BP Oil Claims? Not fun! Many real estate agents have been affected by the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. So far, I’ve had three contract cancellations with- “Reason: Oil”. Why? A high percentage of Destin Florida real estate buyers count on rental income from the condos or homes they plan to buy near the beach. Everyone knows that vacation bookings are down in Destin and South Walton County due to the national media attention to tar balls and potential oil coming ashore. Although the tar balls are cleaned up pretty quickly, and I haven’t personally seen any, I can understand how someone 1000 miles away may prefer to vacation elsewhere to play it safe. That is the main reason buyers might be hesitant to complete their purchases. Hopefully, the progress on capping the well will calm some of the fears of real estate buyers who want Destin, Sandestin and Santa Rosa Beach Florida properties.
Anyway, back to my claims fun. The rumors abound about what BP will or won’t do with regard to paying real estate agent claims. These include: only paying claims for properties located within one “block” of the beach, only paying brokers, only paying salespeople, not paying listing agents, or not paying real estate agent claims at all. I don’t know if any of this is true. But I had to try.
I started by calling the BP claims office and briefly relayed the stories of my three cancelled contracts. I was asked for my address and social security number, and was told “someone would call me back”. About a week later a “Mr. Roy” from BP left me a message. I returned the call and was put on hold, listening to the countdown like in a deli, “You are caller number 32” and so on. Finally, a live disinterested person answered and I asked for “Mr. Roy”. He said, “He will call you back”, then hung up before I could utter one word!
When Mr. Roy called me back he asked for all the information I had already provided. They had my address completely incorrect in their system, which frightened me. He finally said, “Oh, I have the wrong file”. I had to repeat spellings of my city, Miramar Beach, and my name twice. That was not comforting either. Mr. Roy told me I would need three years tax returns, a copy of my social security card, a copy of my driver’s license (“I’m not trying to be being cute”, he said, “But copied so they we can TELL who you are.”), and my profit and loss for the year. I told Mr. Roy, I was not filing for supplemental income, I was filing for three specific business claims. Then he said I did not need to provide the profit and loss.
OK, can you see how I was starting to feel a bit concerned? I should trust BP with my confidential information, such as social security card, driver’s license, etc., when they mix up files from the beginning and employ people who cannot spell? Worrisome to say the least.
That is why I decided to hire an attorney. Today I met with him, and produced a package that any short sale agent would be proud of. 6” thick of labeled, numbered and clipped documents. For each claim: listing agreement, HUD, legibility contract, signed contract, cancellation statements and cover sheets. The attorney was wowed and thought I could file the claims myself and save some money. I told him I would rather have him deal with BP for me. Wouldn’t you?
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-ITS-WNDY (1-877-487-9639) or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]