According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are about 375,000 house fires every year causing nearly 8 billion dollars worth of damage. With insurance, some of that cost is covered but you may be left with a home that still needs costly repairs. If you are a homeowner with fire damaged property you have two options: repair the fire damage and fix the home up or sell your fire-damaged house.
What To Do After A House Fire
1. Contact Your Insurance Company
If you are a victim of a house fire, the first thing you need to do is contact the insurance company for your homeowner’s policy. Let them know that your house has been damaged by fire, and they will begin the process of evaluating your situation.
2. Contact A Restoration Company
Once the Savannah fire department has given you the ok, you need to start cleaning up any soot or water damage. Any water damage not addressed immediately can start to grow mold in as soon as 24 hours. Ask your insurance company for recommendations for a reputable fire restoration company, and do some quick research to make sure they have good reviews.
3. Separate and Remove Non-Damaged Items
Your insurance company will want a detailed inventory list of all of the items that were damaged by the fire. Go through each room one at a time and remove any items not damaged by the fire. As you come across items that were damaged, start a list and record important information such as the make, model, serial number, date you purchased the item, how much you paid, and a brief description of the item.
Once you have gathered all your items that weren’t damaged, move them to a safe and secure location. Locations such as storage units, garages, friends/family houses are some places you can safely store your items.
4. Communicate With The Insurance Company
Fire damage claims are usually settled in 90-120 days and an adjuster is usually out to inspect the house within a few days after the fire. In order to make sure your claim is processed quickly, return phone calls promptly, make time for any meetings with the adjuster, and provide any requested documents in a timely manner. The key is to communicate consistently with your insurance company.
5. Make Temporary Living Accommodations
If your home was severely damaged by the fire, you may not be able to live there. Most insurance policies will cover food, clothing, and housing that your family might need temporarily. Speak with your insurance company to find out what you can be reimbursed for. You can also consider living with family if the insurance agency will not cover a hotel room.
Should You Repair A House With Fire Damage?
In many situations, the insurance company will provide a homeowner with a check for the fire-damaged property. It is up to the homeowner to decide if they want to repair the fire damage or sell the house as-is without repairing the fire damage.
Benefits Of Repairing A Fire Damaged House
1. It Is Easier To Sell After the House is Repaired
A fire-damaged home can overwhelm potential buyers because of the uncertainty. They aren’t sure if the property was repaired correctly, or if they are going to have any lingering problems down the road due to the fire damage. But if the repairs are done correctly and all the paperwork is in order before selling the home, it will sell faster and for a higher price. Most buyers want a move-in ready house and don’t want to deal with contractors and the headache of dealing with a fire-damage rehab. If you can deal with the rehab project, you can sell your fire-damaged house for more money.
2. Some Repairs Can Be Inexpensive
If the fire damage was relatively small and no structural damage was done, you may only need to replace easier, less expensive items. Easier to repair/replace items can include paint, carpet, appliances, etc… If this is the case, you can probably do make the repairs yourself or hire a handyman and have the property back to new for a few thousand dollars, instead of a huge rehab project.
Drawbacks Of Repairing A Fire Damaged House
1. It Tends to be Very Expensive
The cost to repair a fire-damaged home depends on things such as the size of the fire, location of the damage, and did the property have sprinklers. Larger fires cause more damage and will lead to higher repair costs. Properties equipped with sprinklers tend to have less fire damage and more damage caused by smoke and water. Hopefully, your insurance will cover all the damages, but if not you can find yourself quickly over your head in repair costs.
2. Repairs Take Time (Maybe Even Years)
It can take 3-4 months just to close out your claim and receive payment. Then add the time it takes to find a contractor, agree on a repair plan, order materials, wait for building inspections, and construction time, you could be facing over a year before your home is repaired fully. Sometimes it just makes sense to sell your fire-damaged house and purchase a new one right away.
3. It’s A Headache To Manage
Undertaking a rehab project on a fire-damaged property is a very time-consuming and frustrating experience. You have to make sure the contractor isn’t overcharging you, the materials are ordered and delivered, the workers are showing up and actually working, and of course, there will be unforeseen issues that pop-up and will need to be handled.
Ultimately, if you repair a house with fire damage, it will be up to you to make sure it gets done correctly. If you don’t want to deal with the headache of repairing the property, you can sell your home “as-is” to a real estate investor.
Selling A House With Fire Damage
When you decide to sell a house with fire damage, you have two options: you can list the home with a realtor or sell your home quickly to a cash home buying company, like Cash Homes Savannah.
If you list the home with a real estate agent on the MLS, you will most likely have to wait for a buyer to make you an offer on your property. This can take several months because most home buyers are looking for move-in ready homes. If you do end up finding a buyer, be prepared to pay closing costs and realtor fees.
Your other option is to sell your house directly to a cash home buying company or commonly known as real estate investors who pay cash and close quickly. They will buy your home in “as-is” condition and you can walk away from your fire-damaged house in a few weeks. When an investor buys your home, they will be responsible for managing the project, pulling the permits, paying for the materials, and making sure the house is repaired on time. You can also put more money in your pocket because you won’t have to pay any realtor fees.
Don’t Rush Any Decisions
Selling a house with fire damage is a stressful time, but you can get through it. Make sure you’re staying organized and being responsive to the insurance company. It can seem overwhelming, but hopefully, you have found some information in this article to help guide you towards a solution that is best for you and your situation. If you are interested in selling your fire -damaged house fast for cash, give us a call or fill out the form below