It was an unforgiving year for California residents. The massive wildfires of the recent past were among some of the worst in history. Thousands of residents and homeowners, statewide, are left picking up the pieces of their lives, wondering what to do next.
Selling a fire damaged house in California can be confusing. Where do you start? If your California home was damaged by fire, here’s what you need to know about selling your home after the smoke has cleared.
Once the fire department has given you and your family the green light to return home, you should get a full inspection by a licensed professional who can determine the overall integrity of the property. The most innocent looking, cosmetic damage (such as charred walls or water damage from when the fire was put out) may indicate major problems that only a qualified expert can detect.
Often, a single inspection will not be enough. Other specialists you may need to call include (but aren’t limited to) structural engineers, electricians, plumbers, air quality restoration experts and industrial hygiene technicians. They should all provide you with a detailed assessment which you’ll need to present for insurance purposes.
Contact your insurance company to find out what your policy covers and how to file a claim. If you receive enough compensation to cover the cost of repairs, it’s up to you to make them. You can choose to continue living in the home or sell it.
Depending on how awful the damage and the limitations of your insurance policy, you may face paying for the majority of your losses out of pocket. This can be especially difficult (and costly) in the immediate aftermath of a fire. You may not be able to return home until inspections and certain repairs are complete. On top of that, your health and your family’s health are likely to be pressing concerns. Doctor’s bills, hotel rooms and countless other costs can be overwhelming.
Call your credit card companies, mortgage lender, and utility providers to let them know about your situation. Inquire about assistance programs that may be available. Temporary suspension on accounts or extended deadlines for paying bills can be a tremendous break during hard times.
Some fire damaged homes are almost beyond repair. Considering major renovation, your attachment to the home and what you still owe your mortgage lender; ask yourself what’s reasonable. If the damage is minimal, you may be able to come back. Otherwise, you need to act fast (some cities impose fines and/or code violations for not clearing dangerous properties) and consider options you may never even knew were available.
If you decide to sell your fire damaged home to a traditional buyer you must be prepared to disclose details of the situation, no matter how well-repaired or restored the property.
Cutting your losses and selling your home as-is to a professional home buyer may be your best option if you don’t expect to recoup the costs necessary for restoration or you’d rather deal with the hassles of negotiation. It’s also the fastest way to sell a damaged home.
Nobody is ever truly prepared for a major fire to sweep through their town. The devastation of people’s livelihoods, property and infrastructure is unimaginable until it actually happens.
If you need help sorting out your options, we’re just a phone call away. We buy as-is homes and homes that are a total loss in California fast and for cash! In some areas, we can also buy the land. Give us a call and see how we can help!