Selling your home after fire damage can be daunting. With the right information however, it is possible to simplify the process. Selling a fire damaged home is slightly different from a regular home but it doesn’t have to be harder.
Consider the following steps when it comes time to sell your fire damaged home:
1. Clean the House
This is the first thing you must do before putting the house in the market. Most buyers expect the house to be in excellent shape when they visit the property. Depending on how handy you are, it may be necessary to hire professional house cleaners. Federal and state laws require disclosure of all available information, including fire damage to prospective buyers but with thorough cleaning and repair, most buyers will be willing to overlook the fire. Replace everything damaged by the fire including roof, shingles, carpet, ceiling, walls, duct work or anything else with tale-tale signs of fire damage. Also remove all materials used during cleaning and fire eradication. Be sure to take lots of photos before you begin the cleaning process.
2. Inspect the House
Go through the house to ensure you have not forgotten anything that might turn buyers off. These might include forgetting to change tiles, ceiling boards, window blinds and more. Eradicate any smell or odor left behind by the fire. Take photos of all areas of the house and compare them with photos taken after the fire damage. Once you are satisfied with the condition of the house, call in a professional home inspector to inspect and certify that the fire has not severely damaged the house and rendered it unlivable.
3. Work With Insurance Companies
Work with your homeowner and property insurance companies. They might be able to offset part or all of the cost of cleaning the house and making it ready for sale. Most insurance companies will request that all work be done by professionals. Make sure you fully comply with their requests. This not only makes for satisfying end result, it ensures your insurance companies will not object to the final outcome down the road.
4. Hire an Appraiser
Bring in a home appraiser to evaluate the home and fix a value to the cleaned house. This is especially important if your house sits on a valuable piece of land. Using the services of a professional Appraiser also ensures the house is priced right. Over-pricing could make the house difficult to see while under pricing tells potential buyers something might be seriously wrong with the house. Insurance companies could also send their own appraisers and inspectors. Be prepared for that.
5. Bring in Building Engineer
There are several reasons you need to bring in a Building Engineer to look over the house, ranging from protecting yourself from future lawsuits to ensuring the property is safe for habitation. Have a Building Engineer inspect the house and ensure the fire did not severely damage the foundation and other structures. If you cannot afford a Building Engineer, consider asking the local Fire Marshall or Chief to inspect the property for damage and certify its safety.
6. List Your Property
How you list the property depends on your expertise. You could choose to list the house yourself or have a real estate agent do the listing for you. If you are tech savvy, list the house in classified websites like Craigslist, Backpage, local newspaper websites or auction websites like eBay. If you choose to use local realtors, contact one and be sure to inform them of the fire damage. This absolves you of all future legal damages. The local realtor may require additional inspection and certification. Comply with their request. This ultimately, makes selling the house quicker and easier.
7. Show the Property
If you are listing your property without the help of a realtor, be available to show the house to potential buyers. Let the buyers know about the fire damage and explain what you did to repair and thoroughly clean the house. Showing the house could be time consuming so consider hiring a realtor to do this. They are professionals and understand what the buyer is looking for in a house.
8. Sell the Fire Damaged House
Review all offers for the house and accept one you consider adequate or closest to your preset price. Most states require the use of title companies to record deed transfers. Collect the funds and pay off all fees related to the sale and property.