According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 364,300 residential building fires in 2016. Causes for these fires ran the gamut with a little over 50% of them caused by cooking while other reasons include electrical malfunction, fireplaces, appliances, smoking, and equipment malfunction. The point is, these things happen and they can happen to any homeowner.
If you find yourself dealing with a house that has suffered fire damage, it might feel as though you’re stuck without options. However, there are steps you can take to assess the damage and sell the house if you want to. Here is the complete guide to selling a house with fire damage.
How To Sell A House With Fire Damage
Contact Your Insurance Company
The first thing you need to do is to contact your insurance company. You’ll want to make sure you’re clear on the extent of your coverage and exactly what is covered and what isn’t. If you have fire insurance, you’re in a very good position to get reimbursements for the damage. If you don’t, it might be trickier but it all depends on your overall policy and your insurance company.
The insurance company will want there to be an inspection and any repairs will need to done by a professional that they sign off on. Once you know where the insurance company stands and how much money you should expect to receive (if any), you’ll be able to make a smart decision about what to do next.
Collect Your Belongings
If the fire department has been called to your house, you’ll need their permission to enter the home. Once you’re given that, you might have a desire to look for keepsakes and emotionally important items but the most important things you should be looking for are vital documents such as insurance benefits and financial records.
Once you have full access to your house, you’ll want to try to begin the clean-up process as soon as possible (assuming the fire hasn’t destroyed a substantial part of the house). You might have to pump out water that was used to put out the fire. You’ll probably need to cover broken windows and doors. You’ll want to look for other openings to the home to prevent further weather damage. You may also want to put up some kind of temporary fencing around the house or property to cut down on any bystander injuries or thefts.
Get an Inspection
Whether through your insurance company or on your own, it’s vital to get a home inspection from a licensed professional who knows what to look for in a house with fire damage. An inspector will be able to spot hidden issues and problems that might not be clear on the surface. Even if the fire damage seems minimal, it’s important to get an inspection for this very reason.
The inspector will give you a full list of what needs to be repaired and then, if you decide that you want to make repairs, you can begin to solicit bids to fix the issues. That way you’ll not only be able to figure out who you want to hire but also what the overall costs might look like. Then you’ll be in a good position to know if you want to sell your house on the market or sell it as-is.
The rule of thumb for many experts is to only make repairs that end up amounting to one or two percent of the overall value of the home. Chances are, you won’t recoup many costs beyond that.
Decide How You Want to Sell
When a house has fire damage, you basically have two options if you want to sell it. First, you can use the money you get from insurance to repair the damage and attempt to get the home back into shape to sell on the market. Or you can find a cash buyer like Element Homebuyers who will buy the house as-is with a cash offer.
The first option is a tricky one. No matter what you’ll have to disclose that there was fire damage in the house to any potential buyer. That may make them wonder about what they can’t see even if everything looks good from the outside. Depending on the state you live in, you may also have to provide a Property Condition Disclosure Statement that outlines the condition of the house and what has happened so buyers are protected.
And of course, repairs can be expensive and take a while. If the fire damage requires you to rehab entire rooms or floors, that’s going to not only require a lot of money but also a lot of time. You’ll have to decide if it’s worth it to sit on a fire damaged home for months with the hope that you’ll be able to recoup your costs in the end.
According to Home Advisor, while the price of fixing fire and smoke damage has a wide range, the average for a homeowner comes out to around $12,483. That cost varies substantially based on various factors, including water cleanup, chemicals needed, soot removal, and restoration. It would not be uncommon to see repair and renovation prices soar way higher and even reach $100,000 for extensive damage.
The other option, to sell the home to a real estate investor or cash buyer, is a lot quicker. These motivated buyers will make you a cash offer on the house based on their own assessment. Also, they’ll buy the house as-is so you don’t even have to worry about paying for repairs. They take on their responsibility for themselves. That means you can walk away quickly with cash in your pocket and the peace of mind that you can go find a new, undamaged house to live in. No headaches and no worrying.
If you have a house with fire damage and want to find out how much you can get for it as-is, contact Element Homebuyers today.