/knowledge:
=I am in charge of shopping for new HVAC systems, hot water heaters, and all new appliances (refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves, washers, dryers) for myself and my Mother (two small 3 bedroom homes). I have to keep the cost low because we don't know what the insurance will pay, yet I don't want cheap energy hogs. (Why did NJ get rid of energy efficiency rebates?) I don't buy a toaster without consulting consumer reports and then checking every price I can find (that's why my Mom's purchases fall to me). I don't know when I will have the time to do this research as I am still gutting and cleaning up. Any suggestions?
I have a million other decisions to make as well but I'll try to post questions re other purchases in other forums. Thanks so much!