The resentment, anger, and hurt after getting a house with fire damage can feel overwhelming. Now you’re expected to be able to filter through the next steps of dealing with a fire damaged property and figure out a game plan to get back on your feet.
The most recent data states that the number of house fires is estimated to be around 343,100 and declining.-, causing a staggering $7.6 billion in direct property damage. In 2021, on average, fire departments responded to a home fire in the United States every 93 seconds, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Even though each local fire department will have its own reasons for emergency calls, cooking fires are the most common cause of house fires, with around 49% causing direct property damage.
After the home fire is extinguished and you’ve assessed your situation, it’s important to act quickly to get back on your feet. Recognition that fire damage can result in extensive damage leaving you with lots to repair, or even structural damage.
Your major options are to make the costly repairs and restore your home to its pre-fire condition or do no major repairs and sell it as is. Get started sorting through your options for a fire damaged house and find out the most important next steps.
You Have A Damaged House, Now What?
Right after a fire, you will feel overwhelmed with emotions. As a former firefighter, I have seen people want to get some of the semblance of their lives back, including their personal belongings.
You will want to retrieve your pictures, important documents, or anything that seems salvageable. Make sure you work with the local fire department to ensure the building is safe, but you have access to the burned house.
Most fire departments will have the home boarded up to ensure no further damage from weather and vandalism can happen. They will generally help you with this step right after. If they still need to, contact them to see if they can help you now.
First, contact family members and loved ones to let them know about the house fire and let them know you’re safe. After the fire damage occurs, you will likely be advised to seek help from the Red Cross or local disaster relief services if you can’t return to living in it. If you haven’t yet, you can find your local chapter here, or other local disaster relief services here.
They can help find immediate places to stay, recover documents for financial recovery, and even help with mental health recovery services. This will be a big help with your next steps. They are:
- Contact utility service providers to inform them of the fire damage and to have utilities turned off.
- Document the fire damages with pictures and detailed notes of the incident.
- Contact the insurance company to start the insurance claim process and find out if they cover replacement cost. They will also be able to find you more permanent temporary housing.
- You should contact a fire restoration company that has been able to help with fire damaged house selling. Consider a nationwide company specializing in fire damage restoration like Servpro, to at least start cleaning up standing water, smoke damage, and other building damage to your property. A fire restoration company or other local contractors can also provide you with an estimate of overall repair costs.
Repair And Restore? Or A Fire Damaged House For Sale?
After you’ve addressed all the immediate issues for a fire damaged property and you’re starting to receive some help, we can look at the long-term issues you’ll need to solve for a house with fire damage. So let’s dive right in.
You have contractors’ estimates; hopefully, at least one fire restoration company is included to rehab and restore your property to its glory before the fire damage occurred. Be sure to ask your professional contractor how they repair fire damage because fire damaged homes include unseen damage to the roof, walls, electrical systems, and plumbing.
Repairs can get expensive. HomeAdvisor says that fire and smoke damage repairs can range from $2,853 to $38,577, with a national average of around $20,659. Only a small portion of fire damaged homes will have high-end repair costs. That sits at a staggering $158,000 to repair your fire damaged home.
This is a wide range. It will vary depending on the square footage of damage, the level of damage to the structure, and the pre-fire condition. Now after assessing rehab costs, it’s time to decide on if you want to finish the rehab or want to sell it as-is.
Questions To Ask About Fire Damaged Houses
At the end of the day, some people can’t ever imagine living back in their fire damaged home. Other homeowners will decide based on finances. These are the questions to ask yourself to decide which is the right decision for you:
- What is the extent of the fire damage repairs needed to my house?
- How long will it take to return my house to its pre-fire damage condition?
- What are the repair costs?
- If your insurance policy cover replacement cost or actual cash value?
- Can I afford the difference between the repair and restoration costs and what your insurance policy covers?
- Is there an emotional attachment to your fire damaged home?
If you feel safe and have the time and money to repair the house with fire damage, you can restore your fire damaged home and start the repairs as soon as your contractor is ready.
If you can’t answer those questions with certainty for any reason, it may be best to seek other counsel to help with this decision. If it’s best to sell your fire damaged house as is, fill out this short form below and we can get started on an offer for your fire damaged home that will allow you to close in as little as 10 days.
Options For Selling A Fire Damaged House
If you’ve decided that you don’t want to stay in your home and want to sell it, you have a couple of options. You’ll have to make one more big decision when deciding how you want to sell your home.
Do you sell it as is, or do you rehab the home to maximize the profit from the sale of your house? A good tip for you, even if you decide to move back into your fire damaged house, is to use the repair guide as a guide for the repairs. Let’s continue on and break down each option to help you decide which option is best for you.
Option 1 – Repair And Put Your Fire Damage House For Sale
Recognition that it could be costly and that insurance may not cover the cost. It’s also important to consider who is repairing your fire damaged home.
Even though a contractor can do the work, having an experienced fire restoration company repair will provide the most complete solution and often save you time on the repairs. You can always ask your insurance company or real estate agent for recommendations to help you find the right company to restore your fire damaged house.
7 Steps for Repairing Your Fire Damaged Property
Get an inspection done by a licensed professional home inspector. This will be different from the one done by the insurance adjuster earlier and will point out any underlying damage. Find one here from the American Society of Home Inspectors.
Intense heat from the fire can cause unseen damage that most people would know to look for in fire damaged properties. For example, heat can cause wood to dry out excessively, weakening it, weakening thin steel, and even causing cracks in concrete and brick.
You’ll want to address any specific areas of concern mentioned for fire damage restoration, especially structural, electrical, mechanical (HVAC), or plumbing.
We recommend hiring a specialist to assess these areas more thoroughly. Here are a few things to ensure the inspection include:
- Plumbing systems – You’re looking for regular draining and possible burst pipes.
- Electrical systems – Ensure that all outlets work and the wires aren’t burned through.
- Structural defects – You’ll check for bubbled paint and may even have to open up walls to ensure there is no weakening of any structures.
- Windows and doors – Search both framing and ensure the seals are still good. You’ll also want to look for discoloring of glass or a lost seal.
- Roof – You’ll want to check the rafters for the roof and verify there has been no weakening for any unforeseen added weight.
Start a log and keep detailed records of the restoration process of your fire damaged home. This should include each room with structural repairs made.
Starting fire damage rehab is the next step. This will include fencing off the area if needed and adding additional coverings to ensure no other damage or water gets in. They can start fire damage repairs after ensuring no new damage can occur. This includes cleaning standing water and removing damaged or ruined items.
Your contractor will undertake deep cleaning and demolition. This means removing any fire damaged or water-damaged drywall, building materials or even finishes showing smoke damage.
This is to ensure all framing and foundation of your damaged house are strong and capable of handling the weight load of a house.
Because a smoke smell can last well after a fire, your contractor will work to deodorize and eliminate the odor in your damaged house. For any water damage, they will likely apply chemical agents to stop mold growth and sanitize.
The most visible home repairs will commence, and this is when you will probably get excited. Rehabbing your home to its previous glory may be the goal, but it can be improved up to your finances.
If improving, it would be best to talk to a specialist about what housing trends they are seeing. This can include a Realtor or home interior designer. This should help future homeowners feel confident that the home is in its best condition.
The log you have kept will come in handy. You will have to disclose fire damage to potential buyers. As well as repairs made, they will be disclosed to potential future home buyers.
Before selling a fire damaged home, people will want to know what started the fire and the extent of the fire damage before you can sell your fire damaged property. Disclose all the repairs and upgrades made to the structure and all remedies, like new fire extinguishers, to ensure a fire doesn’t occur again.
With a completed rehab, your real estate agent should be able to sell your fire damaged house while aiming to maximize your home value with hopes of a high selling price to make the most profit from selling your fire damaged house.
This will depend on the loan still outstanding on the home, the damage done, and the personal finances you’ll need to put into the house.
Just make sure you factor in all costs when estimating your return. This will include the closing costs involved, realtor commissions, and all other fees associated with selling. This can equate to up to 10% of the sale of the house.
Option 2 – Selling Fire Damaged Property As Is
Sometimes the extent of the house with fire damage will cause a cost that is too extensive for you personally. This would be the time you should decide to sell as is for a cash offer to real estate investors who specialize in selling fire damaged properties.
This decision can cause immense frustration and leave you feeling crushed. While it is difficult, it is not impossible. You should be aware of these things when you decide to sell a house, as is especially for houses in bad shape to sellc.
Challenges To Sell Fire Damaged House
The first thing to recognize about selling a fire damaged property is that your buyer pool is significantly smaller. It will be difficult to attract anyone other than real estate investors. This can include verifying that the buyer is a cash buyer who can close. It starts by ensuring personal finances with an ability to pay cash or a loan product that allows this kind of purchase, like a construction loan.
The next challenge to address to secure a sale and attract the right cash home buyer is a fair price, which may not be the market value of your house. Buyers will expect to be compensated for the repairs that will need to be done to your fire damaged house. This will mean not getting fair market value. Recognition of a lower price will help you ensure the sale of your house with fire damage.
Acknowledge there is a psychological aspect to selling a fire damaged home as is will be the right decision. We mentioned before that some can’t deal with the psychological aspect of living in a house with fire damage. The constant reminder of the fire and your life in the house can be too much to bear. Factoring in the financial resources needed can decide that selling a house as is necessary.
At SILT Real Estate and Investments, LLC, we can provide a cash offer to buy a fire damaged home as is. We even buy fire damaged houses as is too.
We can make the process easy and close in as little as 10 days. If this sounds like a challenge you want to avoid tackling on your own, fill out this form below, and we’ll be glad to start helping you tackle selling a fire damaged home.
Get A Cash Offer For My Fire Damaged House
3 Tips For Selling a Fire Damaged Home
Communication is key.
As mentioned above, disclosing the damage found and/or repairs done is important. Understanding what those costs are and communicating those findings may be just as important as it will dictate the price you can sell your property for. As with most things in life, honesty is the best policy, and being upfront may save you time and energy in the long run.
Documentation will help with communication.
When documenting the damage and rehab done, take pictures. Save receipts and invoices to support the rehab process. It will reinforce the repairs done and comfort future buyers. It also helps hasten the sales process.
Don’t rush the process.
There can be extensive repairs needed, and it can be a long and arduous process. You’ll have to stay the course. Buyers will have many questions and likely want to comb over all damage or every repair. It takes time, and some special inspections may be requested, like the chimney, roof, electrical, or even the HVAC ductwork. Allow the inspections, and don’t be fixated on selling at a fixed price.
After the fire has been extinguished, you have a few options, even if you are considering selling a house with delinquent property taxes, for addressing your fire damaged house. Only you can decide if you have the time and resources to fix the house to its former glory.
You’ll have a long process ahead of you if you want to fix the house to sell. If doing so, just focus on your most important next step throughout, and you’ll get there.
If you are in a hurry to sell, lack the funds to do so, or this sounds like it’s too much or something you don’t want to take on yourself, finding cash home buyers for a cash offer to local real estate investors may be the best option for you.
At SILT Real Estate and Investments, LLC, we are a cash home buyer helping others selling a fire damaged home. We can buy fire damaged houses, simplifying your selling process and providing a cash offer.
Yes, we are cash home buyers who can buy your house with fire damage. You’ll even save money on the closing cost and fees needed to sell, allowing you to get the most back in your pocket. And you’ll get to pick the closing date.
Just fill out the form below to contact a home buyer as soon as possible to get started on your cash offer. If you have any questions or want to talk to someone, call us at (708) 415-3801 or contact us here.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you go about selling a house with a fire?
Selling a house that had a fire in it involves several steps. First, assess the extent of the fire damage and repair it. Document the repairs and share this information with potential buyers. Hire a professional appraiser to determine the property’s current value.
Consider working with your insurance company to cover the repair of fire damage costs. Be transparent with buyers about the property’s history, and if necessary, price it competitively to attract offers.
Many real estate investors and home buyer companies purchase fire damaged houses with an actual cash offer, simplifying the process. The most experienced home buyers will offer a very fair price for your burned house.
Is it bad to buy houses that have fire damage?
Buying a house with fire damage isn’t necessarily bad, but it comes with factors to consider. First, thoroughly inspect the property to understand the extent of fire damage and repair needed. Evaluate if the repair fire damage costs fit your budget.
Consult with your insurance agent about the house fire history and potential coverage. While fire-damaged properties may offer a lower purchase price, ensure you’re comfortable with the renovation process and that it aligns with your investment goals.
How do you calculate fire damage cost?
Calculating the cost of repairing fire damage can be complex. Begin by assessing the visible and structural damage, which may require professional input. Consult with contractors and specialists to estimate repair costs, factoring in labor, materials, and permits.
Work closely with your insurance company to understand what fire damage expenses they may cover. Keep a detailed record of all expenses related to restoring the fire-damaged property to help calculate the final cost accurately.
What is safe to salvage from a house fire?
In the aftermath of a house fire, it’s important to prioritize safety. Salvaging items should be approached with caution. Items like jewelry, important documents, and items with sentimental value are typically safe to salvage.
However, wearing appropriate protective gear while in a fire damaged house is crucial due to potential smoke and soot contamination. Avoid salvaging items damaged by flames, as they may pose risks. Consult with your insurance company to understand coverage for salvaging and replacing belongings damaged in the fire.