Selling a Fire Damaged House SF Bay Area

Experiencing a house fire is among the worst things for a homeowner. This highly traumatic event is sadly not uncommon in SF Bay Area.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that a house fire takes place every 89 seconds. In 2020, fire departments across the nation received reports of 490,500 fires. The total fire damages amounted to an astonishing $12.1 billion in the same year.

Although wildfires have received significant media attention in recent years, only a very small portion of them have resulted in house fires. In fact, less than 1% of house fires in 2021 were caused by wildfires; the majority were usually caused by cooking-related accidents.

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After experiencing a house fire, it’s understandable to feel a sense of despair. However, now is not the time to disconnect mentally. The aftermath of a fire can be overwhelming, leaving you with numerous questions and uncertainty about the next steps. Once the fire has been put out, it is essential to take immediate and decisive action to avoid any additional harm.


What are the Recommended Steps for Dealing with a House After a Fire in SF Bay Area?

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Before re-entering your fire-damaged home, it is important to obtain permission from the Fire Department. Re-entering without their approval can be dangerous, as the fire may have caused structural damage that is not immediately apparent.

Secure the property from both natural elements and vandalism. Depending on the severity of fire damage, you may need to reach out to your utility providers to disconnect the electricity and water supply.

Afterward, contact your home insurance company to initiate the claims process and explore your available options. They can help arrange temporary housing for you while your fire-damaged home is being inspected by the insurance company.

You would prefer the insurance adjuster to uncover and record the full extent of the damage.


The insurance company may offer you the replacement cost for your home based on their assessment. In some cases, you may receive the actual cash value instead, which is usually lower than the replacement cost.

It’s important to note that FEMA may provide assistance for fires caused by wildfires in specific areas. It’s worth checking if you are eligible for this assistance.

You can utilize the insurance company’s payout for fire damage restoration if you prefer. It’s advisable to enlist certified fire damage restoration professionals to effectively clean up firefighting residue and water, eliminate soot, and eliminate the smell of smoke.

Some restoration contractors also provide renovation services, and they may be capable of assisting you in restoring your home to its former glory.

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Should I Repair the Fire Damage or Sell the Burned House in SF Bay Area?

You have two options for a fire-damaged house in SF Bay Area: either undertake the fire damage repairs yourself to restore your home to its original condition, or sell the damaged house as it is.

Factors Affecting your Decision Regarding your Fire Damaged House

Here are some inquiries to consider when making a decision:

  • What is the extent of the fire damage?
  • What caused the fire?
  • How long will it take to restore my home to its pre-fire condition?
  • What will the repair costs amount to?
  • Can I afford the restoration and repair expenses?
  • What is covered by my insurance company?
  • Am I emotionally attached to my home?
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In general, if you have the necessary time and financial resources, you can proceed with repairing the fire damage to your home. Otherwise, it may be more advantageous to sell the house in its current condition.

Scenario 1: You Decide to Repair Your
Fire Damaged House.

The cost of repairing fire and smoke damage Usually falls between $2,8670 and $33,966. The national average for a complete repair stands at $17,598.

To ensure the best outcome for your fire damage restoration project, it’s important to find a skilled and experienced contractor who has a proven track record of rehabilitating fire-damaged homes in SF Bay Area. Consider reaching out to your insurance agent for recommendations on reputable contractors who can effectively meet your needs. Due to the significant investment involved, it’s essential to secure the services of a capable professional.


7 Steps in Repairing a House with Fire Damage

Step 1:

Ensure a comprehensive assessment by a certified home inspector. It’s important to identify this inspection from the one conducted by the insurance adjuster earlier.

Fires often result in significant hidden damage. For example, they can dehydrate wooden beams, making them fragile. Additionally, fires can also cause cracks in basement walls, exposing the steel reinforcement and affecting its structural integrity.

Step 2:

If your house has significant damage, you may have to engage various inspectors, including those specializing in structural, electrical, mechanical (HVAC), and plumbing systems.

Therefore, areas of inspection must include:

  • Plumbing systems
  • Electrical wirings
  • Heating and ventilation systems: inspect the ductwork for any signs of smoke residue.
  • Gas lines – there could be a leak somewhere, which may start another fire.
  • Structural framing – this may entail opening up the wallboards and floorboards to check the possible structural damage on the floor joists and wall framing
  • Windows – check the integrity of the window frames and probable warping and discoloration of the glass from the heat
  • Appliances – check for water damage before using them even though they may look undamaged from the fire.
  • Paint – check for blisters and smoke damage.
  • Roof – rafters may have been weakened from the fire or otherwise retained water from the firefighting efforts.
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Step 3:

After the assessment, the restoration contractor will determine the scope of work, timeline, and overall cost. It’s important to note that renovating a home damaged by fire is highly challenging, and unexpected repairs may arise in the future.

If the inspectors determine that the damage is too extensive for major repairs to render your fire-damaged home habitable again, demolition may be the only option. At that point, you could sell the property as an empty lot to real estate investors who may want to hold onto it for the long term or develop it in the future.

Step 4:

The contractor will secure the property by installing fences and sealing any openings in the structure. Tarpaulins may be used to cover exposed parts of the roof, preventing additional water ingress and protecting the structure from the weather.

If any areas of the house remain unaffected by the fire, even if only a small portion, they should be sealed off and isolated to prevent contamination and additional damage.

Step 5:

In the next step, it is essential to eliminate the water left from firefighting to prevent mold and wood rot. Additionally, any toxic residues from chemical extinguishers must also be removed.

Step 6:

Upon the completion of the drying process for the structure, an extensive cleanup operation will begin. Any drywall, flooring, ceiling, or other materials damaged by fire must be removed. However, every square inch of the affected areas, especially within the ventilation systems, will be particularly removed from smoke and soot, which can present numerous health hazards.

The use of deodorizing agents will effectively eliminate the smoke odor, and if needed, antimicrobial chemicals will be used to sanitize and prevent mold growth. Additionally, furniture, drapes, curtains, and clothing will undergo cleaning and deodorization.

Step 7:

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Depending on the fire damage, different areas of the structure may require varying levels of attention. While some parts may need complete rebuilding, others may only need essential repairs. Additionally, some portions of the house may need to be retrofitted to return it to its pre-fire condition.

If your contractor did an amazing job of restoring your home to its former glory and you have completely cleaned your home of all signs of fire damage, it is still essential to be open and honest with your potential buyers about what happened.

If you were not totally honest with a home buyer, they would probably walk away from the sale since they would always find out. If your contractor performed the restoration and remodeling to a high standard, the new owners of your home shouldn’t have any issues in the future.


Advantages of Repairing Your Fire Damaged House

It is recommended to repair your fire-damaged home before selling it. If you have the time and money to do so (and depending on the extent of the fire damage). If you did this, you could ask for more money than if you let the buyer take care of the repairs themselves.

If you need to take out a loan for repairs for your fire-damaged property, figure out whether the increase in asking price justifies the cost. If you want to be sure you will still make money after repairs, you also need to account for closing costs.


Scenario 2: You Decide to Sell your Fire Damaged Home As Is

The time and effort needed to get your home back to a usable condition may not be worth it if there is significant property damage. It is you who decides to list your SF Bay Area house for sale.

Selling homes that have been destroyed by fire can be difficult. That’s not to say it can’t happen. Here is what you can expect if you decide to go this route:

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Challenges in Selling a Fire-Damaged Home As Is

First off, there are fewer buyers in your pool. It will require some work to locate experienced house buyers who are up for a project involving fire damage.
The second thing you’ll have to pay for is the buyer’s necessary repairs for your fire-damaged house. This indicates that some experienced buyers of real estate will try to drive the selling price, and you may not receive the full market worth for your property.
Finally, since some home buyers would not be able to get a loan from a mortgage provider, it may turn them off. Finding a buyer prepared to pay cash is your best option.


Reasons to Sell a Fire Damaged House As Is

In spite of the possible challenges you may face in trying to sell your fire damaged home, you may still be left with no choice due to the following 6 reasons:

1. Financial Condition

It can cost a lot of money to hire a general contractor and a cleanup crew to fix the fire damage. To escape these financial responsibilities, sell entirely.

2. Health Concerns

People who have lung problems may find it dangerous to live in a burned-out house since the poisonous residue from the fire can make them unwell.

3. Time Constraint

Restoring and remodeling a home is a long, drawn-out process that may require several months to complete. One simple method to avoid the difficulty is to sell a house that has fire damage intact.

4. Location Risk

In the US, states like Florida, Texas, and California are prone to wildfires. The growing frequency of wildfires as a result of climate change may force you to relocate outside of your current state as opposed to going back to your old home.

5. Emotional Distress & Trauma

A house fire is one of life’s most traumatic experiences. Some people experience constant reminders of their trauma even after receiving a complete restoration. You could be better off selling the property to a cash buyer in order to preserve your mental health.

6. Desire to have a Clean Slate

You may want to just take your money, walk on, and start over somewhere else, putting your extremely bad
experience behind you.

Advantages of Selling a Fire Damaged House As Is

Motivated home buyers who buy damaged properties with the intention of fixing them up for a profit. This covers homes that have been damaged by fire, buildings that have code violations, mold problems, you name it. Certain buyers have an interest in these homes, hoping to flip them or rent them out to renters after making the required repairs.

However, you can swiftly put the fire behind you, resolve your financial issues, and go on with your life because these house buyers are eager to pay cash.


How Do You Go about Marketing and Selling Fire Damaged Property SF Bay Area?

Step-1-Circle Determine the Severity of the House Fire

The fire department must provide you with an incident report so you can determine the amount of the damage and its cause. Apart from modest damage, residences with fire damage are usually difficult to sell.

Step-2-Circle Go the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Route

Finding the proper buyer through this method spares you from dealing with real estate brokers and their commissions.

Although you will have complete control over the selling process, you will still be in charge of the negotiations, marketing, and transaction closure. your phone to blow up with inquiries from potential buyers with their cash offers.

The cash home buyer will visit and negotiate with you directly, so you need to be prepared with all the information about your home and the fire incident.

Step-3-Circle Find Real Estate Investors

The easiest approach to selling a house damaged by fire is to sell it to a real estate investor. They don’t mind putting in the effort necessary to obtain diamonds because they are used to discovering them in damaged buildings.

Attending a meetup for real estate investors in your area of SF Bay Area may be a terrific way to get to know them. A real estate investor with a reasonable cash offer is your way out of this nightmare because selling a house yourself is an exhausting process.

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Tips for Selling a Fire Damaged House SF Bay Area

Whether you go with scenario 1 or scenario 2 (as described above), here are 3 useful tips:

Step-1-Circle Disclosure is important

Real estate sales in general, including house sales, are trust-based businesses. It is essential to explain to the buyer what happened with the property and why. It is not advisable to withhold information from buyers as they will eventually discover it.

Step-2-Circle Document the restoration process

Make a record of all that was accomplished throughout the restoration. If you decide to put off selling your house, it will be helpful to snap pictures and keep all of your bills and receipts organized. This way, you can use them to calculate your asking price at a later time.

Step-3-Circle Do not be impatient

Selling a home destroyed by fire requires persistence, effort, and patience. Concerning anything related to your house, prospective buyers will have a lot of questions. They may occasionally ask to send their own inspectors. Give them what they want. When it is safe and possible, give them a tour of your home.

Do not be fixated on selling your SF Bay Area house fast. Just trust the process and it will be alright.


Closing Thoughts: Selling a Fire Damaged House SF Bay Area

The best course of action for your SF Bay Area fire-damaged home’s sale is up to you.

You will receive the best price if you take the time and make the financial investment to fix and restore your home before listing it for sale.

Selling for cash to real estate investors is an excellent choice if you don’t have the time or money to do the renovations or if you are in a rush.

We buy houses and other real estate in any condition and from any location in the US here at We Buy Houses in SF Bay Area!
Indeed, including homes damaged by fire!

We buy houses fast for cash and simplify the home selling process. (especially when significant work is needed on the property. Real estate agents don’t need commissions from you!)

On your terms, we buy houses! We’ll even pay the closing costs for you, and you get to pick the closing date!

Complete the form below to get started. We are pleased to answer any questions you may have, so please call us at (408) 557-7554. 🙂

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The Easiest Way To Sell Your Fire Damaged House

You’re in the driver’s seat when you accept our cash offer for your house. We make the process simple, fast, and easy to follow when working with us. You have no obligation to accept our cash offer for your home when contacting us for a fair cash offer for your home. No matter the reason you want to sell your house, we want to buy your home as is. Remember that you get many benefits that include no real estate agent commissions, no cleaning, no improvements, and no stress. Our cash offer for your as-is house assures you of fast cash payment at closing with a reputable Title company. You can count on our company to give you a fair cash offer for your home! If you’re still thinking, “I need to sell my house fast”, calling us could be your best decision all day. 🙂

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Gagan Saini

Author: Saini

My name is Saini, and I founded the We Buy Houses in SF Bay Area team with years of experience in the real estate industry. I have assisted numerous sellers in selling their homes quickly, “AS-IS”, and for a fair price.

He’s been featured in multiple publications including Yahoo Finance, GoBankingRates, LegalZoom, The Mortgage Report, Apartment Therapy, US News and World Report, and SuperMoney among others.