How to Sell a Damaged Fire House in Houston

Posted on March 30, 2022 by Amanda Gladin

There are lots of reasons why people want to sell houses quickly without repairing them, and one of them is when tragedy strikes. For example: how to sell a fire damaged house in Houston?

Recently, we helped a family where the father in the family was using an oxygen concentrator for his COPD (chronic lung disease). Unfortunately, the device had a faulty electric issue and caught on fire while the father was napping in a recliner during the day.

The story is tragic all around. But in addition to the grief of their lsos, the family now had to deal with the aftermath: what to do with a fire damaged house.

Why To Renovate a Fire Damaged House

One of the biggest reasons we like assisting with fire damaged houses is because of the transformation we get to see as investors and service providers.

We take something that used to once be beautiful was affected by tragedy, and restore it to the home that it once was.

Some investors would consider tearing down a fire damaged house, but even houses that are up to 70% burned usually have a usable structure that is very expensive to repair.

For example, even in houses with severe fire damage, usually…

  • The slab is still useful
  • The plumbing inside the slab is usually in tact
  • The framing of the house (for the walls, often not the roof)
  • Any brick around the house
  • A/C duct work
  • Roof rafters, and the decking on the roof
  • And you already have the plans for the house (and there are usually costs associated with new plans for homes)

For these reasons, it usually is more cost effective to repair a fire damaged house than to tear it down and rebuild a new house. In short: you’re beautifying it, rather than starting from scratch.

Fire Marshall Process

When repairing a fire damaged house, there are unique considerations when it comes to getting it back on the market. You have to bring the house to current code.

When a fire damaged house, you see a lot of the same inspections you’d see when getting permits for a flip house, but they are much more strenuous. This is because fire damaged houses now have a history of a safety factor.

Fire House Inspection

So, what might fire marshals more carefully inspect in a fire house? For the story above, this doesn’t apply since the fire was found to be caused by a faulty device that wasn’t a part of the home. But many fire damaged houses in Houston have fire damage because of house issues. For example:

  • Faulty wiring
  • Gas being left on in the stove
  • Gas leaks
  • Heating
  • Cooking
  • Other electronics

In all of these cases, the fire marshal needs to make sure the issues are resolved.

The fire marshal has some great resources on preventing fires in your home. Check out their spring cleaning checklist on a fire safe home. 

Problems that come up with fire house

While some homeowners may consider repairing and selling their own house after a fire, there are many unique and frustrating issues that arise with a fire damaged house.

So, what are some unique problems that come up with a fire damaged house?

Electrical Meter

Often in a fire damaged house, the city will remove the electrical meter so that the house doesn’t sit around with exposed wiring. The city won’t reinstall the electric meter until the house is repaired.

Gas Meter

Similarly, often the city will turn off the gas meter until the house is repaired and inspected. This helps prevent further danger, but can be a hassle for homeowners.

Secondary Damage

Another issue fire houses often have is secondary damage. For example, the fire department may have to tear down doors and break windows to get into the house to put the fire out. And of course, most fire damaged houses also have secondary damage from the water used to put out the house.

How to sell a fire damaged house in Houston.

#1: Consider your options.

Your options to either move out and repair the house so you can move back in or sell it later. Or, you can sell the house fast to a home buyer in Houston.

If you decide to repair the house, the good news is that insurance will cover many of the repairs. Some insurance will even cover secondary damage. But most insurance will not cover the cost of your living during the repairs. For example, they might have a hotel allowance for one month. But what if the contractor is delayed 6 months? Unless you hire an outside adjustor, getting your full claim can also be a huge hassle to negotiate on your own.

Read more considerations when selling a house to an investor.

Once the insurance company settles on a number, they usually don’t pay that amount until after the home is remodeled. If you decide to work with an investor, they’ll usually help you get the claim money once the house is repaired.

If you decide to sell the house to an investor, the process is much faster. This means you can move faster, repurchase your items and furniture faster, etc. Most homeowners find that selling the house to an investor helps expedite the process of moving on with your life, much easier.

#2: Get a quote.

Reach out to investors and see what they might be willing to pay for the property. Hopefully you’re getting whatever the insurance is paying PLUS the amount you’re getting from the investor.

Keep in mind, the highest offer isn’t always the best offer. Make sure you trust the investor, that they have good reviews, and that you’ll enjoy working with them.

Questions buyers ask with a fire damaged house

Another reason fire damaged houses can be hard to sell on your own is because of the disclosures you need to make to real estate agents and interested buyers.

If you decide to renovate your house on your own:

  1. You’ll have to disclose the house has been in a fire
  2. Buyers need to know the extent of the damage, so make sure to keep pictures
  3. If anyone was hurt in the fire (technically you do not have to answer this one unless the fire was caused by a safety issue with the house.

How to Grieve When You Have a Fire Damaged House

While selling a fire damaged house in Houston, one thing families often forget about is to drive the loss of the house. This is understandable, because most people are dealing with the other urgent, practical matters: where to live, fixing the house, replacing their items, insurance, etc. There will be times that important paperwork and memories get lost.

But don’t forget that part of the process of selling your house is allowing you and your family to move on.

Here are some tips to help you with this:

  • Ask the investor to let you look at the house after it’s renovated, and take some time to remember the good memories you have from each room of the house
  • If you made any marks on the wall – like measuring your kids’ heights for years – the piece of wall may have some smoke damage, but most investors will save pieces like that for you when it’s possible.
  • Say goodbye with your family. Visit the house one more time, and enjoy the good memories you had together.

Need to sell a fire damaged house in Houston?

Swifty Buys Houses often helps families sell a fire damaged house in Houston. Call us at 832-839-0890