Your house and fire damage: What you need to know

There’s a lot to think about after a house fire. You just want to get back to your life. The last thing you want to do is replace your important documentation, buy new furniture and spend thousands on fire damage repairs.

But even if your home looks fine, the structural integrity of your home could be severely compromised. Under no circumstances should you inhabit—or even re-enter—your home without having it inspected by a structural engineer and cleared by the fire department. Chances are that they will only clear your home for habitation after you complete extensive repairs. In our experience, you can expect to spend about $2,200 to reverse the fire damage if your home has sprinklers. If your home doesn’t have sprinklers, you can expect to pay upwards of $45,000.

Depending on your homeowners insurance policy, you might have to pay for most of this out of pocket. Cutting your losses and selling your home as is to a wholesale buyer might be a good option if you don’t think you can cover the cost of fire restoration or you don’t want to deal with your insurance company. If you sell your home as is to Wren Realty, we will deal with the insurance company and you can leave this in your past.

If you’re considering buying a house with fire damage, it’s important to have the house inspected so you know the full scope of necessary repairs before you make an offer. We’ve bought and repaired many fire damaged houses, so we know a thing or two when it comes to things to look for in a fire damaged home.

One major concern is, of course, the structure of the home. Fire burns wood framing, roofs and walls, and depending on the severity of the fire, can even melt or warp metal structural elements. Burned electrical systems and mechanical systems are dangerous and expensive to fix. Then there’s the question of air quality—the smell of smoke can linger long after the flames are out. To get rid of the smell and improve the air quality of the home, it is often necessary to have a professional come in and do an ozone treatment, which is more effective than scrubbing and doesn’t leave behind residues and byproducts. Mold is also a concern, as the house is doused in water in order to put out the fire. The water can completely saturate walls, furniture and flooring, leading to wood rot, mold and water damage if not dried quickly.

The heat of a fire can melt iron and steel, burn through roofs and, even when the fire is long gone, the smell of smoke remains. Fire damage repair costs can quickly get out of control. And, while insurance covers some repairs, it often doesn’t cover everything. If you can’t afford the price of repairs and renting out a hotel room or apartment while they’re completed, you can always cut your losses and sell a house with fire damage. Selling as is will also save you the time, money and hassle of municipal and utility inspections.

Fire damage is especially difficult because you cannot return home until the repairs are complete, forcing you to have to rent in the interim. Renting, combined with repairs, can be overwhelming. Selling a house with smoke damage is a big decision, and you should work with someone you can trust. We will talk you through your options, and if you decide not to sell to us, we’ll walk away friends.

We’d love to help you during your time of need—give us a call and we’ll guide you toward the best solution for you.

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Please contact Rob or Laurie, by phone or through our online form, with any questions you have about selling your property.

(314) 721-1199 | office phone number

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