Arbor Day Tornado

In lieu of the devastating tornado on Friday, April 26th, Hildy Homes wants to acknowledge and discuss their situation regarding the Hildy Home homeowners who were drastically affected by this horrific event. We can fortunately say that in 24 years of being in business we have never encountered a situation like this, so we are, to say the least, overwhelmed and unsure of exactly how to proceed. We have heard a lot of positive comments about how fortunate families were to have survived, and thankful of the quality construction of their Hildy Home. Having lost no lives at the end of this horrible situation is the most important thing. Although we cannot share in your experience of losing your entire home and belongings, Hildy Homes did lose 21 homes, and has to repair 4 others. By all means, Hildy can rebuild our homes, so this is by no means a comparison of situations. We absolutely understand the personal losses that cannot be replaced. And for that, we cannot express enough how sorry we are for each and everyone affected.
Now, to address the negative comments and the “how do we proceed” questions after the tornado. Hildy would like to address these comments and concerns directly to set the record straight. First of all, we were not personally in any of the homes when the tornado initially hit. However, we did have a number of subcontractors who sheltered on site. Before the winds and rain subsided, our team got stuck in a basement as the ceiling and walls from the main level were falling in. We stood in 5” of water before we could crawl out of the basement. We were at each of our damaged houses prior to the Fire Dept. doing their wellness checks. We spoke directly to the firemen to help them understand which homes were occupied. Again, at this point in the devastation, we didn’t know what to do, but wanted to be present as much as possible without being in the way. We also returned the following day to assess damage and offer help.

To be completely transparent, our initial thought was how are we going to rebuild all of these houses, not only our own houses, but our past clients’ homes. Our team went back to our office to discuss how to proceed from here. At this point, we created a checklist of what needed to happen before we could even attempt to rebuild. Unfortunately after we dissected the claims process with our insurance, we knew there was no way we could logistically rebuild for everyone impacted, plus our own projects. I’m sure if anyone has ever dealt with insurance and claims, you know that the process is extremely slow, and usually doesn’t result in the way that you hoped. On top of working through the claim, we had to meet with our lenders to discuss the timeline of when the rebuilds would be complete, so they could adjust the construction loans that we are carrying accordingly. Keeping our lenders satisfied and aware of the progress is critical for the continued operations of Hildy Homes.

At this point, we started to get contacted by previous clients about rebuilding. We determined that the only way we could even attempt to rebuild would be if the clients were willing to wait a year. But, we understood that was not realistic. No one wants to be without their home for two years while it is getting rebuilt. From our understanding, MOBA was then contacted about available contractors that could help with the rebuilds. MOBA had a meeting with the City of Omaha to ensure that each contractor is licensed. Hildy then let the City of Omaha know that the plans/drawings from the initial contractors were copyrighted. VirtuActive, a drafting firm, posted a link on how to proceed without plans/drawings at this point. They offered to measure the foundations and design the homes to match what was able to be saved. Hildy has not released any of our drawings at this time. This is something that we have been losing a lot of sleep over. Hildy is a Spec home builder, not a custom home builder. Therefore, our plans are one of the secrets to our success. By handing our plans to any contractor to use for the rebuild of damaged homes, we are also opening up them being potentially used in the future for new builds. We have designed and fine tuned these plans for over 24 years, and feel that we have superb designs that have been desired by our clients. To give these plans away would be extremely detrimental to our business and families. We sympathize with the homeowners of Hildy Homes, who want to rebuild identical to what they had, and wish there was a simple solution. However, there unfortunately is not. Hildy did offer to purchase a few of the properties as is, allowing the current owners to purchase new homes elsewhere.

We're sure this tornado has caused an enormous amount of stress and hardship by all those affected. Having to reach a settlement with the insurance companies, coordinating the demolition and cleanup, getting approved with your lender at a new (higher) interest rate, and then finding quality contractors who are available to rebuild has to be exhausting. Hildy truly wishes we were able to handle more of this situation. As we forge forward in this very unfamiliar territory, we ask ourselves, can we do more? Bryan and I are twins who built this business from the ground up, literally board by board. We absolutely love everything about building homes together and with our family. We love sharing our homes with our clients. We wish we could clone ourselves to accommodate everyone in this horrible time. One thing we have been focusing on is the copyrighted plans/drawings. We are working with our attorney to prepare a release for the homeowners and their contractors to potentially expedite their rebuild process. This will be available very soon on a “per request basis”. We ask that everyone gives one another grace as we are all working to create a plan to move forward. Let’s all pray this never happens again.

Sincerely,
Ryan & Bryan Hildy Homes

We pride ourselves in providing the most innovative designs and recognized quality that will be pleasing for years to come.