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Can You Sell A Fire-Damaged House?

House fires are more common than you think. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that an average of 358,000 homes are impacted by structural fire annually.   

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No one can ever prepare you for the actual consequences of this often-preventable disaster, but you can minimize the risks and try to resolve the situation by either having it fixed or selling it as is. If you opt for the latter, there are few things you need to know about how to increase your chances of disposing of your damaged property. Selling a home is complicated as it is, but more so if you’re offering a fire-damaged property. 

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While challenging, it’s not impossible to sell a home successfully. You can take the heat off this challenging task by knowing which things to focus on before putting up your home for sale.  

So, Can You Sell A Burnt Property?

The short answer is, yes. Fortunately, real estate laws in the United States do not prevent a homeowner from selling a fire-damaged home. But they do have to inform the buyer about the incident and its consequences.     

In most states, including Vermont, sellers are required to divulge any known material defects of the property to interested buyers via the Property Disclosure Form. The said form asks the seller to validate that the features of the property are fully functional and free from any defects.  

Common home defects that need to be revealed include the risk of flooding, any unsafe conditions, building code violations, problems with fire safety, material defects, environmental problems, and other known damages.       

In addition, real estate agents are also legally obligated to perform an ocular inspection of the property to ask further questions about the amenities of the home. The federal government also requires home sellers to disclose any lead-based hazards in the property.   

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Before Selling Your Fire-Damaged Home  

You have two options in selling your fire-damaged property: to have it fixed before selling it or to sell it ‘as-is.’  If you want the easier and faster route, sell it to home buying companies such as Burlington House Buyers. These firms purchase properties no matter in which condition. 

Before coming up with a decision on which property-selling option to take, check the following points: 

  1. Have Your Home Cleaned and Assessed

The damage inflicted by fire goes beyond structural issues. For instance, soot and other toxic particles can cause respiratory problems.

Smoke damage can impact the other parts of your home, even in sections not directly affected by the blaze. Apart from staining your ceilings and walls, fire damage can seep into your roof, as well as heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system. Molds can also form after the water used to put out the fire settles in some of the sections of your home.      

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According to Realtor.com, minor fire restorations can cost up to USD$5,000, while additional repairs in any of the home areas such as the kitchen, could reach over USD$50,000. Have a professional fire restoration company assess your home to know how much it’ll cost you to have it fixed.   

  • Contact Your Home Insurance Companies

Residential fire damages are covered by insurance except when it’s deliberate, or if the house has been unoccupied for more than a month. A homeowner then should inform the insurance company as soon as possible. An adjuster will be sent to assess the extent of the damage and calculate how much cash you’ll receive for the repair works.  If you don’t want to have it fixed, you can still accept the amount.   

There’s no fixed cost for reimbursement and the payout price will depend on the type of insurance policy that you have.  

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  • Selling A Home As-Is Vs. Fixing the Property 

If the blaze was confined in a relatively small space, you may not need to spend a lot in restoring the property.  

On the other hand, if, after checking the estimated repair costs and discussing with your insurance company, you’ll find out you can’t afford the costs, consider selling the property in its present state. It may be quite challenging to successfully sell your property through traditional means. But perhaps with a skillful real estate agent, you might be able to.  If you’ll find a company willing to buy the house ‘as-is,’ it may not be according to the price you’re expecting.     

In some cases, the payout from insurance and the amount received from home buying companies may be enough to pay for the equity of a new home. 

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The Wrap Up 

A fire-damaged home can be sold, whether the owner decides to fix it or sell the house in its blemished state. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all advice to sell a fire-damaged property. It’ll depend on the extent of the damage, the owner’s financial status, and perhaps, the real estate market performance, to come up with a smart decision.         

Bryan Flinch Bryan Flinch is a property investor. He finds time to share his expertise in real estate investments and management through online blogging. During his free time, Bryan loves to play tennis, watch movies, and cook Italian cuisines. He has a dog named Sarge.

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