How To Sell a Fire-Damaged or a Completely Burned Down House?

Ben Naumann

Ben Naumann

Ben Naumann has been a well known figure in the real estate investing space in Houston TX for years

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It can be pretty traumatic to see the destruction caused by fire damaged houses. There is no doubt that one may lose priceless personal belongings, but a typical home fire can cause thousands of dollars in damage, and this makes it quite challenging to repair and then sell the home. In the United States, fires damage thousands of homes each year, thus causing billions of dollars of damage.

Although some of the fire damage loss can be covered by your insurance company, still, it becomes almost impossible to sell your fire damaged house. Whether the property is charred from that has been damaged from a cooking fire, electrical appliance fire or is completely burnt to the ground, it can be challenging to sell it through a real estate agent because of a number of legal obstacles. Many mortgage lenders may rule the significantly damaged property as unmortgageable, but if you get more knowledge from your estate agent and other experts, it will undoubtedly help you with selling your home.

Preparing to sell a home after a fire

One of the essential steps in selling your home after a fire is to get prepared to sell it. During this process, you need to understand the primary cause of the damage in the first place. Electrical failure is among the most common ways that any home gets damaged or completely burned down by a fire. Because of electrical failure, the wire gets overheated and can ignite materials like furniture or drapes.

Before selling the house, you have to understand the cost of the cleanup and how much may be included in fire damage cleanup. It is worth noting that the cleanup costs are different things like removing smoke odor, removing debris, and repairing minor damages that have taken place after the fire.

Selling your home that is fire damaged would undoubtedly mean that it is in a state of disrepair; therefore, it is crucial that you get it checked by an experienced contractor before you list it and try to know how much you can ask for it. This will undoubtedly save you from overpricing your home as well as misjudging the actual value.

Try to find or recover lost documents after a fire

There is no doubt that fire incidences are pretty common in the US, but still, the traditional homebuyers try to stay away from purchasing these houses. Therefore, it makes selling quite impossible, but a few things can still be done in this matter. The most crucial step you should be taking once the fire is put out is to take the inventory of the loss and try to find or recover any of the crucial documents left at home.

After the fire, when it is possible for you to enter the building safely, you need to separate the properties and the documents that have not been damaged by the fire, compared to the ones that are. If you are not able to find these documents, then the only way is to try to recover them from different government departments. Although it will take time, the recovery is entirely possible. All of these documents will be required by you once you meet up with your insurance company for any claims.

After you are done separating the documents and the properties from the ones that are not damaged, the next step for you will be to estimate how much loss this damage has caused. Try to make your inventory as detailed as possible because this can be very helpful in your insurance claim. Keep in mind that if you are successful in getting a reasonable settlement, then you will undoubtedly be able to take some time to look for the buyer for your home or even sell it at a little lower price.

Estimate the cost of home restoration and sale as-is

An onsite visual assessment by a professional technician can determine the number of factors that may affect the price of the home. This includes smoke, fire, soot damage that the property has sustained, fire damaged goods that may require thorough cleaning, and any possessions that may require a complete cleaning.

It is pretty likely that the raging fire has been extinguished by water, which means that all of the watery mess must have soaked through carpeting, floorboards, ceilings, and walls. This results in water stains and unanticipated water damage. It is worth noting that the water restoration damage might include different services that are provided by the fire damage cleanup. This clearly means that the extent of water damage can weigh significantly on the final costs.

It is known that fire gets accompanied by soot pollution, and soot is known to be the byproduct of different organic materials that cannot combust completely. It is also vital to clean up the soot damage cleanly because if the property has to wait longer for the removal of soot, there are chances that the cleanup costs can be higher.

Usually, the outcome of a property fire is foul smoke orders. Smoke is also quite pervasive as soot, and different porous materials like drapes, carpeting, and upholstery can readily absorb it. The cost of removing any smoke damage from the porous materials like cabinetry and walls needs to be estimated.

The reconstruction services usually are part of the fire damage cleanup. Their costs vary depending on the type of sustained damage. There is no doubt that it can be quite a challenge to estimate the cost of home restoration after a fire.

Way 1: Sell Your Fire Damaged House As-is For Cash

When you plan to sell your home as-is for cash, it clearly means that your buyer will be getting the home in its present condition. This means that you will not be making any repairs or give credits for financing the repairs. In other words, you are clearly telling your prospective buyer that he will get what he sees. Therefore, all your problems now become those of the buyer, and they are not able to sue you if any of the additional defects are discovered later.

Many people ask questions whether a homeowner can sell a fire damaged house as-is for cash? The answer is clear that it is possible, as a number of buyers are ready to buy a home in such a condition. These are the investors who specialize in buying houses damaged by fire, whereas this also helps the homeowners get rid of any financial burdens of house repairs.

Always be advised by a real estate agent

If you have been a victim of fire damage, then your first priority will be to sell the home as soon as possible. Before you take this step, the first thing you have to make sure of is that you contact a real estate agent who can be helpful for you in setting a realistic price for the home. You need to properly understand the importance of this particular point because overpricing will never give you an advantage, as a fire damaged house can take a very long time to get off the market.

You can also get the expertise of your real estate agent for getting a comparative market analysis. You will notice that it is very beneficial to you because this way, the real estate agent is able to identify the price of the properties that are similar in your area. Therefore, you will actually know what the fair price is.

Disclose any of the defects

It is the right of your potential buyers to know what type of property they are getting themselves into. This clearly means that you need to disclose all of the severe damages by handing over the full disclosure report to them. It is worth noting that different states have separate laws of disclosure. Therefore, it is imperative for you to check these laws before you list your property. The best possible way of unearthing any of the severe damages is to have an inspection.

Set a price that is realistic

Many of the investors or any other potential buyers interested in buying your property may get attracted to it further when they see that your house is reasonably priced. On the other hand, most buyers tend to get scared by the properties that are overpriced. Getting help with the estimates and after having a piece of advice from your real estate agent, it will get relatively easy for you to set a fair price for your fire damaged house.

Way 2: Restore and sell the house

Another way that is considered better is to get your house restored and then sell it. After this, you can go for the investors who might be interested in buying your home. You will be required to involve your insurance company, get your home inspected for the damage, get the estimate of restoration, and in the end, calculate whether it is beneficial for you or not.

Tell your insurance company

Usually, the top priority of any insurance company is fire damage claims. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is to call them and get their advice on what can be done on an urgent basis. It is always advised to secure the property and cut off all the utilities.

Your insurance company will be sending an adjuster who will be inspecting all of the property within a few days. If you would like to make sure that your claim gets processed by the insurance company as quickly as possible, you need to provide them all the documents in a timely way to get things done.

Inspect your house after fire damage

When you are to sell your fire damaged property, it gets necessary for you to know the exact condition of the home. This way, you are able to understand the actual value of the property. In the majority of cases, sellers are able to have a home inspection done for a minimal fee. If one gets the services of a professional home inspection, this can yield a full-disclosure report which clearly shows that the seller doesn’t want to hide anything from the buyer.

There are a number of investors out there who want to buy houses damaged by fire. They usually send their own agents who conduct all the inspections for free. However, there indeed are some areas of concern that may include foundation damage, mold, electrical damage, soot, and smoke damage, as well as damage in plumbing.

There are also a few websites in which the investors guide the homeowners who like to sell their fire-damaged homes. This means that if a homeowner would like to sell a home, they can get a free evaluation and an offer that can be suitable for the house. Such types of activities can be beneficial for the homeowners to save money that would have been used for conducting a home inspection.

How much does fire damage restoration cost?

Many people wonder what can be the cost of fire damaged home restoration. The first thing to know isn’t the cost of house repair; one needs to look for information. Different estimates will be able to put you in the driver’s seat when you are negotiating the price for your home. There are chances that you may discover that if you repair and then sell the home, you will be getting a better price for it. The other option for you is to decide to sell it as it is if you think that the potential cost of repairs is high.

Different organizations have different information on restoration costs. Some jobs can be done for a bit of amount, while others can be costly, but the estimate is between $3,000 to $30,000. Keep in mind that the cost of inspections is separate, and if your insurance company asks you to secure the house, you may have to pay some additional costs for this. It is always best to get an itemized quote for each work, as it will be giving you the cost of demolition, removal of debris, other materials, as well as labor charges.

How to calculate whether restoration of the house is beneficial?

When you have to sell a fire damaged house, it may come to result in a much lower amount of profit than you might be expecting. Even if the insurance provider is paying you the home’s market value, this may not lessen the sting. You can add value to the home by completing certain repairs but hope that the repairs are minimal.

Everything depends on what you need to repair and also who your end buyer may be. It shouldn’t hurt you to fix the minimal repairs and then sell the fire damaged house for excellent value, but those projects that need large amounts for repairs, as a homeowner it will need a more considerable effort from you. It may still be worth restoring your house before you sell it, but you have to determine how much time you have and how much money you can spend on restoration.

Contact your real estate agent to list and sell your home

When you work with a realtor, it can indeed take quite a bit of load off your back. After restoring your house, it is always great to work with an expert to get some guidance about what you need to do. A real estate agent can give you a lot of advantages and is able to handle the entire marketing process for you.

Keep in mind that you pay your realtor after the house closes in exchange for them to handle almost all of the home-selling process. Other than that, all the negotiation is handled by the realtor, which can be great for those who need backup reinforcements for negotiating against experienced homebuyers.

Some more tips if you are selling a house after a fire

The majority of homeowners tend to struggle with the aftermath of a house fire, especially when they find out that a big area has been damaged. Although it can be an easy option for some to repair the house and get the problem fixed, there are some people who get caught in a problematic situation where selling the home appears to be the best option for them. It might not be that encouraging at the start, but when you sell a fire damaged house, you save your money, time and get rid of all the headaches as well.

Be prepared to answer any question buyers may have

As a seller, it will always be a great idea to disclose that your home is fire damaged in front of the buyers. If you don’t inform them, they will know it somehow because these things can’t remain hidden. Other than that, you should be fully prepared to answer the questions related to the fire, the cause, the damage you have sustained in the fire damaged house, and all the repair secrets.

In the majority of cases, it will be entirely up to you to answer all of the buyer’s questions in a thorough manner so that any fears can be eliminated in their minds. This way, you will be able to convince them that your fire damaged home is completely safe and also desirable for them to live in.

Don’t rush buyers

There is no doubt that selling a fire damaged house is never an easy task. Such a real estate transaction can present a good number of questions in the minds of your buyers; therefore, anticipating them and answering them in a positive way will make things easy for all. If you leave anything unturned, you will undoubtedly face some challenges.

It is necessary for you to realize that you should never be focused on setting a target to sell your home. If you are laser-focused on selling your home in a few days, you will find things going ultimately against what you have thought. You need to make a plan for everything, and if all of these things are done correctly, you will certainly have a good market value for the home.

Explore similar offers on the market

Before hiring the real estate agent and listing your home, it is never wrong to look for the same fire damaged home offers. It may be a little bit difficult to do a specific search, but with time, you will be able to learn a lot. You need to look in the market and try to search for similar fire damaged properties and find out everything about them. This way, you will be able to understand the current market price of a home in a specific area that has the same issues.

Looking for the exact offers in the market should be done early, but this is one of the best ways that will not let you leave any of the necessary actions that need to be taken. Getting help from the professionals you employ to assist you in each step will make things easy and understandable for you. You will be able to make a decision that you will consider appropriate.

Think again before rebuilding your home

There can always be a risk of rebuilding the house in the same area that has been fire damaged. A proper approach and planning can certainly help you to make the best decision regarding your home. Restoring your home after fire damage is never an easy decision to make because you have to take all the hassle. The most significant risk is that whether you will be getting the correct price of selling your home after you repair it or not.

Even if you sell your home to regular buyers or investors, you have to make them believe that the home is safe for them to live, and has no issues in it. Although the other option is to sell your home as it is, in order to rebuild it, prepare yourself for any hardships, and it is quite possible that in the end, you will be getting the price that you want.

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