Selling Your House with Fire Damage
A house fire is a life-altering event. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that there are 350,000-400,000 house fires every year totaling over $6 billion in damages. It’s hard to know what to do when you find yourself with a fire damaged house. Further, it’s hard to even imagine the costs associated with repairing your home and even harder to imagine the struggle of selling a house after it has been damaged.
You have options when it comes to selling a fire damaged house and we’ve compiled a list of steps to take to protect yourself and your family during this stressful time.
The first thing you should do is file an insurance claim. Insurance can help to pay for a new house or repair your damaged one. However, no claim is the same and there are different factors that affect how much an insurance company will pay you. There are 3 basic steps to your insurance claim.
- Report the fire incident.
- Insurance will send an adjuster to evaluate the damage and determine the amount of your claim. Read more about this below.
- Insurance will issue payment based on the amount determined by the adjuster.
Once you are given clearance to go back into your house try and locate any important documents and personal belongings. This is also your chance to try and minimize any further damage by covering exposed windows or doors with tarps and/or pumping out water.
You will need to have your home inspected by a licensed professional independent from your insurance agency. No matter how small or minor the fire may seem an inspector will be able to check for hidden problems caused by the fire. An expert fire damage inspector or contractor is able to negotiate with the insurance agency on your behalf to get an impartial settlement.
Another option for negotiating with your insurance agency is to hire a public adjuster. Their job is to negotiate a better settlement for you with the insurance adjuster. Often they will be able to get a higher settlement amount than an individual policyholder could. A public adjuster can also expedite the claims process.
After the Fire Issues
- Smell lingering. The amount of smoke that is produced by a fire is incredible and that smoke infiltrates everything. While most things damaged by the smoke and fire will be replaced, some of the existing structures that weren’t damaged will still hold onto that smell. It is best to coat the entire structure in special cleansers and odor blockers to prevent future smells of smoke.
- Structural damage. Distortion and warping from heat can cause structural failure and this takes time to properly inspect, evaluate, and repair. Even if the sheetrock appears fine, the damage underneath can be extensive.
- Ash leads to corrosion. Soot/ash is acidic and therefore destructive and corrosive. This will continue breaking down anything it sits on until properly removed.
- Smoke and ash in the HVAC. Like it was said before, smoke infiltrates everything. There is a good chance the ducts are coated in ash and soot and will need to be replaced. Sometimes the entire unit must be replaced.
- Mold from extinguishing the fire. The water used to put out the fire also coats everything. It soaks the walls, the sheetrock, the insulation, wood fixtures, everything. This will need a water remediation team.
This is not an all-inclusive list of the issues that can arise from a house fire but is a taste of potential additional damage. The best thing to do after a house fire is to get the house inspected by a licensed professional.
You have two different options when you’re looking to sell your house after fire damage. The first option is to make the repairs in order to make the house habitable and attractive to potential buyers. The second option is to sell as-is to a real estate investor for cash. Remember, in either scenario you are legally obligated to disclose the fire damage which can harm your prospects in a traditional sale.
Urban Dwell Homes buys houses for cash, as-is. Our goal is to make your life easier and help you get out from under this property that is causing you stress while making you a fair, cash offer. If you want to avoid all the time and delays associated with putting a house on the market, we can help by buying hassle-free and without the headaches of appraisals. We can also help you avoid dealing with loans and the typical homeowner requests for repairs. With Urban Dwell Homes you won’t pay any for realtor commissions, closing fees, or costly repairs. You can close fast and get your cash in as little as 7 days, or we can take our time and close when it is convenient for you. To get started, give us a call at 615-270-1709 or fill out our form for a free no obligation cash quote today!