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Selling a House With Fire Damage
In 2018, on average, fire departments responded to a home fire in the United States every 87 seconds, according to the National Fire Protection Association. It can happen to any home, in any area, and the resulting damage can be devastating. After the flames have been put out and the fire damage has been accessed, some owners may decide to restore their home, or may consider trying to sell the house "as is.
How can AMI Home Buyers help if your home has been damaged in a fire?
We buy fire damaged houses in any price range and in any condition. We can make you a cash offer, allowing you to sell your home quickly, forgo having to pay for repairs, and we cover all closing costs.
Fire Damaged Home FAQs
You'll find a list of the frequently asked questions we receive from homeowners in general here. You'll find a list of fire damage home specific frequently asked questions below.
What steps should someone take to repair a fire-damaged home?
First and foremost, you should contact your insurance company and establish what your policy will and will not cover for repairing your fire-damaged home. The next step is to work with a qualified, licensed fire damage restoration company to access, clean-up and recover the former quality of your home.
How can you find out what your home fire insurance covers?
Speak with your insurance agent immediately to find out exactly what is covered by your policy, and what steps you can take to start repairs. Ask your agent if your policy includes additional living expenses, such as hotel stays and meals, and if there are any spending limitations. This is crucial to know when selecting and scheduling repairs with a professional, as you’ll need to make sure that the project can be completed before any away-from-home expenses would exceed your insurance policy’s limit.
What is fire damage restoration?
After the fire is put out, the damage left to your home is more than fire and smoke damage. It also includes water damage left over from firefighting efforts. A fire damage restoration company will clean up the mess, remove the smoke odor, and deep-clean soot. They will also preserve and protect the home and its contents so that further damage will not occur.
What should you look for in a fire damage restoration company?
First and foremost, you want a fire restoration company that offers emergency services, which means they can come quickly when contacted to provide immediate relief for your property. You want to prevent additional damage from spreading throughout your home, and this needs to be done as soon as possible. Some fire damage repair companies not only restore your home but also offer renovation services, which can be a huge benefit in working with them.
What is a fire damage assessment report?
All the damage that a fire caused to your home may not be evident to an untrained eye, especially damage to the home’s structure, plumbing, and electrical systems. Therefore, professional inspectors would need to access all the damage to determine repairs that are necessary, and the associated costs involved.
What's involved in cleaning up a fire damaged home?
There are several steps involved in cleaning up a fire-damaged home, which must be done by licensed professionals who specialize in fire damage restoration. This is not a DIY project. The water or chemicals from extinguishing the fire need to be cleaned first, as water, if not dried right away, can lead to mold infestation. If chemical extinguishers were used, they could leave toxic residues that must be removed as well. Next comes the soot clean-up, which if left untreated, can do serious damage to walls and upholstery. The next step is removing the smoke odor from the home, including deodorizing furniture, carpets, and clothing.
How can you estimate fire damage costs/fire restoration costs?
Your fire damage restoration costs will depend on the extent of the damage, potential costs in water cleanup, chemical repair from extinguishers, and soot removal. According to Home Advisor, homeowners typically pay anywhere between$3,192 and $27,601, with the nationalaverage for the full repair being $12,641. The average cost for repairing fire damage in the state of Texas is $11,060.
What is the difference between structure losses and property losses?
Structure losses include the damage done to the home’s structure, while property losses include damage to the contents inside of the house, including personal belongings such as furnishings, electronics, clothing, and other valuables and possessions.
How can you negotiate the most money possible from your insurance company in your fire damage insurance payout?
If you feel your insurance settlement offer was too low, you can dispute the amount. However, you’ll need to be prepared to defend your reasoning by gathering evidence of your damages, your financial loss, and the cost to fix or replace your property.
If the dispute of your settlement is related to repair costs, find out from your adjuster precisely what part of the repair estimate they are having an issue with paying. If it is costs related to labor or materials, ask your contractor to write a letter explaining these costs, and perhaps get a second estimate to show that your first estimate was appropriate. You need to show your insurance company that you’ve made every effort to get your home repaired for the best price.
If you’re disputing your settlement amount because of personal property that was damaged from the fire, first find out if your policy pays replacement cost or actual cash value to calculate what you are owed. If you are owed replacement cost, you will be owed what you paid to replace each item, so save your receipts as you buy the replacements.
If your policy pays out the actual cash value, then you will need to take depreciation into account. Find the original receipts, dig up old bank statements, or show proof of credit card purchases on what you paid for those items, and calculate their depreciation accordingly. This can be done by looking up a depreciation schedule online. It’s best to create a spreadsheet listing each item, the depreciation amount, and what the insurance adjuster actually gave you. Then review the discrepancies with the adjuster, and see if the depreciation amount can be negotiated to get you a higher settlement.
If the fire was the result of someone else's negligence, should I hire a lawyer?
If the fire to your home was caused by the negligent acts of another person, whether it was a neighbor burning trash irresponsibly, the utility company who neglected maintenance on a utility pole which fell on your property and caused the fire, or a contractor that was doing work on your home, then yes, you should contact an attorney immediately. You’ll want a lawyer who specializes in property damage. You’re entitled to be put back in the position you were in before the at-fault person caused this loss, and the sooner you contact a lawyer, the better, so evidence can be gathered promptly to support your case.
Should you repair or sell your home?
The answer to this question would depend on many factors, including:
- The extent of the fire damage
- Cost of repairs and how long it would take to get your home back to its pre-fire condition.
- Your immediate financial needs
- What personal and emotional attachments, if any, you have to the home
- What your insurance policy covers
- If you currently have a mortgage on your home or own it outright
If it is financially feasible to repair your home, and you want to go back to the way things were before the fire, then you may wish to do the necessary repairs and keep it. You may be able to secure a personal loan or work with your mortgage lender to find ways to finance repair costs that may not be covered by your insurance.
If you’re considering selling your home after a fire, you can either sell a fire damaged house “as is” with the damage or repair the damage first. Selling “as is” may be the easier solution, but it will significantly affect the selling price and the pool of buyers who would be interested in purchasing a fire damaged home is very small.
It may make sense to sell “as is” if the fire damage affected only a small portion of the home, not including the kitchen or bathrooms.
If there is an investor who is willing to purchase the home “as is,” and you have a substantial insurance payout, your proceeds from the home sale coupled with your insurance settlement could be equal to selling your home at fair market value without fire damage. In that case, it would be a wise decision to sell, without the hassle of having to pay for and go through the home repair process.
At AMI House Buyers, we buy homes for cash in the Houston and Katy, Texas areas in any condition, even if there’s been fire damage. There are no fees, no commissions, and we pay your closing costs. Fill out this form to receive a free, no obligation, fair cash offer on your home within 24 hours.
Are there any environmental concerns surrounding restoring a burned house I should be aware of?
Yes, there are environmental concerns with restoring a burned house. The water from fire extinguishers can lead to mold on carpets and floors if it sits too long. Repairing water damage will require professional humidification as soon as possible. If chemical fire extinguishers were used, it could have left a toxic residue, which would require chemical sealers to prevent harmful environmental effects.
How do I ensure any environmental issues are found and addressed?
The fire restoration company you work with should be fully trained in identifying and remedying any environmental issues brought about from the fire damage. This is done during the clean-up process when all damaged areas are sanitized, damaged items are removed and disposed of, and unpleasant and harmful odors are professionally deodorized.
What kind of damage can occur from smoke in the parts of the home that didn't catch on fire that you need to be sure to add into your repair budget?
Soot and smoke damage could’ve affected parts of your home that didn’t catch fire and will get worse the longer it is left untreated. Its odor can penetrate clothing, furniture, carpets, and many other items in your home, which would require furniture deodorizing, thermal fogging or ozone smoke removal, and a thorough evaluation of your HVAC system.
What are some examples of damages to a home due to a house fire - aside from the obvious?
A lot of the damage caused by the fire may be visible. However, different types of damage may not be visible. This is why it's crucial to have an inspector, or different kinds of specialists, evaluate any damage that may have been caused to the following:
- Pipes and other plumbing fixtures
- Air quality
- Steel and iron structures
- Siding, stucco, and concrete
- Tile and wooden floors
- Doors and door frames
- Windows and window frames
- Electrical circuits, switches, and wires
- Lighting fixtures and fans
- Interior walls
- HVAC systems
- Mechanical systems in the basement (i.e., pumps, furnaces, water heaters)
- Any area of the home that could be damaged by fire, smoke, heat, or moisture
- Any area of the house that is susceptible to mold
How to estimate fire damage renovation costs?
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the average cost of fire damage recovery in a house without fire sprinklers is $45,110 and $2,170 with sprinklers, with factors like type of the fire, size, duration of the fire, and home value being even.
The cost of rebuilding, cleaning up, and deodorizing a single-family home after a fire ranges varies based on a multitude of factors. As an example, a kitchen fire may require more extensive renovations and can cost around $10,000-$30,000 for average kitchens, and $50,000-$70,000 for upscale kitchens with custom countertops and cabinets. The cost to restore and rebuild a home after a fire can reach well into the six figures for a standard 1,500 SF single family home - depending on the prices of construction in the local area - if the home is a total burnout and loss.
Is it legal to sell a house with fire damage?
Yes, it is legal to sell your fire-damaged home, providing you disclose the fire occurred, but it will be difficult to do it on the regular property retail market. Most conventional buyers are not interested in buying a damaged home. However, there are real estate investors who are willing to purchase fire-damaged homes in “as is” condition and will pay cash. There are many advantages to working with a professional home buyer such as AMI, including no realtor or closing costs, a fast sale, and you don’t have to do any repairs on the home, as it’s being bought in its current condition.
How do you determine the value of your home post-fire damage?
You can determine the value of your fire-damaged home by getting an appraisal from your mortgage lender, and/or by working with a local realtor who can provide an estimate of your home market value in its current condition.
How do you sell a burned house?
You have two basic options for selling a fire-damaged home. You can sell the home to an investor like AMI that buys houses that have sustained fire damage, or you can list the home with a Realtor on the standard housing market. It takes a special kind of buyer willing to purchase a fire-damaged home.In many cases, you may be better off selling to a cash house buyer directly vs. listing it on the market and having to pay the associated commissions and closing costs.
If you'd like to receive a cash offer for a fire-damaged home anywhere in the United States, click here to request a free, no-obligation offer.
Call us now to get a no obligation cash offer for your Katy or Houston area home!
ANY CONDITION · ANY SITUATION