Selling a home can be stressful enough as it is. But what if you have a fire damaged house you need to sell? This can add some complication.
If your house has been damaged by a fire, you’re not out of luck. There are a few things you need to know so you can address any relevant issues and get your house on the market for a successful sale.
A damaged house is not a lost cause. To learn more about repairing fire-damaged homes and getting them ready for sale or selling them as they are, read our helpful guide.
Assessing a Damaged House
If your house has been affected by a fire, you’ll need to assess both the damage and your financial state so you can make the best selling decision for your situation. Sometimes a repair makes sense, while other circumstances might call for getting rid of the house as soon as possible.
Fire damage goes beyond what the average homeowner can spot during their initial inspection. It’s always best to foot the bill for a professional to inspect your home and assess all damage that may have occurred.
In addition to obvious structural damage, you’ll be faced with smoke damage. Smoke can leave soot, unpleasant odor, and discoloration behind. It can also blanket the inside of your home with toxic particles from noxious gasses.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
Understanding your insurance policy regarding fire damage is essential. Insurance can often help pay a large portion of the repair costs after a fire. If you don’t plan to repair the house before you sell it, keeping the payout is also an option.
After the fire, you’ll need to report the incident to your insurance company. They’ll send out an adjuster who will decide how extensive the damage is and how much money you’ll receive for repairs or a new home.
Selling a Home As-is
If you don’t plan on repairing a fire damaged house, you have the option to sell the home as-is. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, and the choice to do so often is influenced by seller circumstances.
Many sellers who choose to sell a house with unaddressed damage are homeowners who had very little or no equity. In this instance, the homeowners wouldn’t be able to pay off the mortgage after covering the cost of damage repairs.
There are other situations where an as-is sale is sometimes a good way to go. If the fire damage was fairly minor and isolated to a smaller, less important area (not bathrooms or the kitchen), selling the home without repair can be a faster, less expensive option.
The best scenario for an as-is fire sell is if the seller has fire insurance that gives them a hefty payout and they find an investor that will purchase the home as-is.
In this case, the seller would receive money from the sale and money from the insurance, which would come out close to the amount that they would have received if the house had been sold at its full market value.
The buyer pool is usually pretty small for fire damaged houses. People buying homes generally want the house to be move-in ready. Many investors won’t be interested in buying a home in need of a lot of fire remediation.
Another option is finding a professional cash buyer to buy your house. These are investors that will make a cash offer on your house. Should you choose to accept the offer, the sale is fast and you keep all of the money.
The downside to this option is that the offer is likely to be much lower than you would like.
Repairing a Damaged House
Selling a home as-is may get you out of the situation quickly, but it’s usually not the best way to get a decent return on a damaged house. Most buyers that might be interested will expect you to give them a sizable discount if they buy the property with no rehabbing.
There is an abundance of fire damaged homes for sale that are being sold for deeply discounted prices. If your house isn’t repaired, it can wind up in that group.
Repairing your house after a fire will likely be a costly endeavor, but the returns are worth it. Repairing a fire damaged house will make it far more marketable, so you won’t be drastically dropping your asking price just to get it sold.
The Cost of Repair
Repair costs for homes can vary. Depending on the location and severity of the fire, the repair could be anywhere from $500 to $70,000.
Smaller fires in isolated areas of the house can sometimes be repaired for under $5,000. When a room like the kitchen is damaged, the cost of repair is much higher. This is because cabinets and other structures must be rebuilt.
In addition to financial cost, home repair after a fire can take a long time. You’ll need to find contractors and then wait for repairs to be completed. Depending on the extent of fire damage and the size of your home, these repairs could take weeks, months, or even years.
You’ll also be responsible for making sure the professionals you hire are doing a satisfactory job. Many aspects of the repair process will have to be monitored.
You won’t want to be overcharged, have workers not showing up, or necessary materials not available.
DIY Repair for Fire Damaged Homes
If damage from a fire is very minor, it’s possible to do the cleanup for selling and light repairs yourself. Cleaning carpets and walls and repainting may be all that your home needs.
Selling After a Fire
Houses damaged by fire can often be sold, whether you choose to repair the home or take a loss and sell the house as-is. It’s important to consider your financial position, the extent of fire damage, and the housing market in your area when deciding what to do with a damaged house.
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