FORT MYERS, Fla. — With no expiration date in sight, temporary life plans are hard to come by. According to popular rental sites like Airbnb and Vrbo, many places in Fort Myers and Cape Coral are unavailable, unaffordable, or unlivable.

“Hurricane Ian basically put a big grip on our current real estate market,” said Natalie Stout, staging and design expert for real estate agents for Realmark Realty.

Stout said for those buying or renting right now, your best bet is to get professional help.

“You should contact a real estate company that has a vacation rental program,” Stout said. “This year’s seasonal snowbirds have been canceled, and you may be able to move into these units as a temporary housing solution.”

If you’re a seller and Hurricane Ian doesn’t cause any damage to your home, Stout said you could get a 10% raise. If you have damage to a listed house, you will more than likely see a decrease.

“If you have an open claim, it essentially makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to close the house,” Stout said.

Stout has been a local real estate expert in Southwest Florida for 20 years. After Ian, she says she received many phone calls from homeowners who suffered damage, asking if they should file an insurance claim.

“My heart goes out to everyone who was damaged by the storm,” Stout said. “If you are unsure whether or not you should file this complaint, please do not hesitate to contact me. I’m happy to help.

You can contact Stout for advice by email at [email protected]

Meanwhile, local Habitat for Humanity representatives said they are considering Ian’s long-term effects.

“Habitat is first and foremost a ministry of housing,” said Katie Cribbs, public relations specialist with Habitat for Humanity in Lee and Hendry counties. “As long as we have these willing hands and this vision, Habitat will continue to serve.”

Habitat for Humanity will help with the recovery of our local housing. During Irma, they partnered with 109 families to make repairs.

They even try to help displaced residents on a short-term basis at their Hurricane Resource site. They have limited emergency supplies on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We knew we were in this affordability crisis here before Ian,” says Cribbs. “So we want to continue to partner with families to alleviate this affordability crisis…which is even worse now.”

The Hurricane Resource site is located at 15800 Hagie Dr., Fort Myers, FL 33908, at the Heritage Heights Welcome Center. It is open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“If you’ve been affected and need accommodation because of Ian…we’d love to hear from you,” Cribbs says. “We’ll put your information on our intake form so we can assess everyone’s needs to help develop these plans.”