Experiencing a home fire is a traumatic event carrying emotional and practical consequences. Safety is critical immediately following a fire. You need experts to assess the damage and grant permission to re-enter the building. As you process your personal losses and evaluate the structural damage, you may find that your best option is selling a fire-damaged home.
Depending on the extent of the wreckage, you can choose to sell the home as-is or after making repairs. Renovation can range from minor touch-ups to structural overhauls. Budget, timing, and your personal preferences are all considerations.
This article will cover everything you need to know about selling fire-damaged property in Massachusetts. Understanding the Massachusetts real estate market is key to navigating your decision. Read on to learn more about fire damage repair, pricing your home to sell, and finding a fast cash home buyer.
Can I Sell My Fire Damaged House in MA?
Do you have to disclose fire damage when selling a house in Massachusetts? Before diving into real estate sales logistics, you should first consider any required legal disclosure steps if you’re considering selling a fire-damaged home.
Massachusetts still follows the caveat emptor, or “buyer beware” legal rule. Under state law, home sellers are only required to disclose the existence of lead paint or the presence of a septic system.
However, sellers legally cannot lie or actively hide the truth. Homebuyers have the right to ask questions about the property and seek clarity for any items uncovered in the home inspection process.
If selling your home as-is, the fire damage will be apparent (and could be obvious even following repairs). From a legal standpoint, remember that you are required to disclose the whole truth when directly asked.
How To Sell a Fire Damaged House in Massachusetts
Before selling a fire-damaged home, you must decide whether to make repairs or sell the house as-is. If you opt to make home improvements, these can range from basic cleanup to full-scale restoration.
Both approaches, selling as-is or with repairs, have benefits and drawbacks. The specific condition of your house and the extent of damage inflicted by the fire will likely impact your decision.
Fire damage can be pervasive and extend beyond the items burned by flames. After effects may also include heavy contamination from smoke and soot. Water from sprinkler systems or extinguishing the fire can also cause significant problems. Standing water in the house can lead to mildew.
How extensive was the destruction of your home? Assess with professional help and determine whether the necessary repairs are structural, which will require ample time and budget to address, or mainly cosmetic.
If the damage is significant and will require extensive renovation, the drawbacks may include the following:
- The amount of time needed to make repairs
- Cost of making repairs that are beyond insurance coverage
- Inconvenience and continued stress
- Paying the mortgage and covering additional living expenses
The key advantages to selling your home as-is include spending less money upfront, saving time, and having peace of mind. Also, if you wait to sell, you may uncover even more underlying issues as renovations progress.
However, consider the critical drawback to selling as-is: getting significantly less money from the sale of your home.
To make a final decision, consider the time requirements and emotional factors. Then, add up the cost of repairs and compare that amount to the increased profit you can expect to gain if you renovate.
Listing Your Fire Damaged Property “As Is”
Unfortunately, many people are affected by home fires. In 2018, 363,000 fires occurred in residential properties in the US, resulting in $8 billion of direct property damages. Many homeowners decide that, given the circumstances, the best solution to selling a fire-damaged home is to sell their property as-is to move forward as quickly as possible.
Cash home buyers in Massachusetts and investors are out there and ready to take on your property, even if it’s fire damaged, giving you the option to sell your house “as-is.”
Flipping homes is still prevalent in many areas. With a lower initial purchase price for a damaged home, investors have the potential for a higher return on investment while you save yourself the headaches that can accompany home remodeling.
Types of Repairs To Make
Once the fire is completely extinguished, you’ll need an assessment from an experienced home inspector to determine what repairs need to be made.
An initial fire repair clean up should include:
- Removing debris
- Cleaning up soot
- Scrubbing walls and ceilings
- Deodorization of smoke odor
- Water damage restoration (drying, fans, dehumidifiers, and disinfectants)
Once the basic cleanup is done, additional repair needs will be more obvious. Based on the inspection report, you can hire skilled workers for other repair work on walls, floors, roofs, plumbing, and whatever else is needed.
Price Your House Appropriately
Knowing how to price a fire-damaged house requires research. Comparing your home to others in your specific area is vital. When pricing, definitely seek advice from professional realtors, preferably those with experience in selling homes with fire damage.
Start with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). Doing this will give you information on home sales in your area, including square footage, days on the market, and other critical data points.
After weighing this information and considering the current housing market, you’ll have to determine a reasonable price given the damage to your home, especially if selling as-is. Of course, you can lower the price of your home after the initial listing, but try to find a reasonable and profitable starting point.
Also, consider the season you’re in. Delaying the timeline for putting your home on the may not be possible, but the time of year could affect how you price your home. Winter is typically the slowest season for real estate, with the market picking up during the spring and summer.
Highlight Positives/Key Features of the Property
Buying a fire-damaged home can be a win for many homebuyers who already have a desire to update, renovate, personalize their new home. Focusing on this creative opportunity can encourage bids on your home.
Homebuyers value more than just the house itself. As the popular quote goes, real estate sales are all about “location, location, location.” So, what about the geographic location and surroundings of your home would be most appealing to buyers?
Take the emphasis off the damage and focus on the positive attributes of the house. For example, it may have a fantastic floorplan, a well-kept yard, or a spacious master bedroom.
When listing your home, highlight every positive attribute you can think of, and ask others for their perspectives and ideas as well. Stage the house to the best of your ability and take photographs that show off the best qualities and future potential.
Learn About the Massachusetts Real Estate Market
It’s a seller’s market in Massachusetts. According to one real estate and financial data farm, single-family home prices in Massachusetts have been up 29.4% in the past two years.
Housing prices went through the roof over the spring and summer of 2021. Many buyers got caught in long lines, bidding wars, and saw homes selling well over the asking price. Real estate data show that home inventory was critically low in the greater Boston area in July 2021.
Although things have slowed down slightly, sellers still have an advantage. In addition to personal home buyers, you can easily find companies that buy houses in Boston and get even more specific — we buy homes in Springfield.
The real estate climate in Massachusetts is excellent news for homeowners selling a fire-damaged home. With more buyers than inventory and home values continuing to appreciate, well-priced homes are in high demand.
Sell To a Cash Home Buyer
You have several reasons to consider selling your house by yourself. When your home is for sale by the owner, you have complete control over the process, the final sale, and you won’t have to pay any realtor fees or commissions.
The next thing to consider is getting a cash offer for your house. Home fast cash buyers are usually willing to buy homes in any condition. If you want to avoid making renovations and sell your home quickly as-is, a fast cash buyer might be your best solution.
You can find an investor or connect with buyers willing to make cash offers with a quick Internet search. Considering the current Massachusetts real estate market, this could be an easy option for finding someone willing to consider buying a fire-damaged home.
All things considered, selling a fire-damaged home in Massachusetts is a perfectly viable option. With the current real estate market, homes are in high demand, and you can expect to sell whether you choose to sell your home yourself or work with a realtor.
Do your research to determine whether you want to make renovations to sell your home at a higher price or sell your house as-is and move on. Finally, working with a cash home buyer could be the ideal way to sell your home quickly.