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How to Get the Highest Return When Selling a Fire-Damaged House

How to Get the Highest Return When Selling a Fire-Damaged House

If you have recently suffered a fire-damaged house and are now planning to sell (or thinking about it) here are some tips for getting the best possible price.

First off, when trying to get the highest return when selling a fire-damaged house, do everything possible to keep your costs down and draw in the highest bidders. 

Tips for Keeping Costs Down

One thing to consider is trying to do as much of the repair work as you can by yourself – but remember it must be of professional quality. Shoddy work and inferior materials cost more to correct later.

For difficult projects, which are often the case with fire-damaged houses, hire a trained professional from a smaller scale operation. Large contractors with several employees have to factor their large overhead into their prices.

When looking to maximize your sell profits, you may also try to save money with your lender. That means look around for cheaper loans from the less popular lenders.

The large banks and financing companies usually have high fees and rates.  Don’t accept overpriced fees. For example, if your lender is charging $75 to deliver a few papers a short distance, ask for it to be reduced.

By educating yourself on the legal and accounting aspects of real estate transactions, you can save yourself thousands of dollars.

Negotiate Smarter to Save Money

When negotiating, be firm but flexible. Attempt to find a win-win situation where both you and the other party walk away from the table happy.

To do that, be clear on what you want, and what you can be flexible on. If the other party walks away angry and feeling cheated, they might try to sabotage your attempt to make a profit.

If you are selling your property, it’s important to also shop around and negotiate for the best prices on high priced items, real estate commissions, and closing costs.

Don’t Forget to Stage Your Fire-Damaged House

“Staging” is setting the scene by making your property look its best. You will get the highest price for a property that has been properly prepared.

You also need to actively market your property in order to attract the largest pool of potential buyers. It is always a benefit to the seller if there are several interested parties in the property.

A Thorough Home Inspection is Also Important

The condition of real estate is different in every situation but it is especially important when selling a fire-damaged house.

Buyers want to know that your house has been repaired and has no remaining damage from the fire.

To prove this, be sure to have a thorough inspection conducted by a trained professional.

What exactly is a thorough home inspection?

Obviously, your inspection should look at all fire damage repairs. In addition, it can be of benefit to have all of the following inspected as well:

  • Any home containing wood should have a pest inspection, where the inspector looks for evidence of damage caused by termites, mice, carpenter ants or other pests. This inspection is separate from that done by the home inspector.


  • The home inspector should focus on every mechanical and structural aspect of the property. That includes looking for substantial cracks in the foundation, levelness of the structure, and moisture in the basement. Water penetration is evident when there is mold, mildew or efflorescence – a white powder that shows where water has penetrated. High tech inspectors use lasers to see if the things are level and specialized radon gas meters to determine if there is a radon gas issue.


  • The structure of the home should also be closely inspected. Homes rest on top of a foundation. Floors have been installed on top of this foundation, and it needs to be inspected to ensure that proper materials have been used.


  • Next, the walls might have improper framing or possible damage from water. Electrical and plumbing systems lie within the walls, and where possible, these interior systems need to be inspected for wear, out-of-code construction, and damage. Pipes should also be inspected for leaks or chemical concerns such as lead or rust. Some home inspectors also test the water pressure and flow rate of the house.


  • The home’s electrical system should be completely inspected. The inspector needs to look for uncovered switches or outlets, incorrect wiring, insufficient grounding, faulty circuit breakers, or unsatisfactory GFCI trips.


  • In the attic, the inspector needs to check for water damage and air leaks.


  • Framing should also be looked at to ensure that it is strong. The underside of the roof should be inspected for a good seal where vent pipes go through the roof.


And There’s More …


  • On the roof, the inspector should examine it for holes, loose shingles or tile, poor flashing, or any other concern that might cause the roof to not hold up against the elements.


  • Heating and air-conditioning systems must be inspected for adequate flow, duct leaks, and filter condition. Outdoor faucets must also be tested to be sure they work and don’t leak or have inadequate water flow.


  • All appliances included with the sale of the house need to be examined. The hot water heater, stove, wood stoves and any other built-in units should be checked for proper function and standards compliance.


All of this information is then compiled in the comprehensive inspection report that is available to the individual or company that paid for the inspection.

Inspections benefit both the buyer and seller

They benefit the buyer because he or she can use issues with the property as bargaining chips during negotiations.

They benefit the seller because he or she can get an honest assessment of the condition of their property and can make improvements to important items before putting their home up for sale.

The home inspection is one area where a few hundred dollars spent often saves thousands of dollars during the purchase process!

What if the House Doesn’t Sell Quickly?

The truth is fire-damaged houses often take a long time to sell. Most people simply don’t want to live in a house that was damaged by fire.

Some tips to help your fire-damaged house sell faster include:

Look at your property from the point-of-view of the buyer and make all necessary improvements. This makes your property more attractive to buyers. Think of what might be a deterrent and account for it. For example, if you live next to a loud highway, close the windows and play soft music to take away from this drawback.

Also, as we mentioned earlier, be sure to stage the house. Set out a few bouquets of flowers, turn the lights on, put on some light background music, bake some fresh cookies for a homey smell and welcomed snacks for visitors. Put out a flyer on the property with plenty of attractive pictures, a reminder of the property highlights and your contact information.  Make it so the buyer can see themselves living there. Buyers want a home they that makes them proud.

Want to Completely Avoid a Stressful House Selling Process?

Sell your house in as-is condition to We Buy Fire Damaged Houses. We pay a terrific price and you don’t have to worry about doing any repairs. Fill out the form below to get started.


Photo by Karl Callwood on Unsplash  


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