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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Losing your home to a fire is one of if not the most traumatic things that could happen to you. Not only will you have lost dozens of cherished and essential belongings, but you might also be facing an insurmountable amount of damage that won’t be cheap to fix.

Because repairing fire damage is so incredibly expensive, many Americans opt for selling a fire damaged house instead of trying to salvage it. However, there are several legal issues surrounding selling a fire damaged house, and many mortgage lenders might rule your property as unmortgagable. This might seem disheartening, especially after such a great loss, but with the right support and insight, you too can learn how to sell your house fast even if its fire damaged or burnt down.

Preparing To Sell a Home After a Fire

Planning is key when it comes to selling a fire damaged house as quickly and painlessly as possible. Here are two integral steps that you’ll need to take during the preparation stage.

Determining What Caused It

Before you can learn how to sell a fire damaged house, you need to understand that the cause of the fire itself might have an impact on your plan of action. If, for example, your home was damaged due to an electrical malfunction, you’ll need to disclose this. If your home was burnt down during a cooking mishap, you might have to navigate different insurance processes to claim back what you can.

Getting A Quote for The Clean Up

Once the smoke clears, you’ll need to clean up what’s left of your home. If the fire was contained to a certain room or area, this might not be too difficult. However, if the fire was severe enough to cause significant structural damage, you might need to contact a professional contractor. Most experienced contractors will be willing to give you a quote for the cleaning and rubble removal services, so don’t be afraid to reach out to different reputable companies in your area to compare their prices and turnaround times.

Speaking To a Real Estate Professional

Knowing how to sell a fire damaged house means understanding exactly how to price it. While you won’t be getting the selling price that you initially paid for the home, there are still ways to ensure that you get a fair, market-related outcome. Be sure to speak to a real estate consultant or expert who can give you the insight you need to prevent over- or underpricing your home and potentially missing out on a sale.

Try To Find or Recover Lost Documents

And Belongings After a Fire

You’ve most likely lost more than just a few books or belongings in the accident. One of the most devastating – and perhaps the most frustrating to replace – items are usually original, legal documents. Things like your vehicle’s registration, birth, or marriage certificates or even the deed to your home might all have been lost to the fire, which means that you need to either repair or replace them as soon as you can. This is not only important for the legal sale of your home, but also for your life and administration going forward.

You can replace these documents by either taking the damaged originals to the respective governing bodies or departments, or you can take an official police statement explaining the situation. Ensure that you have some sort of valid proof of identification at all times.

You’ll also need to estimate the damage done to your personal belongings. To be able to claim back from your insurance provider, you’ll have to clearly state which items were entirely lost in the accident, and which may be salvaged. The best way to ensure you get a fair settlement, is by making a clear, itemized list of your belongings. Try your best to be specific in your descriptions to ensure that your insurer knows to match a certain value.

Estimate The Cost of Home Restoration and Sale As-Is

Before you consider learning how to sell a fire damaged house, be sure to carefully consider whether it would cost less to repair the damage done. While selling your home as-is and starting over somewhere else might seem like less of a hassle (which it is), you might be making an incredible loss on the low selling price.

Contact a professional technician who can conduct an on-site, visual assessment of your home and the damage it sustained. There might be more than you initially bargained for. Smoke and soot damage could require extensive cleaning, which usually needs to be done by a professional cleaning agency that specializes in fire damage.

If the fire was extinguished with water, there will no doubt also be quite a lot of water damage to the carpets, flooring, walls, roof, and fixtures of your home. This could then in turn damage the electrical elements, which would require repairs as well.

One of the less urgent but none the less painful side effects of fire damage is the ever-present smell of smoke in the air. Porous materials like cement flooring, fabrics like curtains, carpets, or couches and much more may have absorbed microparticles of soot or smoke, which will be extremely hard if not impossible to clean. This might mean that you’ll need to replace quite a few items, which ramps up the costs of repair. If you do establish that the damage will be more expensive to fix than you’re willing to pay, you can apply the tips and tricks in this guide to sell your house fast even if its fire damaged.

Option 1: Sell Your Fire Damaged House As-Is for Cash

The first and more convenient option is to sell your home as-is. Selling a home as-is means that your buyer will be taking your house exactly the way it is, right now, without any repairs or cleaning. While you might think that it would be entirely impossible to find a buyer for a home like this, you might be surprised. Some property developers and investors specialize in buying and restoring fire damages homes.

Your home may also be in a prime location, which could encourage certain buyers to buy your fire damaged home with the idea of demolishing it and starting anew with a different design altogether.

This is a popular option thanks to the fact that you’ll be handing over the stress and costs of renovation to someone else while being able to go on with your own life. However, be sure to follow the next tips to make sure you’re getting a fair deal.

Work With a Trusted Real Estate Agent

Selling a fire damaged house isn’t easy, but with the support of an experienced and compassionate real estate expert, you might still be able to get a fair price. Reach out to a trusted real estate agent in your area to determine the right price to set for your fire-damaged home. By conducting an in-depth comparative market analysis, your real estate agent will be able to set a price that’s not only similar to homes in the same condition, but backed by comprehensive research.

Disclose Potential Defects

Depending on where you live, there may be specific rules or laws of disclosure that require you to disclose any severe or costly damage done to your home if a potential buyer asks. The best way to navigate these laws is by working with a professional. This will protect you from perhaps listing your home without disclosing the necessary information and facing legal repercussion. Be sure to reach out to an inspector or real estate expert before you set or list a price.

Set The Right Price

Underpricing your home is a sure-fire way to lose even more due to the damage. Overpricing your home, however, might mean that you’ll be waiting months before you find a buyer that wants to close, if you find one at all. While there are ways to determine the right price on your own, we recommend reaching out to a professional to save you time, effort, and ultimately, money.

Option 2: Restore and Sell the House

Depending on the level of damage, you might be able to restore your home first and sell it for a higher price than you would have received as-is. Some of the drawbacks of this include needing to foot the bill on various inspections, evaluations, and consultations to make sure that your home is fit to live in and sell for a higher price.

Before you get started, be sure to reach out to the right people first.

Tell Your Insurance Company

Your insurance company should be the very first people that you call as soon as your home sustains fire damage. They’ll be able to guide you through the various channels and processes you’ll need to complete to be reimbursed for the items you’ve lost. The first piece of advice that you’ll no doubt receive is to cut all connections to utilities like water and electricity. This will ensure that you don’t lose even more money or place yourself or the cleanup crew at risk.

Once you contact your insurer, they’ll send out an adjuster who will inspect the damage and help you take the next steps. You’ll need to ensure that your insurance claim is processed as quickly as possible, which means having the right documentation in place. Please see the previous point in how to recover or replace important legal documentation.

Inspecting Your House After Fire Damaged

To make sure you get the right value for your home if you do decide you’re interested in selling a fire damaged house, you’ll need to know exactly what was damaged. This means doing or having an inspection done. Instead of reaching out to an inspector with the lowest possible fees, invest in a professional real estate inspector who can provide you with a full-disclosure report. This report will be invaluable in determining a fair selling price for your fire damaged home, no matter how damaged it might be.

If you plan on selling your home to a developer or real estate investor, they’ll most likely send out their own inspector as well. This inspector will look beyond just the fire damage. They’ll also be taking a look at issues like mold, soot, electrical damage, and more to make sure that they’re not paying a cent more than what’s necessary to compensate you.

Thanks to countless online resources and websites, you can reach out to a company today to get a free estimate or evaluation of your home. Christian House Buyers, for example, is one of these companies – and we’d be honored to help you sell your house fast even if its fire damaged.

Н2 How Much Does Fire Damage Restoration Cost?

If you do decide to repair your home, you’ll need to make sure that you’re working with professional repair people or contractors who not only do high-quality work, but also charge you fair, competitive rates for their time and expertise. You might find that selling your home instead will cost you less in the long run than footing the reparation costs.

It’s important to remember that the restoration costs do not include professional inspections – you’ll have to organize that separately. You’ll need to pay extra for a professional inspector to determine how much your insurance provider will be willing to cover. The best way to get a fair estimate from your insurer is to provide them with an itemized list of the costs you’ll need to cover, including, but not limited to:

  • Cleaning Costs
  • Inspection Costs
  • Repair Costs
  • Labor Rates
  • Rubble Removal
  • Demolition

How To Calculate Whether Restoration of The House Is Beneficial

There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to selling a fire damaged house. The location, size, and damage to your home are all factors that contribute to the costs of repairs or the potential selling price.

Even if your insurance provider might be willing to cover the value of your home, you might still be making a loss by repairing it. The best way to determine what’s right for you is to reach out to a professional real estate agent.

 Contact Your Real Estate Agent

Working with a real estate agent is about more than just getting great advice on how to sell a fire damaged house. It’s about sharing the workload and minimising the stress that you and your loved ones are no doubt experiencing throughout this ordeal. You’ll be able to gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your home – and its sale – are in the most capable hands.

While your realtor will not be working for free, the costs they incur will definitely be worth the amount of time, effort, and stress you’ll be saving by the hour. You’ll also gain the confidence to negotiate with clients and make sure you’re getting the best possible deal for your home, despite its damage.

 Н2 Some More Tips If You Are Selling a House After a Fire

Selling a fire damaged house is often the only viable option, but many home owners simply don’t know where to start. Dealing with a home fire is a terrifying and costly experience that could leave you not only covering home repair costs, but also medical bills and counseling.

With all of these costs quickly adding up, you might find that instead of paying for repairs (and living in quasi-construction-site for months on end), you can sell your house fast even if it’s fire damaged. Spend some time inspecting your home, setting a goal for how you’d like to handle it, and start taking the actionable advice that your trusted real estate advisor will give you.

If you don’t have a real estate advisor, contact Christian House Buyers now.

 Be Prepared to Answer Any Questions Buyers May Have

If you’ve chosen to repair your home before you sell it, you might be tempted not to disclose the fact that your home was fire damaged. Depending on where you live, this could incur serious legal fees, so definitely do not try to hide it in the hopes that you might get a higher price.

Instead, be honest and upfront about the damage. Be willing to answer any questions that your potential buyer might have, no matter how painful it might be to dredge up the harrowing experience. You must be willing to explain how the fire started, how it damaged the home, and what steps (if any) you’ve taken to make sure it won’t happen again in the future. This is integral to making sure that your potential buyer feels safe and secure about their decision to buy your home.

 Don’t Rush Buyers

Just like selling a fire damaged house, buying one isn’t an easy task either. There are countless factors that your buyer will need to consider, include repairing damage, demolishing, or securing the right insurance after buying a home with damage. By pressuring or rushing your buyer, you might turn them off of your home entirely.

It’s important to set a goal. Do you want to sell your home within a few days or weeks? Then you might need to be willing to accept a lower selling price. Are you dead set on the price, no matter how long it takes to get it? Then you might need to wait months if not years to find a buyer willing to pay your preferred price.

 Explore Similar Offers on The Market

Before choosing and paying for a real estate agent, you could take the time to look at some other homes in your area that might have sustained fire damage in the past few years. Ideally, you should find a home that was recently fire damaged and determine what its initial value was as well as how much it was finally sold for. Armed with this valuable information, you’ll quickly gain the needed insight to choose the right real estate agent and set a fair price for your home if you decide to sell it as-is.

Whether you choose to do this alone or reach out to someone who you know has the necessary real estate experience, be sure to deeply research your home, its value, and what was damaged by the fire. If you don’t, you run the risk of working with a real estate agent who doesn’t have the skills or integrity to sell your home for a fair price.

 Н2 Think Again Before Rebuilding Your Home

Before you decide to rebuild your home, you’ll need to find out if there is still a risk of fires happening again in the future. You’ll need to approach your rebuild with a close eye on detail and obstacles, or you might just find yourself in the same situation again in the near future.

Restoring a home to its previous state is difficult for homeowners who might have slipped up on upkeep and maintenance. Restoring a home that’s sustained structural damage from a fire is an entirely different feat. Unless you have experience in this area or know someone who does, we recommend working with a real estate agent to sell your house fast even if its fire damaged.

Buyers look for safe, secure, and high-quality homes that they won’t feel nervous or anxious to live in. Convincing a buyer that a home with fire damage doesn’t have hidden damage or future costs might be almost impossible – which is why we’re here to help.

If you want to learn more about how to sell a fire damaged house, or you’d like to enquire about selling to a home buying agency that puts you first, reach out to Christian House Buyers now.

 Our dedicated team will be honored to help you navigate this difficult time by giving you the support and professional insight you need and deserve.

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