New-home construction represents a significant portion of the
Still, there are still vast tracts of land where homes and
buildings once stood. Although pieces of vacant land have been
reserved for the city’s master redevelopment plan—mixed-use
commercial, residential, and public space—construction hasn’t
yet started. Because the city and developer are using federal
Community Development Block Grant money for the project,
spending has to be approved by an additional administrator,
Cox says. The process is slow.
A persistent shortage of rental properties is also a problem
for Joplin. Many homes of lower-income residents were
destroyed in the tornado and have not been replaced. Those
properties were likely underinsured, Cox says. But some new
apartment construction is helping to meet the demand.
Today, Lanier is thriving in her new o;ce, not far from her
old building. She has 17 sales associates, three more than
before the tornado. The e;ects of the storm are still a factor
in her business; she’s working with a number of home owners
who bought during the flurry of activity three years ago and
are now underwater. The memories of that horrific day remain
painful personally. With tears in her eyes, Lanier recalls that
she was supposed to be at her o;ce when the tornado hit. An
inexplicable instinct told her not to go in. “If that small voice
inside you ever says don’t go somewhere,” Lanier says, “then
Will You Be Ready?
Lindsey Lawver, an associate with Pro
100, REALTORS®, in Joplin had just
gotten home from the hospital with her
new baby girl on May 22, 2011. “We’re
used to tornado sirens in this part of
the world, but something felt di;erent,”
she says. She and her family fled to her
husband’s parents’ house, which had
a basement. They hunkered down just
in time. Both her home and her in-laws’
home were destroyed. “It looked like
a bomb had gone o;. It was unbelievable,” she says.
Although her o;ce wasn’t damaged,
Lawver was fortunate to have taken steps
to protect her family and her business
well in advance of the tornado. Here are
tips from Lawver and others to help real
estate professionals be prepared for any
b If you don’t have a basement, install or identify a nearby in-ground storm shelter.
When you hear sirens, take shelter immediately.
b Register your storm shelter with your local fire department, so if you’re stuck under
debris, rescue workers know to look for you.
b Use a fireproof safe and keep it in a closet in your home or o;ce. Label your safe
with your name and phone number in case it is carried away by a storm. That will
improve the odds of it being recovered.
b Back up all of your important documents, both work and personal, in a cloud storage account. Keep hard copies in your safe, including financial records, insurance
documents, passports, and irreplaceable keepsakes.
b Establish a plan with family members to meet somewhere following a disaster if cell
phones don’t work.
b Recommend to home owners that they take an inventory of their personal belongings with photos and videos and save receipts. Dallas Hancock, with the Peoria
Area Association of REALTORS® in Illinois, recommends using Knowyourstu;
.org, a resource from the Insurance Information Institute where you can document
assets and belongings, which will make filing an insurance claim after a disaster or
burglary a lot easier.
b Cancel any credit cards that are lost in a storm, fire, or burglary as soon as possible.
Also contact utility companies and cable and Internet providers to cancel service.
Lindsey Lawver with her husband and baby daughter