What To Consider Before Buying a Fire Damaged Home
Most people are interested in buying a fire damaged home when they are after a good bargain or need to stretch an already tight budget, or it’s perfect except for being fire-damaged. Whatever the reason, these properties require extra work, sometimes a lot.
It’s important to know the ins and outs of buying fire damaged property or you may find yourself with a bigger-than-anticipated problem on your hands.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider before buying a fire damaged home. This kind of property can be a great bargain, but only if you know how to properly assess what you’re purchasing.
Understanding the condition of a fire damaged property can help you decide whether the deal is worth its price and how much you can expect to spend to make it a functional space for yourself.
We want to help you answer the big question among buyers and owners of fire damaged homes: is it worth it?
Before analyzing the damage itself, you’ll first need to know which category of fire damage the home falls under.
Categories of Fire Damage
Category 1: Fire in or on the Property
When a property itself catches fire, the direct damage to the property can cost thousands of dollars. Category 1 fires bring possible damage to the structure and plumbing.
If a fire has directly damaged the property, it is important to consider your capacity to finance a proper fix of severe damage.
A good estimate for property restoration and a quick check on the property value can help you decide the best course of action for your budget.
Category 2: Fire Near the Property
Not all fire damage is due to fire on the property itself. Damage can also be caused by a fire within the surrounding area. Smoke from a nearby fire can damage a property significantly. It can be a huge problem even if your property is still intact.
Smoke can make the property uninhabitable, and you’ll need to make some tough decisions, as an owner or a buyer, about whether you are willing to spend a considerable amount of money for a cleanup and air treatment of the property to restore its initial condition.
What To Check Before Buying a Fire Damaged Home
After figuring out to which category the property belongs, you can move on to the possible fire damage that you’ll need to tend to.
Here are some things you should consider before taking that seemingly great deal for a fire damaged home.
Ironically, the water that puts out the fire can also damage the property. Even if the actual fire didn’t damage the structural integrity, the water that put it out may have.
Water damage is among the most common maintenance problems of properties. Even without a fire incident, a house needs proper maintenance and repair to avoid irreparable damage caused by water, meaning it’s a good idea to check your potential new home thoroughly for water damage, not only near the fire-affected area.
With water drenching the entirety of fire damaged homes, it’s no surprise that many affected homes require total restoration. Water damage can cause mold growth, damaged ducts, and warped wooden structures, and it does so quickly.
When parts of the property are damp, such as the basement or other places that collected water after the fire was extinguished, it is likely to become a perfect place for mold to thrive. Mold growth can slowly damage the still intact structure and pose health risks.
Although the combination of water and chemicals used to extinguish a fire is an effective way of salvaging the property, these chemicals can also damage ducts, which will then affect the quality of indoor air.
Warped Wooden Structures
This kind of damage is not pleasing to the sight and also poses safety risks. Since structures should have specific physical qualities matching the construction, it is likely that when wooden structures are warped, they can no longer hold the structure together. They could become safety hazards as they’re liable to fall and harm the residents.
When fire damages the structure of a property severely, that is already a significant safety hazard. You can not stay in a house with a heavily damaged foundation. It’s important to know if the load-bearing walls are still intact or if there are visible cracks.
Check even hairline cracks that most people brush off. Seek the help of a structural engineer to ensure the safety of using the building as a residence. Only a professional can confidently declare if a structure can be considered safe or condemned.
House plumbing is sensitive to heat. If the fire reached the plumbing system, there is likely plumbing damage. PVC pipes and copper soldering are commonly affected by the heat. This could cause further water damage to the house if not properly restored.
Smoke damage can pose health risks to people who reside in a fire damaged home. Aside from the unpleasant smell that stays in the property and the soot stains that don’t come off, smoke damage can pose health implications because it affects the air that circulates within the property.
Just as how mold growth is a health concern brought by water damage, smoke damage can fill the air with toxic chemicals that are harmful to the residents.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Fire Damaged Property
Getting a fire damaged property may sound like the best deal for a limited budget, since they always come at a lower price. On top of that, you can usually negotiate and haggle for an even lower deal.
If the property is heavily damaged, it might be the perfect opportunity for the DIY-minded to remodel the property into a personalized home. There’s also usually less competition for damaged homes, since the majority of home buyers go for properties taking less required work.
Despite all these advantages of buying a fire damaged home, you shouldn’t overlook the disadvantages that go with its condition. Buying a fire damaged property is essentially taking a risk for the sake of getting amenable pricing. The extent of the damage caused by a fire is uncertain, which makes the restoration process a risk, for health, safety, and even financial reasons.
Aside from the heavy financial demand to restore a property, the higher insurance premium can cause a financial setback.
Environmental concerns are also a disadvantage. If the fire that damaged the property was brought about by natural causes like wildfire, it is more likely that the incident will happen again. It’s worth thinking twice if the property is worth investing in. Restoration is never something to be looked forward to.
Buying a Fire Damaged Home? - Call Five Star Restoration
Five Star Restoration offers certified cleanup and restoration services for properties damaged by fire, water, smoke, mold, and even trauma.
With the help of our experienced staff, you can walk into your new fixer upper confident in the expected time and costs of your project. You’ll have your dream home in no time.
To schedule a consultation, call (951) 368-2227.
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