My House Was Damaged by Fire. What Now?
According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 350,000 U.S. homes were damaged by fires in 2016, resulting in $5.7 billion in damages. The pain and destruction caused by a house fire can be traumatic. In addition to the loss of priceless personal belongings, a typical house fire causes more than $18,000 in damages.
If your home was recently damaged by fire, use these five steps to help you deal with the situation and move on with your life.
Practice Good Safety
First, consider any safety issues. Once the fire is out, don’t enter your home until the fire department gives you permission. Even then, you may only be allowed to enter briefly to gather vital documents and personal belongings.
The damage you see may be nothing compared to what’s hidden. Fire can destroy hidden structural elements in a way that can be difficult to detect. Load-bearing elements, such as overhead beams, corners, supporting studs, and foundation pillars, may have been weakened by the fire—even if it was minor or limited to one part of the house.
Contact Insurance Immediately
If your Dallas home has been damaged by a fire, you should immediately contact your insurance provider to discuss your coverage. Most home insurance policies will cover the value of the home as it was before the fire. If your home has been totally destroyed, your insurance company may settle your claim by paying the policy amount plus the value of the contents in your home.
Your insurance company will send an adjuster to your home to evaluate the damage; however, the adjuster is unlikely to perform an inspection that takes into account all of the areas affected. To make sure you are being appropriately compensated for your loss, we recommend getting inspections by licensed professionals outside of the insurance company before agreeing to any settlements. During every stage of the inspection process, you will want to maintain open communications with your insurance agent.
Assess the Damages
Once the emergency is over, get a thorough home inspection from a licensed professional. Even if the damage seems minor, the fire may have caused hidden problems that only an experienced inspector can find. It’s important to act quickly to minimize further damage to your house. You may need to pump out water, cover doors, windows, and other openings to prevent weather damage, or put up a temporary fence to minimize the chance of theft or vandalism.
Do not live in the property until it has been thoroughly inspected and is determined to be safe. It is unlikely that a single inspector will be able to conduct all aspects of your home investigation. Most likely, you will require the services of a variety of specialists, including an industrial hygienist, a structural engineer, an electrician, a plumber, and more.
A thorough home inspection should evaluate any area of the home that could be damaged by fire, smoke, heat, or moisture, as well as areas susceptible to mold.
- Pipes and plumbing fixtures
- Air quality
- Windows and doors
- Electrical components
- Roof and support structures
- Walls and flooring
- Mechanical systems
Collect Repair Bids
Once you know the true extent of the damage, you can start gathering bids for the repairs and determine the total cost to get your house fixed and back into livable condition. After evaluating all of the costs and time it will take to make everything right, you’ll be in a better position to judge whether you want to undertake the repairs yourself or sell the house as-is.
Decide Your Next Steps
After you have all of the information about repairs and costs, you have three options to consider. You can make the repairs and continue living in it, repair the house and sell it, or sell the house as-is. If your house has suffered minor fire damage, it may be worth the time and energy to fix it, especially if you love the house. However, selling your house may be the best option if the damage is severe, you don’t have homeowners insurance, or you don’t have enough insurance to cover the damages.
Sell My Fire-Damaged House
In many cases, selling your house as-is may be the easiest solution. The greatest benefit to selling a fire-damaged house is more than just the money. It’s also the peace of mind that comes from putting the fire behind you, moving on, and creating a fresh start. You won’t have to deal with hiring contractors, managing the process, or living through construction.
We understand how overwhelming it is to sell a fire-damaged home and promise to make selling your fire-damaged house as easy as possible. We will walk you through your various options and provide guidance wherever possible. If you decide to sell, we’ll purchase your house quickly so you can move on and re-establish your life. Contact us today for a free consultation.