A house fire is always an unexpected event that can lead to devastating damage to your property. In the United States, over 353,000 house fires occur per year, on average. Experiencing a situation such as this one, your greatest hope is that no one gets injured by the fire and smoke, but even if everyone comes out safe, your belongings and sentimental items could be destroyed. It’s not easy recovering from a house fire, but it can be done. Many homeowners wonder if they will be able to sell the property after the smoke damage has occurred. There can be a difficult stigma to overcome when a house on the market has a history of a fire. If are currently faced with this situation, here is a guide for how to sell your house with smoke damage.
How to Respond Immediately Following a House Fire
With the shock of experiencing a house fire, you may have a hard time deciding what to do next. In order to put out the flames, the firefighters may have had to soak the house with water, broken windows, or cut through walls. This can lead to even more damage than the impact of the flames and smoke alone. There are several steps you should take immediately after a house fire.
- Make Sure Everyone is Safe
If anyone was in the house when the fire occurred, you will want them seen by a medical professional. Be sure to check that your pets are in good condition as well.
- Secure a Place to Live
You may need to stay with a family member or rent a home for the time being. It is not safe to live in your house until all repairs have been made.
- Contact Your Insurance Company
You need to contact your insurance company to notify them of the incidence and discuss what will be covered in the cleanup. This coverage estimate should be given in writing.
- Inform Utility Providers of the Incident
Your utilities, such as gas, water, and electricity, may need to be shut off for the time being.
- Replace Important Documents Lost in the Fire
Depending on the extent of the damage, you could need to replace birth certificates, social security cards, passports, etc.
The Biggest Aftermath of a House Fire is the Smoke Damage
Apart from the flames burning through wood and other materials in the house, one of the biggest issues is the smoke damage that can impact almost everything. Smoke can seep into the sheetrock and ductwork, making it virtually impossible to get rid of the obvious smell of smoke. Often, the whole entire house will have to be gutted in order to get rid of this damage. This can lead to an underestimate in the cost and efforts that are required to restore a property that has experienced a house fire. When deciding if you want to make repairs, be sure to consider the full extent of the damage at hand.
Decide if You Want to Repair the Damage Before Selling
One of the biggest decisions you will need to make is if you want to attempt to repair the smoke damage, or if you would prefer to sell the property in ‘as-is’ condition. Repairing a home after a house fire is a laborious process and will require that your household lives in a temporary residence until everything is done. The easiest option is to sell the house as-is. However, the property will sell for a much lower price than if the smoke damage is repaired.
Most buyers are less interested in a home that has suffered from smoke damage, so making all of the necessary repairs makes the house more marketable. In addition, if a buyer is willing to take on a property with smoke damage, they may expect a lower price than market value. Overall, if you do not restore the home, you will need to sell it ‘as-is’ to a professional home buyer, and if you repair the smoke damage you can sell it for cash or use a real estate agent to list it on the market.
Reasons Why You Should Sell a House with Smoke Damage ‘As-Is’
Every situation is unique, and there are instances where the best option is selling the house in its current condition. Reasons to sell the house ‘as-is’ include:
- If the smoke damage only affected a minor part of the house and the rest of the house is in good condition.
- The home was recently purchased and paying for repairs will leave the homeowners unable to pay the mortgage.
- As homeowners you will receive a payout from fire insurance, which will make up for the deficit in listing price from selling it in ‘as-is’ condition
Are you wondering who would be interested in buying your house ‘as-is’? There are professional home buying companies that specialize in purchasing smoke damaged houses. These companies can invest in the property and repair it faster and for less money than what you, the homeowner, could.
Pavel Buys Houses is a reputable properties solutions company that is experienced in helping homeowners sell their smoke damaged house. We can buy your buy your house for cash, or one of our licensed real estate agents can help you sell it on the market. If you decide you want to carry out the repairs and list the property with a realtor, there are some ways to help your smoke damaged house sell faster.
Tips for Selling a House with Smoke Damage
One of the biggest obstacles to overcome is that a buyer may be hesitant to purchase a home knowing it has a history of smoke damage, even if all repairs have been made. You will need to make the buyer feel confident that your property is still valuable, despite the house fire that occurred. Here are some tips to make your smoke damaged house sell faster:
- Be Upfront About Previous Damage
In Massachusetts, you are not legally required to disclose that the property suffered a house fire. You will, however, be expected to respond truthfully if the buyer asks about previous damage. It is important to be upfront and honest about any events and repairs that occurred in the past.
- Be Prepared to Present All Documentation from the Repair
Potential buyers may be interested in the details of the repairs that were made on the home. Keep track of all documentation so that it can be presented if there are any discrepancies. Having this prepared and ready will also give the buyer confidence that you can be trusted as a homeowner.
- Answer Any Questions About the House Fire
The most common concern from buyers is that the cause of the house fire has not been remedied. Make sure to find out exactly what initiated the house fire in the first place so you can prevent it from happening again. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the most common causes of house fires include cooking appliances, heating equipment, electrical malfunctions, smoking, and candles. Addressing the issue could put the buyer at ease about purchasing the home.
If your house has suffered smoke damage, it can be a difficult barrier to overcome. You will have to consider your financial situation to decide if you can carry out the repairs yourself or if you need to sell the house ‘as-is.’ Whichever you decide, Pavel Buys Houses can help you sell your house for top dollar. We are licensed real estate agents in Massachusetts with experience selling a house with smoke damage. If you choose to sell your house ‘as-is,’ we can provide a no-obligation cash offer for your consideration. Contact us today to discuss your options for selling your house with smoke damage.