Selling A House After Fire Damage

Are you selling property after a house fire? You’re not alone . . .

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are 350,000 to 400,000 house fires every year leading to nearly $8 billion in damages in the US. There were  352,000 home fires in 2016 that led to the deaths of 2,735 people and 10,750 civilian injuries. Property damage was reported to be about $5,654 on average.

When a house fire actually occurs, nobody is really prepared for the aftermath or consequences.

One option for resolving the situation is selling the fire damaged property, another is repairing the house yourself. Rather than using the insurance money to repair and remodel, you may want to consider selling the house and keeping the insurance pay out.

This blog addresses selling a house that has suffered fire damage, as well as other issues relating to home fires.


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Should I Sell My Fire Damaged House?

It’s possible after a house fire to sell your property “as-is,” and avoid the time, stress, and financial burdens of a large renovation. This way, you also limit hassles associated with insurers, inspections, and many other headaches.

Considerations to make include:

Depending on how extensive the fire damage was, repairing can run into thousands of dollars.  Sometimes a home that seems to be completely safe following a fire could have concealed damages not visible to you the homeowner.  While it may cost you more funds, it’s wise to have experienced and professionals thoroughly inspect your home after a fire.

sell house with fire damage
Repair fire damaged property can range from several thousand dollars to the cost of a complete re-build.

Damage from a fire can be costly to repair.

Damage repair from an ordinary stove fire could set you back by anything between $4,000 and $8,000 to repair, while you could pay a massive $20,000 to $40,000 if you have to replace a standard kitchen following a bigger house fire. In the event of a fire spreading past the kitchen or a single room, it may become necessary to reconstruct the entire home, with costs as high as the basic retail value of the entire home.

Repairing also comes with lots of issues like monitoring the work, having to work with unscrupulous contractors or even the complication of you being far from the site. If repairing your fire hit house is not a good option, your best bet is to sell it.

Who Should I Sell To?

Selling your fire-damaged home may not be easy on the regular property retail market.

Conventional customers will not be interested in such properties. You don’t expect a young family or family looking for a move in to buy a burned house. Many MLS buyers depend on loans, and mortgage companies are not willing to lend because of  “habitability” guidelnes.

You need a professional cash home buyer who is willing and ready to pay cash on a “as-is” basis. Cash buyers, frequently real estate investors, can close the sale quickly as they have ready resources.

Advantages Of A Cash Home Buyer. When selling your fire-damaged home to a professional cash buyer,some of the advantages include bypassing the entire annoying realtor and closing costs associated with a traditional property sale. This means that whatever the buyer offers for your home is yours without any deductions; you keep the total amount!

The selling process is also much faster compared to dealing with a traditional realtor. Perhaps the best thing is that you are selling the house “as is” without having to carry out any deep cleaning or repairs to prepare the home for sale.

Finding A Professional Cash Buyer. Selling a house is a huge financial decision and working with an honest, experienced and professional real estate investor is critical. Methods of weeding out fraudsters or inexperienced and unreliable cash buyers include:

professional cash buyer
You need a cash buyer to sell fired damaged property, as banks are unlikely to lend.
  • Talking to local investors
  • Checking Business Organizations/Directories
  • Video testimonials because only happy clients will take the time to go on YouTube
  • Website and social media presence
  • Bank Statement for proof of funds

You can find a cash buyer by “googling” sell my house fast or cash home buying companies. You can also check your mailbox for postcards/yellow letters from investors. Contacting local “real estate investment associations” is a sure-fire way to locate some reputable buyers.

If you’re looking for a cash buyer anywhere in Florida, including Jacksonville, Tampa, or Clearwater, give us a call at (954) 676-1846 for a fair cash offer.

You can also use Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to find cash buyers. This is the data base system used by realtors’ and real estate brokers to show your home to their potential buyers. The key lies in accurately writing the house description as well as the offer terms in the best light and that is where the help of a realtor comes in.

Insurance Claim After Fire Damage

Steps in Filing An Insurance Claim. An insurance claim can help pay for a new home or fix the one burned. Every claim is however unique, and many factors affect how much you get paid as well as how long it takes to have the matter resolved by your insurance company.

Basically, there are three steps to filing your house fire claim:

  1. Reporting the fire incident.
  2. Insurer appoints a claims adjuster who evaluates your claim and tells you how much you will be paid.
  3. Insurance company either deposits the amount into your bank account or mails you a check.
insurance claim form
Make sure you properly file an insurance claim form after a house fire.

Fire Insurance Claims Tips. The ever-rising threat of house fires and the huge costs that come with repairs makes it even more important than ever to familiarize yourself with how filing a claim for fire insurance works. If, for instance, you were forced to evacuate very fast, you may have left without essentials like clothes for work or school. In such a case, you can request the insurer to make an advance payment against the expected final ultimate fire claim.

Insurance companies typically require that you file the claims at the earliest time possible. The insurance company is going to ask you for a fair market estimate of the house’s value or the estimated cost of the damaged property prior to the fire, so keep your records well.

Background: Common Causes Of Home Fires

Some of the most common causes of home fires include, but not limited to:

Cooking Equipment. The National Fire Protection Association reports cooking equipment is responsible for 48% of US household fires. This includes a stove or oven left unattended. In fact, the number one cause of North American household fires and fire-related injuries is stovetop cooking.

The Fireplace. This includes incidences of unattended fires to improper fireplace servicing.

Of course, there are many ways fires could happen in the way, but other common causes include:

  • Curious kids playing with fire
  • Smoking in the bedroom
  • Faulty heating and electrical wiring
  • Barbeques
  • Flammable Materials (fuels, oils, etc.)
  • Unattended candles.

While it’s good to take care against the above risks, getting adequate insurance cover against fire is strongly recommended.


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7 responses to “Selling A House After Fire Damage

  1. I like how you suggested filing an insurance claim after fire damage occurs. My grandma had a small kitchen fire that has damaged her oven area. Thanks for the tips on selling a home after fire damage.

  2. This house only back corner burned. All 4 walls still standing. ONLY all cash. No, not cashiers check, CASH for house. Paid off yrs ago. House close to GA/FL line. In an area that would be great for those displaced by Hurricane Michael. 3 BR/1 BA. Separate shop w/ full electrical. Double fenced in lot. Chain link and Cypress in the back. Mature yard. House has one of few fireplaces in the area. Seller chooses closing attorney.

    1. Hey E.J. – is the house on the Florida side or Georgia side? We’re mostly in Florida – but if it makes sense for the buyer/seller – we’d consider anything. Typically, we use our own closing agent (the risk is mostly on us as the buyer) – but we’re open to other settlement attorneys (and we’d just have our own guy shadow the work so everyone can feel comfortable with the process).

  3. I now understand that the price of a fire repair depends on the extent of the damage. I believe that one can get an estimate by calling a 24-hour emergency fire damage restoration service. With their help, any homeowner can have a chance to either restore it to recover from the disaster or selling the restored house to move into a new one.

    1. Hi Tim – that seems like great advice. Hopefully sellers can preserve value, time, and stress by using a fire damage restoration service. Thank you for sharing.

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