Sandy wiped out all appliances - Please advise

anyahNovember 23, 2012

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!

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First off, I'm sorry that you and your family got hit by Sandy. Yes, others perhaps had it worse, but that doesn't negate the loss you are dealing with. I wish you good luck and courage as you pick up the pieces and move forward.

Perhaps an idea would be to deal with one store, go to the manager and say: I have to replace all my major (and minor) appliances. I'm also representing several other families. This will add up to dozens of appliances. What kind of a package can you put together for us that is of decent quality at a great price? I don't know if you'll have better luck at a big box versus a regional chain but I'd use the power of volume buying to try to negotiate prices.

I got to wondering what kind of help is available specifically for what you're looking for. So I googled and found a few interesting items. (this is for CT, I think you inferred you're in NJ?)

I would call your local Sears store too:

This company is selling washer/dryers at cost to Sandy victims:

Beyond that Sears has "scratch and dent" stores, and a lot of the other chains have great deals on slightly damaged, returned or obsolete model goods.

Good luck to you, your family and friends.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 5:18PM
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So glad you are ok but still sad about your loss.
3blackdogs gave you some good ideas to get started

We just put in a new carrier HVAC system and are electricity bill in June/July was about $100+ dollars less and was considerably warmer.

I think there is a forum relating to HVAC.

Good luck and be safe!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 2:51PM
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I live in SWFL-know exactly what you're dealing with. With so many people doing the same thing as you, it may be a "sellers" market right now. Deals could be hard to come by- especially HVAC. Personally, I'd go with an older company who's been in the local community for a long time. A lot of fly by night companies pop up after a disaster, do shoddy work and move on. Paying a bit more may be worth it in the long run.

Appliances, again, I'd go local. Tell the manager- 2 homes, full appliance packages for both. See if they'll price match AJMadison or other online places, or at least discount it enough to cover the sales tax. I needed a new Miele DW last month. The "discounted" ones they had were 3-4 years old store models. I wanted new- Miele has set prices. They took their price (commission) down to cover sales tax.

Get the most energy efficient you can afford. Read these boards and weigh all the different options and remarks. I gave up on Consumer Reports years ago- Gardenweb has better info. It's all actual CONSUMER use, not just a review.

Good luck- and hang in there. It'll take time, but it will get better.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 6:49AM
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Thanks for all of your helpful suggestions - I like the idea of bulk negotiations; and I will check out the web sites mentioned. This may also give me a chance to see if that direct buy membbership (which I have maintained for some time) is worth anything).

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 12:05PM
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