Buying a home with previous fire damage may not be uncommon. Home fires are prevalent and, depending on the extent of the fires, lead to varying levels of fire damage. Here’s what to consider when buying a home that had been previously damaged by fire.
How common are home fires?
According to data from the US Fire Administration, the number of fires in the US in 2019 totaled 1,291,500. In the same year, the losses equaled $14.8 billion. Residential fires in 2019 were caused by a variety of sources commonly found inside homes.
Of the residential fires that occurred in 2019, which were estimated to total 354,000, cooking fires, at 50.2 percent, were the most predominant cause of fires. Heating sources caused 9.3 percent of home fires. Electrical malfunctions led to 6.8 percent of home fires in that year.
It is not unlikely that individuals looking for another property will stumble across a house that had undergone some form of fire damage. The damage caused by the flames may have been extremely minor; or the fire damage may have affected a major portion of the property.
What advantages should be considered when buying a fire damaged home?
Homebuyers looking for a new home may realistically consider a home previously damaged by fire. If the property had been restored, buying the home may be a worthwhile investment. Or, if the home is on sale as is, savvy buyers who flip homes might see it as a good deal.
The advantages of buying a home that was once fire damaged are significant. The homebuyer will undoubtedly be offered a low sale price, for instance. Fire damaged homes are commonly undervalued, making purchasing the property a good return on investment.
Pricewise, the home can be repaired for far less than buying it renovated. The potential homebuyer has the freedom to fix up the home, factoring in personal preferences for paint, building materials, and furnishings. Ultimately, the homebuyer saves a large sum of money.
What disadvantages should be considered when buying a fire damaged home?
As with any home, disadvantages are a reality, and a fire damaged home comes with plenty. The potential homebuyer will be faced with numerous unknown variables, such as the size of the fire, the date the fire occurred, and the location of the fire within the property.
A homebuyer should consider whether or not the fire was due to electrical causes. Structural damage, such as charred floor joists and smoke-stained walls, could be an outcome of the fire. Most importantly, the potential buyer should be aware of whether or not the structural damage still exists.
While touring the home, potential homebuyers are encouraged to look out for signs of problems. The plumbing system could be destroyed. The pipes may appear warped, melted, or otherwise damaged. Components of the air duct system could be ruined by the fire event.
The wooden structures of the home may suffer from the fire. Hardwood floors, window frames, and door frames could be warped. Under the flooring, the floor joists may be charred from the fire. Smoke tends to rise, thereby staining the beams supporting the upper stories.
Water used by fire officials to extinguish the flames could have been a trigger for mold growth. Upon walking through the home, the potential homebuyer is advised to be aware of any musty smells, visible mold splotches, or any other indications of a mold infestation inside the home.
What types of professionals should be consulted?
A homebuyer who is drawn to a fire damaged property despite the abovementioned issues is advised to consult a home inspector, ideally, a professional who has prior experience specifically with fire damage. A realtor can recommend a qualified, local home inspector.
If the fire damaged home underwent restoration, the home inspector will assess the quality of the repairs. The professional will determine if structural issues still exist, mold has taken hold, smoke damage lingers, or water damage continues to affect the property.
Review the home inspector’s assessment. If the home still has issues, consider walking away. Potential homebuyers who are handy with construction could make a low offer and fix up the property. A remodeling project could be simple, like replacing drywall, or complex, like fixing structural beams.
A second professional to hire is a mold inspector. Moisture from the fire extinguishment process could feed mold spores, and mold growth is not always visible. Mold colonies can thrive behind walls and under carpets. Hire a mold inspection company to conduct a mold test.
Consider walking away if mold is found on the property. Mold infestations discovered even after the renovation will be costly to fix. Plus, the mold colonies will be an ongoing issue, especially if the water source feeding the mold spores remains unrepaired.
A fire damaged home can be purchased for a discounted price, making it appealing to some individuals. If the home had been restored, the quality of the repairs makes a tremendous difference. A top-notch restorer, like ServiceMaster Disaster Associates, Inc, will always perform quality restorations.
Fire damage is rarely limited to the materials the flames touch directly. Rather, the fire’s byproducts, such as soot and smoke, also damage the property. The surface damage can become permanent if the soot and smoke are not cleaned up thoroughly and immediately.
Fortunately, homeowners who call ServiceMaster Disaster Associates, Inc, after the home fire is extinguished receive a quick response from our fire damage cleanup crews. Our first priority is to stabilize the damaged home. Skilled technicians repair structural damages and clean affected goods.
Our fire damage cleanup includes the removal of soot and smoke stains from walls and ceilings. We offer content cleaning and pack out services to homeowners. Specialists resolve odor issues through our powerful deodorization process, returning optimal indoor air quality to your home.
Fire damage is an emergency issue. Call ServiceMaster Disaster Associates, Inc, as soon as the home fire is extinguished. We’ll arrive promptly and begin the fire damage restoration process. Our experienced crews are available 24 hours a day to respond to calls from residents in Stoneham, Massachusetts.