Selling a Fire Damaged House – What You Need To Know

A house badly damaged by fire.

Suffering from a house fire can be a traumatic experience. Hopefully, nobody was hurt or injured, but what happens next? Repairing the damage can be expensive.

While a small house fire might only cost a few thousand dollars to repair, larger house fires can easily cost upwards of $50,000, according to Amfam. If you don’t have that kind of money on hand, don’t despair. One option is selling your fire damaged house as is.

Should You Get Your Fire Damaged House Repaired for Selling

Even if you have the money to repair your fire damaged home, many homeowners who own a fire damaged property prefer to sell it. Fire damage restoration can take a long time. You can’t live in a house with fire damage, as it contains soot, smoke, and toxic materials that can be harmful to your health.

Depending on the extent of the damage, the restoration process could take months. During that time, you will need to find an alternative place to live. It might be easier to save yourself the hassle and just sell the home.

Of course, selling a house that has suffered a home fire isn’t a walk in the park, either. Many home buyers will immediately pass over your home, as they don’t want to deal with the restoration process either. In addition, most buyers will want a thorough home inspection, including specialized assessments such as:

  • A chimney inspection
  • An HVAC inspection
  • An electrical inspection
  • A structural inspection

The home buyer will want to know two things. First, they will want to ensure that you have completely repaired the damage. They don’t want lingering problems, such as poor air quality due to leftover soot, that can damage their health.

Not only that, but they will likely also want to ensure that whatever caused the house fire is no longer a risk. That’s why they’ll want a professional home inspector to inspect the electrical wiring, chimney, fireplace, HVAC system, etc., unless there is another known cause of the fire, such as a wildfire.

There are both pros and cons to repairing your home before selling it. On the one hand, it will allow you to sell your home for a much higher sales price. Yes, the restoration services will cost a lot of money, but the return on investment may be worth it.

Most people have an insurance policy that covers fires. However, there are instances in which insurance won’t help.

For example, your insurance company may not cover the repair costs if the fire was due to negligence. In either case, an insurance adjuster will have to come to assess the damage and determine how much you’re eligible for.

From hiring a plumber to redo the pipes to getting a mold removal expert to remove mold growth, there are many aspects to repairing a home. You may also need to contact an electrician and structural engineer.

While a restoration company will usually take care of everything for you and offer you a one-package restoration deal, you might not have the time to repair the home before selling it. In that case, selling it as is to a cash buyer might be the best course of action.

Repairing a Fire Damaged House

If you decide to repair your home, you’ll need to inspect your home and repair all of the damage. Structural damage occurs after most home fires. It could make the building unsafe to live in, so don’t enter it until the fire department confirms it’s safe.

In addition to burnt drywall, ceilings, and floors, the fire department may have cut holes through the walls to ensure the fire was totally gone and not hiding in the walls. They may also have cut holes in the ceiling and broken windows to help the smoke get out.

Water damage is also typical. The water comes from sprinklers that turn on automatically when they detect smoke and from the fire department’s hoses.

In addition, the fire may have damaged plumbing, electrical wires, and a lot more.

If you have an older home with asbestos, there is a risk of asbestos fibers getting into the air during the fire. While the concentration of asbestos fibers in the air after a fire is usually low, there is a risk of more fibers getting into the air during cleanup and demolition, which is why you must take extra care during the restoration process.

Documenting Repairs of Fire Damage

One of the challenges of selling a house with fire damage is convincing buyers that the home is safe to live in. If you decide to go down the route of repairing the home instead of selling it as is, it’s vital to document every step of the restoration process. 

Keep receipts, invoices, and reports. Ask the contractors to take before and after pictures. Get a professional inspector to confirm that you have made the necessary repairs and restored the home to a livable condition. 

While it’s always a good idea to have receipts of any renovations you do to your home when selling it, it’s particularly critical in the case of a fire. 

Defumigating Smoke Damage to the House

After a fire, there will likely be significant amounts of smoke and soot in the home. Soot can be dangerous to your health, and it can cover your furniture and stay in the air ducts. The soot can resurface in the air months later. 

Not only is a smoke odor unpleasant, but all that soot can harm your health and lead to severe respiratory issues. All that smoke circulating in the air can lead to chronic lung and cardiovascular diseases. 

It’s vital to hire a smoke cleanup expert to clean up the smoke after a fire. An expert will have professional-grade equipment that can remove soot from your furniture, walls, ceilings, floors, air ducts, and everywhere else. 

Getting smoke smell out of the house requires special ventilation equipment to remove contaminated air and professional-grade cleaners to neutralize the acids in soot. 

Cleaning a House After Fire Damage 

After a fire, there will likely be a lot of debris around the house. From burnt furniture that you must replace to leftover pieces of drywall and construction materials, you’ll need to ensure your home gets a thorough cleanup before selling it. 

You’ll also need to clean the exterior of your home to improve its curb appeal. The exterior walls, if blackened, will need replacing or perhaps repainting. If the fire spreads to your lawn or nearby trees, you might need a landscaping company to plant new bushes. 

The rooftop of a house damaged by fire.

Selling a Fire Damaged House 

Selling a fire damaged home can be challenging, so have patience. One thing that’s essential is disclosing any fire damage to buyers, even if you have done extensive restorations. Buyers will want to know about any potential issues with the house’s history. 

Hopefully, you will have documented your repairs to show how much you invested into making the home livable again. 

Other factors can affect the ease of selling the home. If, for example, you live in an area with a booming real estate market, and the prices of homes are rising, it will likely be easier to find a real estate investor willing to buy a fire damaged house. 

Can You Sell a Fire Damaged House As Is?

Yes. It’s possible to sell a house fast in Aston, even if it had a fire. 

 You have three options after suffering a house fire: 

  • Repair the home and live in it
  • Repair the home and sell it
  • Sell the house as is

The first option isn’t always ideal, for the reasons we mentioned above (you’d have to find a new place to live in the meanwhile, etc.). In addition, many people don’t want to return to their homes after a fire, as it may be traumatic. 

Repairing the home and selling it is another option, but it can take a long time and depends on your budget and how much insurance will cover. 

Many homeowners opt for the third option, which is selling their home as is. Obviously, it won’t net the exact sales price as it would if you were to make repairs first, but you also won’t have to pay out of pocket for repairs. In many cases, it may cost you less to sell the home and let the buyer make repairs. 

Cash home buyers in Pennsylvania are usually more than happy to buy homes as is for a fair price. They typically have the funds on hand to renovate the house and flip it for a profit, so they don’t mind paying cash upfront for a damaged home as long as they get a good deal. 

Cash buyers are also a good option for other issues that can make it hard to sell a home, like selling a house with unpermitted work

Conclusion

We buy houses Philidelphia owners need to sell, including fire damaged houses. Start by filling out our form and requesting a quote. 

We’ll come to inspect your fire damaged home, or you can even give us a virtual tour over a video call. Then, we’ll give you our fair cash offer. If you accept, we can close on your schedule, whether you want to close immediately or in a few weeks. 

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