Dealing with a fire-damaged house is not the kind of thing any homeowner wants to think about. But the important truth is that you could possibly find yourself in a situation where fire affects the integrity and condition of your home. And if that happens, you have to make a very important decision. Do you decide to fix your fire-damaged house or do you attempt to sell your fire-damaged house?
According to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were 363,000 home structure fires around the nation in 2018. That damage caused $8 billion in property damage. And those numbers have been rising over the course of recent years. So it is reasonable to wonder what you’ll do if your house is damaged by a fire.
The good news is that you have some options when you are selling a fire-damaged house in Vermont. You can attempt to fix it up and then sell it on the housing market. You can also sell your fire-damaged house to an investor. And you can also sell your fire-damaged house as-is for cash to a cash buyer or companies that buy houses in Burlington. But let’s take a closer look at what you need to do when selling a fire-damaged house so you can make the best decision for yourself and your family.
What to do When Selling a Fire Damaged House in Vermont
If you’re dealing with a fire-damaged house in Vermont, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have very many options. You might look at the damage or see the costs involved and think there’s no way you can sell your house with fire damage. However, it’s important to what to do when deciding to sell your fire-damaged house that the process begins long before you ever list your house on the housing market or sell to a cash buyer.
Get Fire Damaged Repaired Where Possible
One of the first things you’ll need to do when your Vermont house suffers fire damage is to assess that damage and figure out what kind of repair needs are required. You’ll want to know this information whether you decide to sell your fire-damaged house or not because the house will need to be brought up to code to be livable. Selling your house that needs repairs requires this.
If your local Vermont fire department was called, you’ll need their permission to re-enter the home. Once you can re-enter, prepare yourself mentally for the damage you might find. There are a lot of emotional items that might have been burned or ruined in the fire. Before anything, take a look for important documents and financial records that you’ll need for the sale process. Then, consider doing an inventory of all the items you find so you can keep track of everything.
Once you have all of that sorted out, make a list of all the repair needs that you find. These could be everything from small repairs (replacing carpets, new windows) to major repairs (basement flooding, holes in the roof, foundation cracks). As you get the list, you’ll be able to figure out the costs involved.
Document Repairs as Proof of Repair
Once you decide what you are willing to repair or pay to get repaired, you’ll be able to begin that process. Remember that as you make repairs, you document all of them in order to have proof that you can provide to market buyers. Market buyers are going to want to see extensive records of any repairs made after a house is fire-damaged. Market buyers tend to be very hesitant about buying houses with a lot of damage or a history of damage, so you’ll need as much ammo as possible to show them that the house is in good condition now.
These records can include documentation from any handyperson or contractor who makes repairs, receipts of items purchased to make repairs, and inspection reports that confirm the repairs have been made and are in working order. You don’t need all these documents or even make repairs if you are selling your house for cash, but if you plan on selling to market buyers, these are essential.
Disclose Previous Fire Damage to Buyers
When selling a house that was damaged by fire, it’s incredibly important that you disclose that fact to potential buyers. In fact, Vermont requires sellers to disclose any known defects or problems in a house to anyone interested in purchasing it. These have to be disclosed in writing, which protects both the seller and the buyer from any legal issues. This also helps you by preventing potential buyers from reducing their initial offer based on discoveries later on, since you’ve already disclosed everything.
At the end of the day, it’s always better to be upfront and honest, beyond what is legally required.
Value Your Fire Damaged House Correctly
Another thing you’ll want to consider is valuing your fire-damaged house correctly. It’s understandable that you want to get the most money for your house when selling it. However, you have to consider a lot of the fundamental issues that come into selling a fire-damaged house in Vermont.
There are a lot of repair costs involved that you need to consider. If you are selling your house on the housing market, you probably had to make a lot of repairs. However, if you don’t think you can recoup the cost of some of those repairs with a market sale, it might not make sense to do them. You might just be better off selling to a cash buyer because it’s less likely a market buyer will be interested in a damaged house that needs repairs. So when you work on the value for your house, consider that realistically.
Generally speaking, the rule of thumb for market sales is to make repairs that come out to 1-2 percent of the overall home value. Since you’re dealing with fire damage, that number is likely to be higher, but it’s worth considering all the same. Make sure you get an inspection early on so you can get a real sense of what needs to be repaired and how that will impact your home’s value.
Redecorate Your Fire Damaged House
While making major repairs are likely the best way to make your house marketable following fire damage, there are some redecoration tactics you can use as well to make the Vermont house more palatable to market buyers.
Curb appeal is where you can make the most impact as it’s the first impression that buyers will have of your house. Make sure the lawn is mowed often, the landscaping the cleaned up, there’s a fresh coat of paint on things, and the garage/carport space looks clean.
Inside the house, if you have the ability to freshen up the paint or patterns, it’s a good idea to go with fresh and clean colors. Consider whites, light greens or blues, and creams. Stay away from red, orange, or any other color that reminds people of fire. Also consider how you can leave plenty of space for people to imagine themselves in the house, rather than only being able to see how you live.
Consider Other Selling Options
If the idea of paying for major repairs in order to sell your fire-damaged house on the market seems too daunting or unreasonable, you have some other options for selling your house.
Selling to a Property Investor
Real estate investors or property investors are people or companies that buy homes for cash or by other means. They will often buy those homes regardless of their condition, otherwise known as “as-is.” And they are able to buy property fast because they don’t involve middlemen like real estate agents or lenders. Often, they will purchase homes and property that is distressed or that the owner is unable to get “market-ready.”
Property investors like Burlington House Buyers will absolutely buy your fire-damaged house in its current condition. That means you don’t need to make repairs, you don’t need to clean up, you don’t need to get inspected, and you don’t need to pay real estate agent fees.
Selling to a Cash Home Buyer
A cash buyer is a type of property investor who strictly buys homes and property for cash. They have their own funds so they don’t need to work with a lender and they don’t work with real estate agents, so sellers avoid paying commission fees. Cash buyers like Burlington House Buyers can often make you a fair offer on your house within 24 hours and buy your fire-damaged house for cash in a matter of days. It’s a simple process that allows you to walk away with cash in your pocket rather than spend all the time, energy, and money needed to repair your home after a fire.
As you can see, selling your fire-damaged house in Vermont is very possible. Depending on which avenue you want to go, you don’t even need to spend a lot of money or make any repairs. If the idea of selling your house to a cash buyer sounds good or you want to receive a no-obligation quote, reach out to Burlington House Buyers today. We buy houses in Vermont just like yours all the time.