- Be Patient. You are not alone. Entire communities, neighborhoods, and cities need to be rebuilt. Everyone from the homeowners, city officials, contractors, etc., are likely trying their best how to rebuild effectively and in a timely manner so that you can emerge stronger than before.
- Create a detailed list of contents of your home lost to the fires even though it feels hard at times to even think about your previous home and the memories that come with it.
- Request old building plans from the local permitting department.
- Find a place to rent for at least 2 years. It will likely take you that long to rebuild your home.
- It is very important that your designer and/or architect works in coordination with your contractor so that collectively they can ensure that the overall cost to rebuild your home is within your budget.
- Talk to your neighbors (discuss landscaping, fencing, grading etc.) to collectively share some costs.
- Do not hire an architect / designer / drafting personnel to simply upgrade the plans of your previous home to the current building code requirements. If you are not building the same home or are unsure whether you will even rebuild, then there are likely other ways to receive a fair insurance payout to rebuild your home.
- If you believe your architect is costing you a lot or is too busy to design your home, then you do not necessarily need to hire a licensed architect. In the state of California, you can also hire a qualified designer or a draftsperson who can assist with creating renderings of a new home and then coordinate with licensed engineers and other licensed professionals to collectively complete the plans and then apply for permits. Please refer to Contractor State License Board for additional information.
- Do not pay off your existing mortgage if you intend on rebuilding and are unsure about what it may cost to rebuild your new home. In majority of cases, you should be able to qualify for mortgage deferral for a period of time so you do not have to pay mortgage payments while your home is being rebuilt. Please consult with your mortgage lender to assess your options.
- Do not hire a contractor who cannot assist you with submitting a rebuild quote for your previous home.
- Do not purchase a new property before finalizing your insurance settlement. There may be tax or other implications which may result in lesser than a fair payout from the insurance company.
- Do not talk to the insurance company on the phone. Email them instead and maintain a paper trail
- Do not sign any agreement to get your lot cleaned up before understanding all possible implications in the future.
- Do not sign any agreement with a contractor, insurance company, architect, or a mortgage lender without obtaining legal advice.
*Please note that these are simply our opinions.
We encourage you to consult with your lawyer for any advice regarding how to proceed with your rebuild.