Last updated on November 10th, 2023 at 07:20 am

Quick answer

  • An easy and fast way to sell a property damaged in a house fire is to someone who doesn't need a loan.
  • A real estate investor can make a cash offer and close quickly.
  • You can also make repairs to the home and then list the home on MLS with a realtor.

Selling a house with fire damage can be a stressful experience. Is it even possible to sell such a property like this when you don’t know where to start?

We’ll discuss everything you need to know about selling a house with fire damage.

We will cover the effects of fire damage on property value, factors that affect the sale of a fire-damaged house, who will buy such properties, and how to find them. 

We will also explore options such as selling your home through a real estate agent or selling it “as is”.

We’ll provide tips on assessing the value of your damaged home and finding buyers through online promotions, networking with local real estate investors, or hosting an open house

The average time it takes for a fire to be contained is 28 minutes (National Fire Protection Association).

The average time to extinguish a home fire was 8 minutes.

house with fire damage

Assessing the Damage

Approximately 7,000 house fires occur in the United States each year, resulting in an estimated $7.3 billion in property damage (National Fire Protection Association).

According to Policygenius, the average home insurance claim amount for fire and lightning claims from 2016 to 2020 was $77,340 (source: Policygenius)

From 2015 to 2019 cooking was the leading cause of home fires.

Contrary to popular belief, a wildfire isn’t the primary cause of most house fires!

The average time it takes for a fire to spread from an ignition source to a fully involved fire is 3 minutes (National Fire Protection Association).

Selling a house with fire damage can be an intimidating task, especially if has been burned in a blaze!

First and foremost, assess the extent of the damage before listing the property for sale. 

This allows you to determine what repairs and restorations will be necessary to make the home sellable.

  • Once you have an idea of the scope of the damage, seek out professional help to repair and restore any damaged areas of the house. 
  • You could also seek out a cash offer from someone who has experience purchasing these sorts of properties and avoid the repair hassle altogether.
  • Working with a real estate agent experienced in selling fire-damaged properties can also be helpful in navigating negotiations with potential buyers and providing documentation of repairs made.

Being transparent about any damage and disclosing it to potential buyers is also key in ensuring a successful sale. 

Hire Professional Inspectors

Hire professional inspectors to assess the extent and impact of the damage.

Their expertise can provide valuable insights and help determine the best course of action. 

Importance of Professional Inspections:

Objectivity: Professional inspectors offer an unbiased evaluation of the property, considering various factors such as structural damage, water damage, and the overall condition.

Expertise: These inspectors have years of experience in dealing with fire-damaged properties. They are trained to identify hidden damages and assess the potential cost of repair accurately.

Insurance Claim Assistance: Their detailed reports can strengthen your insurance claim, ensuring that you receive appropriate coverage for the damages incurred.

Estimation of Restoration Costs: Professional inspections help you understand the financial implications of restoring the property, which is crucial when deciding the asking price.

Types of Inspectors to Consider:

Restoration Contractors: These professionals specialize in assessing fire damages and developing comprehensive restoration plans. They can provide insights into the cost and scope of required repairs.

General Contractors: While restoration contractors focus on repairs, general contractors can assess the overall condition of the property, identifying potential issues beyond the fire damage.

 Inspection Process:

Initial Assessment: The inspection begins with a thorough examination of the property, both internally and externally. The inspectors will evaluate the extent of fire and water damage, as well as the impact on the structural integrity of the house.

Detailed Reports: Professional inspectors provide comprehensive reports that detail the damage, highlighting both visible and hidden issues. These reports form a basis for insurance claims and negotiations with potential buyers.

Benefits of Hiring Professional Inspectors:

Accurate Property Evaluation: Inspections by professionals help determine the fair price of the fire-damaged house based on the current condition and required repairs.

Streamlined Negotiations: Armed with a detailed inspection report, you can present potential buyers with a comprehensive overview of the property’s condition and the associated repair costs.

Enhanced Buyer Confidence: Hiring professional inspectors demonstrates your commitment to transparency and professionalism, instilling confidence in potential buyers that they are making an informed decision.

Obtain Insurance Info

When dealing with a fire-damaged house, it is crucial to gather all the necessary information regarding insurance coverage. Here are the key aspects to consider:

Review Your Insurance Policy:

Take the time to carefully review your insurance policy and understand the coverage it provides for fire damage. Look for specific details such as coverage limits, deductibles, and any exclusions that may affect your claim.

Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions related to property damage and the process for filing a claim.

Contact Your Insurance Agent:

Reach out to your insurance agent as soon as possible to report the fire and initiate the claims process.

Provide them with accurate and detailed information regarding the extent of the damage and any relevant supporting documentation. This will help expedite the assessment and settlement of your claim.

Document the Damage:

Thoroughly document the fire damage by taking photographs and making a detailed inventory of all affected areas and items.

This evidence will not only assist your insurance claim but will also be valuable when discussing the damage and potential repairs with prospective buyers.

Consult a Restoration Contractor:

Engaging the services of a reputable restoration contractor can provide valuable insights into the extent of the damage and the estimated cost of repairs.

What is Market Value

Market value refers to the price at which a property would sell under normal conditions, with both the buyer and seller having reasonable knowledge about the property and neither being under any pressure to make a quick transaction.

Research Comparable Sales

Look for properties that are similar in size, age, and condition to get an idea of how much similar houses are selling for.

Keep in mind that houses with fire damage will likely sell at a lower price than houses in pristine condition, so it’s important to find comparable sales of fire-damaged properties.

Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Another valuable resource for understanding market value is consulting with a trusted real estate agent.

They have access to local market data and can provide you with a professional opinion on the current value of your fire-damaged house.

A real estate agent will take into consideration the extent of the damage, the cost of repair or restoration, and the desirability of the location.

Consider the Cost of Repair

Evaluate the cost of repair or restoration needed for your fire-damaged house.

This assessment will help you determine whether it’s more beneficial to sell the property as-is or invest in repairs to increase its market value.

If the cost of repair is significant, it might be wise to consult with a general contractor to get an estimate and factor that into your decision-making process.

Assess the Potential Buyer Pool

Understanding the potential buyer pool for a fire-damaged house is essential for setting an appropriate price.

While some buyers may be hesitant to purchase a property with fire damage, others, such as real estate investors or cash buyers, may see value in such properties. 

Consider reaching out to local investors  who specialize in fire-damaged properties to gauge their interest and determine the demand.

Sell the Home as is with no repairs

Selling your property to a cash investor is the fastest choice.

Remember though, you will have to sell the property to them at a discount to compensate them for all the work they will have to complete.  

There are people who look for these types of projects and have experience with them.

When it comes to selling a fire-damaged house, many homeowners wonder who would be interested in purchasing a property with such significant damage. 

Surprisingly, there are investors and buyers out there who specifically seek out fixer-upper properties and may be interested in taking on the restoration process. 

Don’t let fire damage deter you from putting your house on the market; that is another option!

Many sellers prefer to sell as-is and can including the following reasons:

  • Alleviate the time and hassle
  • Financial distress
  • Emotional reasons 
  • Health issues

Prospective Buyers

There are a variety of potential buyers to consider. 

  • Investors, in particular, may be interested in purchasing such properties as fixer-uppers that can be rented out for a profit. 
  • Flippers, on the other hand, may see the potential in a fire damaged house and aim to renovate it before selling it for more than they bought it. 
  • House buyers including wholesalers and contractors may also be interested in salvaging materials or using the property as a project site. 

What do expect from investors

Real estate investors can see profit potential in fire-damaged houses that may deter other buyers. 

These properties are often sold at a lower price, and investors with experience in rehabbing houses can turn them into a profitable investment. 

Before selling your fire-damaged house to an investor, it is important to conduct research and vet potential buyers to ensure they are reputable. 

Working with a real estate agent who has connections with reputable investors can also help you find the right buyer for your property. 

They can certainly vet buyers and save you hours of frustration!

Find the right Realtor

Working with a real estate agent can be a valuable option.

Many homeowners wonder if their real estate agent can list the property with fire damage on the MLS. 

The answer is yes, a qualified agent can list a fire damaged house on the MLS as long as they disclose all information about the condition of the property. 

Be aware that the listing price may need to be lower due to future repairs or renovations.

Experience with Fire-Damaged Homes:

Look for a real estate agent who has experience specifically in dealing with fire-damaged properties.

They will have a deep understanding of the unique considerations and complexities involved in selling these types of homes including marketing and pricing strategies. 

Relevant Credentials and Knowledge:

Check the credentials and certifications of potential real estate agents.

Look for designations such as Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) or Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR).

These certifications indicate that the agent has received specialized training and possesses in-depth knowledge of the real estate industry, including fire-damaged properties.

Local Market Expertise:

Choose an agent who has a thorough understanding of the local market conditions.

They should be familiar with the specific neighborhood where your fire-damaged house is located.

A real estate agent with knowledge of the area will be better equipped to set the right price, market the property effectively, and attract qualified buyers.

Connections in the Industry:

 They should have a network of contacts, including contractors, restoration specialists, and insurance agents, who can assist with the necessary repairs and documentation.

These connections can facilitate a smoother and more efficient selling process.

Strong Negotiation Skills:

It is essential to work with a real estate agent who possesses strong negotiation skills.

They should be able to advocate for your best interests and secure a fair price for your property, considering all the factors related to the fire damage and necessary repairs.

Pros and Cons of Selling as-is on MLS

Selling damaged house as-is can be advantageous, depending on the condition and extent of the damage.

It may save you time and money on repairs and renovations and allow you to sell the property quickly.

Selling on MLS will net you the most amount of money!

However, there are downsides as well. 

Most buyers on MLS are looking for turnkey homes. 

And you are going to get a lot of low ballers

Tips for Finding Buyers

Selling a fire-damaged house is not an easy task, but finding cash house buyers for fixed properties is much easier

One of the key factors that can attract potential buyers is a reasonable selling price.

After assessing the extent of fire damage, determine a fair and competitive selling price for the property after the repairs.

Additionally, consider hiring a professional cleaning and restoration company to improve the appearance of the property.

Always be transparent about the history of the property and provide documentation of any repairs or improvements made after the fire damage occurred.

Promoting the Sale Online

Online promotion can be a powerful tool for selling a fire damaged house.

With the majority of homebuyers starting their search online, it’s essential to have a strong digital presence for your property.

Creating a detailed listing that accurately describes the extent of the damage and the steps taken to remediate it can help build trust with potential buyers.

High-quality photos that showcase any repairs or renovations made to the property can also go a long way in attracting interest.

In addition to traditional real estate listing sites, consider using social media platforms to reach potential buyers in your area.

Facebook Marketplace and local buy and sell groups can be a great resource for connecting with interested parties.

Partnering with local real estate agents who have experience selling properties with fire damage can also expand your reach and increase your chances of finding the right buyer.

Networking with local Real Estate Investors

Networking with local real estate investors [cash buyers] and professionals can be an effective way to find potential buyers.

Real estate investors may be interested in purchasing the property as-is and renovating it for resale or rental purposes.

Local real estate agents, on the other hand, may have connections with buyers that pay cash who are specifically looking for fixer-upper properties.

Attending local real estate events and networking with professionals in the industry can also help you get leads on potential buyers.

By tapping into these networks, you can increase your chances of finding a buyer for your fire-damaged property.

Negotiating Offers

Before entering into negotiations, it’s important to evaluate the extent of the damage and determine the current condition of the property. 

Get Multiple Offers: To ensure that you receive the best possible offer, it’s advisable to seek multiple offers from different types of buyers.

These buyers could include real estate investors, cash buyers, or even prospective homeowners who are willing to take on a renovation project.

Consider the Cost of Repairs: Buyers will likely factor in the cost of repairs when making offers on a fire-damaged property.

It’s essential to have a clear understanding of the estimated cost of repairs from a restoration contractor or a general contractor. 

Leverage Insurance Coverage: If the fire was covered by insurance, make sure to inform potential buyers about the details of the insurance claim and the coverage available.

This information can help them understand the financial impact of the fire and may influence their offer. 

Highlight Potential: Emphasize any potential or hidden value that the property possesses.

For instance, if the location is highly desirable or there are unique features that remain intact, make sure to showcase these attributes during negotiations. 

Negotiate Closing Costs: Negotiating closing costs can help you secure a better overall deal.

Consider offering to cover some of the closing costs or providing credits to the buyer for necessary repairs or improvements.

These negotiations can make your offer more compelling and attractive to potential buyers.

Stay Prepared: During negotiations, be prepared for counteroffers and stay flexible in your approach.

Understand the value of your property, the needs of potential buyers, and the market conditions.

Final Take-aways before Selling

Selling a home with fire damage can be a daunting task, and it’s understandable that you might have several questions on your mind.

However, with the right approach and guidance, it is absolutely possible to sell a fire damaged house. From evaluating the property value to finding prospective buyers, there are various steps involved in making a successful sale.

Real estate investors and agents can help you navigate this process more effectively. If you’re thinking of selling your fire damaged house, don’t hesitate to seek expert advice.