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How to Rehab a Fire-Damaged House

How to Rehab a Fire-Damaged House

Whether you are the owner of a fire-damaged house or you are an investor considering whether to invest in and rehab a fire-damaged house … there are several things you need to consider.

First and foremost, you need to determine if it is financially viable for you to rehab a particular fire-damaged house.

To decide this you need to look at a number of different factors, such as the extent of the fire as well as the severity of the smoke, soot and water damage that typically accompany a house fire.

The best way to do that is to …

Have the fire-damaged house inspected by a professional

One of the best ways to properly assess the damage sustained in a house fire is to have an inspector come in as soon as possible and analyze the house.

You should plan to be on site with the inspector and to walk around with him or her so that they can explain the damage and what will need to be repaired.

You should look at the inspector as a valuable resource and try to get as much information and tips from him or her as possible.

Remember, by spending time with the inspector you won’t be inconveniencing them. This is their job and they also want the property to be “turned around” as fast as possible.  That’s because …

Distressed properties are taxing on a community

The truth is the Building Department, Code Enforcement, Fire Department, Police Department and others all have to keep files on distressed properties, which can be a drain on their resources. So basically everybody wants to see a distressed property renovated … so don’t be afraid to take advantage of that goodwill.

Spend time with the inspector. Discuss what happened with the rehabs of similar house fires. Get his or her thoughts on what a rehab of this fire-damaged house would cost and how long the work would take.

Have smoke, soot and water damage carefully assessed

One big area that you will need to look at closely is smoke, soot and water damage. While fire damage can often be easily visible these types of damages may be harder to spot.

They can also be very expensive to rectify. For example, smoke damage can be very invasive often affecting areas of a home far away from the spot of the fire. Smoke damage can also be very hard to get rid of.

Unfortunately, smoke damage also has severe health effects on those who breathe it in. It can cause severe respiratory, skin and eye issues.

Soot and water damage are dangerous as well. Soot can be very hard to remove and harmful to touch or breathe in.

Water damage can lead to hazardous mold growth. Did you know that there are there are currently 336,453 articles in Pub Med related to mold? Or that mold is related to at least thirty-six major diseases and probably more?

Well, it’s true. Numerous men and women who were previously diagnosed with chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia have had their conditions related to mold and mold toxicity.

Here’s what often happens to those susceptible to mold – the toxin load from mold affects the hormones and hormone production as well as the adrenal glands causing stress-pushing cortisol levels to become abnormal.

First, cortisol soars to abnormally high levels and then plummets to extremely low levels causing extreme fatigue.

Once hormone and cortisol levels are off, mycotoxins from mold can basically affect every organ system in the body.

All of this is why damage assessment is so important

An experienced inspector can help you in this area and you may also want to bring in professional fire cleanup companies to get estimates on the cost of getting rid of these types of damage.

Once you have a good idea of the damage and the cost of repair, you can then make an informed decision about whether to proceed with the rehab of a fire-damaged house.

Because fire damage is often so hard to deal with many house investors tend to classify fire-damaged houses as complete rebuilds.

If a fire has been contained to just a few rooms, you may be able to get by with a smaller rehab. Just be sure to have the structural beams and joists examined.

RECAP: Tips to avoid making a bad decision when deciding whether or not to rehab a fire-damaged house:

  1. Have the home inspected by a professional before you officially buy. When you’re under contract, use your inspection period to get a home inspection and any other specific inspections you may need. It’s always better to know about problems early rather than be surprised later on.
  1. Study the market. One way to identify hot markets is to work with an experienced local real estate agent, one that knows the area like the back of their hand.
  1. Set a budget for your fire-damaged house rehab and stick to it. If you are an investor, know your price range for purchasing a home, making any repairs, completing renovation projects, and selling it before you seal the deal.
  1. Be smart with your renovations. That means stick to your budget and focus on renovations that actually boost the value of the home. Don’t get carried away and make a bunch of renovations that won’t actually pay off down the road.


What to do if the rehab cost is too high

Homeowners and investors often decide the cost of the rehab is too much and that they won’t be able to cover the costs or turn a profit considering the value of the home.

If this is the case for you, there is another option. Sell the house “as is” to a company like We Buy Fire Damaged Houses.

We pay a great price in all cash and you don’t have to worry about going through a lengthy and costly repair process.

If you are interested in selling your house “as is” to We Buy Fire Damaged Houses, simply complete the short form below to see if you qualify for a free, no obligation quote.


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